First things first, I would like to thank Raggedy so much for the invitation to contribute on her blog. She's a complete class act and I am happy to be able to call her a friend of mine.
Since this is my first official written post on Sounds Of The Soul, I thought I would write about something that I am anticipating coming out very soon and that's the Syl Johnson: Complete Mythology from Numero.
For those that are not familar with the Numero Group, they have been putting out compilations of rare soul that is known as their Eccentric Soul series since 2004. These guys should be recognized for their work as they provide very detail and in depth linear notes about the histories surrounding such labels as Twinight, Prix, Tragar and Note just to name a few.
The newest release however will be spotlighting the very under appreciated Soul Legend Syl Johnson. Born in 1936, starting his career back in what many consider the birth years of soul(the late 1950's) as a blues singer, Syl would begin his career singing with the likes of Jimmy Reed and Howling Wolf before setting out on his own to forge his career that is criminally slept on. Syl's name should be right up there with the likes of James Brown and Wilson Pickett when talking about legends in Soul music. This set will hopefully help steer the ship in the right direction from the early looks of it. It will be focusing on all of his material he's done prior to his 70's run on Hi Records. That includes material from Federal and Twinight labels which many fans hold in high regard.
This will be a 4 CD, 6 LP set. As seen in the second You Tube video below, this set will undoubtedly do Syl Johnson justice. The release date for this beautiful set is October 19, 2010, so save up those dollars.
I came across this album on FunkMySoul a while ago, and what can I say? It is a truly rare and fascinating album and deserves to be considered one of the best soul albums ever made as stated on FunkMySoul. The Album One For The Road was released in 1975.
While Come On Down is probably the best known song from this album. I'll post the title track today.
To be honest, I think I've never seen an uglier cover than this record's. But it's the music that counts, and the music is definitely attractive. If you like Earth Wind and Fire, you will love today's track, Fantasy. It's from the groups 1977 self-titled album Sunbear.
The Whispers covered this dreamy ballad in 1980 on their album Imagination, and in my opinion, Fantasy had all the makings of a hit, had it been released as a single.
The Sunbear album was recorded for Soul Train Records, the label that Don Cornelius (you guessed it, the Soul Train host) and Dick Griffey had founded in 1975, and it went out of print in 1978 when Soul Train Records ceased to exist.
Today's AudioBlog is a little longer than usual. It shouldn't be too hard for you to guess the reason why. I think Randy Brown deserves all the air/blog time there is. His music puts me in a kind of Barry-White-mood. Only Randy approaches the subject with a less hyped-up masculinity and in a rather elegant and, may I say, more refined way than big old Barry Bear did.
A facebook friend just drew my attention to this stunningly beautiful duet of Louis Price and Chaka Khan. The track is from an unreleased album The Temptations recorded in 1979 for Atlantic. At first, I could not imagine how Louis' soft and creamy voice and Chaka's powerful one could possibly be a good match -- but the duet is a feast for any soul lover. And, of course, the Tempts' background vocals add an extra dimension of perfection. Just listen! What a great discovery; thanks Gary!
John "Johnny" Ned Shines was born April 25, 1915 in Frayser (Frazier), Tennessee. When he was six, he moved to Memphis where he later played at Juke joints and parties, following the usual career path for Blues musicians. Early in his career, Howlin' Wolf's music was his biggest influence -- so it is no coincidence that Johnny's nickname was Little Wolf. In 1934, he met Robert Johnson whom he accompanied on his gigs throughout the South, and Johnny clearly shaped his own style after Robert Johnson's Blues. Frustrated with the music business and royalty issues, he gave up playing in 1958, but returned in 1966 after being re-discovered while working as a photographer in a blues club. In 1966 he recorded Chicago: The Blues Today (Vanguard) which re-ignited his career. In the late 60's Johnny moved to Alabama, playing the Delta Blues and becoming one of the last Delta Blues legends alive. Despite the effects of a stroke he suffered in 1980, he remained however a "formidable performer" as one of his bios states. His last appearance was in the early 90's in a documentary about Robert Johnson. He died in 1992 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Throughout his 4 decades long career Johnny played with the greatest of the great in Blues: Sonny Boy Williamson, Willie Dixon, Honey Boy Edwards, just to mention a few.
The first time I heard this song, I thought it was The Manhattans featuring Ollie Nightingale (maybe). I wasn't quite sure whether I really liked the odd combination of super-smooth velvety background vocals and the gritty, gravely gospel-flavored lead. But alas -- I came to like it a lot even. And then, I'm sure you all know what your ever so inquisitive Raggedy set out to do. Yes, she went looking for some info on these guys. (While I was doing that, I discovered yet another exquisite music blog (Rappamelo) which has a few fine gems to offer.)
Here's the album from which today's post has been taken. It's called Love On Delivery and was released in 1975 for Capitol records. All ten tracks are good, and at least six of them are great, imo. I posted my two favorites from the album: How Could We Let The Love Get Away and One Into One.
The group formed in 1971 in NYC, and according to allmusic.com they were the backup group for Melba Moore in 1972. What allmusic got completely wrong, imo, is that the group "made one nice number, Three Steps from True Love, in 1975." While Three Steps ... definitely is a nice piece -- the titles I found on their album are more than only nice -- they are pretty darned good. Just listen to the background vocals. I would call them excellent.
Did everyone have a nice weekend? I sure hope so. I, for my part, ventured out of my air conditioned chambers to the nicest shopping center San Antonio has to offer. Of course, I regretted this heroic act as soon as I got out of the (air conditioned) car and walked across the Texas size parking lot in 102 degrees ... Well, at least I got me a nice pair of black sandals (ahem -- I really needed them) and let a lady at the cosmetic counter talk me into making an appointment for a facial next Thursday. Okay, and on top of it all, I could convince myself that it was hight time to sit down and finish my Deepies AudioBlog -- which I actually did as soon as I was back home. So, in a way, my weekend was kinda successful. And I have a nice surprise for you all -- SOTS soon might have an additional author/contributor. I can hardly wait for his first blog ...
All I am doing at the moment is sitting out the hot August days which seem to be extra annoying here in Texas. In short, I am tired and listless and simply in the mood for nothing ... Is there a special song you think could help me get out of this summer slump?
Right now I am listening to The Hues Corporation's Rockin' Soul, and I think I feel a little perked up already...
Garnet Mimms' greatest (and only hit) was Cry Baby, the song that later became a steady fixture in Janis Joplin's repertoire. He sang the original in 1963, and followed that fantastic song with plenty of other titles which were no less brilliant in my opinion. But they never reached hit status. One of these songs is I'll make It Up To You. This record does neither lack in Garnet's signature soulful urgent pleading nor in beautiful background vocals or a catchy arrangement. The track has been in my post-on-blog folder for quite a while, and since I am a little slow with my posts lately, I thought it would be appropriate to promise my blog followers that i'll make it up to them, so to speak, as soon as life gets back to normal here ...
Amazon.com says: "It's seems strange now to think of Muddy Waters's having to make a "comeback," but that's what the 1977 Hard Again came down to. The great bluesman's first post-Chess recording after 30 years with that company, it marked Waters's major-label debut and eventually went gold. The over-60 Waters lived up to all the attention with one of his most energetic, sustained performances, bettering his original version of "Mannish Boy," pushing "Bus Driver" to a raging peak, and generally sounding like the wisest man on record. Harp player James Cotton and producer-guitarist Johnny Winter are among the support; they both stay out of Waters's way and give as good as they get." --Rickey Wright
This is the kind of song that catches my attention; as a matter of fact, this song got me out of the pool last night when it came up on my playlist. I couldn't remember having heard it (yes, yes I know) so I climbed out of the water, and went upstairs to the patio to see what song it was and who sang it ...
All I know about the Steelers is that they are a Chicago Soul group with only one hit in 1969, Get It From The Bottom. Today's song is the B-side of that 45.
I love this song by Holland, Dozier, Holland. It's, of course, about the strong woman ... and that's exactly the kind of woman I like to be around.
The song is from the UK compilation of 27 tracks Holland-Dozier-Holland why can't we be lovers,sub-titled 'The Invictus Sessions'. The CD features songs the legendary Motown production/songwriting team recorded for their own label, Invictus.
Ooooo baybeeeeee ... I can hardly sit still: This rhythm goes straight from the ears to the feet.
Shirley Goodman is the same Shirley who had the well-known disco hit Shame, Shame, Shame in the seventies. I didn't know that she was around before that time. What a surprise to find out that the lady was actually singing since the 50's. In this song she paired up with Leonard Lee. The song reached #2 on the Billboard R'nB charts in 1952.
In case you think I sound a little weird on today's blog, I confess to having had two glasses of wine and a barrel full of fun. Great combination, huh?
Why I chose Chuck Jackson for today's episode? Because Chuck Jackson has a phenomenal voice. Basta. Period. End of the story. He's been in the business for over 50 years, and that man has not lost an iota of power or charm. Just watch the video clips. Unbelievable!
Like always, the Texan summer is killing me. If I go outside during the day, I might end up in some infirmary with a heat stroke or dehydrated or whatever. No matter what, I'd rather not go outside. Only good thing about staying inside for most of the day is that I get to listen to a whole lot of music ...
So, this afternoon I heard one of my all-time favorite Blues songs in a version I had not heard before. And what can I say? It blew me away. Allen Toussaint's St. James Infirmary is a piece of art. Although, I still love Bobby's take on it, Allen steals the show with his interpretation -- at least for now. Bobby's musicians are first-rate, and he sings the song like nobody else does.
St. James Infirmary (The Bright Mississippi, 2009)
It'll be a busy Monday for me -- so, there is only a track without words ...
"2008 two CD anthology from the '70s Soul trio. Formed and mentored by Millie Jackson, the Facts Of Life are best remembered for their mid- 1977 R&B Top 40 hit 'Sometimes'. Something of a Soul supergroup, the FOL comprised Northern Soul hero Chuck 'I'm A Lover' Carter, former Flamingo Keith Williams and Tyrone Davis' sister Jean. Their recordings are much prized by Southern Soul aficionados. Just The Facts contains both of the group's original Kayvette albums, which include all of their single A-sides, plus a selection of non-album B-sides and alternative versions - their complete recordings in fact. Southbound."
If you are like me into full, mature female voices, you will need to check out Quiet Elegance. I've never heard of them before -- but I am glad I found out about this group. Why in the world these three ladies did not make it real big remains a mystery.