Archive for the ‘Covered With Soul’ Category

Covered With Soul Vol. 14 – Beatles Edition 1

September 27th, 2012 14 comments

On 5 October 1962 — fifty years ago next week — The Beatles released their first single, Love Me Do b/w P.S. I Love You. The single entered the UK charts on 11 October and stayed there for 18 weeks, peaking at #17. Follow-up Please Please Me did better, reaching #2; that was followed by 11 straight #1s —“ bizarrely the group’s greatest single, Strawberry Fields b/w Penny Land, broke the streak (six chart-toppers would still follow). And apparently that was only because the BBC counted the record as two individual singles.

So, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ beginning their recording career, here’s the first of two Covered With Soul mixes of Beatles songs. One of the tracks here, ‘Til There Was You, was a song The Beatles themselves covered, but it I presume that The Smith Connection used the Beatles version, and not the original from the 1957 musical The Music Man, as their inspiration.

These being soul versions, they tend to be quite different from their originals. I believe it is a sign of a great song if it can be interpreted well in many different ways. Every song here is beautifully re-interpreted, in some cases almost re-invented (check out Charles Wright’s take on Here Comes The Sun for that). Even Marvin Gaye’s take on Yesterday uses the composition’s flexibility to great effect. A great example of that flexibility is in We Can Work Out, which had been covered brilliantly by Stevie Wonder; his version is in every way the original’s equal. Valerie Simpson takes a rather different approach to the song, and produces a soul version that is very different from Stevie’s — and quite brilliant in its own right.

And if Paul McCartney would sing Hey Jude (as he does seemingly at every opportunity somebody hands him a mic) like Wilson Pickett does, I’d gladly hear that blasted song over and over again.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, for which homebaked covers are included. I’m afraid passwords are now necessary; you’ll find it in the comments section.

1. Otis Redding – Day Tripper (Alternate Take) (1966)
2. Dionne Warwick – A Hard Day’s Night (1969)
3. Four Tops – Eleanor Rigby (1969)
4. David Porter – Help (1971)
5. Black Heat – Drive My Car (1975)
6. The Supremes & The Temptation – Got To Get You Into My Life (1968)
7. Marvin Gaye – Yesterday (1969)
8. The Smith Connection – ‘Til There Was You (1972)
9. Valerie Simpson – We Can Work It Out (1971)
10. Jimmy James & The Vagabonds – Good Day Sunshine (1968)
11. Ike & Tina Turner – Come Together (1970)
12. Aretha Franklin – The Long And Winding Road (1972)
13. Grady Tate – And I Love Her (1974)
14. Natalie Cole – Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (1978)
15. The Main Ingredient – Get Back (1970)
16. The Moments – Rocky Raccoon (1970)
17. Wilson Pickett – Hey Jude (1968)
18. Ronnie Dyson – Something (1973)
19. Charles Wright – Here Comes The Sun (1972)
20. Gladys Knight & The Pips – Let It Be (1971)
21. Booker T and the MG’s – I Want You (1970)

GET IT! (PW in comments)


More great Beatles stuff:
Beatles Recovered: A Hard Day’s Night
Beatles Recovered: Beatles For Sale
Beatles Recovered: Help!
Beatles Recovered: Rubber Soul
Beatles Recovered: Revolver
Beatles Recovered: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club  Band
Beatles Revovered: Magical Mystery Tour
Beatles Recovered: White Album
Beatles Recovered: Yellow Submarine
Wordless: Any Major Beatles Instrumentals
Covered With Soul Vol. 14 – Beatles Edition 1
Covered With Soul Vol. 15 – Beatles Edition 2

Any Major Beatles Covers: 1962-66

Any Major Beatles Covers: 1967-68
Any Major Beatles Covers: 1968-70
Any Bizarre Beatles
Beatles Album tracks and B-Sides Vol. 1
Beatles Album tracks and B-Sides Vol. 2
Beatles Reunited: Everest (1971)
Beatles Reunited: Live ’72 (1972)
Beatles Reunited: Smile Away (1972)
Beatles Reunited: Photographs (1974)

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Covered With Soul Vol. 13

July 24th, 2012 8 comments

In the 13th installment of Covered With Soul we have interpretations of hits by The Mamas And Papas, Bob Dylan, Bobbie Gentry, Joe South, John Denver, Glen Campbell, Dionne Warwick, Neil Sedaka, Hall & Oates, The Doobie Brothers, The Beatles (twice), Etta James, Tommy Edwards, Bobby Vinton, The Everly Brothers, Simon & Garfunkel, Bobby Darin (or Tim Hardin) and Steam, as well as a song from the Hammerstein & Rogers musical Carousel.

For two tracks, those by Ike & Tina Turner and Cissy Houston, I have no year of recording; they appeared on greatest hits type of albums. Both must date to the late 1960s or ealy 1970s, but I have no specific year.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, for which homebaked covers are included.

1. Bobby Womack – California Dreamin’ (1969)
2. Maxine Weldon – Like A Rolling Stone (1970)
3. Ike & Tina Turner – Ode To Billie Joe
4. Cissy Houston – Down In The Boondocks
5. Kimberley Briggs – Leaving On A Jet Plane (1972)
6. Willie Hutch – Wichita Lineman (1973)
7. The Undisputed Truth – Walk On By (1970)
8. Lea Roberts – Laughter In The Rain (1975)
9. Impact – Sara Smile (1977)
10. Quincy Jones (with Luther Vandross & Gwen Guthrie) – Takin’ It To The Streets (1978)
11. Chaka Khan – We Can Work It Out (1981)
12. Marlena Shaw – At Last (1982)
13. Tyrone Davis – It’s All In The Game (1973)
14. The Natural Four – Blue Velvet (1970)
15. Friends Of Distinction – And I Love Him (1969)
16. Linda Jones – Let It Be Me (1972)
17. Zulema – If I Loved You (1972)
18. Marsha Hunt – Keep The Customer Satisfied (1971)
19. Voices Of East Harlem – Simple Song Of Freedom (1970)
20. Wayne McGhie & the Sounds of Joy – Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye (1970)

(PW in comments)


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Covered With Soul Vol. 12

May 16th, 2012 2 comments

This edition in the Covered With Soul series might be one of the best so far. Here we have covers of songs better known by Free, The Rolling Stones, The Young Rascals, Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Stephen Stills, Bobby Hebb, The Carpenters, Matt Monro, James Taylor, Simon & Garfunkel, Blood Sweat & Tears, The Bee Gees, The Box Tops, Joe Cocker (covering The Beatles), Gil Scott-Heron, Judy Garland, Frankie Valli, and Nat “˜King” Cole.

Some of these versions rework the songs so thoroughly, one might imagine they have always been soul songs. Just check out what Bobby Womack does with Fly Me To The Moon. Or how Kimberley Briggs (more on that name in a minute) turns The Box Tops” under-two-minutes hit The Letter into a six-minute work-out that incorporates soul, a hint of funk and a touch of psychedelia. Hear Maxine Weldon do It Ain”t Me Babe, and you forget it”s a Dylan song, and in Lea Roberts” hands, the hoary rock anthem All Right Now gets some soul.

Kimberley Briggs is better known as Kim Tolliver, one of those underrated soul singers who have a huge reputation among soul aficionados. Poor Kim toiled away for years, starting in the 1960s, without breaking through. After a while she left the business and became a real estate agent. Sadly, she died in 2007. The album is very rare and was never made into a CD. Soul blogging legend Mr Moo shared it, and so much more, with the Internet.

One song that is not as well known as the others is Gil Scott-Heron”s Lady Day & John Coltrane; soul/jazz singer Penny Goodwin blows Gil”s version out of the water. The Milwaukee singer ““ her style is reminiscent of Marlena Shaw  ““ never had the big breakthrough her talented merited. At a later stage I will have to feature her quite incredible version of What”s Going On.

Lea Roberts also had a limited career, releasing three albums between 1973 and 1982. Her version of All Right Now is from her sophomore album, produced by Reggie Lucas and Mtume.

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

1. Lea Roberts – All Right Now (1975)
2. Tina Turner – Let’s Spend The Night Together (1975)
3. Marvin Gaye – Groovin’ (1970)
4. Bobby Womack – Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words) (1969)
5. Chairmen Of The Board – Come Together (1970)
6. Maxine Weldon – It Ain’t Me Babe (1970)
7. The Three Degrees – Love The One You’re With (1975)
8. Melba Moore – Sunny (1970)
9. Freda Payne – Rainy Days And Mondays (1973)
10. The Whispers – Speak Softly Love (The Godfather) (1972)
11. Labelle – You’ve Got A Friend (1971)
12. Merry Clayton – Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970)
13. Lou Rawls – You’ve Made Me So Very Happy (1970)
14. Sunday’s Child – To Love Somebody (1970)
15. Kimberley Briggs – The Letter (1972)
16. Penny Goodwin – Lady Day & John Coltrane (1973)
17. The Undisputed Truth – With a Little Help From My Friends (1973)
18. Ohio Players – Over The Rainbow (1968)
19. O.C. Smith – Can’t Take My Eyes Off You (1969)
20. Isaac Hayes – When I Fall In Love (1967)

(PW in comments)


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Covered With Soul Vol. 11

March 29th, 2012 10 comments

In this instalment in the Covered With Soul series we have a second selection of soul songs covered by soul acts. We have met most of the featured artists before, perhaps none more so than Erma Franklin. Here we have Erma covering a song originally performed by her bigger sister, Aretha Franklin (whose 70th birthday we have just celebrated). One act here is quite unlike any of the others we have heard in this series: Una Valli was not only white (as were the Flaming Embers), but also  South African, having some local success as a soul singer in the late 1960s ““ and, boy, did she have soul!

So, in this mix there are covers of songs that were hits for Eddie Floyd, The Temptations, Jackie Wilson, Clarence Carter, Bill Withers, Sam Cooke, Harold Melvin & the Bluenotes, Al Green, Freda Payne, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Friends Of Distinction, Aretha Franklin (three of them), Willie Mitchell, Ike & Tina Turner, Sly & the Family Stone, Marvin Gaye, Luther Ingram, Sam & Dave (two of them, though the Rotary Connection version is barely recognisable as their song), Eddied Holman, and Ray Charles.

PW in comments.

1. Archie Bell & the Drells – Knock On Wood (1968)
2. Marvin Gaye – I Wish It Would Rain (1970)
3. The Dells – (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher (1968)
4. The Chairmen Of The Board – Patches (1970)
5. Denise LaSalle – Lean On Me (1973)
6. Mavis Staples – You Send Me (1969)
7. Lyn Collins – If You Don’t Know Me By Know (1975)
8. Margie Joseph – Let’s Stay Together (1973)
9. Ronnie Dyson – Band Of Gold (1970)
10. The Persuaders – Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me (1974)
11. Flaming Ember – Going In Circles (1971)
12. Tina Britt – Dr. Feelgood (1969)
13. Madeline Bell – Mercy, Mercy, Mercy (1968)
14. Rosetta Hightower – River Deep And Mountain High (1971)
15. Erma Franklin – Baby I Love You (1969)
16. Hearts Of Stone – ‘Thank You’ Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin (1970)
17. Marlena Shaw – Save The Children (1972)
18. Millie Jackson – (If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want To Be Right (1974)
19. Una Valli – I Never Loved A Man The Way I Loved You (1968)
20. Spooky & Sue – When Something Is Wrong With My Baby (1975)
21. The Glass House – Hey There Lonely Girl (1971)
22. Gene Chandler – Hallelujah, I Love Her So (1970)
23. Rotary Connection – Soul Man (1967)



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Covered With Soul Vol. 10

February 8th, 2012 8 comments

We reach a decade of Covered With Soul mixes with interpretations of songs better known in versions by the Mamas and the Papas, Rolling Stones, Randy Newman,  The Righteous Brothers, Brook Benton, Ben E King (or Shirley Bassey), Barbra Streisand, Dionne Warwick, The Shirelles, Frankie Laine, Frankie Valli, Jimmy Cliff, Blood Sweat & Tears, Bob Dylan, Chicken Shack (or the late Etta James),  Kris Kristofferson,  Gil Scott-Heron, Carpenters, Doobie Brothers, Bread and Abba.

Even if you are a casual observer of soul music, you will know at least one voice here among the lesser known singers: Dorothy Morrison. She was the lead voice on Oh Happy Day, the mammoth hit for the Edwin Hawkins Singers. A superior singer, Morrison never hit the big time as a solo artist ““ she had one Top 100 hit in 1970 with All God’s Children Got Soul ““  though she was much in demand as a backing singer with acts like Boz Scaggs and Rita Coolidge, and continues to perform as a gospel artist. In 1970 she backed Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell at the Big Sur Folk Festival, which yielded the Celebration album, from which Merry Clayton“s version of Dylan”s The Times They Are A-Changin” comes. Clayton will, of course, always be associated with the Rolling Stones for her spine-tingling vocals on Gimme Shelter (her solo version of the song featured on Covered With Soul Vol. 1). A Stones song is also represented in this mix: Labelle“s fantastic take on Wild Horses, which might actually eclipse both the Rolling Stones and the Flying Burrito Brothers” version, which was released before that by the Stones.

Tommy Hunt features here covering Kris Kristofferson in 1976. He had a mammoth hit some two decades earlier, as a member of The Flamingos with I Only Have Eyes For You. We have also met him in The Originals as the first performer of Bacharach/David”s I Just Don”t Know What To Do With Myself (see The Originals 36). Even at 78, Hunt remains very active in show business, as his website  proves.

1. Vessie Simmons – Dedicated To The One I Love (1971)
2. Labelle – Wild Horses (1971)
3. Maxine Weldon – I Think It’s Going To Rain Today (1971)
4. Vivian Reed – You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling (1970)
5. Hearts Of Stone – Rainy Night In Georgia (1971)
6. Dee Dee Warwick – I Who Have Nothing (1969)
7. Melba Moore – People (1971)
8. Gladys Knight & The Pips – Theme From Valley of the Dolls (1968)
9. Cissy Houston – Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow (1972)
10. The Ebonys – I Believe (1973)
11. The Manhattans – Can’t Take My Eyes Off You (1970)
12. Martha Reeves – Many Rivers To Cross (1974)
13. Dorothy Morrison – Hi De Ho (That Old Sweet Roll) (1970)
14. Merry Clayton – The Times They Are A Changin’ (Live) (1970)
15. Margie Joseph – I’d Rather Go Blind (1973)
16. Tommy Hunt – Help Me Make It Thru The Night (1976)
17. Esther Phillips – Home Is Where The Hatred Is (1972)
18. Jimmy ‘Bo’ Horne – They Long To Be Close To You (1979)
19. Candi Staton – Listen To The Music (1977)
20. The Whispers – Make It With You (1977)
21. Carol Douglas – Dancing Queen (1977)



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Covered with Soul Vol. 9

November 17th, 2011 5 comments

I”ve said it before: no other series on this blog is as much fun to put together than the Covered With Soul compilations. And I”ve yet a few mixes in store.

There are have been a couple of pretty radical reworkings of songs; Maxine Weldon“s interpretation of George Gershwin”s  I”ll Build A Stairway To Paradise (best known, perhaps, as Georges Guetary”s showstopper in the An American In Paris musical) is one of them.

On the other hand, if the version of Spirit In The Sky by The Stovall Sisters has echoes of the original, then it is because the soul-gospel group provided the backing vocals to Norman Greenbaum”s record.

Donnie Elbert had been around for a long time before he covered Michael Jackson”s “We’ve Got A Good Thing Going” “” in fact, he had been recording longer than Michael had been alive, having his first R&B hit in 1957. Talking of covers, in the early 1970s he recorded an album of Otis Redding covers, as well as a few old Motown hits. He died in 1989 at 52.

If you might not know James Gilstrap“s name, and you might never heard any of his records before (though he had a #4 UK hit in 1975 with Swing Your Daddy), but you might well recognise the voice: he is the male voice that duets with Lani Groves at the start of Stevie Wonder”s You Are The Sunshine Of My Life. Or as one of the voices on the theme for the TV show Good Times. He has been prolific as a backing singer for acts as diverse as Quincy Jones, Elton John, Anita Baker, England Dan and John Ford Coley, Boz Scaggs (including on Lowdown), Joe Cocker, Sarah Vaughan, and Kelis.

Like Nancy Wilson, Salena Jones is better known as a jazz artist (her first name is a combination of the first names of Sarah Vaughan and Lena Horne) who had a soul audience.

1. Barbara Acklin – To Sir, With Love (1968)
2. Al Green – I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry (1973)
3. James Brown – Your Cheatin’ Heart (1969)
4. Maxayn – Gimme Shelter (1972)
5. Sunday’s Child – Maybe I’m Amazed (1970)
6. Hearts Of Stone – You’ve Made Me So Very Happy (1970)
7. Sly & the Family Stone – Que Sera Sera (1973)
8. Rotary Connection – Lady Jane (1967)
9. Erma Franklin – Son Of A Preacher Man (1968)
10. Sharon Cash – Change Gonna Come (1970)
11. Melba Moore – He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother (1971)
12. Esther Phillips – Into The Mystic (1977)
13. Salena Jones – Everbody’s Talkin’ (1970)
14. Thelma Jones – Angel Of The Morning (1978)
15. James Gilstrap – Hello, It’s Me (1976)
16. Donnie Elbert – We’ve Got A Good Thing Going (1974)
17. The Isley Brothers – Put A Little Love In Your Heart (1972)
18. The Stovall Sisters – Spirit In The Sky (1971)
19. Maxine Weldon – I’ll Build A Stairway To Paradise (1975)
20. Loleatta Holloway – (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons (1971)
21. The Sweet Inspirations – To Love Somebody (1968)
22. Nancy Wilson – Make It With You (1971)
23. The Persuasions – Since I Fell For You (1970)



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Covered with Soul Vol. 8

September 15th, 2011 5 comments

This is Volume 8 of Covered With Soul, and there is no end in sight (unless a lack of comments suggests there should be). Check out the re-interpretation of Wichita Lineman, Be My Baby, Won”t Get Fooled Again, Fever, Sunshine Superman and Rainy Day Women #12 & 35.

Perhaps the most radically reworked cover here is David Porter”s take on that old crooners” favourite All The Way. It”s not how Sinatra sang it (he certainly had no harp in his version). But my favourite cover here might be Esther Phillips” of Gilbert O”Sullivan’s Alone Again Naturally. David Porter is, of course, better known as a songwriter. With Isaac Hayes he wrote such soul classics as Sam & Dave”s golden trinity of Soul Man, Hold On I”m Coming and When Something”s Wrong With My Baby, and Carla Thomas” B-A-B-Y. He released four albums between 1970-73; All The Way appeared on the last of them.

The version of Wichita Lineman on this mix is particularly impressive in light of the age of the performers. Sunday”s Child were a trio of teenage girls who had been influenced by the Jackson 5. Mentored by Sammy Davis Jr, they released only one album, in 1970, which unjustifiably flopped. The youngest of the Portland trio went on to have some success. Renn Woods, then 13, recorded a few unsuccessful solo records, but had a long career in acting, most notably appearing in Hair (she sang Aquarius in the film) and as Fanta (the girl Kunta Kinte meets in Africa before his capture) in the TV series Roots. Also a one-off album released in 1970 is that of Hearts Of Stone ““ John Myers, Lindsey Griffin, Floyd Lawson, and Carl Cutler ““ who recorded on the Motown subsidiary VIP.

Still on 1970, Sharon Cash“s debut album, He Loves Within My Soul, is full of cover versions. Fever is the best of them; in fact, it”s as good as any cover of it this side of Peggy Lee”s. Cash released another album in 1973 before joining The Honey Cone in 1976.

The Ambassadors ““ another one-album outfit ““ were pioneers of Philly Soul by way of being among the earlier acts produced by Gamble-Huff. The CD re-release of the 1969 Soul Summit album includes a couple of live tracks which suggest The Ambassadors were great on stage.

The blurb on Lou Bond“s eponymous 1974 album suggests that the singer “is not to be categorized. He is like no other artist in the business. Past or present”. He certainly had an eclectic thing going on, rooted in soul and infused by folk and the great crooners. Marvin Gaye”s What”s Going On social consciousness vibe surely was an influence as well. Recording on Stax, there are echoes of labelmate Isaac Hayes in Bond”s music: four of the LP”s six songs are longer than six minutes. Unlike Ike”s albums, there is only one cover, the Carly Simon song featured here.

No doubt Al Jarreau felt validated in his vocal style by Lou Bond. The Milwaukee native signed his first recording contract, with Reprise, a year after Bond”s album was released. Jarreau had no plans to become a singer; having studied psychology, he was a rehabilitation counsellor. He was persuaded to take to the stage by friends who had heard him sing at private parties.

Finally, Kellee Patterson was a beauty queen before she became a soul recording artist (signing to a jazz label!). Coming from the Jackson”s hometown of Gary, she was the first black Miss Indiana. As a child, she had competed in talent contests, often on the same bill as the Jackson 5. By 16, she recorded the first of four LPs. Her version of You Are So Beautiful comes from the second album, titled Kellee (from which we might hear more yet in this series), after which she turned to disco, with some success. She is still performing today.

1. Labelle – Won’t Get Fooled Again (1972)
2. Martha Reeves – Wild Night (1974)
3. Sunday’s Child – Wichita Lineman (1970)
4. Merry Clayton – Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 (1975)
5. Margie Joseph – My Love (1974)
6. Hearts Of Stone – He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother (1970)
7. Maxine Weldon – Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye (1971)
8. Chairmen Of The Board – Only Love Can Break A Heart (1974)
9. James Brown – Spinning Wheel Part 1 (1971)
10. Sharon Cash – Fever (1970)
11. Melba Moore – Sunshine Superman (1975)
12. Marsha Hunt – Long Black Veil (1971)
13. Cissy Houston – Be My Baby (1969)
14. The Ambassadors – Can’t Take My Eyes Off You (1971)
15. Diana Ross – Something (1971)
16. David Porter – All The Way (1973)
17. Esther Phillips – Alone Again (Naturally) (1972)
18. The Sweet Inspirations – Let It Be Me (1967)
19. Lou Bond – That’s The Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be (1974)
20. Al Jarreau – Fire and Rain (1976)
21. Kellee Patterson – You Are So Beautiful (1975)



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Covered With Soul Vol. 7 – Bacharach/David edition

May 25th, 2011 5 comments

Three years ago, on 12 May, this blog marked the 80th birthday of Burt Bacharach with a mix of his songs (it’s still available; check out Lyn Collins’ version of Don’t Make Me Over), most of which were written with Hal David, the often neglected lyricist, the writer of the often marvellous words that we sing to Bacharach”s gorgeous melodies.

Indeed, would Bacharach”s music be the same without such great phrases as “Let this be just the start of so many nights like this? “Let”s take a lover”s vow and then seal it with a kiss”, “And if the way I hold you can”t compare to his caress, no words of consolation will make me miss you less”, “I”m not meant to live alone. Turn this house into a home. When I climb the stair and turn the key, oh, please be there still in love with me” or “Like a summer rose needs the sun and rain, I need your sweet love to beat all the pain”? Of course, David also wrote some sexist lyrics ““ at least by the reckoning of our age ““ like those for Wives And Lovers and Wishin” And Hopin”.

On 25 May Hal David will turn 90, and it seem right to mark his birthday with a mix consisting of vocalists in a genre that values the interpretative components of singing. I”m running this as part of the Covered In Soul series, for most of these songs are covers. Four songs here are original recordings: Make It Easy On Yourself, Always Something There To Remind, Tower Of Strength, and Any Day Now.  And the very eagle-eyed will spot that the lyrics of three tracks on this mix were not written by Hal David (Tower Of Strength, Any Day Now and Mexican Divorce were written by Bob Hilliard).

Unusually for these mixes, two artists feature more than once. It seems appropriate that Dionne Warwick, the great and prolific interpreter of Bacharach/David songs, should be represented twice: once with a version from 1970, the other a rather belated interpretation of an old classic, recorded in 1977. Her cousin Cissy Houston even features three times: once on her own, once with Bacharach, and once as a member of the Sweet Sensation. And to be clear: the versions here are not necessarily the best ever recorded; some are excellent, some are chosen for curiosity value (I don”t like Martha Reeves” version of I Say A Little Prayer; others might disagree with me). And, strangely, some Bacharach/David songs have been covered more than others in soul music: I had three wonderful contenders for Alfie (the others by Stevie Wonder and Dee Dee Warwick), and none for Do You Know The Way To San José.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R. Homebaked front and back covers are included. PW in comments.

1. Diana Ross – (They Long To Be) Close To You (1970)
2. Rhetta Hughes – Walk On By (1969)
3. Marva Whitney – This Girl’s In Love With You (1970)
4. Jerry Butler – Make It Easy On Yourself (1962)
5. Lou Johnson – (There’s) Always Something There To Remind Me (1964)
6. Chuck Jackson – Any Day Now (My Wild Beautiful Bird) (1962)
7. Roy Hamilton – Reach Out For Me (1966)
8. Gene McDaniels – Tower Of Strength (1961)
9. The Glass House – A House Is Not A Home (1972)
10. Gladys Knight and the Pips – One Less Bell To Answer (1971)
11. Madeline Bell – What The World Needs Now Is Love (1968)
12. Cissy Houston – I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself (1970)
13. Dionne Warwick – Only Love Can Break A Heart (1977)
14. The Pointer Sisters – Wanting Things (1975)
15. Nancy Wilson – Wives And Lovers (1964)
16. Isaac Hayes – Windows Of The World (live, 1973)
17. Brenda and the Tabulations – Don’t Make Me Over (1970)
18. The Dells – Trains And Boats And Planes (1972)
19. The Stylistics – You’ll Never Get to Heaven (If You Break My Heart) (1972)
20. Cissy Houston & Burt Bacharach – Mexican Divorce (1970)
21. Martha Reeves and the Vandellas – I Say A Little Prayer (1968)
22. The Delfonics – The Look Of Love (1968)
23. Dionne Warwick – Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head (1970)
24. The Sweet Inspirations ““ Alfie (1968)
Bonus track: The Shirelles – It’s Love That Really Counts (In The Long Run) (1962)



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Covered with Soul Vol. 6

March 31st, 2011 8 comments

In the 6th volume of soul covers, we have the great Grady Tate”s interpretation of the Theme of M*A*S*H and versions of songs previously recorded by Gil Scott-Heron, Bob Dylan, Big Brother & the Holding Company, Elvis Presley, James Taylor, Righteous Brothers, Tammy Wynette, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Joe South, Rolling Stones, Credence Clearwater Revival, James Brown, Cream, Peggy Lee, The Beatles, The Flamingos, Julie Andrews, Nat “˜King” Cole, Billy Joel and Cat Stevens. Quite a mixed bag. This mix features a fair number of country songs remade as soul songs, showing how close the two genres are.

Some of the songs here get a thorough reworking here. Cat Stevens would not recognise his hippie-friendly Moonshadow in Labelle”s astonishing funky improv version. The Rotary Connection, featuring Minnie Riperton, take some liberties with Bob Dylan”s Like A Rollin” Stone.

We have encountered some of the featured artists before. Among those we haven”t is Una Valli, South Africa”s queen of soul. Una certainly had a mighty voice and bagsful of soul. The irony, given her country of origin, is that Valli (who still performs) is white. I wrote about her recently on Star Maker Machine, in relation to her version of Yesterday (here).

Madeline Bell featured on Covered With Soul Vol 3. Her long career included stints in Blue Mink (of Melting Pot fame) and French disco group Space, and an appearance as backing singer at the Eurovision Song Contest. Well, a girl”s gotta work. And she still works, touring as a jazz singer from her domicile in Spain.

Alas, Marie “˜Queenie” Lyons did not enjoy such a productive career. Her outstanding Soul Fever album, whence this version of Fever came, was her only LP. Until its re-release on CD in 2008, it was one of the great rare soul albums. Nobody, it seems, knows anything about whatever happened to Marie Lyons.

Likewise, Bill Brandon never had the great career he might have had. We”ve previously encountered Brandon in the second instalment of the Murder Songs series. He also recorded only one full album, released in 1977. Ten years later he quit the music business for good and became a truck driver. He now apparently runs a nightclub.

Another act with a solitary album were the Blossoms (who featured in Vol. 5), yet they had a rich history as a backing act, singing vocals behind the likes of Elvis Presley, Tom Jones, Jan & Dean and Paul Anka. Formed in the 1950s, among their original members was Gloria Jones (original singer of Tainted Love and the woman who survived the car crash that killed Marc Bolan) and Merry Clayton. Darlene Love joined the band in the late 1950s, and she appears on the 1972 album, alongside Jean King and founder member Fanita James.

Junior Parker featured before (in Vol. 4) with his cover of The Beatles” Tomorrow Never Knows. Here he reappears with another Beatles track (and I have another one waiting). Parker was not really a soul singer but a bluesman, having started his career as a teenager in the 1940s backing Sonny Boy Williamson and Howlin” Wolf, and then playing in a Memphis band with B.B. King and Bobby “˜Blue” Bland (the latter, of course, also crossed over to soul at times). Parker”s trio of Beatles covers was his last: Parker died of a brain tumor on 18 November 1971 at just 39.

1. Grady Tate – Suicide Is Painless (Theme From M*A*S*H) (1974)
2. Brother To Brother – In The Bottle (1974)
3. Rotary Connection – Like A Rolling Stone (1967)
4. Bill Brandon – (Take Another Little) Piece Of My Heart (1972)
5. Dee Dee Warwick – Suspicious Minds (1971)
6. Blossoms – Fire And Rain (1972)
7. Al Green – Unchained Melody (1973)
8. Candi Staton – Stand By Your Man (1971)
9. Little Esther Phillips – Hello Walls (1964)
10. Joe Simon – Help Me Make It Through The Night (1973)
11. Lee Dorsey – Games People Play (1970)
12. Una Valli – Satisfaction (1968)
13. Billy Paul – Proud Mary (1970)
14. Stevie Wonder – Please, Please, Please (1967)
15. Brothers Unlimited – Spoonful (1970)
16. Marie ‘Queenie’ Lyons – Fever (1970)
17. Junior Parker – Lady Madonna (1971)
18. David Porter – I Only Have Eyes For You (1970)
19. Madeline Bell – Climb Ev’ry Mountain (1968)
20. Gene Chandler – Unforgettable (1970)
21. Margie Joseph – He’s Got A Way (1974)
22. Labelle – Moonshadow (1972)



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Covered with Soul Vol. 5

January 20th, 2011 4 comments

The fifth instalment in the Covered With Soul series departs from the custom of the previous four which featured mostly covers of non-soul originals. This mix consists of soul covers of soul songs.

One would imagine that soul covers of soul songs would be more frequent than those of non-soul tracks in the genre”s repertoire of the late 1960s and “70s, but I”ve found that this is not necessarily so, at least not as far as reasonably well-known tracks are concerned, and if one ignores the Motown custom of its roster all recording the same songs.

Two song titles included here will at first sight seem unfamiliar: The Rance Allen Group“s Just My Salvation reworks The Temptation”s Just My Imagination, giving it a gospel spin. Change Of Pace change their relationship with the soldiers in Vietnam from that in Freda Payne”s Bring The Boys Home. The buddies of the Change Of Pace title are depicted on the cover of the album, though the rest of the LP is standard soul fare, including a Christmas song I neglected to include on the soul Christmas mixes.

David Ruffin“s version of I Want You Back appeared on an album that was completed in 1971 but remained unreleased until 2004, because Motown saw no commercial promise in it. It”s a pity, because it”s a fine album. Don”t feel too sorry for the former Temptations man; he was not a great man ““ but what a singer!

One performer on this set also provides the original for a song covered here.  The wonderful Marlena Shaw covers Roberta Flack”s Feel Like Makin” Love and provided the original for California Soul, covered here by Brenda & the Tabulations.

Mike James Kirkland is not very well known, though his song Hang On In There (from the same album as Baby I Need Your Loving) was covered last year by John Legend and The Roots. The marvellous Lyn Collins, former backing singer for James Brown, also deserves to be better known. She sang my favourite version of Don”t Make Me Over (featured here in a cover by the likewise superb Barbara Jean English), which featured on my Bacharach mix a couple of years ago.

Philly Soul singer Barbara Mason specialised in cheating songs, and with her cover of Billy Paul”s Me And Mrs Jones she takes on one of the greatest songs of that kind. Billy”s version is unclear whether the two people actually consummate their love; in her eight-minute version Mason ends up coming face-to-face with Mrs Jones (not the one Billy met with; the wife of her Mr Jones), and we learn that she and Mr Jones did have sex, including the intimate noises Mr Jones makes!

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R.

1. David Ruffin – I Want You Back (1971)
2. Mike James Kirkland – Baby I Need Your Loving (1972)
3. Ronnie Dyson – Just Don’t Want To Be Lonely (1973)
4. Betty Wright – Ain’t No Sunshine (1972)
5. Dee Dee Sharp Gamble – Ooh Child (1977)
6. Lyn Collins – Never Gonna Give You Up (1972)
7. Rotary Connection – Respect (1969)
8. Change Of Pace – Bring My Buddies Back (1971)
9. The Rance Allen Group – Just My Salvation (1970)
10. Ernie Hines – A Change Is Gonna Come (1972)
11. Hank Ballard – Slip Away (1969)
12. The Delfonics – A Lover’s Concerto (1968)
13. Brenda & the Tabulations – California Soul (1970)
14. Marlena Shaw – Feel Like Makin’ Love (1975)
15. Sidney Joe Qualls – If You Don’t Know Me By Now (1974)
16. Barbara Mason – Me & Mr. Jones (1973)
17. Maxine Nightingale – Reasons (1975)
18. The Soul Children – Signed, Sealed, Delivered (1978)
19. Zulema – Wanna Be Where You Are (1972)
20. Barbara Jean English – Don’t Make Me Over (1972)
21. Jean Wells – I’ll Drown In My Own Tears (1968)
22. Blossoms – Grandma’s Hands (1972)


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