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!

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Anonymous said...

Top Draw! Just Like Before!!!!

Todd Lucas said...

Ed, haven't listened to this yet but looking forward to it, especially the Three degrees tune. I found their "Are You Satis-fied" on Swan a couple of years ago and love it.