Hi and welcome to the first installment of our soul music podcast. I've put together a short selection of back to back tracks from my collection - if you've been to any of our nights over the past few years some of these songs might already be a little familiar, so without further ado here is the tracklist for the first edition:
Bobby Moore's Rhythm Aces - Go Ahead And Burn
For years I started all of my DJing sets with an instrumental. This isn't one, but it feels like it to me with the sax taking up the main melody and the vocals acting more like percussion. The Rhythm Aces were formed by tenor sax player Bobby Moore and many of their singles featured a sax driven dance track like this on on one side and a song featuring the soulful lead vocals of Chico Jenkins. Probably their best known track is 'Searching For My Love', which is a fine example of the latter - in fact following the success of 'Searching' they were credited as 'Bobby Moore's Rhythm Aces featuring Chico' for several records, including this one. 'Go Ahead and Burn' was paired with 'Try My Love Again', a fine vocal track and a good dancer in its own right that really shows of their versatility.
Billy Young - You Left The Water Running
I think this is probably my favourite version of this great standard, which is quite something considering some of the great singers who've recorded it, including James & Bobby Purify, Maurice and Mac, Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding. In fact, Billy Young was something of a protege of Otis Redding and had previously been recorded on his Jotis label. It's hard for me to pick out exactly what makes this particular take on this tale of broken-hearted yearning stand out for me, there's just something about his phrasing that really makes it hit home.
Blossoms - That's When The Tears Start
Now this is a real stormer. A classic of the girl group sound, with a vocal by the great Darlene Love taking time out from being Phil Spector's secret weapon and of course many years before going on to co-star in the Lethal Weapon films. One of the enduring wonders pop music in general and soul music in particular is how it can turn a story of misery and loneliness into a record as joyful and uplifting as this. A little slice of magic, and part of the reason we all keep listening I think.
Nella Dodds - You Don't Love Me Anymore
A great lesson in Principle One of record collecting - always listen to the B-side! Pretty much all of the Philly singer's records are much loved and this little gem lives on the flip of her tremendous version of 'Come See About Me'. As atmospheric a song as you could hope to hear, and a very pleasant surprise to me the first time I turned the record over.
Jean Knight - Anyone Can Love Him
Roger gave this cracking little tune a nice write-up recently, so I'll direct a bit further down the blog for more information about it. For me it's the bouncy, melodic bass line that drives this song rather than the funky guitar - but arguing about which is better would be like arguing about whether it's the salt or the vinegar that make salt & vinegar crisps great. It's the potatoes, obviously.
Gwen Stewart - You Took Me For A Fool
A really lovely record, but one I know very little about. Released on Call Me Records from Los Angeles, Gwen Stewart was apparently only 19 when she recorded this beauty. A gorgeous mid-tempo beat ballad, I'd be delighted to hear more about it if anyone can help me out.
Mitty Collier - Pain
Well, what can I say? An amazingly sparse arrangement built around Mitty Collier's towering voice this is yet another song that just oozes atmosphere. With a beat powerful enough to make it a great dancer despite the pretty relaxed tempo, this is an absolute gem.
King Coleman - Down In The Basement
In his own words, Carlton 'King' Coleman is a bald-headed wonder full of lightning and thunder! Well, this storming party tune certainly crackles with energy - and if his voice is more like distant rolling thunder than crashes and booms I'm certainly not complaining. This one just slinks its way along at a lounge-lizard pace with a suitably dirty sounding organ and sax interjecting themselves as and when needed to keep the groove ticking over. And those toys he gets to play with in the basement? I want some.
Raelets - One Room Paradise
A glorious chunk of R&B, only to be expected from the Raelets backed by the Ray Charles Orchestra, really. Attitude to spare.
Johnny Sayles - Can't Get Enough (Of Your Love)
A true classic, and its enduring appeal is easy to understand starting out with a brilliant slow burn of an intro rapidly exploding into a full-on inferno of high-intensity soul. Like many singers who later found recognition through the Northern soul scene, Johnny Sayles released tracks on a whole raft of different labels including Chi-Town, Minit, Mar-V-Lus and this one on St. Lawrence.
Spooners Crowd - Two In The Morning
Well, if this one doesn't let you know it's the end of the show nothing will... As I write this it really is late at night, but but the record captures the feel of the small hours well enough that any time you hear it feels like the middle of the night.
So, I hope you've enjoyed it - let me know what you think.
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