Saturday, March 24, 2007


Thanks to all who left kind words on the Celebrations post. And how do I repay you? By going nearly two weeks without a post! Work has got in the way somewhat – In Germany again without easy access to the Interweb I’m afraid, and it’s likely to be that way on and off for the next few weeks so the posts may miss a few beats.

An English colleague of mine is an excellent host while I’m in Germany. We stay in neighbouring flats, but because he has a permanent base there his is well stocked with music and alcohol (for purely medicinal purposes you understand – ha ha!) and so most evenings last week we retired there “for a nightcap”. In truth there were so many nightcaps the place could have been a milliners! So on a heady cocktail of Weissbier, malt whisky and Calvados we took a spin through his CD collection. Soul is virtually absent but most everything else is present, and a fine mixture it is. “Shangrenade” by Harvey Mandel made me sit up and take notice (I think I may have temporarily slipped off my chair after another Calvados – no, only joking). Like our drinks mix it’s a heady concoction – in this case of jazz/rock/blues/funk. I had to borrow it so I could post up a track. Listening to it sober it may not have quite the same effect so for a perfect marriage open a few bottles of whatever takes your fancy and then do the Fish Walk.

And to do the fish walk you really have to wade in the water and - hey presto! - you can pick up Harvey’s 1968 take on “Wade In The Water” over at Art Decade.

Now it’s time to check on how my wife is getting on the laundry because I’ve got to pack my case again tomorrow!

Harvey Mandel – Fish Walk 1973

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Hey ! Feel It is 1 year old today ! I can’t believe it’s a year already. I wasn’t sure I would be able to keep up the pace when I started but I seem to have settled into a groove. At lift off I was intending to mix up the musical styles a bit but it hasn’t turned out that way as my groove is now very much in the soul bag, with splashes of reggae, jazz and funk along the way. I think to wander from this path now might spoil this blogs identity so maybe I’ll start a parallel one to feature all the other musical genres that float my boat, we’ll see.

Thanks to all who have left comments and all who simply stop by from time to time. The visitors seem to have gradually increased over the year so I guess I must be doing something right. I hope you’re feeling what I’m feeling and here’s to year two.

My very first real post here was deliberately timed to coincide with Candi Staton’s birthday. She has to be my favourite singer, her voice is guaranteed to send those shivers down my spine. So once again -Happy Birthday Candi.

There can be no better way to celebrate Feel It’s 1st and Candi’s 64th birthday than with a couple of tracks from a queen of soul. Both are from her eponymous 1972 album: “Darling…” cannot be currently be found on CD as far as I know, and then there is the peerless (Elvis agreed) “In The Ghetto”. That album provided the cover picture for Honest Jon’s extensive compilation of her Fame output, and that is a great place to start if you feel inclined to fill your world with some more of her wonderful voice – you really should you know.

Candi Staton – Darling You’re All That I Had 1972

Candi Staton – In The Ghetto 1972

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Proxy music - the end is near

I’m thinking it’s about time the borrowed soul pack is returned to its rightful owner. Before it goes back here are two more from the stack. Both are on labels that were soon to be no more.

South Shore Commission’s “Train Called Freedom” is definitely on the Love Train track, a gorgeous bit of Phillyesque disco soul on the Wand label. Wand started life in 1961 as a sister label to Scepter. After progressing through a number of label designs it finally shut up shop in 1976 and Wand 11294 was the penultimate release.

The Admirations track featured here dates from 1967, although it sounds earlier to me. It has a doo-wop feel to it, and also a great raw edge, which was something of a trademark of George Leaner’s One-derful, and sister Mar-V-Lus and M-Pac labels. Only four more singles made it to release on the One-derful label before it too was confined to history when the whole family of labels went out of business in 1968.

Labels, labels, labels - I said in my last post they are part of the magic of the 45 rpm record. As I’m feeling a little lazy on the wordsmithing front right now I thought I would just leave you with a list of all the labels that appear in this little soul pack I have borrowed (if you collect records I know you love lists):

United, Scorpio, Mar-V-Lus, Sound Plus, Ram-Brock, Jacklyn, People, Brainstorm, Today, EM.T, Roulette, Rain Forest, Revilot, D.C Sound, Soulvation Army, Seventy-Seven, Brunswick, Perception, Toddlin Town, Sock & Soul, Swar, Bale, Kashe, New York Sound Co, Desert Moon, Ludix Productions, Shout, Truth, 12:00, Calla, SSS Intl, Turbo, Steeltown, Segue, Keylock, All Platinum, De-Lite, Little Star, RR, Kudu, Wand, One-derful.

And now let’s get on with the show, as they say.

South Shore Commission – Train Called Freedom 1976

Admirations – Wait Til I Get To Know You 1967

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Proxy music

I remember when any number of record dealers used to sell soul packs – batches of anything from 10 to 100 singles. You didn’t know what you were getting you just paid your money and took a chance. The idea always appealed, but at the same time my naturally cautious nature always told me that, as there were plenty of records I KNEW I wanted, I ought to spend my limited funds on those and not take a shot in the dark on a soul pack that maybe full of duds. So I never bought one. Recently, as my passion for vinyl, and soul in particular, has come roaring back I have often wished that I had taken a punt on some of those packs. Why? Here are some reasons:

1. The feeling of anticipation (you know - THAT feeling) as you flick through the records for the first time. Will any of those must haves on the wants list be there? Will an original on the Shrine label be hiding in the middle of the stack (or something that, to your ears, is not irresistible but is mega rare and sought after so you will be able to part with it and run off into the sunset with the cash).

2. The company sleeves - if you’re lucky – or if no company sleeves then an original plain brown sleeve will do. (BTW I have never seen a Fame company sleeve - does one exist?).

3. All those fabulous labels: the obscurities, the only ever release, the now heralded but then unknown names buried in the credits, the colours and designs, the odd misspelling.

4. These records for the most part look mint you think, only a few have drill holes, the labels are pristine. You wonder where they have been for all these years – were they once loved and then discarded? Did they ever get as far as a record shop? Have they ever been played? How many warehouses, back rooms, garages have they sat in unloved and unplayed? in how many States of America?, and counties of Great Britain? Isn’t it weird the journey they have taken to finally arrive on your turntable? How many of the people involved in the making of the record are still alive? This one is on a local label, would they think it strange that after all these years their record has finally found a loving home not in the American city where it was made but in another country?

5. Oh yes, of course, these beautiful pieces of vinyl (or styrene) have grooves on them that contain music to be listened to – it gets better! So then the question: do you play them straight from the stack as they were packed or do you sort them into some sort of order of play. For those you are unfamiliar with maybe some instinct tells you some could be better than others so do you play these first or attempt to leave the best until last? Some you may already have, some you don’t but are already familiar with, so leave those ‘til last maybe?

6. You’re sat there with your feet up and a cigarette (or a cup of coffee if like me you don’t smoke), you’ve played them all. Some knocked you out straight away, you played them twice, three times straight off. Some you thought thanks but no thanks, some will grow on you but you don’t know it yet.

7. What now? Oh God! You had better feed the cats and do the washing up! Then you revisit points 2 and 3 above.

8. You wonder what fresh mysteries may lurk in the dead wax: pressing plant stamps mastering comments, maybe this one is a pressing, maybe they all are? No these are originals, you are sure.

9. Now it’s time for more music, so you play all the B sides. Some it’s difficult to tell which is the A and which is the B. No matter there are a few great B sides too.

10. Then you just have to go to bed, knowing you will start at 2 and relive those experiences all over again at your first opportunity.

But how do I know this if I’ve never bought one you say? Well, recently I have moved desks in my place of work so have new office neighbours. A few of us got talking about music and I revealed my rekindled passion for soul music and vinyl. It turns out one of my colleagues used to be into the scooter scene back in the early 80s. Together with a friend they bought a soul pack of 100 records from a dealer, somewhere in Essex he seems to remember, and split them 50 50. This would have been about 1984. He played them a few times liked some, but then gradually they were forgotten. For the last 15 years or so they have sat in a singles case pretty much untouched. Would I like to see them he asked?
Er, yes please! So now I am temporary charge of it. A soul pack by proxy!

Even though the pack isn’t mine I have certainly run through points 1 to 10 above and with pretty much an undimmed intensity of feelings. There are some great records in there and some not so good. But as described above I have realised that even if what’s in the grooves is no great shakes there is plenty of pleasure to be gained from the object as a whole – I love looking at the labels in particular (my colleague had put all the records into cardboard sleeves so the thrill of the occasional company sleeve is missing but you can’t have everything). According to popsike there is one single in the batch that has consistently fetched more than £100 whenever it has appeared on ebay, and there are a few other £20+ records in there I think, but that’s all incidental really and is just a small part of the overall pleasure this soul pack has brought my colleague, and now me, if only by proxy.

Kim Weston – Danger, Heartbreak Ahead 1970

Lovemasters – Pushin’ And Pullin’ 1968

Sharpees – Tired Of Being Lonely 1966