This top ranking piece of vinyl can definitely be described as having a very cosmopolitan background.
Released very early in 1981 on Donovan Germain’s New York based label, this single features one of JA’s very best harmony groups – The Mighty Diamonds. This 12” comes in a Y Records Disco 45 sleeve showing their Uxbridge, London address and telephone number. This Disco 45 (as Reggae 12” singles were known back in the day) entered the UK Disco 45 Reggae charts on 17th January 1981. Almost 30 years later I bought this copy from a seller based in Poland.
I’ve been shedding a few tears these last few days. Don’t worry, nothing's upsetting me, it’s just some of the music I have been listening to recently.
I’ve been revisiting a few favourites. First it was Candi Staton – guaranteed to bring a tear to the eye – and just now I finally got around to playing a Percy Sledge compilation I picked up at a boot sale earlier this year. I’ve always loved Percy Sledge’s work and this 1984 Charly compilation ("Any Day Now") is packed full of tear jerkers. It also contains a few tracks of Percy’s that I was previously unfamiliar with.
By 1970 the hits had dried up for him so the two tracks featured here went by virtually unnoticed at time of release. “Sunshine”, written by Phil Hurtt and Bunny Sigler, did just dent the US R&B Top 100 chart but “Stop The World Tonight” didn’t trouble the chart compilers at all, and for my money it’s a gem.
Sometimes I try to pinpoint exactly when I put the brake on spinning the wheels of steel and hung up the DJ headphones. Looking at my collection of Shalamar singles helps a bit. I have “Take That To The Bank” (1977/8 – definitely from the mobile days) and “I Owe You One” (1980) and “Make That Move” (1981) on 12” singles but “There It Is” and “I Can Make You Feel Good” (1982) are only on 7”. So that narrows it down to sometime in 1981 I reckon.
I was going to put up “I Owe You One” – even now opening up the 12” case the smell of the club still hits me – but in the end it has to be “There It Is” which is just a brilliant pop/soul/disco record.
Looking at Shalamar’s chart history it is apparent just how much the UK loved them. Here you can see John Peel(!) introducing them on Top Of The Pops.
Missed a day again! And not because I was getting legless at a Christmas bash, either. In fact I was just doing the round trip to Southampton picking up our son from Uni to bring him back to the bosom of his family for the holidays. Then I was on taxi duty for daughter. By the time I hit the sofa I was too kn*ckered to even switch the 'puter on!
I was very happy to pick up a copy of The Persuasions “Street Corner Symphony” for less than a £1 at a boot sale earlier this year.
The Counts may not have included a bass player in the group but The Persuasions eschewed instruments altogether – except for the human voice.
Lorez Alexandria was not a name I was familiar with until a year or so ago. I think it was an ebay listing where I first came across her name and that triggered a YouTube trawl. Everything of hers I play there I like a lot. One track in particular stood out but it took some serious Googling to find out which album it came from. Once I had identified the album I was pleasantly surprised to find that in only a few weeks I had managed to track one down on ebay for a very good price.
The track in question is "Morning" written by Clare Fischer. It comes from the album "A Woman Knows" an album full of cool, laid back jazz that caresses you from start to finish. It was recorded in December 1978 and released the following year on the small LA label Discovery.
Lorez was born in Chicago in 1929 and passed away in 2001. For me Jazz singers can often get a little bit too carried away with their interpretations and when they move into scat territory I usually get turned off. But Lorez certainly doesn't turn me off, her voice was pure in tone and she had a wonderfully subtle way of interpreting the songs she sang.
Her recording career started in the late Fifties and ran fairly consistently into the mid Sixties on the King, Argo, and Impulse labels. Then her output dropped off, until 1978 when she was back with a run of releases on Discovery, and then a few more albums through the Eighties and into the Nineties when ill health forced her to stop performing in 1996.
All in all Lorez Alexandria left behind a decent catalogue of recordings, but for somebody with such a wonderful voice it should have been much bigger and she remains relatively little known and largely under-appreciated.
We got one of those new fangled Tivo boxes installed today. We can now get YouTube on the tele. It's a bit painful typing in the searches but I gave it a go. Earlier this week Blue Magic set me off on a Philly tip and yesterday I homed in on First Choice, so they were, appropriately I suppose, the first thing I looked up and listened to on YouTeletube. I'm true to type - get some new technology and the first thing I do is use it to listen to some 30 something year old music.
I have come to realise that I massively underrated this group back in the Seventies. Their 45s are always good value as the B sides never seem to be throwaways, Here's a great double sider of theirs from 1973. The A side will no doubt be familiar but the B side may not. Make sure you give it a listen, it's beautiful.
Like the favourite decorations that re-emerge every year from their blankets of tissue paper and beds of tinsel to be lovingly hung on the Christmas tree I thought for this Advent run I would pick a few favourites songs that have made a previous appearance here on Feel It.
Here is the first of them, spinning gently around.
The B side of yesterday’s Blue Magic single was “What’s Come Over Me”, which was included on their debut album released early in 1974. In the following year the powers that be at Atlantic took the, I think, unusual decision to team Blue Magic with one of their solo artists – Margie Joseph. One of the songs they recorded together was a new take on “What’s Come Over Me”. The result was stunning – an underappreciated, and now largely forgotten(?), gem. And, I apologise if I sound like and old broken record, but they just don’t make them like this anymore.
Featuring the Margie Joseph 45 the other day made me think of Blue Magic.
I dug deep in the boxes for this one. I think it must be 30 years at least since it was last played. Not forgotten though, I must have played it so many times back then that is has always been a song that has stuck with me. From time to time it still pops in my head.
The Feel It Advent..ure will feature very simple post titles.
Each day I will tell you in what image my Advent Calendar chocolate has been crafted. (Yes Mrs Darce has bought me a Cadbury’s Advent Calendar (she has accurately identified the fact that I am just a big kid).
Behind door #2 : Angel (yesterday was a Christmas Tree).
Heard Etta James on the radio today doing “Misty Blue”. Good version.
I have to say I’m usually not one to be bowled over by the seasonal festivities, especially not this early in the proceedings. And in truth this year is no exception, but – recklessly? – I have decided to give you a post a day from here on up to Christmas Day – a Feel It advent calendar! Don’t expect Christmas themed tracks, nor many wordy posts, just plenty of vinyl in the usual vein.
I’m kicking things off with a follow on from the Jackie Moore post the other day. This is the other “gotta share it straightaway” 45 I alluded to.
I went on a run of missed targets on ebay recently. Sniped three times in a row. I wasn’t surprised to be honest. I’m not in the big league when it comes to bidding, so when I go chasing records that are extra special I’m always likely to lose out in the end. It’s good to take part in the race though. One of the three I missed out on (just, as it happens) you can see and hear over at The Singing Bones. Yes, it turned out it was Ana-B (I had guessed as much) who beat me to the sublime Ella Brown 45, at least I know it’s gone to a good home.
There was a silver lining to my recent ebay woes though. One of the three records missed I was given a second chance offer on, and so now, after all, I am the proud owner of this Margie Joseph 45 – “Never Can You Be”. This is a demo so has the same song on both sides. It’s possible the original buyer pulled out when they realised this as the issue of this 45 has “One More Chance” on the other side (yes, I got one more chance although I didn’t get “One More Chance”!) which is something of an evergreen “in demander” on the Northern/Crossover scene I believe. It would have been nice to have an issue copy but it was “Never Can You Be” that I was really after. “One More Chance” may garner the attention due to its dance floor friendliness but I think “Never Can You Be” is the real jewel – Stax/Volt must have thought so as this demo copy proves it was obviously originally intended to be an A side, and Margie Joseph herself singled it out as one of her favourites in an interview she gave a few years ago.
I love the arrangement on this track. It has a big city jazz feel, but at the same time it is underpinned with a really churchy organ. The song was written by W Turbinton, aka Willie Tee. It was very probably him on the organ and the jazzy feel would be down to his brother Earl. Both, sadly, passed away in 2007. Also, of course, there is Margie Joseph. In the 60s and 70s there were so many great soul singers who didn’t get the success or recognition they deserved, and unfortunately Margie Joseph could be said to be one of them – such a beautiful voice.
I love it when I buy a record that moves me enough to want to post it here on Feel It straightaway. Last week two such records arrived in the same package. So, here goes with the first of them.
Earlier this year I wrote a piece on Jackie Moore titled Queen-B and featured two of her Seventies songs that appeared as B sides. Last week I was very pleased to pick up this Jay Boy issue for next to nothing and, again, it’s the B-side that is really turning me on.
The year on the label is 1968. That refers to the original recording date of this song. “Dear John” backed with “Here Am I” was Jackie Moore’s debut single, on the Shout label, recorded during a brief, and unsuccessful chartwise, stay in Philly. This UK Jay Boy release dates to 1971.
Incidentally, I love the Jay Boy label. It probably goes back to George McCrae’s “Rock Your Baby” when I was just getting into Soul music, and the fact that it had a quirky name and design which was refreshing amongst all the major label mundanity that dominated UK releases in the early 70s. Looking at the Jay Boy discography around the time of this Jackie Moore release it is clear they had a deal with Shout because Freddie Scott, Erma Franklin, and Philip Mitchell’s "I'm Gonna Build California From All Over The World" (great title, and I never knew that got a UK release!), were also issued.
“Dear John” is a perfectly acceptable song but it’s “Here Am I” that is the stronger song and just simply irresistible to my ears. How this hasn’t ever seemed to garner more recognition on the Northern/Crossover scene, or whatever you want to call it, beats me. And, who knows?, if “Here Am I” had been the A side perhaps Jackie Moore would have started her recording life with a smash hit and her career would have ended up being more stratospheric than it was.
Looking at my vinyl collection a regret I have is that it doesn’t feature enough reggae. My DJing days, way back when, steered me into buying a lot of disco and jazz-funk, many of which just don’t lend themselves to being played outside the context of a hot sweaty club and some of which now, frankly, sound second rate. Oh how I wish now that I could swap at least 50% of my disco 12” singles for ones of the reggae variety.
My collection of reggae 12” inchers is highly treasured, but unfortunately distinctly limited. Most of them, including the one featured here, are now worth considerably more than any of the disco counterparts they rub sleeves with in the roll-top cabinet, although that is definitely not the point. Accept in a way it is because I feel like I missed a trick – I love Roots reggae in particular and I was buying a lot of 12” singles at the time that Roots was at its height. If I hadn’t been such a slave to the disco decks I would probably have a bigger Roots collection, and buying them new then would certainly have worked out cheaper than trying to acquire them now.
Here’s one of my treasures, from a former I-Three.
Judy Mowatt’s Black Woman backed with Joy Tulloch’s “dub poem” Black Beauty was originally released on the JA label Ashandan, as early as 1977 I think. This 12” on Grove Music appeared in the UK in 1980.
Pull up a stump by the fire with me (this one is a bit crackly).
Car Boot sales have just about finished now but there is one (at least) in my area that seems to continue through the winter. I paid it a visit this morning, pickings were thin, but I did come away with this 70/71 thereabouts Atlantic compilation album. The sleeve attracted me initially, and then I pulled the record out and saw it was an Atlantic plum/orange label so that was it – I knew I was going to buy it. There is something about the this label that presses all the right buttons for me, don’t ask me why though, It’s not as if it triggers a wave of nostalgia as my interest in music and records started at about the time Atlantic retired those particular colours on their album labels, and I never owned one at the time.
The album turned out to be rather more scratchy than I had hoped (why is it I can’t see half of the scratches and scuffs until I get home?), but was well worth the 65p I paid for it. Side One, Track Five (sandwiched between Yes and Led Zeppelin) really made me prick up my ears. Janis Joplin I initially thought, but then realised whoever it was would relegate Janis to a distant also ran in any singing competition. The tracklisting told me it was a group called Cold Blood. I admit I had not heard of them before.
A quick bit of Googling later I can tell you that the singer is Lydia Pense (great voice) and Cold Blood hailed from the Bay Area. They released four albums between 1969 and 1973 and then a couple more with Lydia as main billing, and are still touring.
This track is, of course, a cover of Barbara Lynn’s classic that came out on Tribe (another great label design) and was issued as a 45 on the San Francisco label (yet another great label design!) which is where Tower Of Power started life, and I’m wondering if ToP’s mighty horn section are making an appearance here.
Compilation and sampler albums raison d’etre was undoubtedly to make you explore artists and bands you may otherwise not. Well, 40odd years after this one was released its power is still intact as it has certainly got me wanting to hear more of Cold Blood, and Lydia Pense!
Here’s a great 45 whose fire unfortunately didn’t burn at the time of its releases in the 70s.
I say releases because it was released twice, once on each side of the pond, with completely different mixes and slightly different titles. It first appeared in 1974 on Darnel Records as “You’ve Gone” by Georgie Flame (incidentally Darnel Records address was 254 W 54th in New York, in 1977 that address would open its doors as Studio 54). The track then reappeared in 1976 in the UK with a completely different mix and a slightly faster tempo on the President Records offshoot Seville as “You’re Gone” credited to George Flame. I guess the people at President/Seville thought they should go with a plain George to try and avoid confusion with Georgie Fame. The song was written by Herb Rooney, once of The Exciters.
The only information I can find on George Flame was that he co-wrote, with Joe Beck, a number of tracks on Gloria Gaynor’s 1977 album “Glorious”.
Both versions of this song have a really dark feel to them and the 1976 version has a sort of sleazy arrangement too. It certainly lights my fire!
Right, let’s try and get this show back on the road.
The holiday on the Cote D’Azur seems a long time ago now. The sun shone all day every day. Our new favourite place.
That was swiftly followed by another weekend away in North Devon, where 12 of us sampled the delights(?) of indoor camping! Interesting, but sleeping in a sleeping bag on a mattress in an unheated, and damp, loft is no match for the real thing under canvas. Still, during the day the sun shone again and a good time was had by all.
The car boot season has just about finished now. I’m rather anal so once again I have listed everything I have bought this year at boots and chazzas. 2010’s haul has been surpassed already and I’m a little bit shocked to see that I have accumulated 226 (and counting) black round things so far this year at boots and the like. Of course, being resident in the UK means that nowhere near enough of these records have been of the soul or funk variety (reggae also continues to be elusive unless it's so beat up as to be virtually unplayable). My intention alI year has been to start up another blog to feature some of my non soul/funk/reggae purchases but I’m finding it difficult enough to keep this one going at the moment. Still, those long winter nights are just around the corner so maybe I will get ‘round to it soon.
The record featured today was one of only a few soul 45s I picked up this year at boot sales. It was the last sale of the season at one my favoured venues. In the end it wasn’t exactly a surprise that I found it as the seller is a known soul dealer on the Internet. But in a whole box of soul 45s this was just about the only one that tempted me. Glad I bought it though.
Roscoe Shelton was born in Tennessee in 1931 and passed away in the same State in 2002. His singing career started in the early 50s with gospel groups. His first solo 45 was released way back in 1958 on Excello. From then on he would release numerous 45s all the way up to the late 60s moving from Blues styles through R&B and into Soul mainly on the Excello, Sims and Sound Stage 7 labels . He left the music business in 1970, eventually to return in the 90s. In the early 70s, John Richbourg reissued a number of his earlier releases on the Sound Plus label. This Sound Plus 45 dates to 1972 and was a reissue of a 45 that first appeared on the Sims label in 1964. I really like this.
(There are a few pops evident on this rip, I haven’t had a chance to clean this record properly but looking at it I’m sure those pops will disappear with a good rub of the magic liquid).
I’m still here. It’s been busy busy busy lately, too busy to give proper attention to Feel It I’m afraid.
But I thought I should just say don’t drop me off your links. I will get back in the groove soon…. but not for another couple of weeks. Mrs Darce and I will have been married 25 years next week so we thought we would indulge ourselves a bit and we are off to the South of France for 10 days of what will hopefully be more sun in the vein we have been belatedly enjoying here in the UK in recent days.
These following two tracks will hopefully keep you going until posting resumes in earnest.
Josephine Taylor only released five singles, all in the mid to late sixties, but just listen to that voice.
These songs are both sides of Josephine’s first 45 – not a bad debut! The sentiment in these songs goes out to my best girl from one of my favourite singers.
We're on a bad run of late. Three big names from the world of Soul have left us in recent times: first Jerry Ragavoy, then Nick Ashford, and yesterday Wardell Quezergue passed away at the age of 81. I've learned that finding any of those names in the writing, arranging, or production credits of a record means there is quality in the grooves.
Currently my blogroll is clear testament to the esteem in which Wardell is held. I can't really add anything to the heartfelt comments found in those posts so let's just listen to another beautiful Wardell Querergue arrangement.
Just back from a week in Cornwall. It felt like October rather than August most of the time but at least we managed to dodge most of the rain.
It seems like we inevitably end up in a jewellery shop when we are on holiday and, it being our 25th wedding anniversary in a few weeks, this Cornish interlude ran true to form. So it is that I find my wallet is a good deal lighter following the furnishing of one of Mrs Darce's fingers.
And what have I come back with? £8.50 worth of vinyl from no less than three car boot sale visits. I'm easily pleased!
The £8.50 secured me no less than eight LPs, a 12" single, and eight 45s. Everything from funk (early Commodores), to jazz vocals (Dinah Washington), to Japanese Metal (Anthem), to reggae (Big Dread), to Cornish folk (Brenda Wootton and John The Fish with their album "Pasties & Cream"- I got two copies, am I mad?!), and most points in between including, of course, a bit of soul and r&b.
I wasn't familiar with Ray Charles's "I Don't Need No Doctor". But with Ray on the vocals and the names of Nick Ashford, Valerie Simpson, and Jo Armstead on writing credits I knew I couldn't go wrong. Having now researched it a bit I see an original copy is quite sought after, however the lack of any colour in the ABC logo on the label tells me my newly acquired copy is probably a re-press, but who cares.
(It was somehow appropriate that I found a Nick Ashford penned song the day after I read of his passing, albeit not the most appropriate of song titles. RIP Nick).
Dennis Brown is one of my absolute favourite singers. Classified as reggae of course, but he could also be listed as one of the greatest ever soul singers in my book. Just listening to him sing anything can quite easily make me tearful.
I enjoyed a mix of his music mix posted over at Distinctly Jamaican Sounds recently. A track in the middle of the mix really grabbed me and I managed to track it down on a 45. The version appeared on "King Tubby Meets The Reggae Masters", a 2001 CD released on Jet Star's Charm label. Vintage Avenue was also distributed by Jet Star so I guess the 45 was released around the same time, although it seems a bit obscure.
Identifying the DNA of reggae tracks can be fiendishly difficult. This particular song was, I think, originally released as "Open Your Eyes", possibly on Dennis' album "Joseph's Coat Of Many Colours" which dates to the late 70s. But was there a version recorded as early as 1972?
Apart from the version featured here there are at least three other versions available on You Tube:
Time to wrap up this series of B sides. I’m finishing it with an extra special one.
This is a song I have featured here before (nearly 5 years ago – I can’t believe it!), but it’s worth a “re-up” because a) it’s a beautiful tune, and b) there is more to tell about Debbie Taylor.
As I demonstrated in a recent post about Ace Jones it seems that “all our yesterdays” are continually being fleshed out as more and more people connect with the Internet and share their knowledge and experiences. With that in mind it always pays to occasionally perform a fresh trawl of the WWW (as a public resource now 20 years old!) to try and address some unanswered questions.
I finished my post about Debbie Taylor back in 2006 by asking a question I think many others in Soul music circles had been asking for some time: “I wonder where life took her (Debbie) after 1976?”. Because she would appear, around then, to have completely dropped off the Soul music radar, very soon after the release of the stunning 45 of which “Just Don’t Pay” is just one side.
Well, it turns out she has been out there performing all the time, and she is still very much with us, having a 2011 released CD on which it is plain to hear her voice is still very much intact. Debbie Taylor was in fact the recording name of Maydie Myles. As with many of the great Soul singers of the Sixties, Maydie had started her musical career in church, in Norfolk, Virginia. Her family were strongly religious and her father was the pastor of the church. Maydie loved singing Jazz and R&B too, though, and took the name Debbie Taylor in an attempt to hide from her parents the fact that she was moonlighting in the local nightclubs singing secular music. Her recording career, initially with Decca, started soon after and the name stuck.
I’m guessing the “death” of real soul music in the mid Seventies left her without a recording contract and at that time, being by then very much her own woman, it would have been natural to revert to her real name.
You can read a detailed bio (from which info presented here is gleaned) on her own website. Interestingly it includes a list of jingles she has sung on. There are plenty of household names on that list so the chances are, if you lived in the States in the Eighties/Nineties (I guess), you probably heard Maydie Myles/Debbie Taylor singing to you even if you weren’t aware of it.
I also notice that “Just Don’t Pay” is not included on the discography on Maydie’s site. An oversight that should be corrected as this song is just too good to be overlooked.
Wow! What happened there? I went offline for a whole month. No real reason for it. A few weekends away, work took me away for few more days, more time outdoors enjoying the (sort of) summer we’re having, and I before I knew it I just generally seemed to lose the urge to blog.
So, how do you do this bloggery thing? Excuse me while I gently work my way back into the groove.
Before the unexpected break I was on the B side tip. And I hadn’t finished, so here is another one.
Jean Battle is just one of the many – i.e a great soul singer and virtually unknown. As far as I can tell Jean only made it to vinyl on two occasions. All the songs on her two 45s were written by the one and only Sam Dees - a sure sign of quality. This track was the B side of her outing on Red Lite, the A side being “Love Making” (which you can find on YouTube, and the 45 itself is also easy to pick up) .
Wow! Where did that last week and a half go? Nothing exciting to report but I’ve been neglecting things here. As much time as usual seems to have been spent on researching things on the Internet, but this time it’s not been music related but boring things such as how to fix a couple of electrical related problems on one of our cars. Yes, I know, yawn!
Back to the music – and another B side.
The Royalettes were a fine girl group from the Sixties, but seemed to operate mostly under the radar.
Their biggest hit (I think) was “It’s Gonna Take A Miracle” in 1965. That release would have been on the black MGM label. Here’s the B side of my copy which, being a blue and gold label means it must be a second issue and probably dates it to around 1968.
Mostly vinyl, mostly a private pleasure - until now.
Music posted here I have bought and gained much pleasure from listening to down the years (or months, or days!). So in the spirit of an 'all back to mine' it's time to share it.
DISCLAIMER: If you hear something you like I urge you to seek it out and purchase it in your format of choice. Mp3s found here are posted for a limited time and are for illustrative and previewing purposes only. If you are the creator or copyright holder of any material posted and object to it's appearance on this blog then please email me at darcyfeelit (at) blueyonder.co.uk and it will be removed forthwith.