Saturday, April 28, 2007

The second podcast - getting into the groove of it now...

Thanks a lot for all the great feedback on the first podcast - I hope this one goes down as well! Well, here's the rundown:

Bob Brady & the Con Chords - Everybody's Goin' To The Love-In
Almost as smokey as Smokey himself, this blue-eyed soul take on Goin' to a Go-Go is a winner right from the start. The fantastic build-up of energy in the intro grabs hold of you and never lets go, truly a great dance tune. The fine folks over at Funky 16 corners have an interview with one of the members of the band, so I'll direct you there for more info on the band and the tune.

Little Milton - Sometimey
Little Milton it among the small number of performers who can quite genuinely be considered a legendary Blues man, and is also much loved by soul fans both for this tune and his outstanding 'Grits Ain't Groceries'. Born in Inverness, Mississippi in 1934, Milton's earliest recordings were on Sun records as a contemporary of Elvis Presley. His first hits, though, came on moving to Bobbin Records where he was also the A&R chief - responsible for signing Fontella Bass and Albert King to the label. Success on Bobbin drew the attention of Chess records, and Milton was signed to Checker which became the scene of possibly his greatest success. He recorded a string of hits there from 1962 through 1971, before moving on to Stax as the Chess family of labels dissolved and recording yet more massive hits until Stax filed for bankruptcy in 1975. Little Milton went on to record at numerous other labels including MCA and Malaco up until his death from a stroke on August 4th, 2005.

Premieres - I'm Better Off Now Than I Was Before
This is a lovely tune, and despite its almost doo-wop sound was in fact recorded in 1966 - much later than it sounds. It's on King, the other side of the record is also very nice - and beyond that I don't know an awful lot about it. As ever, any more information gratefully received!

3 Degrees - Gotta Draw The Line

Tremendous - are you getting the idea yet that I like the girl-group sound? This is a great example of Philly girl sound, and probably the 3 Degrees most famous song of the 60's

Flamingos - The Boogaloo Party
Strange to think that one of the greatest vocal groups of their time had their biggest UK hit with this very uncharacteristic (but brilliant) slice of danceable pop. They did have almost two decades worth of US R&B hits from 1953 to 1970, though. Always characterised by both incredibly precise harmonies and an exciting and well-choreographed performing style which went on to influence both the Four Tops and the Temptations, they were in a league of their own. It doesn't really have the right feel for a podcast like this, but do look out for their version of 'September Song' for a slice of pure class.

Moses Smith - The Girl Across The Street
A song I know very little about, but one that has a special place in my affections as it's among the very first Northern Soul songs I ever heard and was largely responsible for drawing me into the scene in the first place. Realising there were records out there that I'd never heard of but which sounded this good drew me into looking for them and I've never looked back...

Frank Butler - How I Feel About You
A nice mid-tempo R&B sound with a cracking groove and a really sweet organ sound. Beyond that I don't know anything about it I'm afraid - once again feel free to fill me in!

Big Mama Thornton - Wade In The Water
Born Willie Mae Thornton in 1926, Big Mama Thornton is probably still best known for her No. 1 R&B hit with "Hound Dog", later taken to even greater prominence by Elvis Presley. In fact, she was an amazingly prolific multi-instrumentalist with a lengthy career. A very imposing stage presence, at six feet tall and around 350lb she remained a popular live performer, even when sales of her records suffered to the fashion for newer R&B styles in the early 60's. This belting version of 'Wade In the Water', with backing from the Hound Dogs, dates from around this time - and I think gives a pretty good idea why people were still paying to see her in their droves.

Duettes - Every Beat Of My Heart

Featuring Barbara Livsey (later of Barbara and the Uniques), this excellent girl-group tune is one of those records which feels familiar and much loved right from the very first time you hear it - it has such a strong hit you really can't quite believe it's not a hit you grew up with. Not that that takes anything away from the pleasure of listening to it right now, of course!

Charts - Fell In Love With You Baby
It may show my age - for all I know this tune was a monster on the original Northern scene - but for me this is another prime example of Principle One. This lives on the flip side of 'Desiree', one of my all-time favourite Northern sides, and this one was unknown to me until I flipped the 45. In fact, as with the Flamingos above, this is a late attempt by a wonderful 50's vocal group at updating their sound to match the fashions of the 60's - in this case by updating their original and most famous hit, 'Deserie', released on Everlast in 1957. 'Fell In Love With You Baby' really shows of their vocal group roots, with a wonderfully complex arrangement that the group are more than capable of living up to, and tenors soaring and swooping all over the case. Tremendous stuff, and don't be surprised if 'Desiree' shows up in a future podcast. And yes, for reasons unknown to me the 1957 and 1966 versions of the song are indeed spelled differently.

Dori Grayson - Try Love
A brilliant, mid-tempo song with a winning combination a a lolloping, rolling groove, tremendous backing vocals and a storming, preaching lead - this track is what soul is all about for me. Beyond that, though, I know precious little about it. Murco was a tiny label, but with seemingly amazing quality control as I've never heard a bad Murco track. Incidentally, this record is another Principle One contender - make sure you listen to 'Got Nobody To Love' as well.

Hope you enjoy it, let me know what you think!

Subscribe to the podcast with iTunes or Download this podcast as mp3

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Around the blogs

I have stumbled upon a number of brilliant music blogs recently. I find them an excellent way of finding out about music and artists that I would otherwise be ignorant of and I never need much of an excuse to expand my wants list.

First up we have the wonderful Fufu Stew. Vincent has been kind enough to give us a couple of shouts over there and has said the kindest things about the first Blush Radio podcast (version two should hit the cyber-airwaves later this week). Vincent has an engagingly idiosyncratic style but more importantly has superb taste in music and his prolificacy puts us to shame. Fufu Stew sounds have rarely been off my MP3 player in the last month.

Next up we have Shindiggit, things are running a little slow over there at the moment but it is still worth checking out. Shindiggit covers a wide base of styles and is all the better for it.

Feel It is an excellent soul blog from over here in Blighty. Darcy posts some great stuff covering a wide variety of soulful sounds and is always well worth reading.

Finally, we come to Office Naps, which I am smitten with. Every Monday is a new post with downloads covering soul, garage, mod, psychedelic, gospel, jazz… I have only discovered this site recently but spent a good afternoon downloading and it’s all good stuff.

I’ve been picking up a load of new stuff over the last couple of weeks and will be writing about a few of them over the next few weeks.


Monday, April 09, 2007

Almost a set list.

Thanks to everyone who turned up on Good Friday, I hope that you enjoyed yourself, I certainly did. With all of the excitement, I didn’t get a chance to keep a proper note of the order I played tracks in so here is a list of them in no particular order:

Mitty Collier – I Can’t Lose
Jackie Ross – I’ve Got The Skill
The Mirettes – Take Me For A Little While
Ella Fitzgerald – Get Ready
The Reflections – (Just Like) Romeo and Juliet
Barbara Lynn – You Left The Water Running
Thelma Jones – Stronger
The Shirelles – Too Much Of A Good Thing
Betty LaVette – What Condition My Condition Is In
Jessica James and the Outlaws – We’ll Be Making Out
Crampton Sisters – Baby Baby
Baby Washington – Think About The Good Times
Martha Jean Love – How To Succeed In Love (Without Really Trying)
Little Anthony and the Imperials – Gonna Fix You Good (Everytime You’re Bad)
Barbra Mercer – Nobody Loves You Like Me
Lela Martin and the Soul Providers – You Can’t Have Your Cake (And Eat It Too)
Carl Carlton – I Can Feel It
Little Eva – Stand By Me

Pearl Woods – Sippin Sorrow (Charge)

I mentioned this track in my recent purchases write up a while ago but I like it so much that I think it warrants a posting in its own right.

Pearl Woods was born Lily Pearl Woodard on 24th September 1933 in St Matthews, South Carolina and she moved to New York City in 1951. She released her first record in 1956 on Dot and recorded another side for that label before moving on Wall where she released a couple of records.

Sippin Sorrow was released in 1961 and was Pearl’s only single on Charge, it was also had a release on Dawn (anyone care to clear up which release was first?). On it she is backed by Little Richard’s band, the Upsetters. This is a great up beat r&b track with a nice skippy beat and fantastic horns. Pearl clearly feels wronged by her man and warning him that he’ll get his. The vocal performance on this track is very strong, with a nice, slightly slurred delivery, the b side is also excellent.

You'll notice, that I have finally got around to adding label scans to the old posts, sorry for my tardiness.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The very first BlushRadio podcast

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.


Subscribe to the podcast with iTunes or Download this podcast as mp3