Friday, April 08, 2016

Check me baby...


... because I am still here! 

Oh dear! Nearly another month has gone by since my last post. But, yes, this blog is still alive, albeit crawling into its second decade. An intermittent service may still continue for a couple of months - I'm feverishly busy at work at the moment and by the time I get home usually all I want to do is sit down and vegetate in front of the TV, or idly browse on my new tablet - not my normal mode I have to say.

I'm not short of music to share, but I am short of time to listen to it and research a few words to say about it.

Here is another 45 from the little stack I was so glad to find at a local record fair a few weeks ago. This one was a bit of an impulse purchase I have to say, and not nearly as cheap as the others. I usually set myself tight limits on what I'm willing to shell out on records, and in truth get a real buzz from finding great sounds for peanuts. In this instance, however, I let curiosity take its course and dug into a box of more expensive 45s to see if what lay in the grooves could honestly justify the price tag. The answer generally was no it couldn't - at least not to me - except for this Peacock 45, the one and only record Willie Tomlin released as far as I can tell. The lyrics are just great fun and had me hooked straightaway. (I didn't spend a fortune on it, just a bit more than I usually would consider).     

I can't tell you anything about Willie Tomlin, except that he's one cat that's clean!

Willie Tomlin - Check Me Baby  1968

... and he was almost certainly inspired by this:
              

Sunday, March 13, 2016

10!

This blog is 10 years old today!

It was inconceivable to me back in 2006 that, 10 years later, Feel It would still be alive. So I had been wondering lately how to mark this occasion. A mix of a few things that have appeared here down the years, maybe one from each year? Perhaps some discussion on  how the internet has continued to change the way we discover, and listen to, music in the years since this blog was born? 

Nice ideas, but time is short - my life in general continues to be pretty busy at the moment. And there's the rub. Maybe I'm not quite as enthusiastic about this little project as I once was because I  am managing to do neither of the things mentioned above, which a landmark such as this should surely warrant.

Instead I will just mark another year of operation of this blog in the usual way... by thanking you for still dropping by, letting you know I'm not intending to hang up the closed sign yet... and wishing Candi Staton a Happy Birthday.




 

Friday, March 11, 2016

For the eagle-eyed amongst us


As promised here is the Gloria Lynne 45 that the eagle-eyed Ravel spotted in the pictures in my last post that featured my most recent little 45 haul.

Gloria Mia Wilson was born in Harlem in 1929. Her NY Times obituary tells us she took a male friend's name, who would become her husband – Alleyne – as a stage name in the Fifties, but soon shortened it to Lynne, after so many presenters had trouble pronouncing Alleyne.

Gloria initially sung in groups including the Dell Tones, The Enchanters, and The Dorsey Sisters. Her solo career started sometime around 1958. At least one single was released under her birth name, on Dawn records, but her career really took off under the name Gloria Lynne when she was signed to Everest Records. Between 1958 and 1970 – her most active period – she then had numerous 45 and album releases, and toured with the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, and Billy Eckstine, Although typically labelled a Jazz vocalist her repertoire extended to Jazz, R&B, Soul and lush Pop arrangements, and her songs were often difficult to categorise. She had a fine voice and didn't really get the full recognition, or lasting recording breaks she deserved. The NY Times obit recounts unscrupulous management, and this coupled with changing musical tastes meant the Seventies would prove a low point for her. Later her career would revive and she moved into more pure Jazz circles and toured and performed with Jazz luminaries such as Quincy Jones.

It seems that Gloria Lynne had at least two 45 releases on the Seeco label, which were in the middle of her run of Everest releases. I'm not sure what the story is behind these Seeco 45s (incidentally Dawn, where Gloria made one of early 45 outings, it seems was a subsidiary label of Seeco), they do seem to be fairly obscure, possibly recorded prior to her Everest hook up and released in an attempt to cash in on her growing reputation.

I'm not sure which is the A side here, all I know is I'm Not Afraid Anymore is a great jump blues / R&B number and the stronger side to my mind. I have seen Is There Someone For Me listed as the A side though, which is quite possible, it is a much more pop slanted ballad and might have had more chart potential at the time, Gloria certainly lifts it above the average.


Saturday, March 05, 2016

Back in the saddle

Wow! What happened to February. Lots of stuff going on (in a good way mostly), and busy at work too (for a change). During such times the blog has to take a back seat. Hunting for, or even playing, vinyl doesn't get much of a look in either. Something approaching normal service should be resumed now though.





These pictures document a little haul of cheap 45s picked up a couple of weeks ago at the little local record fair I've mentioned on more than one occasion here before. I have come away from recent visits each time expecting it to be the last time I manage to mine any Soul, but I keep going back and keep getting proved wrong. Very pleased with this little lot. Had I flicked past all of these on previous visits? It's possible, but I think most of these I hadn't seen before, so there is hope for the next time. These 45s were just about my first vinyl purchases (of any variety) of the year. For me it has indeed been quiet on the vinyl front of late. Acquisitions are starting to be made again now but I have resolved to be more selective with my purchases (especially at the charity shops and car boot sales) this year; space - i.e. the lack of it - is now a serious problem. Let's see though, addictions are hard to crack!




More from this little haul in forthcoming posts. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

A queue at the gates

I've been playing a lot of David Bowie this last week or so. His passing hit me hard. David won't be feeling lonely at the gates, every day seems to bring news of the passing of another name from the musical world.


Drew, over the kitchen table so to speak, alerted me to the death of a great singer – Otis Clay – recently. Otis died of a heart attack, age 73, two days before David Bowie. Otis Clay had a wonderful Soul and Blues voice and had been actively singing right up to his passing. He started his solo career in 1965 on the aptly named One-derful! Label (and I realise I don't have enough of his releases on that label.) Is It Over, featured here, is a tortured ballad of real intensity; produced by a moonlighting Willie Mitchell late in 1970 and release on Cotillion early in 1971. Otis would move to Willie's Hi label soon after and continue to release some top drawer Southern Soul. More recently he was a regular on the Blues and Gospel circuits.



A few days ago another legend of Southern Soul - Clarence Reid – succumbed to liver cancer. Some people may have known him by his alter ego Blowfly. As Blowfly he performed sexually explicit material in the 70s and 80s. I have never really explored that side of his career, knowing him better as a producer and writer for many Florida based acts, such as Betty Wright, Gwen McCrae and KC & The Sunshine Band. He also released some material under his own name in the early 70s too.












It's going to be quite a party up there this month. Rest In Peace guys.



(*co written and produced by Clarence Reid)    

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

And the stars look very different today

Thanks for everything David. Ever since I saw you perform Starman on TOTP your music has been spinning around in my head, not always to the fore but always there, a bedrock. A part of my life has died. Don't think we will see your like again. I am sort of lost for words, and even if I had the words I wouldn't be able to see through the tears to type them. 


  

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Back to the future


A belated Happy New Year to you all.

This should be a time for looking forward but I always find myself in a contemplative mood and looking back, thinking about the passage of time. It probably has something to do with my birthday being on New Year's Eve.

In recent days I've been digging deep into my collection and have pulled out a few albums I haven't played enough down the years. When you have 1000+ albums an equally large number of singles I suppose that statement will actually apply to most of my records!

I thought I had featured The Bar-Kays 1972 album Do You See What I See? before here, but a quick trawl through my old posts seems to say not. If in fact it has featured and I have bent your ear with the following musings before, I apologise.

In line with my contemplative mood there are a few things worth saying about this album. In my teens a friend of mine had a copy of this album. Those were the days when department stores used to have racks of cut outs, and I think that is where he probably found his copy. He was very artistic and it was the cover that probably attracted him to it. Of course we only had pocket money, or a Saturday shelf stacking job (in my case) to provide meagre funds for record buying then, so we couldn't afford to buy much, especially blind. I shudder to think what we passed on in those racks back in the day. Anyway I remember listening to this album at his parent's house a few times and it stuck in the memory.

Fast forward to 2004. That was when I joined the ebay hoards and I thought it was time I started acquiring some of the albums I had loved down the years but never owned. This Bar-Kays album was one of the first records, if not the first, I ever purchased on ebay. When I bought it I probably played it maybe three times at most and so for the last 10 years at least(!) it has been filed away in the collection unplayed – until today. Even so, ever since I first heard it at my friend's house back in the Seventies, it has been one of those records that has been with me in my mind, every now and then popping into my thoughts, or jumping onto my mental jukebox. It's funny how just certain records can do that, specific memories give some a helping hand I suppose.

And now here we are in 2016. I understand the vinyl revival continues apace. Apparently the biggest selling home audio product on Amazon this Christmas was a $50 all in one turntable. Most of these have been bought by, presumably young, people new to the wonders of vinyl I would guess. So a whole new generation will be buying their first records. The format kind of demands the music contained is listened to at home, and in the case of albums, straight through. No listening on the move through headphones, no constant skipping and shuffling the virtual collection. Maybe such behaviour will cause a few more records to be lodged in peoples' memory for the long term, just as this Bar-Kays album has in mine.



Do You See What I See? has great packaging – incidentally probably one reason why people are flooding back to vinyl – a gatefold sleeve of thick card, matt finished, with striking artwork. The artwork documents many of the big themes and questions haunting America in the early Seventies and hints at the tone of social consciousness that courses through many of the tracks on the album, although there are some killer ballads, in the simpler vein of love, on the album too. Here are two tracks to give you an idea.