Monday, July 28, 2014

Calvin Leavy -- "Nine Pound Steel"

"Calvin Leavy (April 20, 1940 – June 6, 2010) was an African American soul blues and electric blues singer and guitarist. He had a hit single in 1970, when 'Cummins Prison Farm' peaked at number 40 on the US Billboard R&B chart, and stayed in the chart for five weeks. More locally, it was number one on the chart of the Memphis, Tennessee based radio station, WDIA."

"Later in his life, Leavy became the first person indicted under the 1988 Drug Kingpin Law, and he subsequently died in prison." (


Two other versions of the song I like very much are those of Joe Simon and Snooks Eaglin.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Don Covay Special -- "It's In The Wind" Now That I Need You" and "There's Nothing A Young Girl Can Do"

I was visiting Feel It, one of my favorite blogs, yesterday which had a post about Don Covay up. All I can say is that I sure do love Don Covay's music.  And Don Covay's work has been hopelessly neglected .
For the longest time, the only song by him I knew was I Was checking Out ... Admittedly, that song deserved its fame; but after I got acquainted with more of his material, I realized how versatile this artist  actually was.
His real name is Donald Randolf. He was born  March 24, 1938 in Orangeburg, South Carolina. His father died when Don was only 8 years old. He began singing in his family's gospel group The Cherry Keys. He later joined The Rainbows, a secular group wich, it is said, included Marvin Gaye and Billy Stewart. 
Don began his solo career in 1957 as a member of the Little Richard Revue. As a singer, he had no success worth mentioning until 1964 although he was writing successful songs for Solomon Burke and Gladys Knight and The Pips, for example. 
Covay's singing career continued to falter until 1964, when he signed to the Rosemart label. His debut single there with the Goodtimers, "Mercy Mercy" (accompanied by a young Jimi Hendrix on guitar), established his earthy bluesy style. Atlantic bought his contract, but, while several R&B hits followed, it was a year before Covay returned to the pop chart. "See Saw", co-written with Steve Cropper and recorded at Stax, paved the way for more hits. Don Covay's songs still remain successful: Aretha Franklin won a Grammy for her performance of his composition "Chain of Fools". He is a legendary composer and singer, best known for his R&B classic compositions "Mercy Mercy", "Chain of Fools", "See Saw" and "Sookie Sookie". Covay had success as a singer as Don Covay and The Goodtimers, and his compositions have been recorded by such varied artists as SteppenwolfBobby WomackThe Rolling StonesWilson PickettThe Small FacesGrant GreenPeter Wolf and many more.  (Wiki)

In 1994, he received a well-deserved Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation.
So here are three  titles by Don  to give you a taste of this artist's talent. 
"It's In The Wind" 
"Now That I Need You" by Don Covay and The Goodtimers. This will be a joy for everyone who appreciates some fine harmonizing.

"Ain't Nothing A Young Girl Can Do" (I just love this song for the message ...  lol) 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Tymes -- "Sha la Bandit"

The only attribute befitting this song would be "flawlessly beautiful" singing.

The Tymes started out in 1956 in Philadelphia. Back then, they called themselves the Latineers. The Latineers , as so many gifted teenage vocalists, began singing at street corners before spending several years on the Philadelphia club circuit.

When, in 1960, Donald Banks, Albert Berry, Norman Burnett, and George Hilliard added their new lead vocalist, George Williams, they changed their name to The Tymes.
They also performed under the name Billy Abbott and The Jewels.

"The Tymes had hits in the UK in the 1960s and 1970s with songs such as "So Much in Love", a US chart topper and million-seller in 1963,[3] "Wonderful Wonderful", a remake of the Johnny Mathis classic hit from 1957, "Somewhere", "You Little Trustmaker" and "Ms Grace". The last of these became the group's biggest UK hit, reaching Number One in the UK Singles Chart in 1975,[3] but barely dented the Billboard Hot 100 after the success of "So Much in Love". "Ms Grace", while only charting modestly in the US, was and remains a regional hit with the Carolina Beach Music scene."       (Wiki)

Aretha Franklin, DeloresHall, and Sandra Wright released some great versions of the song.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Wilson Pickett/The Isley Brothers/Lloyd Price -- "Stagger Lee"

You all know about my undying love for Wilson Pickett and his gritty, raspy, powerful, soulful, riveting, marvelous etc. voice. His voice alone sufficed to turn any old song into a thunderstorm. (Just my clearly objective opinion.) So it's not a big surprise that I thought his rendition of the age old "Stagger Lee" could not be surpassed.

Wilson Pickett's 1967 45-version "Stag-O-Lee" 

However, I was quite surprised when I heard the Isley Brothers' version of "Stagger Lee" and felt like they turned that song into a severe thunderstorm even. I couldn't say I like it better than Wilson's version, but Ron Isley def. made it his own.

Here's Lloyd Price's "Stagger Lee" which, to me, is the smoothest one of the three.  I love this one too.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Continental Four -- "The Way I Love You Baby"

Just got off the phone with hubby who asked me if I knew a group named Continental something.  He heard them on Sirius Heart and Soul he said and liked their sound. I told him for the umpteenth time to forget about Sirius Radio and listen to my music because I have more and better music than they do ... But husbands never follow their wives' advice.

Well, at least I know what to post today.  I know I have posted the Continental Four before on one of the now retired blogs. It was one of their better known songs" "How Can I Pretend."
Okay, so here we go with true gem. Everything is right in this recording: the vocals, the music, the background ... Just a fine piece of music.

The Continental Four was a quartet that put out some excellent early 70′s music for Jay Walking Records, a subsidiary of the Soulville label. Their trademark was the mellifluous falsetto lead — so characteristic of the era — of Freddy Kelly. Their material represents the Sound of Philadelphia at it’s finest with fine background harmonies and elaborate musical arrangements.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Soultaker’s Treasure Chest: A Woman’s Soul Part 2

Posted by Soultaker

Back on the previous version of the Sounds Of The Soul site, I made a set dedicated to the Ladies Of Soul. I figured it was time to do a follow up and that is what we have for today.

As I said in the original post, I love the sound of woman's singing voice. Brenda Holloway is a perfect example of a voice that if I am having a stressful day, I can put on something by her and I quickly forget the negative energy I had. Sade has that effect on me as well. It's something about a woman hitting all the right notes that gets to me.

Today's set has a little bit of everything. Some soul, some funk and a dash of disco. Hope you enjoy.

1. Intro

2.  I've Fallen In Love With You - Carla Thomas - Stax

3.  Two Lovely Pillows - Laura Lee - Hot Wax

4.  Light My Fire - Erma Franklin - Brunswick

5.  Wanted Dead Or Alive - The Voices Of East Harlem - Just Sunshine Records

6.  Get Aboard The Soul Train - Dorothy Norwood - GRC

7.  Fight Fire, With Fire - Delia Gartrell - Right On Records

8.  Your Mama Wants Ya Back - Betty Davis - Just Sunshine Records

9. Care Free - Baby Washington - Master Five

10.  Boy I Gotta Have You - Ann Peebles - Hi

11.  Show Your Girl - Betty Wright - Alston

12.  High Society - Norma Jean - Bearsville

Clay Hammond Special -- "No One Else Would Do" (Repost from 10/28/09) "I'll Make It Up To You" and "The Good Side Of My Girl"

Are you ready for a deepie or two? Here comes Clay Hammond. ?

"No One Else Will Do"

Okay, the next song I've filed under "big goose bumps inducing." Clay Hammond has as clean and clear a tenor as it can get. And when he hits the high notes, I feel like thanking God for making (some) humans capable of singing like this man does.
Along with Johnny Adams and David Ruffin, Clay Hammond is one of the rare vocalists who master the high notes with perfection.

"I'll Make It Up To You"

If you are in the mood for a voice resembling Sam Cooke's set against a backdrop of a soft guitar, a moaning harp, interspersed with the sound of a Hammond organ -- then listen to the next track. Top the whole thing with perfect female background vocals and a driving drum beat showing the song its direction. I could have said I am in the mood for some Southern Soul -- but that just won't do it.

"The Good Side Of My Girl"

For a comprehensive discography please go here.

"Clay Hammond may be best remembered as the author of Little Johnny Taylor's huge soul hit, "Part Time Love." He was also a decent Sam Cooke-style soul singer in his own right, however, who recorded for various labels in the 1960s. His most well-known efforts from that time are the four singles he did for Kent between 1966-69. These mixed Southern soul, gospel, and blues styles, yet also had a somewhat lighter and poppier production aura than much Southern soul, perhaps because they were recorded in Los Angeles. All eight songs from these 45s, as well as eight others that were recorded but not released in the 1960s, appear on the Ace CD Southern Soul Brothers, which also includes ten tracks recorded for Kent around the same time by fellow soul vocalist Z.Z. Hill. Hammond recorded sporadic singles and albums for various labels after the 1960s, in addition to singing in the lineups of groups such as the Drifters and the Rivingtons on the oldies circuit."
(Biography by Richard Underberger)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Laurel Aitken -- "Let's Be Lovers (I Can't Stand It)"

I am in the mood for some Ska. Today seems to be the perfect day for a Laurel Aitken song ...

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Temptations -- "It's Summer" and "The Exception To The Rule"

Summer is here with all the brutal heat and depressing mugginess characteristic for the season in Texas. I can't find the "magic in the air" the Tempts are singing about, can't feel "that soft summer breeze" ... But I do love the song.

So here we go with the memorable bass voice of Melvin Franklin on "It's Summer." The track is from their 1970 album Psychedelic Shack.

There's no other reason for posting "The Exception To The Rule" than my loving it.  Enjoy! (From Sky Is The Limit,  Gordy, 1971)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Enchantment -- "Sunshine" and "Silly Love Song"

Enchantment: Sunshine erreichte 1977 den 3. Platz in den amerikanischen Charts. Bei diesem Song war es  Liebe auf den ersten Blick! Ausgezeicneter Gesang und Backgroundharmonien. Und der Bass -- einfach goettlich!

"Silly Love Song" is from their 1977 studio album Once Upon A Dream released on Roadshow Records.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Masqueraders -- "It's You Baby" and "Traveling Man"

The Masqueraders formed in 1958 in Dallas, Texas. They are, like the Futures, for instance, a group that deserves so much more credit than they've got. That they were accomplished vocalists was apparently known to some of the most famous singers back in the day. The Masqueraders made a living by singing background vocals for such greats as Wilson Pickett ("I'm In Love") or Arthur Conley ("Sweet Soul Music.") 
Here's a beautiful love ballad by the group that definitely is up there with the finest love songs ever sung.

It's You Baby (Everybody Wanna Live On, 1976, ABC)

(Call Me) A Traveling Man

Monday, July 14, 2014

Fuzzy Kane Trio -- "Monday Monday"

I always hated "Monday Monday" by the Mamas and Papas. It was one of those songs that made me want to run ... As if Mondays weren't bad enough, the "white bread" kind of delivery, in my opinion, was as uninspired and dull as it could get. On the other hand, one cannot blame  a song for the negative feeling its delivery generates. sometimes you get lucky and find a version that reverses the damage done by other interpretations. So, here is the version that actually made me love the song.

It is an instrumental by the Fuzzy Kane Trio. Louis "Fuzzy" Kane, the founder of the Trio, teamed up with Monty Poulson and Warren Gantt in the 60's. Their easy listening Ramsey Lewis inspired jazz made them popular during the 70's.

The Trio hailed from Baltimore and Fuzzy Kane himself described their style as "... hard to describe — it's more of a feeling, like blues, than a musical style. … I hate to categorize music. It's just funkier, that's all," he said.

Fuzzy Kane died in 2011, and the obituary in the Baltimore Sun depicts quite an interesting life.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Jerry Townes -- "Just Say The Word"

All I found out about Jerry Townes is basically nothing. Today's track can be found on a Numero Group compilation: Ecentric Soul: The Nickel and Penny Labels (2011).

Listen to Jerry Townes's  velvety voice.
"Just Say The Word" (Penny Records)

Here's Renaldo Domino's version of the song. 


Friday, July 11, 2014

Alice Thomas -- "I'm Coming Home"

Beautiful and talented Greenville MS singer Alice Thomas  recorded this outstanding song in 1967.
There's not very much info available on this artist. The only article I could find was on Sir Shambling's website. 


Wilson Pickett -- "Come Home Baby"

Just for the fun of it ... I thought this is a gorgeous clip of the great Wilson Pickett.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Back Home ...

Hubby and I just returned from a 10 day trip to the old homeland. We spent a wonderful time with friends and family, and I got to meet my sweet great niece, Anna, for the first time since she was born.
We enjoyed so many warm and heartfelt welcome hugs I felt a bit overwhelmed at times ... And it certainly made me feel very special to be recognized by people I had met over 30 years ago.
But -- "coming home" now means returning to Texas. There's nothing like the friendly smiles and "howdies" that await one here.