Monday, September 30, 2013

Chuck Jackson -- Human, I Can't Break Away, Slowly But Surely (Repost from 12/18/09)

Dammit! That's what I said about 10 seconds into this song. I've always loved Chuck Jackson's voice. But when I heard this track, my heart was beating a little faster than it normally does: Chuck really puts quite some emotions into his delivery of Human. 
Like so many artists, Chuck Jackson is associated with a couple of well-known (and well worn) songs, such as Any Day Now and Tell Her I'm Not Home while he had much more excellent material beside these popular titles.
I particularly like his 1974 album Through All Times from which both tracks are taken. His voice seems to have mellowed when he recorded the album, but he still sounds -- and sings -- better than many a top-selling artist of this era.

Human (Any Day Now, 1962)

Slowly But Surely


Here's the artist live in 2009! Almost unbelievable! And yes, I'll use one more exclamation point: a voice to die for even 50 years after his first hits!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

8th Day -- "You've Got To Crawl (Before You Walk)"

Happy Sunday to all of you!
When I first heard today's tune on the radio, the sound instantly reminded me of some other group. It turned out I was right. 8th Day was actually nobody else than 100 Percent Proof (Aged in Soul.) The little story behind this masquerade is that Holland-Dozier-Holland did not want to jeopardize the sales of 100 Percent Proof's promising release of "She's Not Just Another Woman." The song would have rivaled their "Somebody's Been Sleeping In My Bed" which was on its way up in the charts. So, "She's Not Just Another Woman" was released under the pseudonym 8th Day. It turned out to have been a great idea. In 1971, the song was awarded a gold disc. 
Today's pick was the second and last successful release by 8th Day. "You've Got To Crawl" also made it into the charts, but the group was not able to reproduce its previous success and soon disappeared into oblivion. 

'You've Got To Crawl" also appeared on The Lost Generation's 1972 album Young, Tough And Terrible (Brunswick). But their cover did not come close to the original, in my opinion. 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Two Versions of a Great Song ...

I just found this video on ALL SOUL AND FUNK. Definitely a great cover of the immortal Bill Withers tune -- but somewhat dull, in my opinion. If you close your eyes and just listen, this rendition definitely lacks in emotional depth. The visual effects fill in the needed intensity.

My favorite version: this guy credibly conveys what is going on inside him when he notices the little signs betraying infidelity ... Psychedelic music required a special kind of artist to accompany the already intense sound.
The group consisted of two male singers and three females. Unfortunately, I don't know who the lead singer was on this song.

The original by Bill Withers from his 1972 album Still Bill (Sussex Records)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

24 Carat Black -- Poverty's Paradise (Repost from 1/11/2011)

Today I'm going to post a true masterpiece of music. It's the type of song that keeps you listening from the beginning to the end despite it's extreme length. I definitely like every minute of it. Not only is the musical arrangement exquisite, but also the lyrics are effective.
Poverty's Paradise is from Ghetto: Misfortunes Wealth, an album by a little known group called 24 Carat Gold. It was first released in 1973 on the Stax label. The classical training of Dale Warren, who composed the string scores for this superb album, shows throughout the entire recording.
He discovered the group when they still called themselves the Ditalians and convinced them to change their name to The 24-Carat Black. The album, despite its high quality, was not successful. Later, however, it was highly valued by Hip-Hop artists for sampling purposes. In 1995, Ghetto: Misfortunes Wealth was released in CD format.

Raggedy's recommendation: Get It.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Luther Ingram -- Run For Your Life (Repost from Nov. 5, 2010)

At the end of this month, Luther Ingram would have turned 73. Of course, there probably doesn't exist one single Soul music lover who does not know his signature song If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don't Want To Be Right). That song is as deep and southern as a song can get which isn't surprising at all since Luther was from Tennessee. That he could easily switch to the opposite pole of Soul, namely the Northern style, he shows in today's pick, Run For Your Life. You'll find the title on one of the many Northern Soul compilations; the album is called Totally Northern Soul - 25 Classic Forgotten Northern Oldies.

Get the compilation here

Three Men Of Soul: No, No, No! (Howard Hewett, Peabo Bryson, Jeffrey Osborne at the Convention Center in San Antonio, TX)

Howard Hewett, Peabo Bryson, and Jeffrey Osborne -- three of the most refined voices in soul -- all of them in one concert. What more could a soul lover's heart desire? All I have to say about their performance last night at the Convention Center in San Antonio is that the show left more to be desired than I had ever imagined.

If you value both good music and good singing -- don't go to see the show. If you volunteer to pay for a  sub standard sound system that transmits the low ranges only and a band that drowns out the voices of the singers -- feel free to waste your money on a ticket.

From the first moment I heard the drummer I knew the show would probably be a disaster. And it was!

At one point of the concert, the drums got so annoying I was calling for the drummer to be shot. Honestly, that drummer had no clue about how to apply an appropriate amount of force. He worked the drums like a wood chopper hacking away on a stubborn tree trunk. Sorry, I usually don't write negative reviews -- but what I've witnessed last night was an insult to my ears. And not only to my ears. Some people left the show very early, which I should have done too. I decided, however, to stay to the (bitter) end. Almost. When Jeffrey Osbourne, who closed the concert,  began to run across the stage, behaving like a hyper active (and doped-up) Bobby Brown clone, hubby, who had suffered silently through the show, suggested we could leave if I were ready. Sorry I have to say it, but it was a relief to go.

I must emphasize, however, that the singers were absolutely great whenever they managed to triumph over the thumping base and the sledgehammering drums. The worst part of the concert was when the singers -- especially Howard Hewett, and to a somewhat lesser degree Peabo Bryson, vanished for long stretches of time into the audience. The "poor folks" on the balconies were left to look at an empty stage with a mediocre band trying their best to kill the stars' performance -- and the sound of hysterically screaming women amidst a bawling audience. I don't know what was worse. As an alternative, those with the cheap seats could lean over the railings to get a glimpse of Mr. Hewett getting cozy with some "ladies" from the audience.  Those who felt not compelled to crane their necks for the duration of those side shows would have fared better sipping on a margarita or two or three at a noisy pub on the Riverwalk.

Well, I consoled myself over feeling left out by telling myself that all I saw before the empty stage were three well-dressed performers in top physical shape (considering their age) who fell to their knees ever so often or strutted across the stage with a microphone in hand. Thank god, I remembered their voices from the Cd's at home ... I kept wondering if there was a sound engineer anywhere around. Only a few weeks ago we went to see the Patterson Brothers in Austin. Even at the tiny club they performed the acoustic was  excellent thanks to a sound engineer. Maybe the three big guys could hire a professional to ensure a perfect sound.

In regard to the empty stage, I have to say that I understand when performers try to engage their audiences. But it is simply wrong to disregard the rest of the concert goers who happen not to have bought an orchestra floor seat ... The only one who waved (once) to the folks a little further than right in front of them was Peabo. Thanks Peabo! Howard and Jeffrey were not even polite enough to look our way. I must say, I have never seen more rude performers before.

The star of the evening was Peabo Bryson. No doubt about it. He somehow managed to raise his beautiful voice over the background noise. He was simply amazing, and I would risk going to a concert by him alone. His duets with one of the background singers were awesome. He deserves all the credit for his performance.  He did way too much talking, however, between the songs. Most people attend concerts to hear songs not speeches! I had to give the lady next to us a loud "Amen" when she got impatient and hollered "Sing!" during one of Peabo's speeches.

Despite an absolutely amazing performance considering his singing, I had to boo Peabo for leaving the stage way too long. I guess by the time Peabo appeared, I was already angry because of Howard Hewett's excessive absence from the stage. Somehow I felt I was waiting at a traffic light, standing next to one of those obnoxious trucks with their windows down so that everyone should be able to appreciate the boom-boom emitted from the inside. Howard Hewett perhaps spoke longer than he sang, by the way.

My last complaint is about how lousy the transitions between the individual singers were handled. Ridiculous! One singer stopped. The Roadies appeared. Next singer appeared. No introduction of the successors by their co-performers -- just lights on, lights off, here we go.

All in all, a very disappointing experience. Sorry, I love all three of them, but they let me down real bad. Hubby and I consider the money we paid for the tickets a donation to the three of them. We definitely did not get what we had payed for ... Very sad.

(Sorry, for the skimpy editing. We have house guests, and I have only limited time to post.)

Talk to you all later!