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Any Major ABC of Soul

September 10th, 2020 2 comments

 

These ABCs of… mixes are a great way to spend some time: making them and, I hope, listening to them.

The concept is simple: one artist per letter (with solo artists going by the first letter of their first name), from A-Z. And that’s where the fun comes in: for most letters there are so many different acts one can choose, and from those so many different songs. My method was easy: instead of surveying every soul artist beginning with B or S, I went for the acts that first came to mind. For X, the search went on for a bit longer…

I set myself a challenge: it was my goal to limit the running time of the mix to fit the whole thing on to a standard CD-R. All the while keeping in mind that I’ll have to enjoy the end result. Well, I’ve listened to the result many times over, and I do enjoy it very much.

PW in comments.

1. Arthur Conley – Sweet Soul Music (1967)
2. Blackbyrds – Walking In Rhythm (1974)
3. Chairmen Of The Board – Pay To The Piper (1970)
4. Denise LaSalle – Trapped By A Thing Called Love (1972)
5. Earth, Wind & Fire – Sing A Song (1975)
6. Flirtations – Nothing But A Heartache (1969)
7. Geno Washington – Michael (1966)
8. Honey Cone – Want Ads (1971)
9. Irma Thomas – It’s Raining (1962)
10. Jimmy Ruffin – Its Wonderful (To Be Loved By You) (1970)
11. Keni Stevens – Never Gonna Give You Up (1988)
12. Laura Lee – Wedlock Is A Padlock (1972)
13. Marlena Shaw – Liberation Conversation (1969)
14. Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators – If This Ain’t Love (Don’t Know What Is) (2005)
15. O’Jays – Love Train (1972)
16. Peaches & Herb – Close Your Eyes (1967)
17. Quincy Jones – Betcha’ Wouldn’t Hurt Me (1980)
18. Randy Crawford – Tender Falls The Rain (1980)
19. Sly and The Family Stone – Everyday People (1969)
20. Temptations – Since I Lost My Baby (1965)
21. Una Valli– Satisfaction (1968)
22. Velvelettes – Needle In A Haystack (1964)
23. Windjammer – Tossing And Turning (1984)
24. Xscape – Who Can I Run To (1995)
25. Yellow Sunshine – Yellow Sunshine (1973)
26. Zulema – You Changed On Me (1974)

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Any Major Protest Soul Vol. 3

June 9th, 2020 2 comments

 

It’s not only recent events in the USA that make this third mix of Protest Soul overdue. The three years and counting since Donald Trump took office have seen an escalation of extrajudicial killings of black people by police, the weaponisation of white privilege by racists who call the police on black people, the legitimisation of racist rhetoric, and so on.

None of that arrived with Trump, of course. Trayvon Martin was executed by that stand-your-ground scumbag on Obama’s watch, and was declared innocent of murder by a jury of his racist peers before Trump descended that escalator of hate.

But consider this: In 1992, during the presidency of George Bush Sr, the riots in LA broke out because cops got off for assaulting Rodney King. In the fourth year of Trump’s reign, country-wide protests (and some riots) broke out because police murdered George Floyd. And Jamar Clark. And Philando Castile. And Dreasjon Reed. And Breonna Taylor. And Botham Jean. And Michael Brown. And Ezell Ford. And Eric Garner. And Michelle Shirley. And Redel Jones. And Stephon Clark. And 12-year-old Tamir Rice. And. And. And…

And don’t forget the lynching in Brunswick, Georgia, of Ahmaud Arbery, the jogger whose sickening murder by racist thugs who hunted him down was going to be covered up by the authorities until a video of it appeared.

Things have escalated from brutal assault sparking outrage to an endless series of murders of black people by police, as if the US has turned back the clock to the 1960s.

And this is where this mix of songs takes us: the aftermath of the civil rights era, when the freedom promised by the law still was elusive. As recent events have shown, they remain so.

Civil rights march in the 1960s. How much has changed in the 50 years since? (History in HD)

 

If the USA ever was beacon of hope and freedom for the rest of the world, that light has been extinguished by Trump’s America. The rest of the democratic world looks at the USA with sorrow and disdain. Three decades ago, people in Europe marched against the racist regime in South Africa. In 2020, they brave the coronavirus to take to the streets in protest against the systemic racism of the United States.

They see a race war that is being sought and, to some extent, prosecuted by a racist president and his minions, and by drooling specimen of the master race who hide their cowardice behind their guns, their trucks and their white privilege. The free world is saying: they must not win. It is the defeat of systemic racism and injustice that will make America great again.

The hope for that victory was present four or five decades ago, when most of the songs on this mix were made. It is a scandal that the content of these songs still speak to the reality of today.

Ferguson’s gotten me so upset, Brunswick made me lose my rest. And everybody knows about Minneapolis goddam!

1. Camille Yarbrough – All Hid (1975)
2. Nina Simone – Mississippi Goddam (1964)
3. The Staple Singers – We The People (1972)
4. Della Reese – Compared To What (1969)
5. Curtis Mayfield – We’re A Winner (live) (1971)
6. The Pointer Sisters – Yes We Can Can (1973)
7. Dorothy Morrison – Black California (1970)
8. Larry Williams – Wake Up (Nothing Comes To A Sleeper But A Dream) (1968)
9. Hank Ballard – Blackenized (1969)
10. Marion Black – Listen Black Brother (1972)
11. Solomon Burke – I Wish I Knew (How It Would Feel To Be Free) (1968)
12. Lou Bond – Why Must Our Eyes Always Be Turned Backwards (1974)
13. Claudia Lennear – Sister Angela (1973)
14. Gil Scott-Heron – Winter in America (1974)
15. Donny Hathaway – Someday We’ll All Be Free (1973)
16. Syl Johnson – Is It Because I’m Black (1970)
17. The Temptations – 1990 (1973)
18. Eugene McDaniels – Silent Majority (1970)

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Any Major Protest Soul Vol. 1
Any Major Protest Soul Vol. 2

Any Major Soul: 1960s
Any Major Soul: 1970s

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Any Major Originals – Motown

September 19th, 2019 7 comments

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of Tamla Motown. I needn’t riff on about the genius and influence of Berry Gordy’s label; for that you are well-advised to watch the recent, marvellous Showtime documentary. Most of Motown’s classic hits were original compositions; a few were versions of previously recorded in-house productions (though far fewer than one might expect); a handful were songs brought in from outside Hitsville — and one was, as we’ll see, brazenly stolen.

If you wish to mark the 60th anniversary by way of covers of Motown hits, Covered With Soul Vol. 17 and Vol. 19 might do the trick.

 

Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone / Smiling Faces Sometimes
In Motown’s happy family it was common that the same songs would be recorded by different artists. Often this involved The Temptations, who sometimes originated a hit for others, and other times had a hit with a song previously recorded by others. And sometimes, there was a straight swap, as it was between The Temptations and The Undisputed Truth.

The Undisputed Truth, who are now mostly remembered for their hit Smiling Faces Sometimes, recorded Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone as a single release in 1971. It did not perform spectacularly well, peaking at #63 in the US charts. A year later, songwriter Norman Whitfield gave the song to the Temptations when he produced their 1972 All Directions album, on which it appeared as a 12-minute workout. The shortened single version went on to top the US charts in 1973.

The song dated the death of the deplorable Papa to “the third of September”, which happened to be the date Temptations singer Dennis Edward’s father died. Edwards was allocated that line, leading him to suspect that Whitfield had written the line knowing of that particular detail. Whitfield denied that (as he well might), but nevertheless exploited Edward’s anger about it by having him sing the line in repeated takes until the singer sounded very irate indeed. For his troubles, the Temptations dismissed Whitfield as their producer.

The group would never record anything better than Whitfield’s epics. And when Whitfield left Motown, the Undisputed Truth followed him.

But still at Motown, The Undisputed Truth took their signature song, Smiling Faces Sometimes, from The Temptations, who released it as a 12-minute track in April 1971 on their Sky’s The Limit LP and later, in as final twist of irony, as a b-side of Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone.

Released a month after The Temptations’ LP version, The Undisputed Truth enjoyed a US #3 hit with the song. The follow-up, Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone, flopped at #63. And then went to The Temptations…

 

War
While The Temptations and The Undisputed Truth scored hits with each others’ songs, Edwin Starr had a hit with a Temps song, War. The anti-Vietnam protest song appeared originally on the Temptations 1970 Psychedelic Shack album.

By popular request, Motown decided to release War as a single — but not by the Temptations, because the label did not want to associate its big stars with political causes.

Indeed, the Temptations themselves were apprehensive about offending some of their fans (though exactly why anybody who would dig the drug-friendly psychedelic grooves of early-’70s Temptations might be offended by an anti-war sentiment is a mystery). So Motown gave the song to a relative unknown who two years earlier had enjoyed his solitary hit.

Edwin Starr’s anthemic, fist-raising version was far more fierce and furious than that of The Temptations. Catching the zeitgeist, Starr’s War was a US #1 hit. And guess who appears on the backing track… The Undisputed Truth.

 

I’m Gonna Make You Love Me
There’s a link between the first recording of I’m Gonna Make You Love Me by Dee Dee Warwick in 1966 and the 1968 hit by Diana Ross & the Supremes and The Temptations: on the original, released on Mercury, Nickolas Ashford provided backing vocals; on the Motown cover, he was a co-producer.

The song was written Read more…

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Any Major Blue-Eyed Soul

February 21st, 2019 5 comments

 

 

The term commonly used for white people doing R&B, or music influenced by the genre, is “blue-eyed soul”. I’m not sure I like the term much, because it suggests that only black people are able to produce authentic soul music. This mix shows that this notion is nonsense.

This lot of songs draws from, the period 1964-73, the prime of soul music. For the challenge of it, I’ve even left out some obvious choices, such as the Righteous Brothers, The Four Seasons or Motown’s Chris Clark. And not all of the acts here were strictly or always soul, but they all produced records that nonetheless merit inclusion in the genre. Including the effort by a future country superstar.

 

Linda Lyndell, targetted by racist assholes for singing soul music.

 

One of the artists here had her career destroyed by the Ku Klax Klan. Linda Lyndell was beginning to enjoy some success on Stax records with the original version of the Salt N Pepa hit What A Man when death threats by the KKK, which objected to a white woman singing black music on a black label, persuaded her to go into retirement. She made a comeback much later, and still performs occasionally.

Another white singer, from a country background, once recorded soul music before selling records by the shedload to audiences which included KKK types. Charlie Rich started his career in the late 1950s as a rock & roll singer. In the mid-1960s he branched out into soul, recording with Willie Mitchell at Hi Records, including the original recording of the Sam & Dave classic When Something Is Wrong With My Baby (which went unreleased until 1988). The Silver Fox escaped commercial success as a soul singer and the wrath of racists, and went on to become the self-appointed guardian of pure country.

Another exponent of blue-eyed soul who went country was Roy Head, whose Treat Her Right is something of a blue-eyed soul anthem, having been kept off the US #1 by The Beatles’ Yesterday.

On December 9, 1967, Mitch Ryder played with Otis Redding on a Cleveland TV station (the song was Knock On Wood.) The following day, Otis Redding died in a plane crash. Had Otis lived, he might well have made a star of a white teenage kid with a real soul voice whom he had discovered in Pittsburgh, Johnny Daye. In the event, Daye released just a few singles on Stax before retiring from music in 1968. The featured song is the flip side of his best-known song, What’ll I Do for Satisfaction (which Janet Jackson covered in 1993 as What’ll I Do).

 

Bob Kuban & The In-Men, with the ill-fated lead singer Walter Scott in front.

 

Bob Kuban & The In-Men occupy a place in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s one-hit wonder exhibit for their 1966 #12 hit The Cheater, which features here. The eponymous Bob Kuban was the bandleader and drummer. The singer on The Cheater was Walter Scott. In a cruel twist of irony, Scott was murdered with premeditation in 1983 by his wife’s lover, who had also killed his own wife. There’s another murder coming up later.

We know Robert John better for his 1979 hit Sad Eyes (which featured on Not Feeling Guilty Vol. 1). He had enjoyed his first chart action as a 12-year-old in 1958 under his birth-name, Bobby Pedrick Jr. His claim to blue-eyed soulness dates to his short-lived time at A&M records, which saw the release of only two singles.

Jimmy Beaumont was the lead singer of the doo wop band The Skyliners – who had hits with their superb Since I Don’t Have You and Pennies Of Heaven – before he tried his hand as a soul singer. Commercial success eluded him, but soul aficionados know to appreciate his vocal stylings. Later life Beaumont returned to The Skyliners, whom he fronted until his death in 2017.

We have a few UK artists doing their soulful thing; Dusty Springfield‘s meddling in the genre is well-known, especially her Dusty In Memphis album, whence the featured track comes. Kiki Dee is less celebrated for her soul exploits (and internationally most famous for her 1976 duet with Elton John, Don’t Go Breaking My Heart). Early in her career, Kiki Dee was styled as a Spectoresque girl singer. She also did backing vocals for Dusty Springfield. She was doing well enough as a soul singer to become the first white British artist to be signed by Motown in 1970. Other UK acts featured here are the Spencer Davis Group and Junior Campbell, whom I introduced in the Not Feeling Guilty Vol. 9 post.

 

South African soul singer Una Valli, pictured in 1964.

 

Geographically most remote is South Africa’s Una Valli, who as a white woman singing black music probably did not earn the love of the apartheid regime. Valli performed almost exclusively cover versions of soul and pop songs. In any other world, she might have become a stone-cold soul legend (she previously featured on Covered With Soul Vol. 6 and Vol. 11 and Covered With Soul: Beatles Edition). Stop Thief is one of her more obscure covers, a Carla Thomas b-side written by Isaac Hayes and David Porter. Half of Valli’s 1968 album Soul Meeting was recorded with the backing of a pop group called The Peanut Butter Conspiracy; the other half (including Stop Thief) with a soul-funk band called The Flames, whose Ricky Fataar and Blondie Chaplin later joined the Beach Boys on three albums.

Two years after the featured song by Bill Deal and the Rhondels was released, saxophonist Freddy Owens joined the group. In 1979 the band was playing in Richmond, Virginia, when Owens was shot dead in the pursuit of a man who had raped his wife. Bill Deal never really got over that and four years later quit the music industry. He died in 2003.

Several of the songs featured here were favourites on England’s Northern Soul scene, in which DJs would compete to find the most obscure 1960s soul records to be played in specialist clubs which were located mostly in northern England. The most famous venue in this sub-culture, which had its own dress codes and dancing styles, was the Wigan Casino. When the venue closed in 1981, Dean Parrish‘s I’m On My Way was the last record to be played there. Six years earlier, the popularity of the 1967 tune on the Northern Soul scene had led to its re-release, selling a million copies in the UK – and Parrish earned no money from it.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-irised covers. PW in comments.

1. The O’Kaysions – The Soul Clap (1968)
2. Soul Survivors – Expressway To Your Heart (1967)
3. The Young Rascals – A Girl Like You (1967)
4. Robert John – Raindrops, Love And Sunshine (1970)
5. Bill Deal and the Rhondels – What Kind Of Fool Do You Think I Am (1969)
6. Charlie Rich – Don’t Tear Me Down (1966)
7. Johnny Daye – I Need Somebody (1968)
8. Linda Lyndell – What A Man (1969)
9. Roy Head – Treat Her Right (1965)
10. Sunday Funnies – Whatcha Gonna Do (When The Dance Is Over) (1967)
11. Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels – Sock It To Me Baby (1967)
12. Bob Kuban & The In-Men – The Cheater (1966)
13. Jimmy Beaumont – I Never Loved Her Anyway (1966)
14. Flaming Ember – The Empty Crowded Room (1971)
15. The Box Tops – Turn On A Dream (1967)
16. Kiki Dee – On A Magic Carpet Ride (1968)
17. Laura Nyro – Stoned Soul Picnic (1968)
18. Dusty Springfield – Just A Little Lovin’ (1969)
19. The Illusion – Falling In Love (1969)
20. Una Valli and The Flames – Stop Thief (1968)
21. The Monzas – Instant Love (1964)
22. Len Barry – 1-2-3 (1965)
23. The Grass Roots – Midnight Confessions (1967)
24. Junior Campbell – Sweet Illusion (1973)
25. Dean Parrish – I’m On My Way (1967)
26. The Spencer Davis Group – I’m A Man (1967)
27. Chi Coltrane – Thunder And Lightning (1971)
28. Tommy James & The Shondells – Crystal Blue Persuasion (1969)

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Any Major Protest Soul Vol. 2

April 6th, 2017 9 comments

The first Protest Soul mix, posted to coincide with the inauguration of Honest Donald in January, seems to have been quite popular. More than that, I hope it brought some kind of relief from the anguish of seeing that sphinctermouthed spluttermachine being heaved into the presidency — and seeing him wreaking his revenge on common decency without having received a clear mandate.

More should be made of this: Trump lost the popular vote, so his mandate is not unambiguous. He won the presidency legitimately, and therefore occupies his office and nominally exercises its authority legitimately — but his mandate is tainted by having been invested in him against the will of the people. So when he drains the swamp and fills it with sewerage, he is doing so without a clear mandate. The question, again and again and again, should be: “What mandate do you have to do what you do without a majority of the popular vote?” Trump has no answer to that; he knows his mandate is mandate is tainted. That’s why he lies about the supposed voter fraud. So say it loud and say it clear: “President Trump, on whose mandate are you acting?”

But this mix is not about Sphinctermouth. I’m posting it to coincide with the 49th anniversary of the assassination of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. The songs here were released in a range of within a year of MLK’s murder to eight years after.

As with the first mix, this is collection of soul songs that make an appeal for social justice, for racial equality and harmony, for black consciousness, or for political activism — some deal with one or two of these issues, some with all of them. There is no party-line, and the sentiments of some songs may clash with those of others. Together, they reflect a conversation in the black politics of the time, even if not comprehensively so — the Black Panthers don’t have an equal voice. These mixes are good companion pieces to the Songs About The Ghetto Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 mixes.

Some of the artists here are well-known for having articulated voices in that conversation — Gil Scott-Heron, Curtis Mayfield, Staple Singers, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye (featuring here with a performance from 1973’s Save The Children concert) — but one who is not widely-known is Bama The Village Poet. Seek out his songs — one, the astonishing I Got Soul, featured on the Bernard Purdie Collection Vol. 1.

As far as I know, his 1972 Ghettoes Of The Mind album on Chess was his only release. It featured Purdie on drums, Richard Tee on keyboards, Gordon Edwards on bass and Cornell Dupree on guitar. All I know of him is that he was born as George McCord in Birmingham, Alabama (hence, I suspect, the name Bama). Bama’s incisive poetry deals with issues that remain relevant today, but even if one doesn’t dig the black consciousness vibe, the music is magnificent.

I”m adding a bonus track, a funky and much-sampled groove from 1973 by The Honey Drippers who are calling to “Impeach The President”. I”d love to see Trump impeached and, if there is justice, jailed for whatever huckster stuff it is that will get him impeached. But as a pragmatist, I’m not so sure that it is such as good idea. Mike Pence is pretty bad news in his own right. Impeach them both — and clear out the Democratic Party of their lobbyist-beholden, strategy-bereft, courage-eschewing, compromise-making, backbone-lacking deadwood so that the sewerage that holds control of the White House, Senate and Congress can be flushed out.

Fight the Power!

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-fist-raised covers. PW in comments. And feel free to comment, even Trump supporters who provided us with some good laughs in the comments to the last mix.

1. Eddie Floyd – People, Get It Together (1969)
2. Segments Of Time – Song To The System (1972)
3. Marlena Shaw – Woman Of The Ghetto (1969)
4. The Staple Singers – This Old Town (People In This Town) (1971)
5. Brothers Unlimited – A Change Is Gonna Come (1970)
6. The Four Tops – Right On Brother (1974)
7. Funkadelic – If You Don’t Like The Effects, Don’t Produce The Cause (1972)
8. Candi Staton – Clean Up America (1974)
9. Lyn Collins – People Make The World A Better Place (1975)
10. Change Of Pace – People (1971)
11. The Dells – Freedom Means (1971)
12. Bama The Village Poet – Welfare Slave (1972)
13. Lim Taylor – The World’s In A Bad Situation (1974)
14. Johnny Taylor – I Am Somebody (1970)
15. Brother To Brother – Hey, What’s That You Say (1974)
16. Gil Scott-Heron – Whitey On The Moon (1974)
17. Stevie Wonder – You Haven”t Done Nothin’ (1974)
18. Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On (live) (1973)
19. Curtis Mayfield – Miss Black America (1970)
20. Sounds Of The City Experience – Babylon (1976)
Bonus Track: The Honey Drippers – Impeach The President (1973)

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Any Major Soul: 1960s
Any Major Soul: 1970s
Covered With Soul
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Any Major Soul 1969 Vol. 2

August 15th, 2013 13 comments

Any Major Soul 1969 Vol. 2

Here is the second installment of Any Major Soul 1969, which might actually be even better than the first. Those three opening tracks alone”¦my, what a year for soul that was!

We previously met The Flirtations on the Christmas Soul Vol. 1 mix with their gorgeous version of “Christmas Time Is Here Again”. “Nothing But A Heartache” (which was actually first released in December 1968) was their big hit, reaching #34 on the US Billboard charts and #51 in the UK. It was revived in Britain in 2007 as part of an advertising campaign for the colonel”s fatty fried battery chicken which will give you nothing but a heart attack. The Flirtations continued releasing records into the 1980s, when they briefly became a Hi-NRG act “” you might remember their 1983 song “Earthquake”.

Tina Britt released only one album, titled Blue All The Way. It”s an eclectic mix by a singer who could do the Motown thing as well as the Marlena Shaw thing. She had only one minor hit, a R&B Top 20 song titled “the Real Thing”, composed by Ashford and Simpson.

The best song title on this mix must be “Hip Old Lady On A Honda” by Rhetta Hughes, who has featured a few times (twice on Covered With Soul, the “Light My Fire” song swarm, the Amy Winehouse-inspired mix). Hughes was still a teenager when “Hip Old Lady” came out, having recorded for four years before that. The Chicago singer also has had a career as a part-time actress.

Janice Tyrone“s song here, “I”m Gonna Make It”, apparently features Aretha Franklin. Like Rhetta Hughes, Tyrone had begun as a teenage singer, going by the moniker Little Janice. By the time she was too old to be little, she released the excellent “I”m Gonna Make It”. Alas, it was her final record.

The closing track, by The Ambassadors, is another one of those productions which presaged the rise of Philly Soul, here its funkier side.  The band never had commercial success, but the musicians who played on their 1969 LP, Soul Summit, went on to be big session names in Philadelphia, from the late, great Vince Montana to saxophonist Sam Reed, trombonist Fred Joiner and drummer Earl Young.

I”m not sure whether this series has run its course; the feedback to the last couple of mixes, if measure by the volume of comments, has been unenthusiastic. I have much more soul music to share, but whether to continue I shall leave up to you.

As always the mix is timed to fit on as standard CD-R, and includes covers.

1. Sly and the Family Stone – Stand!
2. The Impressions – Mighty Mighty (Spade & Whitey)
3. The Flirtations – Nothing But A Heartache
4. The Mad Lads – Make Room (In Your Heart)
5. Sweet Inspirations – Watch The One Who Brings You The News
6. Aretha Franklin – River’s Invitation
7. Tina Britt – Who Was That
8. Clarence Carter – You’ve Been A Long Time Comin’
9. The Chambers Brothers – Girls, We Love You
10. Friends Of Distinction – I’ve Never Found A Girl (To Love Me Like You Do)
11. Barbara McNair – The Hunter Gets Captured
12. Ila Vann – Keep On Laughing Baby
13. Tony Clark – Ain’t Love Good, Ain’t Love Proud
14. Rhetta Hughes – Hip Old Lady On A Honda
15. Janice Tyrone – I’m Gonna Make It
16. Solomon Burke – What Am I Living For
17. O.V. Wright – This Hurt Is Real
18. Isaac Hayes – One Woman
19. Linda Carr – In My Life
20. Cookie V – You Got The Wrong Girl
21. Dee Dee Warwick – That’s Not Love
22. Carolyn Franklin – There I Go
23. Sonny Charles & The Checkmates – Black Pearl
24. Stevie Wonder – Angie Girl
25. The Five Stairsteps – We Must Be in Love
26. The Exciters – Fight That Feelin’
27. The Ambassadors – Music (Makes You Wanna Dance)

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Postscript: Turns out that Track 14, Rhetta Hughes’ “Hip Old Lady On A Honda” is missing from the zipped file. You can get it HERE to add to the mix.

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Any Major Soul 1969 Vol. 1

July 11th, 2013 3 comments

Could it be that 1969 was the absolute zenith of soul music? It certainly stands as a symbolic year for the transition from the rawer sound of the 1960s to the smoother tunes of the 1970s. So I ended up with such a long shortlist of indispensable tracks that I still had a surplus after making two mixes. Upshot: the year 1969 will run over two volumes.

Any Major Soul 1969 Vol. 1

Listen to the brief orchestral backing strings on the opening track, Edwin Starr“s “Soul City”, which in 1969 anticipated the sound of disco amid the funky Motown sound of the time. The track featured on Starr”s epic 25 Miles LP, which was so good, “Soul City” and other deserving tracks were not released on single.

The Winstons are said to have released the most-sampled track in music history, more specifically a drum break on their instrumental funk version of the “Amen” song from the film Lillies Of The Field, which they called “Amen Brother” (get it on the Saved Vol. 1 mix). Featured here is the Grammy-winning a-side, “Color Him Father”.

I”ve featured Erma Franklin on several occasions, but never really introduced her. She was Aretha Franklin”s elder sister. Erma, Aretha and the other recording sister, Carolyn (who has also featured here before and will appear on Any Major Soul 1969 – Vol. 2), performed at their father Cleveland Franklin”s church; when Aretha became a recording artist, Erma became her backing singer. In that role she was part of one of the greatest backing vocal performance ever, on “Respect”. Her solo career never took off, even though she provided the original of the Janis Joplin signature song “Piece Of My Heart”. She left the recording business in the mid-1970s, and died in 2002 of throat cancer, at the age of 64.

We started the mix with a song that hinted at the sound of disco; we end with a group that would become a byword for disco: Kool & the Gang. “Chocolate Buttermilk”, a funk instrumental, appeared on the band”s eponymous debut album on De-Lite Records.

As always, this mix is timed to fit on a CD-R and covers are included. PW in comments.

1. Edwin Starr – Soul City (Open Your Arms To Me)
2. David Ruffin – Pieces Of A Man
3. Isley Brothers – I Know Who You Been Socking It
4. The Winstons – Color Him Father
5. Marlena Shaw – I’m Satisfied
6. Jimmy Hughes – I’m Not Ashamed To Beg Or Plead
7. The Dynamics – Ain’t No Love At All
8. The Originals – Baby, I’m For Real
9. The Temptations – Why Did She Have To Leave Me (Why Did She Have to Go)
10. Gladys Knight & The Pips – The Nitty Gritty
11. Darrell Banks – Never Alone
12. Garland Green – Jealous Kind Of Fella
13. Tyrone Davis – Can I Change My Mind
14. Bobby Womack – Baby! You Oughta Think It Over
15. Laura Lee – Separation Line
16. Doris Duke – Divorce Decree
17. Joe Tex – That’s The Way
18. Peggy Scott & Jojo Benson – Lovers Holiday
19. Mavis Staples – Sweet Things You Do
20. Erma Franklin – You’ve Been Cancelled
21. Hank Ballard – Teardrops On Your Letter
22. Lorraine Ellison – Try
23. Jr. Walker and the All Stars – What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)
24. Ann Peebles – Solid Foundation
25. Baby Washington – Think About The Good Times
26. O.C. Smith – Clean Up Your Own Back Yard
27. Betty Harris – Break In The Road
28. Kool & the Gang – Chocolate Buttermilk

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Any Major Soul 1968

April 18th, 2013 8 comments

The Any Major Soul 1967 mix received one of the most poignant comments yet. Trod wrote: “Listening to soul music takes me back to my days in Viet Nam. The good part anyway.” The incredible power of music, right there.

Any Major Soul 68

The soul mix for 1968 includes several legends of the genre doing what they did well: Aretha Franklin, Jerry Butler, Sam & Dave, The Delfonics , The Dells, The Intruders, Clarence Carter, Marvin & Tammi, Supremes & Tempations etc. And then there are The Ohio Players, future legends of uncompromising funk and purveyors in cover art of the pornographic metaphor. This mix kicks off with a track from their debut album, on which Dayton”s finest riffed on a danceable soul vibe.

Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers (as the name suggests, Canadians) had their sole hit, featured here, on Motown. It”s a fine song, but Taylor”s greater contribution to music history was discovering the Jackson 5. So, no, it wasn”t La Ross. Though the other two Supremes did discover the Vancouvers, who previously were known, charmingly, as Four Niggers and a Chink “” the Asian component being Tommy Chong (later Cheech”s stoner sidekick) who was half-Chinese, half-Scottish. Chong co-wrote Does Your Mama Know About Me.

The Fantastic Four also had their solitary hit, I Love You Madly, on Motown. It had actually been recorded and issued on the Ric Tic Record label, but when Motown bought that label”s catalogue, they also scored the Fantastic Four”s contract.

Despite having a career spanning almost 50 years, The Masqueraders never really broke through and so are not very well known.  In fact, the fine track featured here was a flop when it was released as a single and led to the group being dropped by Wand Records. They kept recording until 1980, and in the late 1960s also did backing vocals for the Box Tops. Another group still performing, though with different personnel, are The O”Kaysions, a  blue-eyed soul group.

Mary Jane Hooper might be the most mysterious figure on this set. So little is known about the Eddie Bo protégé that many believe it is just a pseudonym used by soul singer Inez Cheatham, who she sounds like. It is true that Hooper”s name is an alias, but the New Orleans singer”s real name was Sena Fletcher, who previously recorded gospel music and backed Lee Dorsey. Soon after recording for Bo, she disappeared entirely from the music scene.

As far as monikers go, Diana Ross & the Supremes and the Temptations is a rather cumbersome. Their version of  Ain’t No Mountain High Enough is perfectly pleasant, but it is of obvious interest since a few years later Diana Ross recorded her rather more dramatic and utterly fabulous solo version of it.

Maurice & Mac were off-shoots of The Radiants, whose Voice Your Choice is a highlight on the Any Major Soul 1964 mix. The Radiants fell apart when Uncle Sam drafted two members into the army. Alas, although Maurice & Mac”s You Left the Water Running is an astonishing record, Chess Records messed up the promotion of the single, as they did with subsequent releases. Maurice McAllister was so disgusted by that neglect, he left the music industry.

Godoy Colbert might well have the best name on this mix. He was a member of The Pharaos, who backed Richard Berry in the original 1957 version of Louie Louie (his was the bass voice). In the early 1970s, Colbert was a member of The Free Movement, who had some success in 1972 with one of the greatest break-up songs in the canon, I”ve Found Someone Of My Own (featured on Any Major Soul 1972-73). Colbert died of cancer in 2002.

 

Hines_Hines_Dad

It seemed a bit left-field when actor and dancer Gregory Hines turned up on a Luther Vandross record in 1986 to sing a duet with the great man. In fact, Hines had been recording long before Luther. Gregory and brother Maurice had been a dance act as kids, known as the Hines Kids. In 1963 they were joined by their father, Maurice Sr, on drums, and changed the act”s name to Hines, Hines & Dad. The all-singing all-dancing act became a staple on Johnny Carson”s Tonight show.

Madeline Bell has featured on this blog several times. Her long career included stints with Blue Mink (of Melting Pot fame) and French disco group Space, and an appearance as backing singer at the Eurovision Song Contest. Having moved to Britain in the 1960s, she also was a close friend of and frequent backing singer for Dusty Springfield; the singers influenced one another, as can be heard on the featured track. Bell now lives in Spain and still touring as a jazz singer.

Another singer who has featured on thus blog several times is Grady Tate, who is represented here with a great black consciousness track, before these things became really popular in the early 1970s. To jazz lovers, Tate might be better known as a drummer, though on Grover Washington Jr”s beautiful 1981 track Be Mine (Tonight), Tate took the vocals (it featured on Any Major Soul 1980/81). He was first a drummer for Quincy Jones, then in Johnny Carson”s houseband, and played on records by people ranging from Charles Mingus to Marlena Shaw. He also played drums and percussions on Simon and Garfunkel”s Concert in Central Park. In between, Tate also released a few albums as a soul singer; 1972″s She Is My Lady and 1975″s By Special Request are particularly good. I”ve drawn several times from the latter in the Covered With Soul series, on Vol 1, Vol 3, Vol 6  and Vol 14.

Also of its time is the track by Archie Bell & the Drells that closes this mix: the lament of a soldier drafted to fight in the Vietnam War *”wait here Uncle Sam, I can”t fight on Sundays”¦”. Which brings this post to a full circle.

As always, this mix is timed to fit on a CD-R and covers are included. PW in comments.

TRACKLISTING
1. Ohio Players – A Little Soul Party
2. The Dells – Show Me
3. Sam & Dave – Don’t Turn Your Heater On
4. The Masqueraders – Do You Love Me Baby
5. Jay & the Techniques – Strawberry Shortcake
6. The Fantastic Four – I Love You Madly
7. Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers – Does Your Mama Know About Me
8. Mary Jane Hooper – I Feel A Hurt
9. The Delfonics – Break Your Promise
10. The Intruders – Turn The Hands Of Time
11. The O’Kaysions – Love Machine
12. Rita Wright – Can’t Give Back The Love
13. Diana Ross & the Supremes and the Temptations – Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
14. Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell – Come On And See Me
15. Barbara Acklin – Love Makes A Woman
16. Betty Wright – Girls Can’t Do What The Guys Do
17. Maurice & Mac – You Left The Water Running
18. Jerry Butler – Hey Western Union Man
19. Aretha Franklin – Since You’ve Been Gone (Sweet Sweet Baby)
20. Jean Wells – Have A Little Mercy
21. Arthur Conley – Put Our Love Together
22. Godoy Colbert – Baby I Like It
23. Freddie Hughes – Send My Baby Back
24. Madeline Bell – I’m Gonna Leave You
25. Mary Wells – Soul Train
26. Hines, Hines & Dad – Hambone
27. Teri Nelson Group – Sweet Talkin’ Willie
28. Clarence Carter – She Ain’t Gonna Do Right
29. Grady Tate – Be Black Baby
30. Archie Bell & the Drells – A Soldier’s Prayer, 1967

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Any Major Soul 1967

January 10th, 2013 6 comments

And in our series of soul through the 1960s we arrive in 1967, when Southern Soul was still going strong (and King Curtis provides the recipe) and Motown was about to hit its highest heights.


Many artists here are well-known: Four Tops, Carla Thomas, Wilson Pickett (represented with the original of I’m In Love, written by Bobby Womack and recorded to great effect by Aretha Franklin in 1974), Gladys Knight & the Pips, Joe Tex (whose Show Me was release in 1966 but became a hit in 1967), Aretha Franklin, Dee Dee Warwick, Isley Brothers, Lee Dorsey etc.

Others are more or less forgotten or always were pretty obscure. So I know very little about Appolas, other than they recorded some great music. Ila Vann should have been a big star; she worked with the likes of Sam Cooke and Louis Armstrong and recorded a string of fine singles, but success eluded her. Still, Ila is stil performing today.

J.J. Jackson was a songwriter and arranger for Brother Jack McDuff, Jimmy Witherspoon, The Shangri-Las and The Pretty Things. Now 70, he seems to still perform. The Soul Brothers Six actually were five brothers, named Armstrong. The sixth member of the moniker was not a brother, but singer John Ellison, who wrote their Some Kind Of Wonderful (not to be confused with the Drifters song written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin).

Barbara Lynn is not only a singer and songwriter, but also a guitarist. She toyred with some of the brightest names in soul and pop, including Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, James Brown, Al Green and Marvin Gaye.

Jeanne & The Darlings were an Arkansas gospel outfit that recorded as backing singers on Stax. Led by Jeanne Dolphus, they released six singles on Volt (whose label design is one of my favourites), of which their answer to Sam & Dave, written by Isaac Hayes and David Porter, was the second. Alas, none of the singles were hits, but Jeanne ha remained in the music business, and has passed the torch on to her daughters.

This mix features a song by Chuck Jackson, who in 1962 recorded the original version of Bacharach/David’s Any Day Now, covered on this mix by Carla Thomas.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and includes home-brewed covers. PW in comments.

TRACKLISTING
1. King Curtis & The Kingpins – Memphis Soul Stew
2. Joe Tex – Show Me
3. Bunny Sigler – Let The Good Times Roll
4. Appolas – Seven Days
5. Aretha Franklin – Save Me
6. Wilson Pickett – I’m In Love
7. The Isley Brothers – That’s The Way Love Is
8. Chuck Jackson – Good Things Come To Those Who Wait
9. Lee Dorsey & Betty Harris – Love Lots Of Lovin’
10. Laura Lee – Dirty Man
11. Carla Thomas – Any Day Now
12. Freddie Scott – Where Were You
13. Barbara Lynn – You’ll Lose A Good Thing
14. Mable John – I’m A Big Girl Now
15. Ila Vann – Got To Get To Jim Johnson
16. Jeanne & The Darlings – Soul Girl
17. Brenton Wood – Baby You Got It
18. Gladys Knight & The Pips – You Don’t Love Me No More
19. Dee Dee Warwick – Do It With All Your Heart
20. Tammi Terrell – I Can’t Believe You Love Me
21. Brenda Holloway – Just Look What You’ve Done
22. Linda Carr – Everytime
23. Fantastic Four – I Don’t Wanna Live Without Your Love
24. Jay & the Techniques – Stronger Than Dirt
25. J.J. Jackson – Sho’ Nuff (Got A Good Thing Going)
26. Soul Brothers Six – Some Kind Of Wonderful
27. Lou Courtney – The Man Is Lonely
28. Four Tops – I’ll Turn To Stone
29. Little Anthony and the Imperials – My Love Is A Rainbow

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Any Major Soul 1966

November 29th, 2012 8 comments

Soul music in 1966 “” throughout the 1960s “” was so rich in quality and diversity that one can cheerfully dispense with the year”s great hits of that genre. We need no Reach Out I”ll Be There, Hold On I”m Coming, Knock On Wood, Ain”t Too Proud To Beg, B-A-B-Y or When A Man Loves A Woman to serve a feast of mid-“60s soul.

Of course we have many well-known voices on this compilation: Eddie Floyd, Lou Rawls, The Isley Brothers (with their cover of The Supremes” I Hear A Symphony), Martha Reeves and the Vandellas (with my favourite song of theirs) or Major Lance.

One voice is familiar, but the name is not: Andrea Davis. It was the name under which Minnie Riperton briefly recorded after leaving The Gems (who have featured previously) and joining The Rotary Connection.

The Five Stairsteps appear here with their debut single, a great slice of Curtis Mayfield-penned Chicago soul that served as a double A-side with You Waited Too Long.

The Poets, not to be confused with the Scottish outfit by that name or the forerunners of the Main Ingredient, provide what might well be my favourite track on this mix, She Blew A Good Thing. It was the only hit for the Brooklyn band, reaching #2 R&B and the Top 40 pop charts.

Almost as good is Bobby Sheen“s Dr Love (with that great tempo change halfway through). Sheen never had much success under his own name; he was more famous as Bob B Soxx, the nominal leader of the Phil Spector-produced  Blue Jeans (who were Darlene Love and Fanita James). He also provided one of the voices on The Crystals” He”s A Rebel. Fans of Phil Spector’s A Christmas Gift For You will know Sheen’s voice from the songs The Bells Of St Mary’s and Here Comes Santa Claus. Sheen died in 2000 at the age of 59.

Clarence Reid is better known as the sexually explicit novelty soul singer Blowfly, and as the co-writer of such soul classics as Betty Wright”s Clean Up Woman and Gwen McCrae”s Rockin” Chair. The Blowfly moniker reportedly had its origins with Reid”s granny. Mishearing Reid”s singing of Do the Twist as “Suck My Dick”, she berated him: “You is nastier than a blowfly.”

There are not many soul singers from a Jewish background (and even Sammy Davis Jr was a convert to Judaism); one of the few is featured here: Ruby Johnson, who recorded on Stax with Isaac Hayes and David Porter.

Darrell Banks is featured here with his sole hit single, Open Your Heart, for which he falsely claimed songwriting credit; after litigation, the real writer, Donnie Elbert, got 50% credit. The singer came to a tragic end in 1970 when he was shot dead when he pulled a gun on a policeman who was having an affair with Banks” girlfriend.

Fans of The Specials will know Rex Garvin & the Mighty Cravers” Sock It To “Em J.B., a clever song about one JB performed in the style of another JB “” it”s a tribute to James Bond as James Brown might have rendered it.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a CD-R and includes covers. PW in comments.

TRACKLISTING
1. Arthur Conley – Funky Street
2. Eddie Floyd – Things Get Better
3. William Bell – Never Like This Before
4. The Poets – She Blew A Good Thing
5. The Five Stairsteps – Don’t Waste Your Time
6. Bobby Sheen – Dr. Love
7. Fontella Bass – I Surrender
8. The Isley Brothers – I Hear A Symphony
9. Dee Dee Warwick – Lover’s Chant
10. Betty Harris – What’d I Do Wrong
11. Chris Clark – Love’s Gone Bad
12. Martha Reeves & the Vandellas – No More Tearstained Make Up
13. Mable John – Your Good Thing (Is About To End)
14. Jean Wells – If You’ve Ever Loved Someone
15. Lou Rawls – A Whole Lotta Love
16. Don Covay – I Never Get Enough Of Your Love
17. Andrea Davis – You Gave Me Soul
18. Clarence Reid – I Refuse To Give Up
19. Ruby Johnson – I’ll Run Your Hurt Away
20. Baby Washington – Either You’re With Me (Or Either You’re Not)
21. Darrell Banks – Open The Door To Your Heart
22. Major Lance – Investigate
23. Billy Thompson – Black Eyed Girl
24. Roy Hamilton – Crackin’ Up Over You
25. The Sapphires – Slow Fizz
26. The Capitols – Cool Jerk
27. Rex Garvin & the Mighty Cravers – Sock It To ‘Em J.B., Pt. 1
28. Brenda Holloway – Hurt A Little Everyday
29. Devotions – The Devil’s Gotten Into My Baby
30. The Royalettes – Baby Are You Putting Me On

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