Thursday, December 24, 2020

The Feel It Advent-ure 2020: Door 24

So we finally come to Door 24, which on this particular Advent-ure means it is an X.

But I don't have an X in the box. Hmmm.

Ah, of course - X is also for Xmas. Phew!

I expect I have shared this with you before but I only have one Christmas album. It is a classic and one I'm glad I picked up back in the mid '70s in the cut out bins. A nice original of A Christmas Gift For You which, after all these years, is still in its shrink.

Have a safe Christmas.

PS: The track listing on the back cover times Sleigh Ride at 3.45. It clocks in at a shade over 3 minutes. Perhaps The Ronettes fell off the sleigh before the end!

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

The Feel It Advent-ure 2020: Door 23

I think I have more Ws than any other letter in my Soul boxes. That's due, in part, to having some prolific, and popular with me, artists gracing the section, such as Betty Wright, Jackie Wilson, Ella Washington, and OV Wright. But I'm not going to share any of those with you tonight.

I'm feeling mellow right now so I think Lee Williams and The Cymbals  debut on the Carnival label suits the mood well. This is a great two sider. Both tracks are things of pure and simple beauty. This single I am sure sold very well amongst the ladies. Faye, whoever she is/was bought this one; new, I wonder? Carnival was based in Newark, NJ, so one is tempted to say Faye may have lived there, or in nearby New York as many local labels only spawned local hits. However, this 45 did very well and made it into the Top 50 of the national R&B charts in the Spring of 1967. It had been initially released back in '66 so it was a slow burner, and it also meant that it would have sold in good numbers much further afield (it did very well in Chicago apparently), and means Faye could have bought this pretty much anywhere across eastern USA.

It's difficult to pick a favourite side of this 45, so once again you get both.

Lee Williams and the Cymbals – I Love You More 1966

Lee Williams and the Cymbals – I'll Be Gone 1966

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

The Feel It Advent-ure 2020: Door 22

This record and me has certainly had a curious history.

I think my memory is still functioning well enough on this 45 to say it has been in one box or other in my collection since the mid 70s when I bought it blind from a mailing list. Since then I reckon it has only ever had a handful of plays. It obviously didn't register with me as a strong sound, but at the same time I have felt very attached to it, I am assuming because it was one of the my early mailing list purchases. It did, however, seem to register enough with me that whenever I have flicked past it in the box it plays in my head. Except it doesn't!??? I'll explain. Having just played it, neither side are anything like the song that played in my head! And I like what comes out of the grooves. This 45 has had a bad rap all these years!

The Voice Masters started life in St Louis around 1965. After a couple of local single releases they landed on Bamboo and recording and production relocated to Chicago. They had three 45s issued on Bamboo culminating in this release which made the Top 50 US Soul charts in June 1970. All three of their Bamboo singles featured the same B side – If A Woman Catches A Fool. Gene Chandler headed the production team for Voice Masters in Chicago. James Thompson was lead singer and chief song writer for the group. Later in the 70s a number of Soul artists would record his songs - e.g. Betty Wright (Slip And Do It), and Gene Chandler (including the Disco smash Get Down, and another of Gene's I have always really liked – Does She Have A Friend?). All this I have just learnt, and it somehow makes my bond to this record even stronger. I am also much more likely to pull it out of the box and put it on the turntable in future, but if I do flick past it at least the right song will play in my head!

As I said, this charted in June 1970, and it I think it does have a very summery feel to it. Certainly something that brightens up a dull and damp winter's evening.

The Voice Masters – Dance Right Into My Heart  1970

A song that has been a B side no less than three times also deserves a spin: 

The Voice Masters - If A Woman Catches A Fool  1968(orig.)

Monday, December 21, 2020

The Feel It Advent-ure 2020: Door 21

On this year's Advent-ure through the alphabet I knew I had a problem awaiting me on the 24th, but I hadn't thought about today's choice. I have found precisely zero 45s in the U section of the Soul boxes.

So let's look at the albums. Hmmm, none in the “first division” section. So “second division” then? Just one. Of course – The Undisputed Truth.

There again I must have some Upsetters 45s in the reggae box. Yes, I have three, all scratchy, as reggae 45s picked up in the wild always are it seems.

The Undisputed Truth album I have is Down To Earth from 1974. I have just played it all the way through and really enjoyed it. The enjoyment was helped by the fact that the condition of the album is at the other end of the spectrum to my Upsetters singles.

I am glad I played the album right through too because the last track on side 2 is beautiful. Somehow, for all these years, Save My Love For A Rainy Day is a song that hasn't stuck in the memory, but it is in there now. The song was originally recorded by the Temptations in '67. The Undisputed Truth took the song at a more languid pace and released it as their first single in '71. This album version from '74 is at least very similar, and is quite possibly the same take. Down To Earth is not listed as a compilation album, and looking at their albums the same songs do seem to pop up on multiple albums.

The Undisputed Truth – Save My Love For A Rainy Day 1974 /71?

Go on then - after all, it is Christmas - here is an Upsetters track too. Despite being cleaned up using Audacity's click removal tool there is still plenty of authentic crackle!  

Upsetters– Dollar In The Teeth 1969

Sunday, December 20, 2020

The Feel It Advent-ure 2020: Door 20

Arriving at the Ts in the boxes I am presented with a surfeit of Taylors. There is Debbie, and Gloria, and Little Johnny, and Johnnie, and Josephine, and R Dean, and Ted.

So a Taylor it is. Most of these artists have appeared at least once here before but I will choose Johnnie as considering he is one of my favourite male vocalists I feel he has been a little under-represented. Or so I thought. I just looked it up and found that actually he has had his fair share of posts. No matter.

My son asked me recently if I knew of, and liked, Johnnie Taylor. (His question had been prompted by the Mercedes ad that has been run on British TV in recent months. He had added that track to a Spotify playlist of Soul music he and a couple of his friends had started. My son's musical taste has many overlaps with my own it seems). I put him in the picture re my enduring love of JT, it goes all the back to around 1973 in all probability.

Just The One I've Been Looking For, which is the the track featured in that Mercedes ad, was a B side of a 1966 Stax 45 and is not in my collection. I have been looking for a copy but it is proving very elusive. Looking at Discogs it seems there may never have been many copies in circulation but it was nevertheless “cheap as chips” when it did appear for sale. The ad would appear to have changed that. I have not seen a copy actively for sale on Discogs for the most of this year I have been looking. When they pop up they must sell immediately and the last two sold on the 'ogs went for $30 each. The power of advertising.

It transpires quite a few of JT's singles in my box have had an airing hereabouts. So time to produce an album track. I hadn't been aware of his 1977 album Reflections until a couple of years ago when I stumbled across a copy on ebay for a £1 – couldn't pass that up! Being 1977 I was half expecting a certain gloss to the production, a commerciality, and at least a few disco slanted tracks, but no, it's JT at his finest singing straight soul numbers with sympathetic arrangements. A pleasant surprise. It was an odd release really, he had left Columbia and this was his only outing on RCA. Soon after he would find a spiritual home at Malaco. Here is the atmospheric closing track on the album, it has quite an unusual arrangement, and Johnnie is in fine form.

Johnnie Taylor – Forgive And Forget 1977 

Saturday, December 19, 2020

The Feel It Advent-ure 2020: Door 19

On Monday we can expect a Great Conjunction as Saturn and Jupiter appear almost as one in the night sky, visible in the UK.

Tonight there has been another conjunction, again you might need to be in the UK to fully appreciate it.

Here, behind Door 19, there is, of course, if you have been paying attention, an S.

Tonight on TV we watched, dancing amongst other things to the Sugarhill Gang's Rapper's Delight, the magnificent entertainer Bill Bailey winning Strictly. A feel good moment in these strange times if ever there was one.

I could not, in my wildest dreams, have imagined I would have experienced something like that 40 odd years after buying this record!


Friday, December 18, 2020

The Feel It Advent-ure 2020: Door 18

I have just found this in the box. I have no recollection of when, or where, I bought this record. Which is unusual. It's like I'm playing it for the first time. This is a great double sider.

The black star on this promo copy is a sign that Why Are You Afraid was the plug side. But I see a an X written on the other side too, which is a sign that someone, a DJ or a previous owner, preferred the Darling side. I'm leaning towards that one too. Roscoe is in fine voice and I particularly like the guitar fills.

I wonder who Barbara was, and where she lived? Unlike the Major Lance record behind Door 12, with no surname or address to go on I will never know.

Roscoe Robinson – Darling, Please Tell Me 1967