Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Six music (Pt. 2) - dawn and dusk, and long titles

For the artists concerned the releases here are representative of the dawn and dusk of their respective recording careers.

As Sisters Sledge, Debbie, Kim, Joni & Kathy had formed in 1971. After one(?) local release they signed with Atco in 1972. “Love Don’t You Go Through No Changes On Me” was I believe their third release for Atco (and I think their second for Atlantic in the UK). Mention Sister Sledge nowadays and Disco will automatically come to mind. But back in the early seventies when they first formed, as teenagers, the Jackson Five were probably the blueprint. Bernard Edwards, Nile Rodgers and Disco were phenomena that hadn’t yet happened. “Changes” is well loved on the Northern circuit I believe. It certainly isn’t a stomper though, and I would think could claim to be one of the earliest examples of the Modern Soul genre (I’m not expert on these labels mind, and don’t really subscribe to all this pigeon-holing). I seem to be building up something of an obsession with this cut - I now own three copies. My first is in fact on an EP issued on the back of a 1974(?) UK Atlantic artists tour (it also includes Ben E King's great "Supernatural Thing"). I only vaguely remember the gig – it was half empty I seem to remember and suffered accordingly from the lack of atmosphere). But I love this track so much that whenever I see it in a cheap bin I can’t resist buying it to give it some TLC.

Laura Lee recorded some really earthy Southern Soul at Rick Hall’s Fame studios in the late sixties that were released on Chess (“Dirty Man” is up there as one of the all time classics of the style). In 1970 she moved to Holland Dozier Holland’s then newly formed Hot Wax label and charted a number of times. By 1973 Hot Wax was no more so Laura was moved onto the Invictus label. An album “I Can’t Make It Alone” was released in 1973 from which both sides of the single featured here come. Earlier releases had put Laura firmly in the straight talking, bold soul sister mould. But by this release it seemed that image was receding.
“Don’t Leave Me Starving For Your Love” was Laura’s last Invictus single. I think the b side “(If You Want To Try Love Again) Remember Me” is the stronger side though. Again, today, it would probably be branded as Modern Soul, and in fact the more I listen to it the more anthemic it feels – some Northern jock should push this. (I’ve given you a scan of both sides just to prove that it is a legitimate “6er”).

Laura left Invictus in 1975 and, with Disco changing the face of black music, her output all but dried up. Then in 1979 she fell sick and was diagnosed with cancer. Thankfully Laura made a full recovery, although it took some time, and she returned to the gospel circuit where she had started her singing career in the fifties with the Meditation Singers. For an in depth look at Laura Lee’s life you should go to Colin Dilnott’s site dedicated to telling her story (that’s where some of this information comes from).

Sister Sledge CD comp.
Laura Lee CD comp.

Sister Sledge - Love Don't You Go Through No Changes On Me 1974
Laura Lee - (If You Want To Try Love Again) Remember Me 1974


wzjn said...

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adlib said...

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