Thursday, March 29, 2007

Carl Carlton – I Can Feel It (Back Beat)

Carl Carlton was born in Detroit in 1953. Carl’s early releases on the Lando and Golden World, under the name “Little Carl” Carlton, one presumes to cash in on fellow Detroit sensation, Stevie Wonder. In 68 Carl moved to Houston label Back Beat and released the classic Competition Ain’t Nothing Babe.

I Can Feel It was released in 1970 and is a great upbeat dancer. It starts off with a horn line, before being joined by the vocals and the rest of the instrumentation. There’s a great breakdown midway through, before building to the finale.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Lela Martin and the Soul Providers – You Can't Have Your Cake (And Eat It Too) (Melatone)

This one is pretty rare and it has taken to a couple of years to track down a copy. I have also drawn a blank when trying to find out more about the Lela Martin or this record. All I can tell you is that, this was recorded in LA, Carol King co-produced it and written by William Powell. Lela recorded at least one other single for Melatone and one for Stigers.

The song itself is one minute and forty-eight seconds of stomping soul brilliance. It starts off with a pounding bass line before the up tempo drums, guitar and vibes join in. Lela’s vocals are sweet and the male backing vocalists offer a nice counterbalance.

As I’ve said, this track can be pretty difficult to pick up but it is featured on the excellent Soul Function cd/dvd which is well worth picking up for this track alone.

Unfortunately, I’ve been having a problem with my scanner so I haven’t been able to do the label scans I intended to do. Hopefully, I’ll be able to fix this over the weekend and get the lovely label scans up here for you beautiful people.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Jean Knight – Anyone Can Love Him (Staff)

Jean Knight is, of course, best known for the Stax classic Mr Big Stuff. She was born Jean Caliste in 1943 in Crescent City, New Orleans but changed her name because she thought that people would have trouble pronouncing her last name.

Jean had been performing around New Orleans since her early twenties before being discovered by Huey Meaux and signed to his Tribe and Jet Stream labels. She released a number of singles on these labels throughout the mid-sixties and although these releases were well received within New Orleans none broke through to gain national attention.

Anyone Can Love Him was released in 1966 on Staff, which I believe is a Detroit label that mainly released jazz and gospel (can anyone confirm). It was also released on Tribe, which I would assume that this was the original (local) release but again if anyone can confirm I’d be delighted to hear from you.

The song starts with a rolling guitar line which carries the song and provides most of the rhythm. The sound is very sparse and Jean’s vocals are quite thin and high pitched. Describing it in such a way does the song a great disservice as it has real charm, is very distinctive and after a few listens it really begins to grab you. You can clearly hear the early funk influence of New Orleans in the song without it being an out and out funk track and this song would, therefore, cross over nicely between the soul and funk scenes.

I’ve been playing this record in warm up sets for a couple of years now and it always gets a good reception. This is yet another cheapy and you should have no problems securing a copy for under £10.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Roscoe Robinson – What Makes A Man Do Wrong (Tuff)

Roscoe Robinson was in various gospel outfits, notably The Southern Sons Quartet and the Fairfield Four before going secular. What A Man Do Wrong was his first secular release and just goes to show what a short step it is from the church to the stage.

Released in 1963 on the Tuff label, this is a gritty, gospel tinged affair. It kicks off with a nice guitar lick before being quickly followed by the drums, at this point Roscoe belts out the title of the song before being joined by some great female backing. The rest of the track is pretty basic call and response stuff but done with such vigour that you cannot fail but be moved, both emotionally and physically. I picked this record up blind and it is one of my best blind purchases.

I am going to do some label scans to add to some of the posts over the next week or so, to brighten the place up a bit and because I love looking at them on other people’s sites. I’ll also continue to write about more of my favourite disks, a couple of times a week. I’ve been keeping my postman busy over the last couple of months, so I’ll write about some new purchases but mix that up with some old favourites.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Little Eva – Stand By Me (Amy)

Everyone will be familiar with the Ben E King original of this track but this version is a little less known. Little Eva is of course most famous for recording the The Loco-Motion. She was born Eva Narcissus Boyd in 1943 in Bellhaven, North Carolina and moved to New York to finish her education. Whilst in New York, Eva worked as a maid and babysitter for Carole King and Gerry Goffin. It was through this connection that she came to record the Loco-Motion, although the song was originally intended for Dee Dee Sharpe.

Little Eva’s version of Stand By Me was released in 1965 and was her only release on Amy, as far as I can tell. It is more up beat than the Ben E King version and works well as a mid-paced dancer. Eva puts in a great vocal performance and it builds to a nice finale. There seem to be quite a few copies of this floating around and I do not think that it is particularly collectable, hence you can get a great song at a really reasonable price.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Barbra Mercer – Nobody Loves You Like Me (Golden World)

This is one of my current favourites and a nice cheap one to pick up. I can see why Berry Gordy bought out Golden World because there is a definite Motown vibe to this Detroit stormer. Barbra Mercer offers breathy vocals over a driving beat and some nice piano. I haven’t had the chance to play this one out yet but I am certain to do so on Good Friday.

I’ve found Golden World to be a pretty reliable label and it’s nice and easy to pick up stuff on it. Both the Reflections (Just Like) Romeo and Juliet and Pat Lewis’ Can’t Shake It Loose, will be familiar to many but that doesn’t detract from how great they are.