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Vicki Anderson - I'll work it out (King)
James Crawford - I'll work it out (King)
Vicki Anderson is my favorite female James Brown prot?g?s, so I was delighted to find her version of this ballad, which I had featured a version of by James Crawford on this site before. The Vicki Anderson version is the latter one (King 6251 vs. King 6130 for the James Crawford version), and features overdubbed background vocals, adding some softness in contrast to Vicki's soaring voice (I could do without the "shoo be do be doos" in the background though). I still prefer James Crawford's version, which is to me the ultimate James Brown produced deep soul record, but I have a thing for comparing vocal versions on the same song, so here are both versions, see what you think.
The Hour Glass - Power of love (Liberty)
Don Varner - Power of love (Quinvy unreleased)
Staying with version pairs, here is a Penn-Oldham composition, first given a nice blue eyed soul treatment (albeit going a bit too heavy-rock at the end) by an early lineup of the Allman Brothers, and then by Mr. Tear Stained Face, southern soul man Don Varner, a previously unreleased track that appears on his CD compilation, Finally Got Over (RPM UK). And you know what, since I mentioned that southern-northern soul classic, which has not yet been featured on my site, why don't I paste it right here…
Don Varner - Tear stained face (Quinvy)
Emanuel Laskey - Our world (Wild Deuce)
Sadly, Emanuel Laskey has passed away in June 2006. Many of his records have appeared on the Soul of the Net, but this one was missing until now. The other side of Lucky to be loved (by you), I wonder why this side was not played a lot more on the Northern Soul scene, since it does feature sthe Northern beat - as well as Emanuel's distinctive soulful singing.
Tyrone Ashley - I want my baby back (Phil-La of Soul)
In my living room I play the ballad side, "Let me be your man" more often, but while looking for records for the next TASC (Tel Aviv Soul Club) event, I rediscovered this gem, which, if you manage to keep your mind off the wah wah guitar, is a very soulful Northern Soul record. This is actually Sam Campbell, who sang lead for the Del Larks, of Job Opening fame, and the record was actually a minor national R&B hit in late 1970 / early 1971. Oh, and since I note I never featured "Let me be your man" (which was the A side), here it is.
Tyrone Ashley - Let me be your man (Phil-La of Soul)
The Performers - The day when she needed me (Mirwood)
The Contours - That day when she needed me (Gordy)
Once more, a double entry. The Performers' track appears on The Mirwood Soul Story vol. 2 by Kent. The Contours original version was the B side of "Can you Jerk like me". Smokey Robinson wrote it and obviously the demo he must have done or a least sang live to the Contours at the Motown studio clearly influenced the Contours version, which sounds nothing like the rougher records the group usually made, and very much like earlier Miracles records. Although The Performers' take on the track, recorded a few years later (1968) has a faster pace, I was quite surprised by its description in Ady Craosdell liner notes as "a great dance number" - I guess the threshold for danceability is getting slower and slower these days. As for the title discrepancy, well, I have the Contours' 45 and it is definitely That day, not The day as the Performers track is titled on the Kent CD.
Do I stand a chance with you - Priscilla Price (G.M.C.)
Priscilla's first 45, coupling this track with the danceable Rockefeller Jones, is quite a rarity. The song, chord progression, arrangement, and vocals are all in full southern soul style, so much so that's it was quite surprising for me to found out that this was a New York recording, written and produced by Leo Price, Lloyd's brother; Pricilla was a prot?g? of his, and apparently was adopted sby the Price family, hence her surname. Thanks to Barry Fowden for letting me onto this one.
Sometime it makes me wanna cry - Homer Banks (Minit, unreleased)
Homer Banks 's 45's for Minit (see Homer Banks page) contained some of soul music's finest gems, alas, there were only five of them. Now that, at long last, a compilation of Homer's sixties recordings as an artist has been released, not only are all of the released sides available again on excellent audio quality, but we get a chance to listen to what could have been Homer's sixth, seventh and eighth Minit 45's, by way of tracks not released at the time. Of these, my favorite is this one, a perfect blend of uptown soul and southern soul.
I wanna be free - Joe Tex (Dial)
I wanna be free - The V.I Ps (Island LP)
Although I am a devout Joe Tex fan, and own all of his Atlantic LPs, this non-LP 45 on Dial dating from 1963 has somehow escaped me. It has now been included in Kent's second volume of "Northern Soul's Classiest Rarities". When I listened to this track, it suddenly rang a bell; I had heard it before. I discovered that the familiarity with the track was through a cover version on one of the first vinyl LP's I ever bought: "British Blue Eyed Soul", on the Island label, containing tracks by people like Chris Farlowe, Stevie Winwood, Elkie Brooks. I never realized that the track featured here, one of two on the album by the V.I.Ps, was a Joe Tex track.; probably, then, this track was some sort of underground mod hit; almost four decades later, it is featured on a CD compiling the hottest northern soul hits of 2005. A circle closed?
I'm waiting - Bill Bush (Ronn)
Another track taken from "Northern Soul's Classiest Rarities" vol. 2. Apparently, the world seems to be divided between those who love it and those who hate it. That is, if you don't count the substantial portion of humanity that has never heard it. Personally, I am not sure what's there to hate about this record, and I can surely see what's there to love about it. Bill is white, but this is definitely a soul record, and quite an interesting one, not to mention atmospheric.
Just a little faith and understanding - The Magicians (Villa, unreleased)
It's 2005… and there are still new Northern Soul records found! If the intro sounds familiar to you bur the rest of the song doesn't, that's because it is a vocal version of the Checkerboard Squares' Villa single Double Cookin'. The fact that this little treasure is bringing so much joy to Northern Soul punters in 2005, kind of makes you think: there were a lot of attempts to create pseudo Northern Soul records, sometimes by adding vocals to instrumentals, from the 70's onwards. But it just could not be done. The authenticity seal was just not there, while it is clearly is there in this case. This is the real stuff, with the singer sounding a bit like Jackie Wilson in his prime, and the vocal backing as classic as can be. Not to mention the word "faith" in the title…. We'll keep it!
A Soldier's Prayer 1967 - Archie Bell & the Drells (Ovide, Atlantic LP)
Archie Bell was drafted to the US army just as his great hit "Tighten Up" was smashing. As far as I know, he was not sent to Vietnam, but the draft did hurt his career and probably caused considerable financial damage, so it is no surprise that this is one of the first Vietnam soul songs that does not accept the army service as an act of patriotism: "Uncle Sam I don't wanna go!". In addition to the dangers of war, Archie seemed to be also quite bothered with the daily routines of non-war army service… note on the ad-lib Archie's protest against waking up at 4 AM, and peeling potatoes. This track appears on the second volume of Kent's Vietnam soul song compilation, "Does Anybody Know I'm Here".
Would you believe - The Tempests (Smash) Wouldyou already there
Someday (already featured on this page) seems to be the Tempest's most popular Northern Soul record, but this is also excellent. The Tempests were not a harmony group, but rather, a bsand, whose members were white, except for the lead singer; his voice reminds me of Rocky Roberts (who I featured on several entries on the Living Room Top 40).
It's So Hard To Break A Habit - The Webs (Popside)
You Don't Love Nobody - Willie Cooper & the Webs (Dynamic)
Somehow I had not given appropriate attention to this track, that appeared on the late great Dave Godin's Deep Soul Treasures vol. 4 - that is, until I heard it played by Mr. Yashiv Cohen, a soul DJ in a small bar in Tel Aviv, and it was then that the anguish of this record really got me. While looking for information about the Webs, I discovered that Willie Cooper was their lead singer, a fact which removed any doubt about the Dynamic record being by the same group. Listening to both records, it certainly sounds plausible that on both records the high tenor, often drifting into falsetto, belongs to the same singer. So, like in so many other cases, deep soul and northern soul prove to be one style of music for their creators, before UK soul fans coined (was it Dave Godin himself?) the two terms to differentiate soul records mainly according to their beat. In any case, the Webs are a group to reckon with, and I can't promise that these two tracks are the last you are going to hear from them on this pages.
George Perkins & the Silver Stars - Cryin' in the streets (part 1) (Silver Fox)
Included on Southern Soul Showcase, a UK Kent CD presenting deep soul released on SSS International and related labels, this is certainly not the first time this track appears on a CD; it seems to be very popular with soul compilers. On top of an unashamedly simple arrangement, using just a guitar, bass and drum set that to my ears sounds like it includes just a snare drum and a cymbal, the social/black awareness lyrics are chanted in gospel fashion by a vocal duo comprising of George Perkins and Frank Turner; this is in fact a social gospel record, much like the Staple singers' Stax recordings. Where the message was more social than religious, records were considered R&B, not gospel. Surprisingly, this record was a medium-sized hit in the spring of 1970, entering the R&B charts as well as the Pop Hot 100. At a time when soul was moving towards more lush productions, apparently its was the protest message that caught the attention of R&B record buyers, and this Baton Rouge recording, first released on Golden, was picked up by Silver Fox and successfully distributed nationally.
Where is my baby - Jimmy Lewis (Minit)
Jimmy Lewis kept going from his 60's days, when he worked with Ray Charles, almost to his last day, making wry witty southern soul records, performed by himself as well as others (most notably Peggy Scott Adams) on his Miss Butch operation. Usually somewhat of a tongue-in-chick man , he also recorded some heartfelt, earnest ballads, such as this one, from 1968.
I keep coming back - Tyrone Davis (Dakar)
Tyrone is gone too; one of soul music's most influential artists, who has kept on recording for 40 years. He was not usually thought of as a deep soul artist, but on his albums, and on flip sides of his lovely mid tempo hit 45's, hid some of the hardest hitting deep soul ballads of all, such as this one, which was released as the B side of his great hit "Turn back the hands of time" in the beginning of 1970.
The drifter - Ray Pollard (UA)
Sadly, this is the third tribute in a row, to another great soul singer who has recently passed away. My favorite tracks by him are the ones he did for Shrine, where he was at his soulfulest, but since I already featured his Shrine material in the past, this time I chose one of his UA tracks, which were more uptownish, an not as directly soulful. However this track, a well liked Northern Soul beat ballad, showcases Ray's excellent voice on a very atmospheric song. Goodbye, Ray, Tyrone and Jimmy.
Exit Loneliness, Enter Love - Melvin Boyd (Era)
Era was a successful pop label in the 50's and early 60's, and in 1966, when everyone was releasing soul music, they were no exception. Jewel Atkins took a break from his pop records to make a rather sweet English soul version of the Japanese mega-hit Sukiaki (My first lonely night), but just as Jewel was entering loneliness, Melvin Boyd's release, just two catalogue numbers later, was celebrating exiting loneliness, with this more hard hitting soul record.
Home to Stay - R. B. Greaves (Atco LP)
British Guyana born Greaves's claim to fame was "Take a letter Maria", but if there were any justice in this world, this masterpiece of soul balladry, hidden in the album that accompanied that 1969 hit, would be the one that he would be known for. Greaves pours Otis Redding influenced vocals over a thick, dramatic, classic southern soul ballad arrangement, squeezing every drop of soul out of the eerie lyrics, which start out describing a happy homecoming, but … listen and you will see where the lyrics go.
Zig zag lightning - Little Johnny Taylor (Galaxy)
The release of "In The Beginning" by Kent, a compilation dedicated to the 6T's club in London, is a good excuse to feature this powerful, bluesy uptempo 1966 hit by Little Johnny (who's not to be confused of course with Johnnie Taylor. Although their styles were somewhat similar).
Ha ha ha! - Arthur Conley (Atco LP)
Don't you just know it - Huey Piano Smith & the Clowns (Ace)
You must know by now that I rate Arthur Conley as the best soul balladeer of all. However, his commercial breakthrough came through Sweet Soul Music, which was a casual remake of an earlier Sam Cooke song; so throughout his career, which was sadly much too short, instead of focusing on his magnificent ballads, there were recurring attempts to recapture the Soul meets Rock 'n' Roll atmosphere of the aforementioned hit; this was one of the better ones: a loose interpretation of the 50's New Orleans R&B hit, which happens to be included in Kent's "In the Begnning" compilation too.
Shoes - Bobby Bland (Duke)
Shoes - Brook Benton (Cotillion)
I had featured in the past Bobby Blands's stop and start Northern Soul favourite, which is also on "In the beginning", but as an association, here is Brook Benton's track which happens to have the same title, similarly putting the blame on those old shoes.
It's private tonight - Arthur Adams (Blue Thumb)
It's private tonight - Arthur Adams (Chisa)
Arthur Adams had quite a big hit with this romantic country soul ballad in 1972; but that was not the first time he recorded this song. Three years earlier he had his first go at this song, featuring a very similar vocal track, but more classically arranged 60's soul backing.
If I told you once (I told you a million times) - Ben Aiken (Loma)
Exquisite soul singing from this blue eyed Philadelphian on this sweet soul ballad.
And now for a set of tracks featured on Barry Fowden's great fortnightly soul show on radio resuulehim. http://www.radio-r.net/ , now live on the Internet, every other Sunday (go zum stream….)
The Last One To Know - Joe Haywood (Kent unreleased)
This track appeared on UK Kent's US Kent compilation "Slow 'N' Moody Black And Bluesy". Joe Haywood released a dozen singles, all in the classic soul era, between 1965 and 1968. Out of these, one was on US Kent, in 1968, but this track was not on it, so it was left unreleased until discovered years alter by those crazy Brits. And luckily so, coz it could have been a soul classic. Listen to the horn section make its entrance 0:34 seconds into the track, and you'll know this track has got it - soul. As for the vocal, Joe sounds here at his most Sam Cookish.
Just Another Fool - Dolly & The Fashions (Ivanhoe)
Apparently another Northern Soul Wrong Side…. b/w The Right One; but this is a charming beat ballad. One of two records released by this group, the other one being "Absence made my heart grow fonder" b/w "Waiting for my man" on Tri Disc.
Lonely Girl - Celester Thornton (Follow)
Early soul/R&B ballad with repetitive, unrelenting guitar driven backing, as basic as can be, and no horn or keyboard niceties… had Mick Jagger and the Stones heard it, they could have successfully covered it.
Once A Day - Rose Hargrove (Afco)
Keep your arms around me - Otis Redding (Atco LP)
Not a typo - Rose's record is on Afco not Atco. The other side, "Why am I losing you" is a sought after dance record in the UK soul scene. This side is a nice 6/8 ballad with some rough singing from Ms. Hargrove, somewhat reminiscent of Betty Lavette. The arrangement suggests it's rather early soul, I would date it at 1964. The recurring sax line reminds me of the sax part in Otis Redding's "Keep you arms around me", so here's a good excuse to feature this relatively forgotten Otis track.
If I can - Donald Height (Jubilee)
A classic soul 45's man, with more than two dozen soul singles released between 1964 and 1974 (preceded by some doo wop recordings with the Hollywood Flames, where he replaced Earl Nelson, a.k.a. Jackie Lee), Donald Height well deserves a mention on these pages. His most successful record was "My baby's gone" on Shout in 1966. In the late 60's he switched to Jubilee, and, although the classic soul 6/8 ballads was an art form that was already losing commercial attractiveness by that time, in early 1970 he released this superb specimen of this style, that flows along seamlessly from beginning to end with all the classic ingredients in the arrangement, including beautiful sax section riffs, and a top vocal performance on the aching yet understated lyrics. Also note the vocal prompts in the background, presumably from band members or studio personnel, sharing the excitement of making another great soul record.
Oughta be a law against it - Bobby Freeman (Double Shot)
Yes, this is the "Do you wanna dance" man. His Soul era is known to Northern Soul fans mainly through his records for Autumn in the mid 60's, but by the late 60's, and although he recorded for the Los Angeles based Double Shot label, his sound was more southern/funky, in line with the soul fashion of the day. My favorite Double Shot 45 has always been the one coupling this 1969 track with "Everybody's got a hangup". Both tracks are now available on the U.K. Kent compilation "Double Shot of Soul". "It" being mini skirts, rather than being a conservative demand to ban them, this record seems to genuinely convey Bobby's appreciation.
Am I a fool in love - Ike & Tina Turner (Kent)
In case you are a bit confused - this is not Ike & Tina's well known first hit, "A fool in love', well, not exactly in any case. In 1964, four years after that smash hit for the U.S. Sue, the Turners were recording for Kent, and there they cut this record, with a slightly different title and lyrics, but with the exact same melody and groove, trying perhaps to recapture the commercial success, but to no avail. To confuse things, this version was released in the U.K. on the British Sue label. It appears on "The Soul of Sue", a compilation of tracks released in the 60's on U.K Sue, released recently on a CD on …. the U.K Kent label! And, original version or not, it is a fine version of the rousing R&B style that captured the hearts and souls of U.K. fans in the early 60's, and planted the seed for that thriving soul scene that has never stopped searching for authentic American R&B since.
This heart can't take no more - Tony Owens (Soul Sound)
After quite a long break, Kent and Dave Godin present a new volume of Deep Soul Treasures. They get my thumbs up for including some tracks that are not classic slow soul ballads; I have always claimed that a fast number can be just as deep and as soulful as any ballad. So, included in this volume among other surprising tracks is this rather fast paced gem, that would be more commonly be associated with the term Northern Soul than Deep Soul, but what the heck, it's all Soul.
Let one hurt do - L. J. Reynolds & Chocolate Syrup (Law-ton)
Beautifully crafted beat ballad with a very soulful lead vocal, from L. J., who later became the Dramatics' lead singer (post 1973). This was a 1971 R&B chart hit, I believe his first, although by that year, and although he was only 19 at the time, he had already released quite a few singles, mainly on Tri-Spin. Thanks to Barry Fowden for putting me on to this one on his great radio show, although the track Barry played was credited to "Love Foundation", on the Spot label; however the two tracks with different credits are identical.
Out in the country - David Ruffin (Motown unreleased)
After David Ruffin left the Temptations in 1968, his solo career seemed to take off in a fine manner in early 1969 with his first solo hit, My Whole World Ended; but by 1971, David Ruffin was not even getting into the R&B charts with his single releases. Apparently, that is why Motown chose to cancel the release of Motown LP 733, David's planned third solo album. The tracks planned for this album and never released, as well as single tracks from the same era, are now released for the first time on a Motown CD called "The Unreleased Album". It was not until 1975 that Motown found the commercially profitable direction for Ruffin, assigning him to Van McCoy and producing the hit single and album "Walk Away from Love", but these in-house recorded tracks show that, as usual, commercial success and artistic merit do not necessarily correlate. More to come from this CD.
Your love was so wonderful - Sonny Allen (Hit Pack)
Perfect mid tempo track - good song and beautiful arrangement (incidentally by no other than Mike Terry - apparently the famous Detorit sax player) with strings and 'tings, not too mention a full throated lead. After more than 30 years in the business, it still surprises me to find a new name which I've never heard before, on such an excellent track.
Oh my love - Winfield Parker (Ru-Jac)
Winfield Parker began his recording career in the late 60's, and was quite prolific at the time, with no less than 9 singles released on Ru-Jac in 1967-1968, preceded by one Atco single, and followed by releases on more well known soul music labels like Arctic, Wand, and Spring. Several of these records are highly thought of in Deep Soul circles (you know, those shady circles...), and this is certainly one of them. I'm dedicating this one to the Soul of the Net's friend Sue in Baltimore as well as to Mr. Parker himself, who is now lead singer of Praise, a recording gospel group.
The ghetto - Staple Singers (Stax)
The Staples singers were a sub genre of their own at Stax. Lyrics wise, they concentrated on political and social themes - not fully shifting from their root gospel roots to secular lyrics; musically, Pop's guitar was very dominant, as it was in their gospel recordings, and they tended not to use horn sections on many of their records; strings on the other hands were allowed, so many of their records contain some the most interesting and innovative string arrangements heard on Stax records. Not to mention that Mavis Staples was one of soul music's finest vocalists. This was the follow-up to their first hit for Stax, Long Walk to DC. Incidentally, this is not the same song as Donny Hathaway's later record with the same title.
It's my turn now - Gail Anderson (Early Bird)
Time for a change of pace now, and this punchy uptempo number one comes to you courtesy of a Kent CD compilation dedicated to labels associated with Galaxy. This particular track was recorded in LA, and not much is known about the singer. Her high pitched, sharp voice reminds me a bit of another Anderson, Vicki (or was that her real name?), James Brown's protege.
Someday We'll Be Together - Johnny & Jackie (Tri-Phi)
Someone asked me for this one as a request a long time ago, but only now, thanks to Soul Brother Barry Fowden, I managed to track this track down (excuse the pun). This was one of a few records released by this duo, that comprised of Johnny Bristol and Jackie Beavers, at the early 60's. The Supremes of course made it a hit several years later, in 1969, when they chose it to be their final release with Diana Ross as lead singer, somewhat ironically. Personally I prefer this 1962 version with its subtlety soulful arrangement showcasing an acoustic guitar and beautiful, restrained vocals.
Dream My Heart - Shirley Edwards (Shrine)
Talking about subtlety soulful arrangements (see above track), here's a track that shows how far Nortehrn Soul can get from the stomp stomp stereotype some people believe is typical of this scene Again there's an acoustic guitar, which lately I have been noticing more ad more on soul records from the early to mid sixties - is it a 12-string guitar? And, of course, a special treat for Northern Soul fans are the endless drum rolls; although the pace is rather slowish the drummer does not miss a chance to sneak a drum roll in; Shirley's vocal is a little on the uptown side, but yet it is just right to complete this truly atmospheric record, and yet another Northern Soul classic from that mysterious Washington DC label, Shrine.
Sadie Sadie - Ripple Blast Singers and Band (Power LP)
Well, an unlikely choice for a Northern Soul dance hit, but the Ripple Blast Singers and Band did inject some serious soulfulness to this song from the Funny Girl soundtrack. I don't know anything about this group, except for the fact that they released several LP's titled "Rhythm & Blues Hits of (year)" between 1964 and 1968, mainly containing, as the name indicates, covers of soul hits. Many thanks to Robbie for introducing me to this one a few weeks ago.
Hello walls - Esther Phillips (Atlantic)
The combination of Esther Phillips's Jazz-tinged voice with country soul ballads has produced several all time gems. My favorite by her is "I saw me", released on Atlantic in 1965. This cover of a Willy Nelson penned country hit form 1961 was cut at the same 1964 recording session as "I saw me", in New York; taken at a beat-ballad pace, the production emphasizing the interplay between Esther's lead, the backing vocals and the horns works wonderfully - no surprise as Bert Berns was in charge.
I Stand Accused - Jimmy Hughes (Fame LP)
I love soul tenor wailers like Ted Taylor, Syl Johnson, Gene Chandler - but Jimmy Hughes is probably my favorite within this particular brand of soul singing. Here Jimmy contributes his wailing voice to a rather fast version of Jerry Butler's soul standard, a version that is unique enough to make this track a soul gem on its own, rather than just a cover.
Sure as stars above - The Diplomats (3rd World)
Honest to goodness - The Diplomats (Minit)
Like the Masqueraders, the Diplomats are appreciated by Northern Soul and Deep Soul fans alike. I have featured a few of their tracks on my site before, the most notable being the rather rare 1970 release "Sure as the stars shine", which John Ridley kindly turned my attention to several years ago. Now this track sees its first CD release on the Diplomats Greatest Recordings on Kent, a CD which gives me an opportunty to demostrate their versatility by featuring yet another track from this excellent group that has not been featured on this site before - their most prototypical Northern Soul sounding record "Honest to goodness". Count the number of drum rolls on this one.
I got it - The Masqueraders (Bell)
Finally the great Masqueraders have a CD compilation of their own, titled "Unmasked" on Grapevine, UK. Several of their best tracks have been featured for many years on the Masqueraders page on this site. One that was missing was this, the flip side of their greatest hit and finest track, "I ain't got to love nobody else". As so often happens in soul records, flip sides of great hits do not disappoint, and this is no exception.
Be strong enough to hold on - Philip Mitchell
Usually I find compilations that consist solely of unreleased material somewhat disappointing. Even though the occasional gem was left in the can, usually producers and label managers, if not the general public, could identify the good tracks. This CD is certainly an exception. Twenty tracks by Philip Mitchell, all of them not released at the time of their recording (mid to late 70's), most of them of very high quality. Most are apparently demos, as no horns and/or strings appear in the arrangements, but it's amazing to see how much effort and soul was poured into these demos. Like George Jackson, Homer Banks, and Sam Dees, Philip Mitchell was more successful as a writer than as a singer, but like them, he is a wonderful singer that should have recorded more. Luckily this little treasure was found now, more than 30 years after it was recorded. This particular track was released as recorded by Z. Z. Hill, but I prefer Mitchell's own rendition.
You hurt so good - Susie Rainey (Peachtree)
I have featured two versions of this William Bell written song in the past - one by James Carr, the other by Mitty Collier. Now comes the original. Mitty Collier interpreted the song as hard blues; James Carr as a classic soul ballad; Susie's version, featured on "Atlanta Soul", a Peachtree compilation on Grapevine UK, was somewhere in between these two versions on the soul-blues continuum.
You hurt so good - Mitty Collier (Peachthree)
You hurt so good - James Carr (Goldwax unreleased, French Bell LP)
My tears - Rocky Roberts & the Airedales (Barclay LP)
I'll take care of you - Rocky Roberts & the Airedales featuring Wess (Barclay L P)
I have featured several tracks by Rocky, Wess and the Italian Soul gang before on these pages, but only now, after many years of searching, I finally found this album, which was released in France, not Italy; apparently after relocating from Florida to Italy, the Airedales made a few excursions into the French Riviera, and in this, one of their first, in 1963, recorded this live album. The Airedales began recording in 1960 (as Doug Fowlkes - their drummer - and the Airedales), but in their first couple of years they did a lot of shallow Twist stuff and Shadows-like instrumentals; the soul boom really began in 1963, and the Airedales, although located far away from US shores, were quick to adopt it in fine style - at least to my ears; Rocky Robert's voice is an acquired taste - see what you think; but for those of you who find Rocky's voice strange, I add another track off this album, a cover of Bobby Bland's "I'll take care of you", where the lead singing is by Wess Johnson, who possesses a more conventional soul voice. The backing by the Airedales is also superb. (Wess was the bass player, listen to his special brand of bass playing, I believe he uses a pick, unlike most bass players in Soul music). I love both tracks, and unless I get too many virtual rotten tomatoes thrown at me for these tracks, I'll feature more from this album in the future.
I fooled you this time - Gene Chandler - (Checker)
More from Gene Chandler's soul era (I featured "No one can love you like I do" just a short while back). In late 1966 and early 1967, Gene Chandler spent a few months recording with the Chess group, in between his lengthier stays at Constellation (1963-1966) and Brunswick (1967-1969). One of the fine tracks he cut there, released on the Checker imprint in November 1966, was this fine ballad, which actually was quite a sizeable hit for him, reaching #3 in the Billboard R&B charts.
Guess who - Ruby Winters (Diamond)
As always, the Friends of the Soul of the Net keep contributing great tracks to my living room play list. This one for example was sent to me by Sue Tapper from Baltimore. A couple of weeks later I found out that I actually had this 45, c/w Sweetheart Things, on the Diamond label. However, I often overlook some great tracks that are in my collection. Occasionally, after I add a record to my want list, I find that I already have it… am I getting old or does it happen to everyone? Anyway, this is a fine version of this classic, written and originally recorded by Jesse Belvin in 1959. Ruby's singing reminds me a bit of Linda Jones, though it's a bit less frantic.
Everybody makes a mistake - Roy Arlington (Safice)
Another track contributed by Sue. Safice was a label owned by Al Bell, who later joined Stax, and the label was distributed for a period by Stax. Safice was mainly known as Eddie Floyd's early label, where he recorded after he left the Falcons and before he began to have releases on Stax. Eddie's most notable track for Safice was "Never get enough of your love" (which is on the requests page). Another recording artist on this (not too prolific) label was Roy Arlington. Safice's links with Stax may explain the choice of an Otis Redding song; I featured the same song as recorded by Mitty Collier a while ago, while she was on William Bell's Peachtree label; so apparently the song was highly thought of in Memphian circles, and rightly so, although it never became a hit record. I find it difficult to say which of the three versions is the best - Otis's, Mitty's or Roy's - but then why should we pick one when we can listen to all of 'em?
It's you - Garnett Mimms (Arista LP)
A track sent to me by Soul Brother Barry Fowden, taken from an album I had not been aware of by Garnett Mimms, apparently his last one, "Garnet Mimms Has It All", released in 1978. Although the Arista label was rather mainstreamish and releasing disco oriented material at the time, this track oozes soul.
Another time - Arthur Conley (UK CBS)
Also contributed by the Soul Brother, this was Arthur Conley's last 45, recorded in 1976. Arthur Conley had left the United States for good by that time, and relocated to Holland. This track, a version of a Leo Sayer song, may have been recorded in the UK or in Holland - I am not sure. The backing track is a bit bland, but Arthur's vocals make this a soul recording of the deepest quality. Here is another opportunity to bid farewell to Arthur Conley, probably the greatest (yet also most underrated) deep soul singer ever, who had to live with an image of a "small voice soul shouter", as I recall once reading him described in some pop encyclopedia - but we know better, right?
Time to pay (you back) - Marcell Strong & the Triad (Emerge)
Third an last track for this time from the Soul Brother's soul cellar is this 1968 recording from Marcell String, released on a local label in his native St. Louis. It intreagues me how a record such as this, that uses every trick in the book of soul music, without, I should say, featuring any new tricks, can still be so appealing to me.
(We've Got) Honey love - Martha & the Vandellas (Gordy LP)
As I was digitizing a track from the album "Ridin' High" by Martha and the girls for the requests page, I stumbled across this little happy tune (not to be confused with Honey Chile), and thought it would be a good addition to my living room playlist, that sometimes tends to be a bit biased towards deep soul; however, as you should know, the SOTN is an any kinda soul site, as long as it's real of course, and this track certainly qualifies.
Glad to be home -Charles Smith & Jeff Cooper (Seventy Seven)
Like I wrote in the CD release note page, Kent have recently released a compilation the idea for which was on my mind for many years - soul tracks with Vietnam related lyrics (A Soldier's Sad Story). The compilation includes many fine tracks, such as Johnny and Jon's Christmas in Vietnam, and Mike Williams's Lonely soldier, which were featured on this page a while ago, and the beautiful title track by Tiny Watkins. However, a lot of tracks remain for volume two, such as the other "Christmas in Vietnam" I once featured, by Private Charles Bowens & the Gentlemen from Tigerland, and also, this track, "Glad to be home", which is my all time favourite Vietnam soul ballad - and I could do with a CD re-release, as my copy is quite worn out! Another candidate would be Archie Bell and the Drells' "A soldier's prayer" - so let's hope this volume sells well so we will be treated to the rest of those beautiful, sad Vietnam soul stories. Some people look for outright political protest in these songs, but in 60's soul, personal sadness, hardship, and missing the loved ones back home was the theme for most Vietnam songs, rather than openly raising the question of whether that war was necessary.
Here's a heart - The Diplomats (Arock)
I'm so glad I've found you - The Diplomats (Dynamo)
Court of love - The Unifics (Kapp)
I destroyed your love - Terry Huff & Special Delivery (Mainstream)
Where ever you go - Skip Mahoaney & the Casuals (Abet)
A recent visit to Washington, DC, helped me to realize how important this city was in creating the sweet harmony ballad sound, as I noted that several of my favorite soul groups recorded in, or came from DC. So I'd like to offer you this taste of DC by some of groups which I hadn't realized before all hailed from Washington. I hope you forgive me for including semi-well known hits here, whereas this page is usually dedicated to less well-known items. The Diplomats and Unifics tracks come from the 60's, while Terry Huff/Special Delivery and Skip Mahoaney/Casuals represent 70's sweet soul - but certainly not the saccharine stuff that some other soul groups were recording at the same time.
I betcha - Universal Mind (Charles)
More of the winning combination of group harmonies and soulful lead - this track was on rather interesting CD I picked up on that US trip, Soul Gems, recently released in the US by a company called Empire Music Werks. The CD contains many obscure tracks, mainly from the 60s, that have not yet been released on CD, without a clear connecting thread - some slow, some fast, some early 60's, some late 60's and some 70's. Don't know anything about this group; their singular-number name suggests that this is from the 70's, but it can't be too late in the 70's, can it, with such a raw soul performance from the lead singer. Nice lyrics too - a guy who dares his woman to leave him - he betcha she won't, and I wonder what really happened.
No one can love you like I do - Gene Chandler (Constellation)
Gene Chandler started out with the semi-novelty hit of Duke of Earl, which was not exactly a soul record, but just a few months later, beginning with the original version of "Rainbow", he became a wonderful soul singer. His sharp tenor, slightly whining voice belongs to the Syl Johnson / Jimmy Hughes / Ted Taylor family of voices (you should know by now I love categorizing soul voices). This is a Consetllation 45 from 1965, following-up "Nothing can stop me", the Northern classic, and "Rainbow 65", the "live" version that for some reason became more well known than the original 1963 version. Anyway, this one floats along beautifully, and if you're over a certain age, you can even dance to it.
What's with this loneliness - Chuck Jackson
Chuck Jackson recorded plenty of MOR, but on the occasions he did get some soulful material, he sure knew what to do. Perhaps this was considered too soulful by Chuck or whoever managed his career around 1966 when I assume this was recorded, as it was not released at the time, and only saw a formal release when UK Kent released a CD compilation of Chuck's recordings; Good Things, in1990.
Give all your lovin' right now - Wilson Pickett (Wand LP)
I have written before about Wilson Pickett's first album, so you should know that I believe this is one of earliest masterpieces of soul music. I am happy to use any occasion to add another track from this album, and the current occasion is yet another release of this album, as a CD of course this time, on the UK Acrobat label. Sadly it is a straight re-release of the album with no previously unreleased bonus tracks from the same era; I wonder if there are any. This track is rarely played or mentioned anywhere, but it shows that Pickett justified already at this early stage in his career Jerry Wexler's description of him as one of the few singers who could scream accurate musical notes.
I will never trust love anymore - Bobby Moore & the Rhythm Aces (Checker LP)
The album "Searching for my love" contained, besides the obvious (beautiful) hit title track, many fillers. But two ballads shone way above the many rather faceless instrumentals: "How can you do it baby" and this one. Since the former came out on CD (a Japanese release, if I remember correctly), I chose to include this one here: a movingly simple ballad; listen to the calm arrangement, and the quiet, yet poignant sax break, by Mr. Moore himself I believe. This was cut at Fame with Rick Hall producing, albeit played not by the regular Fame session players, but by the Rhythm Aces, who were a self contained group.
That's the way love goes - The Ethics (Vent)
Standing in the darkness (Tom Moulton Mix) - The Ethics (Vent)
Jamie/Guyden is one of those few soul labels that were active in the 60's and still exist today. From time to time they reissue good Philly Material, and now the Ethics get a CD compilation of their own for the first time. The Ethics were Ron Tyson, Joe Freeman, Andy Collins and Carl Enlow. Like the then contemporary temptations (late 60's), they had two "modes" - the sweet soul mode led by a delicate falsetto, reminiscent of Eddie Kendricks, and a rougher mode where they were led by a harder lead, more in the David Ruffin bag. I don't know enough about the Ethics to know who sang what, but here is an example of each mode - a magnificent sweet lead in "That's the way love goes", and the rougher soulful lead on "Standing in the darkness". The latter displays a very classy arrangement, very typical of late 60's Philly, showing obvious seeds of what was to become the early 70's Philly sound. Both the vocals and the backing on this, a Northern Soul classic, are so good, in fact, that I chose to include a remix, something that I don't tend to do, as I don't like modern day producers messing with the original tapes; but the idea on this mix is rather simple - a combination of the instrumental track and the vocal, which comes across rather nicely.
My Party - Mitty Collier (Chess)
I believe this is the third track by Mitty Collier on this page. Atmospheric - that adjective could have been invented for this track. I rediscovered it recently when I listened to my old copy of the Blues & Soul vinyl album that came out in the UK around 1966.
Dirty Work - Lee David (Janus)
First of two tracks suggested for my Living Room playlist by Mr. Len Romano. Len says it's a cover of a Steely Dan tune (is it? I wouldn't know…), but in Lee David's hands, it's pain-scarred deep soul heaven. When Len requested it I could not find the record in my collection, and we must thank John Ridley for coming to the rescue and providing the track.
Girl You Turned Your Back On My Love - by Lee Charles (Bamboo)
The second track suggested by Len, which I did have - it is less of a rarity but equal in deep soul strength. Len wrote about it: A beautiful and criminally overlooked slice of Chicago soul. Lee Charles (Nealy) came into soul music quite late after a career in Gospel and those church roots are more than apparent on this record. By the end of the first verse he's wailing like he's giving his all, but you'll soon find out he has lots more in reserve. This has always been one of my favourite soul records because it has everything: good melody, well written lyrics about real life, great production (courtesy of Gene Chandler) and arrangement, and most important of all... deeply soulful singing. Apparently, Lee Charles passed away in 1996 and his chance to be a major player in the music world was long gone before that, but for me, Lee Charles will forever be a giant of soul music because of this record. Close your eyes and listen to the man sing!
You'll want me back - The Impressions (ABC)
You don't care - The Techniques (Treasure Isle)
The Impressions were probably the most influential soul group of them all. They have enjoyed several compilations, and original albums reissued. Now comes UK Kent 's release of The Definitive Impressions pt. 2. While part one was a straight greatest hits package, this volume digs deeper, and so unravels some less known wonders, such as this one, that I believe has so far been available on vinyl only. The Impressions were especially popular in Jamaica, and were the model for another famous trio, the Wailers. This version though is by the Techniques, another group of wonderful Jamaican harmonizers As usually happened with Jamaican covers, they did not bother about keeping the original title, and I would doubt that Curtis Mayfield ever saw any royalties out of this reggae hit version, but it is certainly the same song, with the same soulful atmosphere, but a different beat.
Burning bridges - Norman West (Hi)
It was easy to overlook the deep soul compilation "Forgive a Foolish Man" on UK Hi, as there have been so many overlapping Hi compilation CDs in recent years. However, this one stands out in that most of the tracks have not yet been reissued on CD, and has several highlights that have made their way to my Living Room play list. Chronologically, this record comes first. Most of us often think of Hi as a 70's label, since that is when the label hit gold with Al Green, and his deeper contemporary stable mates like Ann Peebles, Otis Clay, Syl Johnson and others could enjoy a prolific recorded output. But Hi started way back in 1958, albeit its unique recognizable sound began around 1970-1971. This 1964 record still has nothing of that familiar Hi sound, and is rather country in its sound. Norman starts out much like a country singer too, but on the 40 sec mark, when he starts to wail the chorus, all doubt is removed about this being a soul record. This is the same Norman West by the way as the Soul Children member, who can even be heard plugging the Soul of the Net on one of my radio shows!
Forgive This Foolish Man - Gene Anderson & the International Hook Up (Hi)
This is already Hi in the prime of the 70's Hi sound. Although the sound involved some rather rigid arrangements at times, paradoxically it also often featured beautiful sparks of originality - just listen to the intro of this track for example. The song is an extremely pleasant piece of midtempo soul throughout, even though I am sure that not many women would buy "she gave herself willingly" as a valid excuse…
Without you - O. V. Wright (Hi)
Another track off "Forgive a Foolish Man", this one is a rather unknown track by O. V., one side of his first Hi 45 release in 1976 (albeit after already recording for Willie Mitchell for several years but releasing the records on Backbeat). Listen to the wonderful, typical Hi string arrangements on the intro and throughout. And listen to O. V.'s anguished cries: "No, no, no no, no baby" (4:07-4:15) - he really sunk his teeth on this one (I hope you don't mind me referring to the time counter - you have it on your Real Player so I thought I'd make use of it for describing soul-satisfying seconds on some of the tracks on this page…)
I am a carpet - Little Archie (Dial)
I first owned this as a track on one of the French 60's compilation albums Formidable Rhythm & Blues, but as usually happened in those compilations, the track was cut off about two thirds into its original length. Now the full length is available on Kent's double CD compilation, The Dial Story. Surely a great funk record, in the late 60's sense. Listen to those minimalistic touches by the organ (try 0:45-0:55) and lead guitar (e.g. 1:03, 1:07) - proving once again that in soul music arrangements, less is more. As for the lyrics, well, clich?d they are not. I wonder what Archie meant by the line "I'm nobody's woman, I'm nobody's man"… anyway the defiant decision to quit a rather masochistic existence comes across very well.
Crying heart - Incredibles (Audio Arts)
Audio Arts - a nice name for a label, don't you think - was an LA record company primarily identified with releases by the Incredibles, of which there were no less than eleven, during the second half of the 60's. Their first release on the label was a minor chart hit "I can't get over losing you", but this, the B side is the real gem - perfect, melodic group sound, also ideal for Northern Soul dancing.
We're gonna hate ourselves in the morning - Clifford Curry (Elf)
Some resemblance to the track above, in that this a B side of a record that was the artist's first chart entry. In this case the hit was "She shot a hole in my soul". This side is a nice mid tempo number, with Mr. Curry duetting with an unknown singer (Curry himself on a higher register, overdubbed, perhaps?). 1968 vintage, this is a rather early example of cheatin' lyrics, that became mainstream for southern soul in subsequent years.
Like my baby (instrumental) - Gino Washington (Do De Re)
Rat Race - Gino Washington (unreleased)
Well, this is one of the most famous Northern Soul intro's - that familiar base line, and then the double beat on the drum (may be accompanied by a simultaneous handclap). This backing was used for Gino's atac release, "Like my baby", but that was not the same recording, but a much faster - and by far inferior - take. So the Northern Soulies rightly preferred the instrumental track - just a basic rhythm section, but how effective it is! But to complicate things, there is an unreleased vocal take, on the exact same backing track, albeit with an additional vibraphone, which is extremely better than the released vocal, both musically and lyrics-wise; in fact, the lyrics are one of the most interesting examples of social and political protest in 60's soul music.
East of nowhere - Mickey Murray (SSS Int'l LP)
A track off his album "Shout Bamalama and Other Super Soul Songs". Perhaps too slow (and too much an album track...) to be played on the UK northern soul scene, but FYI, in my living room, it's considered a northern soul hit. I do love an atmospheric minor-key slow-tempo dance number from time to time.
You brought it all on yourself - Wess & the Airedales (Durium LP, Italy)
A good while ago I promised you more by this Italy-based group. This time it's a nice midempo swayer, on the verge of northern soul danceability. For more on Wess, Rocky Roberts & the Airdales, see below. This is another track off their album "Sound of Soul".
Tell the whole world - June Sims (King)
Obviously Kent's King Serious Soul CD compilation series is planned to continue to vol. 3 - otherwise there is no explanation as to why this deep soul gem, released on King in 1967, did not make it to either of the first two volumes. Thanks to Barry Fowden for this one.
It sure would be nice - Emory & the Dynamics (Peachtree)
I have mentioned William Bell's Peachtree label before on these pages, especially with regard to releases by Mitty Collier; but besides five releases on Mitty, there were some other fine releases on this Atlanta label, such as this one; note how the vocalist magnificently moves back and forth between tenor and soprano/falsetto registers. Thanks again to Barry Fowden for this contribution.
That's all she left me - The Crescents (Watch)
As the name of the group and the label indicate, this is a New Orleans record. Watch is most notably known as one of the many labels Johnny Adams recorded for, as did some other local New Orleans stars like Benny Spellman and Tommy Ridgley. Unlike them, the Crescents, as far as I know, recorded only one record and this is one side of it. The sound is not too typical of New Orleans, but just a nice midtempo mid-60's group sound, that I haven't seen mentioned or played anywhere - so I'm putting this right right here.
The walls that separate – Walter Jackson (U.S.A)
Wow – what a powerful, poetic soul record. My only complaint is that it seems to be over too soon (although not particularly short for a soul ballad of that era – 2:47). This 1971 record on the USA label came in between his famous Okeh hits and further chart success he had on other Chicago labels in the mid to late 70’s and early 80’s; it did not achieve chart success, maybe because there was nothing 70’s in its sound; but to me this is the best record I have heard so far from Mr. Jackson. Another version of this song appears in the Kent compilation Hotlanta Soul - Good Guys Don't Always Win, an unreleased take by John Edwards; this version is slower, more up to date (i.e. early 70's sounding) in its arrangement, but although John Edwards exhibits an outstanding vocal performance, and also better diction (so the lyrics are easier to understand), I still prefer Walter Jackson's version. A big thanks to Martin Goggin for this contribution.
Give me time - Archie Bell & the Drells (Atlantic LP)
It is well known by now that Archie Bell sang on just a handful of tracks on the group's first album "Tighten Up". The Northern Soul "hit" "A thousand wonders", for example, is sung by James (Ted) Taylor. "Don't wanna be a playboy" is sung by the Avalons group with Charles Gibbs on lead; this information was supplied to me by Cal Thomas, leader of the T.S.U Toronadoes, the instrumental group that backed the Drells and many other artists on their Ovide recordings; Cal also sang on that album, on "You're mine". However, this particular track "Give me time", IS sung by Archie. Somehow I had not noticed this track I recently listened to the album again and I discovered that not only is it a beautiful track, marvelously arranged (listen to the interplay between the strings and the horns), but it also has a nice Northern Soul type beat. I guess that it is its LP-only status that has prevented it from being better known in UK soul sircles.
This is not your world - Tears of Joy (Seventy Seven)
The Tears of Joy were a gospel group, that, much like the Staple Singers and several other gospel groups, did not make the transition all the way to secular love songs but did allow themselves to record social awareness songs such as this one. This 1974 record is loosely based on Sam & Dave’s 1968 B side of “You don’t know what you mean to me”. Thanks to Barry Soul Brother Fowden for this one.
This is your world - Sam & Dave (Atlantic)
Let me come on home - Bobby King (Sound Stage 7)
Almost a decade earlier than the above record (1965), and on the same label, albeit in its former name, this piece of emotional blues-soul was actually recorded in Memphis, at the legendary Stax studio. If you listen closely, you can hear that familiar, unique cinema theatre echo, as well the special sound of Al Jackson’s blue-Stax period drum kit – not to mention the marvelous entry of the quietly-mixed Memphis Horns around 1 minute through the track. Thanks again to Martin Goggin this track.
Security – Etta James (Cadet 45 version)
Security – Etta James (Cadet LP version)
From time to time I like to go back to the classics that got me into soul in the first place; with Etta's 2003 album on the streets now (see 21st century soul page), it's a good time to bring back one of her best tracks from the 60's. In early 1968, Etta James chose to follow up her big hit 45 “Tell Mama”, which was a version of an early Clarence Carter record, with a version of an early Otis Redding record, and she achieved almost as much commercial success with this follow-up. Both records had very strong ballads as flips – “Tell Mama” with the all time classic “I’d rather go blind”, and “Security” with “I’m gonna take what he’s got”. The version of Security that made its way to the Tell Mama album was very different from the single version, and not as good IMO; listen for yourself and see what you think.
No time for you - The Commands (Dynamic)
Brought back to my living room playlist after I heard this on the Soulcast Internet radio the other week (http://www.soulcast.co.uk/), this is a wonderful example of the melodic side of Northern Soul. Imagine the positive vibes in a venueful of punters sliding across the floor to this sweet sound. This record was released on 1964, and then re-released on Backbeat a couple of years later. I just love the part when the lead singer bursts out into a spontaneous "tra la la la la" on the ad lib. No time for the one who broke his heart? I'm not sure I buy this, if he carries on about it so much… bittersweet magic.
Come on home - The Blendtones (Success)
Kindly contributed by Leeroy Davies, this is another early group soul sound, this time from 1963. The Blendtones were a bit less prolific than the commands; while the commands recording career consisted of three 45's, the Blendtones had two. The lead singer's microphone sounds like it had the range of a telephone line, but what do we care? The soulfulness comes shining through.
Now you got the upper hand - Candi Staton (Unity)
Candi Staton is a southern soul legend, but has not contributed much to the Northern Soul scene. However this 1:48 minute track cut in 1967, before she achieved fame on Fame, could well be danced to the Northern way, except maybe for the part where the bass player breaks loose on his higher strings, which I could do without. Still this is an interesting record by Candi, that only became known to me a few weeks ago thanks to Barry "Soul Brother" Fowden.
Here come the tears - Darrell Banks (Atco)
Darell Banks again? Definitely. Until I've featured all of his recordings on the Soul of the Net, there will always be room for another Darell Banks track. This was on the other side of "I've got the feelin'" on Atco, and also on his Atco LP "Darrell Banks Is Here". Gene Chandler recorded it before, but as always, Darrell Banks makes it his own.
Darling I love you - Superiors Band (Barvis)
Listen to that bold horn-led into. Exciting arrangement and very soulful vocals on this Northern Soul classic. Midrange on the rarity scale.
A woman will do wrong - Dee Dee Sharp (Atco)
A woman will do wrong - Helene Smith (Phil-LA of Soul)
A woman will do wrong - Irma Thomas (Chess)
A woman will do wrong - Magic Touch (Falcon's Roost)
Gotta thank Sue in Baltimore for requesting Dee Dee's version. When she did I had to take out all of the versions of this sweet southern soul ballad written by soul luminaries Paul Kelly and Clarence Reid, and listen to them in a sequence. They are all great, so all of them returned to my living room playlist. But my favorite has got to be the original, or the first one I have heard in any case - Helene Smith's, featuring a sincerely innocent voice and a truly soulful arrangement, with a lovely piano on top.
Who you gonna run to – The Temptations (Gordy LP)
A beautiful track off their Getting Ready album, with a slight Latin feel, and a somewhat more uptownish arrangement than was usual at Motown of 1966, featuring Paul Willams’ rich, classy baritone, a bit reminiscent of Chuck Jacskon. I rediscovered it recently when I found it to be the number 1 track on the excellent Soul Club site, at http://soulclub.org/
The love of my woman – Darrell Banks (Cotillion)
I still find it difficult to believe that Darrell Banks released only seven 45’s – and two albums. In between his Revilot/Atco releases (1966/7), and the Volt period in 1969 he released one single on Cotillion in 1968 (albeit all were Detroit productions), and this is one side of it. Like every track Darrell Banks ever cut, it demonstrates the huge talent of this artist, who was sadly murdered in 1970.
I love you still – Zilla Mayes (Bell UK LP)
Immediately recognizable from its first notes as a 60’s New Orleans production by Allen Toussaint, this track became known to me through one of the wonderful UK Bell Cellar of Soul compilations that came out in the late 60’s; this was on the third volume. Too bad Ms. Mayes did not cut many more records – as she was just as bit as good her more well known (well, relatively anyway) contemporary , Betty Harris. And listen to that piano, and the beautiful, understated, guitar licks. I’m not sure what original US 45 this came out on – would bet it’s on Sansu.
That’s all over baby – The Jones Brothers (Seel)
Another rare record makes its first appearance on CD. This one is on a compilation by Kent called LA’s Silver Soul, out in April 2003, dedicated to West Coast productions by Lee Silver. This is a 1969 ballad, with a rich production, and superb singing. The Jones Brothers were a duo, however there seems to be one lead vocal throughout this track, with a second voice joining only for the chorus.
The more I do for you baby - Cliff Nobles & Co. (UK Direction LP)
When I received a request for "Love is all right" for my request page (which is the vocal version to "the Horse"), it was a chance for me to pick up and listen to the Horse LP by Cliff Nobles & Co. That album consists of three types of tracks - killer instrumentals with various animal names (mule, camel); some excellent vocal tracks, with the above one among them, and another being the fabulous Judge craze song "Judge baby I'm back"; and a couple of MOR versions of Philly soft-soul standards. I'm not sure who played and who played and who sang on those vocal tracks, as the distinction between Jesse James/Fantastic Johnny C/James Boys/Cliff Nobles & Co. is not entirely clear to me.
Sincerely Mine - Ernie Hines (USA)
Ernie Hines is the man who recorded the beautiful "Help me put out the flame" on Stax, which I must have included on this site before (on one of the radio shows, maybe?) since that little known single was to me one of the greatest moments of soul music. Before Stax, Ernie made a couple of singles on the USA label. One of them I've owned for years, but somehow was not aware of this gem that hid on the b side of "Rain rain rain", until it recently started making waves on Soul Nut Circuit. Although Vietnam is not specifically mentioned, the lyrics, the era and the mood of the record all associate it with the sad soldier songs of the 60's. How sad that these lyrics are still so relevant these days.
I want to be loved - Lorraine Ellison (Loma)
Not long ago I featured this song by the Enchanters on this page, and now Soul Brother Barry Fowden kindly sent me this version - well, if you only know Ms. Ellison from "Stay with me", listen to this! It turns out that both men and women want to be loved, I'd say, just as badly, going by the intensity of both versions.
Drop my heart off at the door - Barbara Hall (Innovation II)
Second record for the great Barbara Hall on these pages, This 1975 Sam Dees penned ballad is not as rare as the former one ("Broken hearted", contributed by John Ridley), but is often hidden as the other side of "You brought it on yourself", a Northern Soul record of the crossover sub-genre.
I want to be loved - The Enchanters (Loma)
A wonderful cry for love with gospel intensity from the Enchanters, c. 1965.
Cry myself to sleep - Shirley Wahls (Smash)
An excellent ballad from the big voiced Shirley Wahls, who is well known in Northern Soul circles for "That's how long (I'm gonna love you)".
Wake up - Bobby Rush (Salem)
Bobby Rush is something of a cult figure, and one of the not many 60's soul artists who has never left the music business. I believe this is the second track on this site by him, the first one being "Sock boogaloo". This one, from a couple of years later, is even funkier, and has some useful advice to married folks. A great record.
There is nothing I can do about it - Mike & the Censations (Highland)
Don't mess with me - Mike & the Censations (Highland)
Both sides of the second single by Mike Kirkland and his group, that followed "Victim of circumsance", already showcased on this page a while ago. They had three or four 45's on Highland, followed by a couple on Revue, and the ones I know are all excellent. Mike is none other than Bo Kirkland who, with Ruth Davis, had a big UK hit with "You're gonna get next to me" 1977.
This time (I'm gonna be true) - Ray Pollard (Shrine)
Rightly considered the jewel in Shrine's crown, this magical 1.59 minute masterpiece formed one side of Shrine's fourth release (cat no. 103). The other side was the beautiful ballad "No more like me", featured on these pages in 1999, when the first volume of Kent's Shrine compilation was released. Those marketing wizards at Kent have cleverly held the "hit" side (at least in the north of England) for release on the second volume. And what a cracker this is! Great song, great arrangement, but what really makes it so good is Ray Pollard, with a truly great vocal performance.
I'm leavin' - Ann Peebles (Hi)
Ann Peebles' 1974 album "I Can't Stand the Rain" was nothing short of a masterpiece of Soul, but apparently her records did not have enough commercial appeal to make her the female counterpart of her label mate Al Green. On this track, featured on the b-side of a minor hit, "Come to mama", her vocals sound more influenced by Al than on her other records. No wonder, as Al was at the height of his career at the time. In any case, with the simple yet effective backing of Willie Mitchell's "factory soul" rhythm and strings, yet another atmospheric Hi gem was created.
Is that you love - Arthur Conley (Atco)
I have to thank Glenn in Holland for reminding me of this one. I am a big Arthur Conley fan; I find his ability to deliver a dramatic soul ballad unrivaled. But for a few years I had forgotten this piece of delicate, beautiful soul balladry, that was released as the B side of the uptempo 1969 hit, "Aunt Dora's love soul shack", and also on the More Sweet Soul album. And listen to that harmonica, that is so atypical of soul productions of the time, yet works so well here.
You hurt so good - Mitty Collier (Peachthree)
You hurt so good - James Carr (Goldwax unreleased, French Bell LP)
In the late 60's, in addition to being an active and quite successful recording star for Stax, William Bell began his own label. Mitty Collier was the most prominent name on his roster. Her first attempt for the label was this bluesy ballad composed by Bell. Interestingly enough, the same lyrics with a melody that is quite freely interpreted from this version came up on a track recorded by James Carr that was never released by Goldwax, but included on a French compilation of the "In"ternational series, (Bell-Amy-Mala-Goldax material), and also on the UK version of the 1968 album "A Man Needs a Woman". Later on it was also included in the Japanese release of the "Freedom Train" album (1977), but there the track includes overdubbings that, to me, ruin it. In any case, the track is one of James Carr's finest moments on record. BTW the writing credits on Mitty's version go to W. Bell, on James Carr's version to Nelson/Bell. Who's Nelson?
We can work it out - Sam & Dave (Contempo UK)
The mighty Sam & Dave parted ways in 1970, after their string of hits had subsided. The golden era of the soul duo seemed over anyway, and personally they did not get along very well with each other. But their respective solo careers did not take off, so in 1974 they were back together, cutting an album produced by Steve Cropper; however the promising combination of the master Stax guitarist and the mighty duo of soul resulted in a rather mediocre album, released on United Artists. Surprisingly, their subsequent attempt at recording together, albeit their last one, was made in England, supervised by John Abbey. The choice for the A side was the Beatles classic, quite down-tempoed, and the outcome was a rather beautiful 70's soul ballad.
Pretty pretty - the Joneses
Beautiful group soul from 1970 by the New York based group that who a few years later had several hits on Mercury, most notable "Sugar pie guy". Thanks a lot to Herb Bandy of Washington DC for this contribution that is certainly a current Living Room hit on the Neeman household.
Give this fool another try - Billy Joe Young (Jewel unreleased)
Featured on Soul Jewels volume 1 (Kent), this might have brought the total count of Billy Joe Young records to four, had it been released at the time. But it was not. Not to be confused with Billy Young, the Otis Redding protege, this Mr. Young has a distinct vocal style, which, coupled with an interesting arrangement, makes this a fine soul ballad. Note the horn arrangement, and also note that fuzzy rock-ish guitar, which, together with something in his voice, made me wonder if BJY was a blue-eyed soul artist, although I have no information about this being the case.
Somewhere waits a lonely girl - Eddie Holman (Parkway)
Eddie Holman had a thing about lonely girls... two years before "Hey there lonely girl", this track was on the other side of the Northern Soul favourite "Stay mine for heaven's sake". A doo-wopish ballad that sounds earlier than its 1967 release date, it is Eddie's unique voice and versatile singing that makes the difference on this one.
Power of love - Mary Silvers (One-derful)
Her only release on One-derful, and as far as I know her only release ever, this 1963 record is undoubtedly inspired by the earlier Motown sound of groups such as the Marvelettes and Martha and the Vandellas, but as usual with the Mar-v-lus / One-derful group, the arrangement is much more upfront than that of the Hitsville USA contemporaries.
I'm still in love with you pt. 2 - Grover Mitchell (Josie)
Now here is a singer who should have made the Soul of the Net charts earlier - but better late than never. I first heard this one of those French compilation LP's from the 60's where the tracks appeared with no gaps between the them, and with the fading parts cut off - in this case it was quite a crime, since on the LP the best part of this mesmerising ballad was lost - "the whoa, whoa I love you" on the 2:39 mark. That LP also featured "I don't wanna hear it baby", an uptempo goodie. There's more to find out about Mr . Mitchell, who had about 15 45's on several labels.
Doorsteps of sorrow - Rudolph Taylor (Mainstream)
A track I discovered through one Barry Soul Brother Fowden's great radio shows. Apparently this is Mr. Taylor's only record. The catalog number dates it to 1968, although the pace is a little fast for a late 60's soul ballad, and more typical of a mid-60's 6/8 pacer. Anyway, a classic soul song, with a top-notch Muscle Shoals type arrangement.
Tomorrow's dream - Al Green (Hi LP)
From his first Hi LP, Green is Blues. This is Mr. Green before the soul factory sound era of Hi, that began soon after this 1970 release. A work of a genius, no doubt - soul music can't get much more original that this.
Sweet hunk of misery – Linda Carr (Bell)
For some reason, I never hear this one played as northern soul, or included on dealers' lists. If I do see anything by Linda Carr, it is usually her other Bell 45, Every Time / Trying To Be Good For You. But I don't see why this record should not be a Northern dance floor hit, especially with the ladies; a Supremes-influenced beat, but a much more hard-hitting arrangement, and some lovely singing by Linda.
Seven years – The Impressions (Curtom)
From time to time I remind myself to include on these pages some of the better known artists and records. While in the 60’s, there seemed to be a never ending reserve of magnificent soul singers, there were not that many original creators with a style of their own, and after all, these were the artists that really made soul music what it was. Here is a 1969 record by Curtis Mayfield and his group, one of the first on his own Curtom label. Not one of his biggest hits – it reached number 15 on the Billboard R&B charts, but just listen to it now - how it oozes originality in every category: melody, lyrics, production and delivery.
Love – Chet “Poison” Ivey (unreleased Arock)
Second entry to the Soul of the Net by Mr. Ivey, who first caught my attention with the frenetic dance number with the poignant title, “Shake a poo poo”. On this earlier recording the title is less imaginative, the beat less intensive, but still it’s a fine mid pacer suitable for relaxed dancing. That didn’t help to bring about its release on vinyl, but happily, the acetate was found by the relentless soul spies of Ace/Kent, Ady Croasdell and his gang, who now included it on the Arock / Sylvia Soul Story.
Now I've got a woman - Freddy King (Federal)
Freddy King is primarily a blues artist, but like most tracks on the Ace CD, King's New Breed R&B, this is an atmospheric, smoky, minor key, r&b/dance blues track, with just enough of a soul beat and funky horn arrangement, and a subtle enough blues guitar part, to make it eligible for inclusion in my soul living room top 40.
Bad girl - The Fabulous Denos (King)
The Fabulous Denos had a knack for making atmospheric records. If you scroll down this page you'll find another Living Room hit for them, Once I Had a Love, which was featured on the King Northern Soul 2 CD. Not exactly a northern soul record, nor is it a deep soul record, but it's certainly not an dance blues or R&B record as are most tracks on the current volume of New Breed R&B; but for lack of a specific soul sub-genre to categorize this track under, it was fortunately included on this CD.
You're using me - The King Pins (Federal)
Third track off King New Breed R&B, (BTW all of the three were released in 1964), and again not one that is typical of the CD, which is generally more bluesy in its feel. The King Pins were one of the most soulful early soul vocal groups, consistently releasing excellent records. This track has irresistible soulful vocals transposed on a rock and roll beat, with some lovely call and response interplay. What does the "oh OH oh OH" verse remind me of? Sounds so familiar - was it plagiarized into a more well known record, or the other way around?
Both Eli Husock and Lee Shafer were kind enough to answer that question (and so put an end to many sleepless nights) - it's:
Something got a hold on me - Etta James (Argo)
I can't make it anymore - Spyder Turner (MGM)
Two reasons for including this track; first, I was listening to the soul channel on my cable radio the other day, and this came on. Brilliant channel by the way. I subscribed to the digital cable because they broadcast all the world cup matches, but now I find myself switching to the soul radio channel and missing goals.... check it out, if your local digital cable or satellite TV supplier has this channel, supplied by "music choice", a UK company. And the second reason is that this is an opportunity to give an early plug to the North Wales Soul weekender on February-March 2003, where Mr. Turner will be appearing live. Spyder Turner is one of the big voiced uptown singers of the Chuck Jackson / Tommy Hunt vein, and this is his major contribution to Northern Soul.
What price - Nathan Williams (United Artists)
Can't tell you much about this singer; this is the only record I know of by him. I think that it was Soul Brother Barry Fowden's radio show that brought it to my living room. Why didn't he record any more records? As in so many other cases, it was surely not due to lack of talent.
Don't Come Around Here Anymore - Mark Putney (Ovide/Atlantic)
Another artist who has apparently made just one record, and what an ingenious one it is, mixing a cool vibraphone and Jazzy arrangement with a very soulful vocal and a funky rhythm. A record that is sometimes played by "rare-groove" DJs. The other side of it is "Today's Man", better known in Northern Soul circles. "Come around here" was written by Will Thomas, brother of Cal Thomas, leader of the T.S.U Toronadoes who were Ovide's studio house band, and can be heard on most Archie Bell & the Drells records.
Don't let love get you down - The Phonetics (Trudel)
Definitely one for my page for Sam Cooke-inspired soul, whenever I get around to putting such a page on this site. Released either before or soon after Sam's death, in 1964, when he was at the height of his success. Sam himself did not contribute much to the UK northern soul scene, probably because the rhythms accepted as northern soul began to be recorded in late 1964, too late for Sam, but this record seems danceable enough. Their subsequent release, "Just a boy's dream" is rather rare and in-demand.
Patricia - George Jackson (Hi)
George Jackson was and is better known as a writer, but at the risk of repeating myself, I'll say again that almost all of his own recordings, in the late 60's and early 70's were real gems. This is the flip side of another great recording in the same quiet vein - "Let them know you care". Perhaps not the grittiest voice in soul music, yet his delicate soulfulness never fails to move me. Listen to the way he stretches the "m" in "my heart" . Not to mention the lovely piano ornaments and sweet strings.
Kiss tomorrow goodbye - Danny White (Frisco)
A much recorded song (two other versions I can think of were by Reuben Bell and Billy Thompson). All three versions, if I remember correctly, have that same magical horn intro. Danny White has a certain anguished touch to his voice that is just perfect for this song. I could do without the kiss sound at the very end though... Also released on Decca.
The answer came too late - The Larks (Money)
After 1965's Jerk craze subsided, and after releasing in addition to "The Jerk", several derivatives such as "Keep on Jerkin'" "Do the Jerk", "Soul Jerk", "Jerkin' USA" etc. , Don Julian and the guys decided to try a ballad; I think they did very well on this one, released in 1966, obviously impressed by the Impressions. This track is to be found on the Kent CD, Don Julian & the Larks - The Jerk - The Money Recordings.
Oh, what I'd give - Tommy Collins (Verve)
Sent to me by Barry "Soul Brother" Fowden - a classic late 60's soul ballad, with all the great ingredients: churchy organ, thick brass patterns, full backup vocals, anguished lyrics sung from the soul - and to top it all a dramatic ad-lib.
Everybody makes a mistake sometimes - Mitty Collier (Chess)
Mitty meets Otis - her wonderful gruff deep voice, his exquisite songwriting, and the Muscle Shoals house band and studio - can't go wrong, and it didn't. Released in 1968, I am not sure if it was recorded after Otis's death in December 1967; if so it may have been a sort of homage to Otis. Like Etta James, Ms Collier was sent to Alabama (her home state, by the way) by Chess, in hope to cash in on the southern soul trend; artistically she did very well; From a commercial point of view, this record may have been released a week or two after this type of straight southern soul ceased to be hip.
Let them talk - Bobby Patterson & the Mustangs (Jet Star)
Little Willie John's beauty must have been one of the most frequently recorded soul songs in the 60's. Did I upload Billy Young's version on these pages? If not then I should do it one of these days. But this one is now my favourite "Let them talk" version, released in 1967. "Idle gossip comes from the devil's workshop" - for some reason this line always send shivers up my spine.
Gonna hate myself in the morning - Ted Taylor (Alarm)
A quick dip into the 70's to show how open minded I am to more modern sounds... ha! can you believe it that 1976 is still considered modern in some circles! But Ted Taylor was indeed even better IMO in the 70's than he was in the 50's and 60's. I have had some of his 70's sounds on this site before - on this site's radio shows, but I haven't had this one before. It's on his 1976 album called 1976 (Alarm), and also released on a single.
The grass is always greener - Ella Washington (Atlantic)
Richard Leonard of Toronto recently sent me a bunch of Toronto radio station playlists from 1967. These lists always intrigue me, as they often contain a mix of well known hits with lesser known records, some of which I had thought were known only within the confines of my living room. One of the records on those lists was this, Ella Washington's beautiful first record, and only release on Atlantic, before she moved to Sound Stage 7.
Do it to me - Hector Rivera (Barry)
Apparently when Hector Rivera's "At the party" came out, this, its other side was played as well, and rightly so, as it is just as good if not better; another slab of Latin-soul, somewhat slower than the frantic hit-side.
Get yourself together - The Caesars (Lanie)
Another one off the 1967 playlists. Starts off somewhat loungey, but develops a certain soulful charm which probably made it suitable for the "quiet storm" niche in the late nights of mid-1967. One of only two records I know of by this group.
Victim of circumstance (part 1) - Mike & the Censations (Highland)
Final one from the time trip to 1967 based on the Toronto playlists - another nice uptown slowie from the deliberately misspelled Censations.
Lonely soldier - Mike Williams (Atlantic)
The Vietnam war has inspired some of the best and most moving soul records of the 60's, mostly from the point of view of the soldier who is far away from his loved ones, less from a political standpoint. This is not one of the most often mentioned records of this vein, although in fact it was an R&B chart hit in the summer of 1966. It was the second of two releases (I know of) by Mike Williams on Atlantic, and he had releases on other labels (one on King), but only this one made the national charts.
Never gonna let him no - Debbie Taylor (GWP)
This was Debbie Taylor's most successful record, reaching #18 on the Billboard Soul charts in March of 1969. As I always say, the 60's soul charts did not usually lie, and this is indeed a fine piece of mid tempo soul very well sung by the big voiced Ms. Taylor.
I feel like crying - Sam & Bill (Decca)
Richard Leonard of Toronto has kindly sent me a tape including this gem (and many others). I don't think I ever heard a bad record by this duo. Two of their tracks have already appeared on the Soul of the Net, and this is the third.
Someone loves me - Little Joe Washnigton (Federal)
Kent's King Serious Soul II CD is packed full of this type of music, which is on the thin line between blues and soul. On some days, I just can't get enough of this brand of raw bluesy soul. Listen to the excellent horn section too.
Can it all be love - Oscar Toney Jr. (King)
Also from King Serious Soul II. The first of two releases on King by Mr. Toney, released in1964. His second King release came out in 1967, apparently lifted from the can soon after Oscar scored his first hit with his version of For your precious love, on Bell. This is another blues/soul gem. Do I hear a flute hiding among the horn section? I am not generally too much in favour of flutes in soul music, but if there is one here, it works quite well. The other side, I've found a true love, is also in the same bluesy vein, albeit somewhat faster, and like this track, exhibits Oscar Toney's super soulful singing. Oscar is still recording today, and in fact is one of the best providers of 21st Century Soul.
Stop half loving these women - Jimmy Lewis (Volt)
Both sides of Jimmy's 1973 Volt 45 appear on Kent's "Give the Poor Man a Break", along with many rare and unreleased later recordings. Like Oscar Toney Jr., Jimmy is still at it these days, (again, see the 21st Century Soul Page) - with the same old wry look at married life. IMO this is one of his greatest moments. The song was also covered brilliantly (as usual) by the late great Johnnie Taylor on his album Reflections, released in 1977 but presumably recorded a few years earlier.
A toast to you - Louis Curry (M-S)
From time to time I like to find records that have made the R&B charts in the 60's and are still not known to me. Many fine soul records have never made any national or even local charts, as you should know if you are in this site - usually due to poor marketing or distribution. However the opposite is not true, I believe; most records that did make the charts have some merit to them. This record, for example, made the Billboard chart in June 1968 - and I think you'll agree with me, it is indeed a well crafted midtempo record that's good to get acquainted with.
How long, baby - O. V. Wright (Backbeat)
Actually a duet, with the female vocalist uncredited. Why was it not included in the recent Connoisseur Collection compilation I don't know - it's such a wonderful track. Thanks to Pat Keen for this contribution.
Fighting to win - Homer Banks (Minit)
Like Geroge Jackson, Homer Banks is more famous for his compositions than for his own records as an artist, of which there were only six in the 60's but each and every one of them a two-sided gem. And out of his own records, the uptempo ones are more well known - such as "60 minutes of your love" and "A lot of love", the latter being the A side of this record; however he was a magnificent performer of deep soul too, as is evident in this ballad, which I neglected to include in my Homer Banks page until it's addition now, again thanks to Pat Keen.
Patti's prayer - Patti LeBelle and the Bluebelles (Atlantic)
Last one in a series of three with the two above tracks, which share these common traits: they were all sent to me by Pat Keen, they are all from 1966, they are all B sides, and they are all wonderful, forgotten tracks by relatively well known figures - at least to the soul fraternity.
Soul Serenade - Willie Mitchell (Hi)
This track appears on the double CD compilation "Poppa Willie" on Demon (UK). This compilation includes a CD of original material, and another CD for cover versions; this is on the latter, since the original was by another great soul instrumentalist, the late great King Curtis. However this version is different enough to be regarded a masterpiece on its own, beautifully arranged, with some impeccable guitar licks from Teenie Hodges.
He made woman for man - O.V. Wright (Backbeat)
While some may doubt that the Lord could have made another tree instead of creating Woman and get away with it, and others would feel that He did not exactly make Woman for Man, I am certain that many men who are or have been in love can deeply identify with O.V.'s sincere gratitude for the mere existence of women. Although not released on Hi but on Backbeat, O.V. preceded his actual signing with Willie Mitchell's label by using its studios and house band to record, and this was one of the highlights of the Backbeat label /Hi recording era of his career. This track is included in the CD "Giant of Southern Soul" on Connoisseur Collection (UK), as are most of O.V's Backbeat highlights. BTW like in the above record, the Hi backing would mean that the great guitar licks on this track are also by Teenie Hodges.
There goes my used to be - Wee Willie Walker (Goldwax)
This track now appears on the Goldwax Story vol. 1 on Kent (UK). I've owned it on 45 for many years, and although I liked it, it was never one of my favourite Goldwax records. Now that I listen to it again on this CD, I can appreciate how even such a not too spectacular Goldwax recording can be a real pleasure to listen to; perhaps this is due to so many associations of other great soul moments that are elicited by the guitar licks, organ chords and fine horn parts on this track
Wrapped up in your love - Joe Perkins (Plush)
Joe Perkins is a singer who should get more attention among deep and southern soul collectors. This is I believe his second appearance on the Living Room Top 40, courtesy of the excellent Westside CD, Soul Jewels vol. 1. The first was "Hungry for yout love" recorded a bit later than this, but in fact, the feel of these two records is quite similar - both beautiful, flowing mid-pacers.
The bells - Bobby Powell (Whit)
Some bells to put us in the mood for Christmas, although these are in fact wedding bells, and the record was not released towards the holiday season. Taken from Bobby Powell's recent Westside CD compilation, this beautiful track was his final chart entry in 1971.
The rains came - Sir Douglas Quintet (Tribe)
As promised before (below), here's the Tex-Mex version of the song first recorded by Big Sambo (Huey Meaux produced both versions). Totally different pace here - much faster, with a dominant organ and some great singing. especially towards the end; for me this is clearly a soul record and wonderful one at that.
In my corner - Ray Algere (Tou-Sea)
If you have an ear for soul productions, you'll instantly identify who wrote and produced this record, and in what city. Hint - the label name has part of his name in it. That in the dump and cold cities of northern UK people started calling this piece of southern, - almost tropical in fact - soul, Northern Soul, well, that's all part of the wonderful strange world of old soul music...
Goodbye - Curly Moore (Sansu)
Same group of labels as above, but this time not written by Allen Toussaint. The late Curly Moore had several releases on Sansu and other New Orleans labels, this sad ballad one being one of his best. Both this track and the one above appear on "Get Down Low", a mixed bag compilation of New Orleans recordings, mainly on Sansu, covering the era between 1965 and 1967.
Good thing (part 2) - Frank Williams & the Rocketeers (Lloyd)
Beware deep soul fans - here's a low down smokey half instrumental to liven things up. Turn on the lights, turn up the volume and get on the dance floor. Courtesy of funky soul collector Dave Richardson.
That's the way love turned out for me - James Carr (Goldwax)
The Complete Goldwax Singles, the Kent compilation that includes both sides of all of his 14 Goldwax 45's (A sides and B sides) has recently landed in my mailbox. No matter how many times I hear James Carr's recordings, I am still overwhelmed by the sheer soulfulness of his singing. This is one of his not often played or discussed sides, the flip of Freedom Train. If you own the Razor and Tie "Essential James Carr", you should know that the Kent CD contains no less than 12 tracks not included in the Essential JC, including the one presented here (while the former CD contains four tracks not included in this one). You should also know that there is an imminent release planned for a "twofer" of his two Goldwax LP's, but it will not contain several 45-only tracks such as this one. So if there ever were a CD I'd expect to find in every good soul fan's home, it's this one.
People in love - The Taylor Brothers (Joy)
A few weeks ago I added the audio clip of Sam & Dave's early Roulette record, "If she'll still have me", to the Sam & Dave discography. This is in fact the same song, performed this time by a different duo, the Taylor Brothers, on a track that appears on the third volume of Kent's excellent series of early soul, "Birth of Soul". I wonder which is the original version. My bet is that it was Sam & Dave's. Listening to the interjections and melisma parts, which are very similar on both versions, it is difficult to think of the great Sam & Dave copying the Taylor Brothers note for note, while it is conceivable the other way around. In any case, this is a great version.
The rains came - Big Sambo & the House Wreckers (Eric)
Another track of Birth of Soul 3, this is a Texas 1962 recording produced by the legendary Huey Meaux. Listen to the piano triplets - they are very similar to those on Pledging my love by Johnny Ace, another Texan - as Dave Godin point out on the liner notes. There's another version of this song, by Tex-Mex group Sir Douglas Quintet, later and faster, which I hope to feature on this page soon.
Mr. Goodtime - James Duncan (King)
Over to another Kent CD compilation, King Northern Soul volume Two. As you should know by now, one of my favourite brands of (UK) northern soul is (US) southern soul, and this volume by Kent is packed full of this brand. This specific track was apparently recorded in Macon, Georgia, but many tracks recorded in King's own recording studio in Cincinnati sounded quite southern, featuring heavy horn sections and hard edged vocals.
I can't fight the time - James Duncan (King)
Speaking of James Duncan, here's a record by him that has not yet been unearthed on Kent's recent volumes of King related material. A good candidate for either King Serious Soul 2 or Birth of Soul 4, don't you think? The record is a mid 1965 release, just a few months earlier than the above stormer, but it certainly sounds much earlier - a cross between doo wop and early soul; perhaps there was somewhat of a time gap between its recording and its release.
Once I had a love - The Fabulous Denos (King)
Track 23 on King Northern Soul 2 is this atmospheric mid-pacer. "How could you have told me, that we was through" - that's one of the lines I seem to hear towards the end, when their lead singer (who was he?) gives it all he's got. Maybe not great English, but certainly great early soul music.
What can I do - Donnie Elbert (De Luxe)
And a final surprise concluding King
Northern Soul 2. Talking about atmospheric early soul, here's a record that's
hard to beat on both categories - atmospheric and early. This was Donnie
Elbert's first record in 1957, and if I'm not badly mistaken, his greatest hit.
If you don't know this - forget "Little piece of leather". Dim the lights and
press the "play" button.
Tell it like it is - Eddie & Ernie (Revue)
This classic has been recorded over and over again - even Andy Williams had a version. But of the ones I know, this 1969 version came closest in my opinion to rivaling Aaron Neville's (unbeatable) original.
The Wobble - L. C. Cooke (Sar)
L. C. was of course Sam's brother, and has recorded for his brother's label among others. Not everyone likes silly dance tunes, but something in this 1963 record is very appealing to me. I think it's the beat.
The commitment - Solomon Burke (GTR album)
A surprising leap in time to 2001 finds good old Sol still going at it. The King of Rock and Soul (Rock?) has not lost any of his grand voice. While the time machine of music cannot travel further back than 1970, this does sound to me very much like his early 70's recordings such as the Electronic Magnetism. The current album was released in Canada, and this track is brought to you courtesy of Heikki Suosalo, who writes for Soul Express in Finland (excellent English language soul music magazine with a focus on current indie soul).
You broke a beautiful thing -Marva Wright (AIM album)
Staying in the 21st century, this is another contribution by Heikki Suosalo, a surprisingly soulful track from Ms. Wright, which is on her 3rd album, titled "Marva", released in Australia of all places.
Raining teardrops - The Rockmasters (Romulus)
Taken from the Kent CD compilation "Northern Soul's Classiest Rarities", this is, indeed, a classy rarity, and one that shows the expansion of the limits of what can be danced to as Northern Soul. The record is from 1963, and sounds like it, with doowop-ish backing vocals and Sam Cooke influences on the beautiful soaring lead.
The yesterday of our love - Jimmy Seals (Challenge)
Another track off Kent's above mentioned interesting rarity oriented compilation, this is, believe it or not, Jim Seals of Seals & Croft (soft rock duo) fame, singing his soul out on this record - blue eyed soul supreme. An ex Keb Darge cover-up (record played in clubs without revealing it's true title artist and label).
I've got a long way to go - J. P. Robinson (Alston)
Speaking of Alston, (see below - as you know this page grows bottom up!), here is a great underrated singer who recorded his best 45's for this Miami based label. This is his first one on Alston - and what a fine ballad it is. Also see J.P. Robinson's discography and the John Ridley page.
Fools are not born -Clarence Reid (Atco LP)
Album tracking again, and this time it's Clarence Reid's album "Dancin' with Nobody But You", released on Atco in late 1969 or early 1970, containing some of his then current Alston 45 sides, and some tracks not released on 45s (as far as I know) such as this one. I know Northern Soul DJs don't like LPs that much, mainly because it's very difficult to fit them into their wooden record boxes, but if you overlook this slight problem, I think this mid-pacer would not be totally out of place on a Northen Soul night. My favourite line on this one - "once I was a wise man" (on the ad-lib).
Until you came along - Wess & the Airedales (Durium LP, Italy)
Wess Johnson led the Airedales, a self-contained band that was based in Italy in the late 60's, presumably when their original lead singer Rocky Roberts left. Co written by Johnson and Doug Fowlkes, who was their drummer and band leader, this appears on a late 1967 LP called The Sound of Soul. I've said this before and I'll say it again - these guys, fronted by either Rocky Roberts or Wess, where a soul center of their own, and their several LPs released in the US and Italy all feature very high quality recordings, both originals and covers. Watch out for more by Wess soon.
Not enough love to satisfy - Wilson Pickett (Alantic LP)
A track off his last Atlantic album, Don't Knock My Love. A long time favourite of mine, I had mentioned it on the Trivia page before, and now it's time to give you the audio. Here is what I'd written there: ... the one outstanding track on that album to my ears.... fuzz guitars, strings and all - it is a wonderful song, written by one Clyde Wilson (aka Steve Mancha). There's soul magic all over it - hints of what could have happened if soul music, rather than succumb to the appalling Disco sound of the 70's would have truly progressed, without losing the soul.
Cracked up over you - Danny White (Decca)
That Danny White was a great balladeer has already been demonstrated on the pages of the Soul of the Net by three former entries of his. But he could also deliver a dance track just as well, as this Golden Torch associated stormer shows. This song was also recorded by Lee Rogers on Wheelsville. I am not sure which was the first, but apparently these two quite similar versions were released around the same time, in the fall of '66.
I must be losing you - Willie Clayton (Pawn)
Willie Clayton did not pop out out of nowhere in the late 80's, when he began to deliever a steady string of albums that made him the modern day king of southern soul. His first 45 was the beautiful and rare "Falling in love" on Duplex, which you can find on the John Ridley page, cut when he was only 13 years old, in 1969. This, his second record was already much more in the style he would retain throughout his recording career, obviously Willie Mitchell left his mark on much of Willie Clayton's latter day recordings. This is from 1974, which means he was 18, already possessing a mature voice - and what soulful one.
Somebody special - Bobby Womack (Minit)
His second single for Minit, one before "What is this", was this out and out secular gospel gem. Bobby Womack is perhaps considered by some more as a writer (and Poet) than as a singer, but as he was writing big hits for Wilson Pickett in late '67 and early '68, he was putting down some fine vocals on much less successful records on the Minit label.
Old friend - Spencer Wiggins (Goldwax)
For some reason I left this one out when I did the Spencer Wiggins discography. But I was reminded of this George Jackson-penned classic, when my friend Martin Goggin told me George actually sat down at the piano in Malaco studios and played this for him, during the course of a recent interview Martin carried out with George for the magazine he writes for, Juke Blues. So here it is now.
It ain't long enough - Judy Clay (Stax)
As I heard Judy was gone, I played some of her records, and marvelled at this one. What a hard hitting, uncommercial record, with of the stamp of Hayes/Porter of course all over it.
I can't get used to living without you - Eddie James (King)
One of the interesting aspects to me in Kent's compilation of the deep side of King records, King Serious Soul, is that it clearly demonstrates the fact that although King is mostly thought of as the great R&B label of the 40's and 50's, and as James Brown's label of the 60's, it continued to release some marvelous deep soul gems well into the 70's. One day when I compile a page on this site dedicated to vocals influenced by Sam Cooke, this 1973 recording will surely be included. It is a fine example of Sam Cooke styled soaring vocals, with just enough originality to make it a big living room favourite of mine ever since "Serious Soul" landed in my mailbox.
When my baby cries - Gloria Walker (Federal)
Another track off King Serious Soul, again from the early 70's. Gloria Walker had two wonderful deep soul records on Flaming Arrow, Talking about my baby (an R&B chart hit) and Please don't desert me baby (which you can listen to on the Living Room 1998 archive). In the early 70's she became affiliated with the James Brown troupe, making a record for the People label, and so reached the King group, cutting this excellent ballad, which reminds me a bit of Willie Mitchell produced records of the time (1972) on Ann Peebles etc.
I got love - The Other Brothers - (Modern unreleased)
Previously unreleased tracks generate a lot of interest for us soul fans, but rarely do they compare favourably with the released recordings of the 60's. However this little gem released for the first time on "For Connoisseurs Only", a US Kent/Modern CD compilation by UK Kent, is an exception to the rule. A fine lilting mid tempo recording (albeit it's weak side is its lyrics), with just enough drum rolls to capture hearts and legs of Northern Soul fans of this day (and age! and I mean age, at our age this is a nice beat to dance to). And yes, these are the same fellows who did Hole in the wall/ It's been a long time baby, they're not other Other Brothers.
Mini skirt Minnie - Wilson Pickett (Atlantic)
The reason why I went and looked in my disorganized record collection for this record (a non-LP 45 from 1969, was it ever released on CD?), is that I wanted to include it on this page side by side with its original version, which is not, as I had thought before, Sir Mack Rice's record of the same title. Unlike another of Wilson Pickett's famous female characters, "Mustang Sally", in this case, only the character was invented by Sir Mack Rice, but the song is by Lindell Hill, and Hill is in fact credited on the writer's credit, along with George Jackson, who apparently made the synthesis with Sir Mack Rice's character in the lyrics. Unlike Mustang Sally, Rice is not credited on this record. Which I guess did not bother anyone, as this was Wilson Pickett's least successful Atlantic record - although I for one think it's quite good.
Used to be love - Lindell Hill (Arch)
Here is the original of the above record, supplied as many rare records that appear on this site, by Mr. John Ridley. John informs me that Hill was a white fellow, and that this was recorded in Memphis in 1968, due to a bit of moonlighting by Steve Cropper, who produced it for a small label owned by Memphis DJ Nick Charles. No doubt Wilson Pickett was quite a record collector, and had a knack for picking other people's somewhat unknown records, and delivering them in his own style, making them big hits - but not in this case, as mentioned above.
Mini skirt Minnie - Sir Mack Rice (Stax)
And here is the original 1967 record by this title - although if you listen you'll hear that it doesn't have anything to do musically with Wilson Pickett's record of the same title.
The grass was green - Skip Easterling (Alon)
I think this record has been featured before on these pages, but somehow I can't find it on any of the archives (its flip side is on the 1999 archive), so I add it again here - superb blue eyed soul from New Orleans.
I'm grateful - Johnny Adams (Gone)
1965 record, his only one on this label. Johnny - we're grateful too, for the music. Listen to that higher-than-soprano shriek a the end!
Sixteen tons - Johnnie Taylor (Stax LP)
This is an edited version of the take included on "Lifetime", the three CD set released after JT's death. It's a bit different from the one that appears on "Wanted One Soul Singer" LP. On the CD it lasts for seven minutes, while JT and the Stax house band are seeming to have a lot of fun. But the first three minutes of this feature JT and the Stax band at the height of their ultra tight funkyness - forget the standard you know, the Stax guys made it their own.
A love triangle - Gene Toone (Simco)
This is the first tack on a tape I've just received from Martin, my friend in Cork, Ireland. I don't know anything about this record; to my ears it sounds like an early soul ballad, which I would date at around 1963-4, and a mighty good one. I just love these innocent post doo-wop soul ballads with "loser" lyrics - they don't make em anymore, do they; nowadays it seems everyone's on the winning side on the love games.
Blessed are the lonely - Robert Knight (Rising Sons)
As a follow up to "Everlasting love", which was a hit record, and preceding "Love on a mountain top" which was to become a northern soul favourite, Robert Knight came up with this mid tempo Motownesque track, which I find quite nice and ideal for a leisurely slide across the dance floor. Don't you?
Pyramid - Soul Bros. Inc. (Sandpiper)
From the Stafford Story CD (Goldmine). Stafford's Top of the World allnighters were known for their strict soul policy, which often allowed more hard hitting r&b and southern styled soul to be played, however Stafford featured also beginnings of the "crossover"genre, and this is one of the earliest and most popular of such 70's sounds played there I believe. Not its first time on CD though - it was included on the Northern Soul of LA vol. 2.
Love Bandit - Mr. Caldwell (Scorpio)
Another one from the Stafford Story CD. Classic Northern Soul record - upbeat, well produced, truly soulful, rare, by a totally unknown artist. Would have certainly be lost forever had it not been for the UK soul scene.
Somebody help me - Donald Jenkins and the Delighters (Cortland)
Magnificent Stafford sound. Early 60's mid tempo, mid rare. The slower they get, the more soulful a northern soul night gets when they are played. Just one question though - what does he mean, "not a friend by my side, not even a girl"?
Where there's a will - Lonnie Mack (Fraternity)
Unbeknowest to many, Lonnie Mack, famous for his guitar instrumentals, was a hell of a vocalist. Here's a piece of excellent early (1963) blue eyed soul.
Call me - Emmit Long (Donoyia)
This track is on "Allnighter Vol. 2", Tim Brown's second volume in this series that is intended to reflect current trends in the Northern Soul allnighter scnene. It certainly it does not have the classic Northern Soul ingredients (Motown beat, drum rolls etc.). But it's lovely, subtlly soulful early 70's mid tempo record. The Donoyia label had a New York address, however the record has a southern feel to it. Who is Emmit Long? Nobody seems to know. According to Tim Brown this was his only recording. What a pity. Hats off to a club scene that can unravel such a record and have people actually dance to it in the year 2001.
I ain't gonna give you up - The Volumes (Karen)
Another track off "Allnighter Vol. 2", classic Detoit soul this time, very well sung and produced. This was the last record the Volumes ever made, in 1970, a time when this sort of slow, burning soulfulness was beginning fade out of fashion.
You're good for me - Don Covay (Landa)
This track appeared on the Mercy Mercy album that was released by Atlantic after the title track hit on Rosemart. Solomon Burke covered it, but although Don is more known as a writer than as a singer, his vocal on this early soul ballad is outstanding.
Your thing ain't no good without my thing - Marie Queenie Lyons (De Luxe LP)
One more for my collection of answer records, this is an appropriate answer to the the Isley Brothers' "It's your thing", that appears on the King Funk CD on UK Ace's BGP label. The LP was released in 1971, but this track was probably recorded a couple of years earlier, when the Isley's record hit.
Baby come on home - Hoagy Lands (Atlantic)
For us collectors of timeless soul records, the objective axis of time is not always relevant. For example, I've known - and loved dearly - Solomon Burke's version of this song for many years, and now, as I've heard Mr. Lands earlier, original version of this, (on Kent's "Our Time to Cry" CD, a second CD dedicated to Atlantic deep soul) in my mind it is preceived as a cover version - but what an impressive one! Written and produced by the legendary New York based Bert Berns, who also produced Sol's version, this is yet another example of the wonderful soul records Berns cut at the same era on Ben E. King, Solomon Burke, and Betty Harris to name but a few. It is a mystery to me why Hoagy Lands failed to achieve much commercial success, as his singing was always top notch, and he did receive his chance on major labels such as MGM and Atlantic. Maybe it was due to the fact that he often sounded too much like Sam Cooke - however on this record he doesn't.
What can you do when you ain't got nobody - Soul Brothers Six (Atlantic)
This was actually one of the first soul 45's I ever owned, bought on the strength of the mighty red Atlantic label, without ever hearing of the Soul Brothers Six before then. I was impressed at the time by the pleading vocals and simplistic arrangement (no horns!), but I think I haven't played it in about twenty years, and only now, as it was released as track number one on "Our Time to Cry" I came to fully appreciate it. Some would say this is gospel with secular lyrics, well there ain't nothing wrong with that! The excellent lead vocal, not by regular lead singer John Ellison, but by Lester Peleman (says Martin Goggin, based on an old Soul Survior interview) gets the most out of the lyrics that movingly answer Wilson Picketts braggin' records of the time (1968). The other side, BTW, "You better check yourself" has seen Northern Soul action.
Come by here - Inez & Charlie Foxx (Musicor)
Talk about gospel soul - here's another example. Inez and Charlie followed a format quite similar to Ike & Tina Turner (without the scandals - perhaps due to the fact that they were brother and sister, not a married couple) - with Charlie playing guitar and featuring a less dominant, somewhat reserved vocal, and Inez taking the lead vocals on most records, and deservedly so, as she was one of the finest female vocalists of the classic soul era. This 1966 track is featured on the recently released Kent compilation of the duo's Dynamo and Musicor output.
Love is what we came here for - Garland Green (Cotillion)
A couple of "quiet storm" ballads made my living room playlist one these cold February nights. First one comes from Garland Green, who in between his late 60's Revue/UNI classics and his mid 70's Spring sides, released a handful of 45's on Cotillion. Only the first of these, "Plain and simple girl" saw any Billboard chart action, but this one from late 1972 is a good slab of Philly soul, showing that Garland Green had mastered the sound that was the major trend in soul music at the time. Co-written by Bunny Sigler, arranged by Norman Harris, and recorded at the Sigma Sound studios, this record is all Philly. Lyrics wise it is typical of the time when soul music was beginning to become more sexually permissive - but a far cry from the cliched sexist lyrics that took over much of soul music in years to come.
Just out of my reach - Sam Dees (Atlantic)
My second quiet storm item is the first of Sam Dee's Atlantic singles, from 1973, and as you can expect from Mr. Dees, this is a well crafted ballad, echoing the style and production of the big sellers of the day like Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes, but with that special Sam Dees touch that has made him so popular among deep soul connoisseurs, especially in the UK. This one made it to the Billboard R&B charts, his first chart entry in fact, and peaked at number 58, just one notch higher than his next single, the wonderful So tied up / Signed Miss Heroin.
If time could stand still - Ella Washington (Sound Stage 7)
Her "He called me baby"(from 1969) is one of the greatest moments of soul music. I have recently found this 1972 record, sleeveless and dusty, at Strider's famous record store in Manhatten, gave it a good washing, and you can listen to the outcome - I think Ella's voice shines through the surface noise.
You're shaking me up - The Van Dykes (Mala)
The A side of this record was one of the group's follow ups to "No man is an island", namely "You need confidence", which was on the Billboard R&B charts in early 1967. However I chose to include the B side, which is less typical of the Van Dykes, but has a special mid tempo charm.
The deacons - Dave Hamilton (TCB)
An instrumental interlude now - if I were a radio DJ i'd read some messages now, but since I'm not, you will be able to enjoy this 1970 jazzy groove, by the underdog of Detroit 60's Soul, quitely.
Strung out - James Crawford (Smash LP)
This track appears on a live album featuring several James Brown proteges, called "The James Brown Show Recorded Live on Stage", probably a title meant to mislead the unwary customer, at a time when Smash owned the rights only to instrumental material by JB, while King had all the major hits. Anyway as you may know I am a big fan of James Brown related material by the likes of James Crawford and Vicki Anderson who are featured on the LP (and Bobby Byrd, Lynn Collins, Marva Whitney etc. who are not), and even though the recording is a bit coarse, and the record's condition does not imrpove things, the soulfulness of this Bobby Byrd co-written ballad shines through, and as I said before on these pages, I just love James Crawford's poignant voice, which makes almost every track he recorded a gem (unfortunately there were not that many).
Nowhere to run - Vicki Anderson (Smash LP)
From the same LP as the above James Crawford track, comes this storming cover of Martha & the Vandellas' hit.
Wheels of life - Lyn Collins (King)
While on the subject of James Brown proteges, here is one of my all time favourites, from 1971. If you set out to buy this record, be careful not to confuse it with "Wheel of life" (singular wheel) b/w Just won't do right (Polydor) - it's a different track. (to add confusion, the lyrics of this track too talk about a single wheel of life, not wheels).
I'm slowly moulding - Cody Black (King)
Staying with the King label, but moving away from James Brown related material: the recent King Northern Soul CD (Kent UK) featured many excellent tracks on the King and Federal labels, albeit contractual problems prevented any James Brown productions from being included. Cody Black recorded mainly in Detroit, but apparently he was a native of Cincinnati, where he recorded this, his only release on King in 1968. A wonderful track, like most Cody Black recordings.
I won't have it - King Pins (Federal)
One more from the above mentioned King Northern Soul CD - 1964 raw R&B tinged soul, or maybe soul tinged R&B. Nothing to do with King Curtis's backing group of the same name.
I don't want to have to wait - Barbara & the Browns (Cadet)
This is the third track by Barbara and the Browns on the Soul of the Net, the fisrt one being "You belong to her" on Stax (from 1964) and the second one being "A great big thing" on Atco (1968). Between these two, they released a single on yet another major R&B label (actually it came out both on Argo and on Cadet, two Chess subsidiaries), in 1966. However, in spite of being given a chance at such major labels, and in spite of the high quality of their output, commercial success eluded them, and the A side of their first record for Stax "Big party" remained their only (minor) chart entry. This track is featured on Dave Godin's Deep Soul Treasures vol. 3.
I found a love - Valentine Adams (521 Records)
Who is Valentine Adams? Nobody seems to know another record she's made; there's not even another song recorded by her, as the b of this record, also released on Cheryl (according to David Cole) is part 2 of the a side. This is one of the great wonders of soul music - wonderful singers who for a moment in their life stepped into a recording studio, gave a spine tingling, awesome performance, and then stepped back into the background. She sounds a bit like a female James Brown, doesn't she? Though probably a better vocalist. Thanks much to Nicci Talbot for introducing me to this track!
Gone gone - Roy C (Shout)
From Shotgun Wedding to his recent recordings, Roy C has specialized in the humorous and sometimes cynical side of marriage and infidelity. This 1966 record however finds him in a more sincere mood lyrics wise, which together with the mid paced beat and lovely melody make this one of my favourite records by this artist. A recent contribution to my living room top 40 by Martin Goggin.
Time has brought about a change - Willie Hightower (Fame)
Obviously a sequel to Sam Cooke's "A change is gonna come", in 1970 it may have seemed like the change had finally happened. From a perspective of the next century, has it really? Nevertheless, a fine recording again contributed by Mr. Goggin.
Tightrope - Inez & Charlie Foxx (Dynamo)
The duo's first record on Dynamo in 1966; later releases were more successful commercially, with the catchy "(1-2-3-4-5-6-7) Count the days" in 1967 being their biggest hit since 1963's Mockingbird, but as it usually happens, this commercial flop was picked up by the Northern Soul scene years later as one several dance floor fillers by the Foxxes.
Love is alright - Jesse James (Unreleased)
This is said to be a recording by Philadelphia's Harthon label, which has in recent years become a popular Northern Soul spin on acetate form. A bit confusing, since Jesse James was the producer of Cliff Nobles and Co.'s The Horse in 1968; on the other side of that hit was a vocal version of the instrumental hit, titled Love is Alright, which in fact was the same song as this one, although here it's taken at a much more Northern Soul-ish kind of pace. My guess is that this is the earlier version, which later was tried again by Jesse James for Phil-L.A. of Soul, when someone had the clever idea of omitting the vocal altogether thus creating the million selling instrumental hit.
Walking in the footsteps of a fool - Ben E. King (Atco)
Early soul, from 1962, this record flopped in comparison to its three hit predecessors - Stand by me, Amor, and Don't play that song. Not in my living room though. Sentimental and a trifle poppish it may be, but Ben E. King injected so much soul into it.
You can now go to
The Living Room Top 40 2000 Archive
The Living Room Top 40 1999 Archive
The Living Room Top 40 1998 Archive