Thursday, November 16, 2006

How much!?

On a fairly regular basis I drop by Manship’s auction page. It’s good entertainment - I don’t buy, just look, and wonder whether the records can really be worth the money that is being bid and that there are people out there that can square it with themselves to shell out the sometimes stratospheric amounts of dosh that the records go for. No and yes are probably the answers. Earlier this week, as I was passing through, somebody was sitting on a current bid of £7375 for Don Gardner’s “Cheatin Kind” on Sedgrick with just under a day to go. I missed the end of the auction but guessed if I swung by soul-source their forums would be alive with the (probably predominantly Northern English accented) chatter of the progress of this particular auction. Sure enough I found what I was looking for – the Don Gardner slab of vinyl finally went for £8687 (yes that’s GBP)! Amazing. Not moving in NS circles I had never heard of this record. I listened to a sound clip (a few times) and have to say - I’ll whisper it: it really isn’t very good (in my humble opinion of course). The soul-source forum thread on said disc was fascinating, Apparently it was found in a DJ collection of predominantly rock and pop that was being offloaded. A few copies had circulated in the 70s. Mr. Manship himself had been chipping in saying how he had bought a copy of it for £3 from the legendary Soul Bowl in the mid 70s and sold it on for a similar amount a couple of years later. Apparently a few had tried to break it on the dancefloors, all to no avail. But crucially only a few copies have ever surfaced and so it developed into a ‘holy grail’ record. This is truly the strange world of Northern Soul. Record collecting as an extreme sport, or is it trainspotting as high art?

Even if I won the lottery I couldn’t imagine spending more than a tenth of that amount on a record. Luckily there’s still so much great vinyl around I don’t need to consider it.

“Just A Little Overcome” seems appropriate here. A truly magnificent soul record from the Nightingales (sans Ollie) and tons better than the Don Gardner track imo. Tommy Tate is the lead singer on this track (as I learnt recently while idly browsing John Ridley’s page at the Soul of The Net). This is from a strong compilation of Stax output “The Stax Story” that’s been in my collection for many years. The sleeve notes of this album say of the Nightingales and this track: “Originally a gospel group, the Dixie Nightingales, who worked steadily, weekend in weekend out, throughout the fifties (and recorded for Pepper and Nashboro Records), signed to Stax’s new subsidiary gospel label Chalice. In ’67 they had become Ollie & The Nightingales (featuring the lead voice of Ollie Hoskins) and turned their scorching, testifying style to non-religious material. The group had hits (“I Got A Sure Thing” 1968, and “I’ve Got A Feeling” 1969) before Ollie left to record solo (first with Stax, later for the MGM distributed Pride label) and the Nightingales turned in “Just A Little Overcome” an undiscovered flipside classic released in May ’71. Listen hard, it’ll move any soul”. Indeed.

In fact it was B side to “I Don’t Want To Be Like My Daddy” and you can probably pick this up for less than a tenner. On CD you can find the track on an Ollie & The Nightingales compilation.

Nightingales or Don Gardner? Whichever way you look at it I think it’s a no brainer, take me to Berkeley Square immediately (ouch!).

Nightingales – Just A Little Overcome 1971


The Soulfly Belfast said...

Just discovered your blog. Loved the Rufus track.
The song' Hollywwood' they do is a good one to checkout also.
Brillant insight surrounding Ollie and the Nightingales.
Does anyone know these people who fork out this kind of money ?

The Stepfather of Soul said...

"Just a Little Overcome" is probably one of the most criminally overlooked '70s soul ballads out there. The intensity of that record makes it probably one of the hottest records that came out on Stax at that time, albeit as a B-side!