Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tony Owens -- This Heart Can Take No More/I Got Soul (Repost from 9/310)

Time for another Deepie or two

Before Tony Owens was discovered at a high school talent show, he had sung with a group called The Emeralds in junior high. At that time he had already won some local voice competitions. Isaac Bolden who was about to start his own label, Soulin', heard Tony sing, and it was on his label that in 1968 Tony's first single, I Got Soul, was produced. Although the title was quite successful locally -- as were Tony's follow-up records too  -- he never achieved any national recognition. Same old story: big talent, no luck. 

If you would like to read more about Tony Owens, please go here and here

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Impressions -- I'm So Glad (Repost from 2/23/11)

From The Impressions: 1975 - First Impressions (Curtom 1975) 
This song should be renamed Hymn to the Homemaker. It sure feels good to see our efforts being appreciated ... Yeah, yeah. I know that's been a long time ago. 

Johnny Robinson: When A Man Cries

What can I say? For years and years, I've been digging out one neglected artist, one unappreciated gem after another and still keep finding new ones. There seems to be an unimaginable wealth of good, even great, music lingering in the dusky vaults of music's history. That fact alone makes it so rewarding to keep blogging.

I found today's track in my "research artist" folder. As with many other artists, though, there is not much info available on Johnny Robinson.

He was born in Tuskagee, AL in 1939. His gospel origins unmistakably show in his late 60's releases for the Okeh label as today's track proves. "It's All Over," his first 45 according to Sir Shambling, was released on Strike Records in 1966/7. I agree with Sir Shambling that "Poor Man" and "When A Man Cries" mark the peek of Robinson's early recordings.

"Memphis High," his only Lp, was produced by Willie Mitchell in the vein of Syl Johnson's work, I would say.

My favorite track from "Memphis High" is without a doubt "Nothing Can Touch This Love." Robbinson's take on "Reconsider Me," the country tune that became a hit for Johnny Adams in 1969, is a close runner up. Actually, the album teems with great songs, and it will definitely be an asset to any deep soul collection.

So, go and get it!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Courtship -- Love Ain't Love (Until You Give It To Somebody)

I found this song on "Old School Harmony Vol. 2 -- Deep Beats." A fantastic compilation of rarely heard Old School masterpieces. There are three more songs of Courtship on the CD -- all of them beautiful.
Unfortunately, I didn't find any info on the group. Please, if you know their biography, let me know, and I will share it with my readers.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tuesday-Bluesday: Albert Collins -- "Ain't Got Time"

Electric blues of the finest by one of the finest guitarists: Albert King. This is the right song for everyone who needs a jump start while the week is still young ...

From Albert Collins: The Complete Imperial Recordings Vol. 1 (Capitol/Emi 1991)

Here's the man live at Montreux

Don't you love this one?

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Chi-Lites -- "Someone Else's Arms"

The Chi-Lites are one of my favorite 70's groups -- of course. You won't find very many soul lovers not doting on this group. Smooth, soft, silky, romantic straight to the heart music and the quartet's incredibly harmonic singing  are its trademark. 
Lead singer, Eugene Record, composed most of their songs. He also wrote songs for The Dells, Jackie Wilson, and Barbara Acklin among others.

Today is Eugene records obit. He died July 22, 2005. I was not planning to publish this post expressively for his death anniversary -- it just happened.

R.I.P. Eugene Record.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Raritaetenecke! Ace Spectrum Special: "Movin' On", "Don't Send Nobody Else" "I Don't Want To Play Around"

Diese Titel sind so 70er. Astreiner Gesang, gute Melodie -- kurzum, Musik, die man geniessen kann und auch sollte!

Ace Spectrum war in Deutschland, glaube ich, nicht bekannt. Und auch in den USA war die Gruppe eher unterbewertet.
Je laenger ich ueber Soul blogge, desto mehr wirklich gute Musik finde ich ganz per Zufall. Zum Teil sind Stuecke oder Interpreten dabei, von denen ich nicht verstehe, wieso sie nie den grossen Durchbruch schafften. Ace Spectrum ist eine dieser Zufallsfunde. 
Ace Spectrum war eine Vier-Mann Gruppe, die in New York City gegruendet wurde, die aber, wie es heisst, sehr oft die Miglieder wechselte. Diesem Umstand ist wahrscheinlich ein Grossteil des spaerlichen Erfolgs zuzuschreiben.

Inner Spectrum ist ein Album, das mit den meisten Aufnahmen der 70er gut mithalten kann. Insgesamt hat die Gruppe 3 Lp's veroeffentlicht, von denen ich zumindest noch Low Rent Rendezvous gerne haben moechte. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

WRAG Radio Raggedy: Kisses, Kisses, Kisses


The Falcons -- Let’s Kiss And Make Up
The Meters -- Just Kissed My Baby
Bill Withers -- Kissing My Love
Johnny Adams -- Kiss The Hurt Away
Bobby Blue Bland -- Kiss Me To The Music
The Temptations -- Throw A Farewell Kiss
Carl Carlton -- One Last Kiss
Ralfi Pagan -- Just One Of Your Kisses
Jackie Wilson -- A Kiss, A Thrill, And Goodbye

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Impact -- Friends

Just returned from an evening out with my friends. We had a great time, and, once again, I was reminded how wonderful it is to have friends.
Today's track is from the self titled album by the group Damon Harris joined after his stint with the Temptations. The album is great, and while most of the leads, of course, belonged to Damon, the lead singer on "Friends"is John Quintin Simmons. I just love this song with its upbeat Philly sound and perfect background harmonizing. Simmons's raspy voice creates a wellcome contrast to Damon's sweet falsetto.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Willie John Ellison -- Lost The Will To Live (Repost from Jan. 4, 2011)

More info: here and here

Don't you love the guitar? 

The Simms Twins -- Shake It On Up Repost from Oct. 16, 2010)

The Sims Twins had the best-selling record that was released on Sam Cooke's own label Sar. "A Sam Cooke composition, "Soothe Me," first hit the charts in October 1961 and stayed there for 22 weeks, Reaching #4. Of course, the Sims Twins had been gospel singers. They started out in a 1arger family gospel group, the Sims Brothers Sextet, who recorded two obscure records for Dootone in 1952 (so obscure that no copies are known to survive of either record!). The group was active only around Los Angeles and never did much traveling.
When they broke up, the youngest members, Bobby and Ken Sims (who really are twins), started singing as a duo in churches. It was there that Sam Cooke heard them and convinced them to come and do same background singing. They went in the studios to sing background on "Cupid." Then he was working on "Soothe Me," a song he wrote, and he again wanted them to sing backup. When he was listening to a studio tape of their singing on it, he never did record his voice over theirs as he originally intended, and issued it as the record.he Sims Twins had the best-selling record that was released on Sar. A Sam Cooke composition, "Soothe Me," first hit the charts in October 1961 and stayed there for 22 weeks, Reaching #4. Of course, the Sims Twins had been gospel singers. They started out in a 1arger family gospel group, the Sims Brothers Sextet, who recorded two obscure records for Dootone in 1952 (so obscure that no copies are known to survive of either record!). The group was active only around Los Angeles and never did much traveling."

Degrees Fahrenheit -- Big Bad Rain

What could be more pleasant than some nice heavy rain in Texas? Nothing, if you ask me. And today we had a decent shower or two. 
So, I've been looking for some rain songs -- and found one I like. Unfortunately, though, I have no info whatsoever about the group. All I know is that the song can be found on "Deep Soul And R & B For Another Rainy Day," (Eardrum, 2013.) 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Kool and The Gang live ...

My chief music scout, aka hubby, dug this video out for me .. This group is simply unbelievable. To me it is the professionalism that makes the difference: fantastic musicians that know how to engage the audience without using silly gimmicks or underdressed hyper-sexed girls hopping across the stage. I keep wondering, though, why they allowed this mediocre singer with the little hat and uncoordinated moves participate in the show. Anyway, even he couldn't spoil the show ...

The show got better by the minute, and I didn't regret staying up way after my regular bedtime to watch the video.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

WRAG-Radio Raggedy: And The Love Goes On ...

Not much writing today ... It's 99 F. here, and I am hanging out by the pool.
But here are some songs from one of the playlists I'm listening to while trying to stay cool.


Barbara Brown -- Can't Find No Happiness
We Three Ltd. -- Girl I'll Always Love You
Kim Tolliver -- He's Still On My Mind
Barbara McNair -- My World Is Empty Without You Babe
Billy Paul -- Without You
G.C. Cameron -- Truly Blue
Gloria Gaynor -- I'm Still Yours
Freda Payne -- Through The Memories Of My Mind
Annette Snell -- Footprints On My Mind
Ann Peebles -- I Still Love You
Futures -- No One Could Compare With You

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Montclairs -- Baby You Know (I'm Gonna Miss You)

The Montclairs were yet another 70's group that produced outstanding music. Fame, however, never found them. So only the chosen ones, so to speak, knew their beautiful heavy-heart ballads. 
The group formed in 1969 in East St. Louis with Phil Perry as lead singer. Phil Perry, one of the most remarkable vocalists, was backed by Kevin Sanlin, George McLellan, David Frye, and Clifford Williams -- noteworthy singers themselves. 
Phil Perry still performs and has released some outstanding recordings. 
Today's pcik is from their 1972 album "Dreaming Out Of Season," (Paula Records.) I consider the album a treasure. Get it!

More Montclairs:

Phil Perry and Kevin Sanlin released two albums in the 80's: 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Jackie Mittoo -- Drum Song/El Bang Bang

(Repost from 1/10/2010)

Time for another Reggae Sunday

Here comes the champion on the keyboard -- Jackie Mittoo. He was a founding member of the legendary Skatalites, and he left his mark on music history by influencing many a young musician with his work at the famous Studio One.
Jackie was born in Browns Town, Jamaica March 3, 1948. He died of cancer in 1990.

by Jason Ankeny

Keyboard virtuoso Jackie Mittoo was among the true legends of reggae -- a founding member of the Skatalites and an extraordinarily prolific songwriter, he was perhaps most influential as a mentor to countless younger performers, primarily through his work as the musical director at the famed Studio One. Born Donat Roy Mittoo in Browns Town, Jamaica on March 3, 1948, he began playing keyboards at the age of four, and was rarely far from a piano through his teen years, performing professionally in groups including the Vagabonds and the Vikings. He frequently skipped school to play with the house band at nearby Federal Studios, and it was there that he met producer Coxsone Dodd, who recruited Mittoo for recording sessions when the scheduled pianist failed to appear on time. While attending Kingston College, he began jamming with fellow studentAugustus Pablo, and they eventually formed a trio -- the Jackie Mitree -- which performed his original compositions.

By 1962, Mittoo was earning attention across the island for his work in the band the Sheiks, one of Jamaica's most sought-after club attractions. Despite rechristening themselves the Cavaliers Orchestra, their popularity continued to soar without missing a beat. When Dodd opened Studio One in Kingston in 1963, he tapped Mittoo to serve as musical director; in the years to follow he played on virtually every disc the studio produced, arranging much of the material and helping develop new songs until they were sufficiently polished to meet standards. By the early months of 1964, he set about forming a new band with Studio One session regulars Tommy McCookLloyd Brevette and Lester Sterling, as well as the Cavaliers'Lloyd Knibb and Johnny Moore. Dubbing themselves the Skatalites, they were to become the quintessential ska band of the period; also featuring the legendary trombonist Don Drummond, the group lasted just 14 months -- from June 1964 to August 1965 -- but their influence on music worldwide remains incalculable.

After the Skatalites split, Mittoo began a solo career, scoring a major hit with his rendition of the Heptones "Fatty Fatty." The instrumental smash "Ram Jam" followed in 1967, and resulted in a series of instrumental LPs, among them In LondonEvening TimeKeep On DancingNow and Macka Fat. At the same time, Mittoo continued his relentless pace at Studio One -- according to the terms of his basic arrangment with Dodd, he received payment upon delivering five new rhythms a week, which over the years resulted in literally thousands of compositions which he both produced and arranged. Among Mittoo's greatest contributions of the mid-to-late 1960s were "Darker Shade of Black" (the basis for Frankie Paul's "Pass the Tu Sheng Peng"), Freddie McGregor's "Bobby Babylon," Alton Ellis' "I'm Still in Love with You," the Cables' rock steady anthem "Baby Why" and "Feel Like Jumping," Marcia Griffiths' first hit. In 1970, his "Peanie Wallie" was also versioned by the Wailers, becoming the hit "Duppy Conqueror."

Mittoo relocated from Jamaica to Toronto, Ontario in 1968, one of many reggae performers who found a home among the clubs lining the city's Yonge Street area. He returned to Kingston regularly, however, and was closely aligned with Dodd and Studio One throughout the decades to follow. In Toronto, Mittoo also accepted a day job working for the Canadian Talent Library, an organization which worked to ensure that a sufficient amount of Canadian music was broadcast over national radio airwaves. By 1972, he had lived there for four years, and as such his work now qualified as "Canadian content," so for the CTL he recorded the album Reggae Magic, which launched the hit 'Wish Bone." During the mid-1970s, Mittoo also traveled to England to record a series of LPs with Bunny Lee; during the next decade, he worked regularly with Sugar Minott as well. In 1989, Mittoo joined the reunited Skatalites, but health problems soon forced him to bow out; he died of cancer on December 16, 1990.                

Billy Preston -- The Same Thing Again

Billy Preston, to me, was an artist on an eternal mission to find his artistic home. R'nB, rock, funk, gospel, soul blues ... He never settled for one genre. But -- without a doubt, he was a genius on the keyboard.
Today's pick is Billy Preston as I love him: bluesy-soulish, so to speak. Organ fans and those of us who love a good horn section will enjoy this track.

The song is from his 1979 album "Encouraging Words" which was released on the Beatles' owned label, Apple.

From the same album, "All Things Must Pass," written by George Harrison

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Ken Parker -- How Could I

Tuesday is a good day for some reggae music. It's hot outside, and I had a huge portion of Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream to make this Texan summer a bit more attractive ... You know what I mean.
And, of course, the music has to be right too. I was listening to sweet rock steady tunes and thought I should share some of my favorites with you. So, here are three Ken Parker tunes I love.

I Should Have Known
Search Is Over
How Could I

Ken Parker's voice reminds me a lot of Desmond Dekker's. A native Jamaican, born around 1948, Ken Parker was exposed to gospel music from childhood since his father was a preacher. His first group, The Blues Benders, was formed in 1965. 
From 1967 on, however, he performed solo. It is said that an apparent misunderstanding was the reason for his being the only one of the group to show up at an audition for Coxsone Dodd. He convinced the producer to sign him up as a solo act for Studio One. Throughout the late 60's he recorded for Duke Reid and Trojan records collaborating with  Joe Gibbs,  The Clarendonians, Tommy McCook, and others. 
 In 1972, grown unhappy with the record industry, he moved to New York and later to the UK.  Until the early 80's, he performed only sporadically but did not produce any records again until he founded his own record label in the early 80's 


Get his music here

Monday, July 8, 2013

Lea Roberts -- Lost In Your Love (Repost)

Sometimes I think the best voices are hidden from a wide audience on purpose. Otherwise an expressive, warm voice as Lea Roberts' would have been as well known as Pattie Labelle's, for example. (Although I consider Patti Labelle the most obnoxious screamer far and wide, and I cannot see what made her such a success.)
I've never heard of Lea Roberts up to now, and it was impossible to find any information on this gifted artist. I really wish I could find at least one shred or another about her life. I think she definitely belongs in a league with the true divas in Soul music.
The album these songs are from, Lady Lea, is a gem, showcasing Lea's versatility of which I try to to give you an idea via the posted tracks.
She is one of the few female vocalists I actually enjoy listening to. Her voice is reminiscent of Aretha Franklin's and Gloria Gaynor's, in my opinion.
She had two major albums released between 1975 and 1976, Lady Lea and Excuse Me, I Wanna Talk To You.

Her third album, My Silent Place, was released in 1982 and shows yet another capability of this incredibly versatile singer. On My Silent Place Lea's mellowed voice blends harmoniously with beautiful jazz arrangements.

It's been pretty difficult to decide on only a handful tracks to post while the rest of her album was playing in the background.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Escorts -- Let Love Walk Into Your Heart (repost)

The Escorts started their singing career in the early 70's on a somewhat different note, so to speak, than other groups: They began recording from prison. It all started when a group of prisoners at Rahway Prison in New Jersey "used to get together and sing all the time" as stated by original member Reggie Haynes. According to Haynes, the group didn't care much for basketball -- the other prisoners' main passtime activity.  During a prison inmates variety show, which was organized by singer Linda Jones  whose brother was incarcerated at Rahway Prison, producer George Kerr discovered the group. Kerr began working with the group, ignoring all the "can't do it" comments his idea had sparked.
' "Kerr persisted in his mission and five hundred letters and two years later, a mobile recording truck pulled up outside Rahway Prison.  "I did some research and found out that it cost about $964 to house an inmate and that if the authorities let me record them, they could pay for themselves," says Kerr. "I went before the Superintendent of Prisons in Washington DC and explained that to them.  It took a lot of work but they eventually gave me permission to record The Escorts."' (
The group recorded two albums. The song I'm posting today is taken from Soulful Thangs Vol. 7

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Houston Outlaws -- What Am I Gonna Do

This title is from Soulful Thangs Vol. 6. Unfortunately, I have no info about the song or group.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Sir John "Rootman" Henry vs Kim Tolliver -- Let Them Talk

Happy Monday everyone!

Here's one of my all-time favorite songs. Although I still love Kim Tolliver's version best, today's pick is a stunning rendition by an artist who does not deserve to be as obscure as he is.
It's one of those voices that command attention. Listen for yourself. Sir John Henry (John McArthur) was a very fine singer with the right mix of grit and cream in his voice -- and he moved with ease within the higher ranges. Simply perfect.