Friday, February 01, 2008

The only day in The Village

The body clock has readjusted, the jet lag fade outs have subsided, and although we only returned from New York on Monday it already seems like a long time ago. All ten of us (me, the better half, and four other couples) had a great time and left the Big Apple wanting more. We did A LOT of walking, much of it with our heads tilted skywards marvelling at the cityscapes, the sheer size of the buildings and the wonderful architectural details that are up there, if you look. My knees and feet told me that four days was, in fact, enough for one visit. But we shall return (I hope) – hell we didn’t take in a jazz club, we spent way too little time in the Village area, and missed the flea market. As for crate digging that was sadly strictly limited too, after all that wasn’t the purpose of the visit.

Saturday was our Greenwich Village day. I loved the feel of the area, a complete contrast to Manhattan. We eventually found the usual site of a flea market only to find that for the first Saturday in living memory it wasn’t there! Soon after that we made for Washington Square only to find it completely dug up undergoing re-landscaping! That was enough for a few in our party, it was cold and they didn’t seem to get the vibe of the area so they hot footed it back to the hotel. Others decided it was time to find a bar. I took this as my cue to strike out on my own for a bit in search of the holy vinyl. I found a couple of shops but nothing to really get the heart racing. After an all to brief dig I thought it was time to locate my wife and friends which, thanks to the cell (I’ve temporarily picked up the local lingo!), was easy. I rejoined them in the XR Bar. They had already taken advantage of the Happy Hour, and I swiftly caught up with their alcohol fuelled euphoria. A good time was had by all, and let me say thanks to Joan for excellent service – the drinks kept coming and she kept the sound system stoked with some great music, including our requests. A Happy Hour (or three) well spent. If you were in the area that day and were puzzled by the sight of six (slightly crazy) Brits skipping along singing James Brown songs, that was us.

In my quick dig I picked up a couple of Luther Ingram 45s which I’m very pleased with so I will share them with you here.

Luther Ingram was born in Jackson, Tennessee but actually started his professional career in New York. He had been working on the McDonnell space program in St Louis, but wanted a career in music. He travelled to Manhattan and soon found himself with a single released on Decca. That did nothing and for a time songwriting and background singing ensued. He is well known in Northern Soul circles for the excellent “If It’s All The Same To You” released on HIB in 1966 as a vocal version of “Exus Trek”, and a hard one to find. But that track is not really typical of his output. In 1972 he had a major hit with “If Loving You Is Wrong, I Don’t Want To Be Right” (this was the first version of the song to get an official release although The Emotions and Veda Brown had both recorded earlier unreleased versions). This was just one of a series of excellent 45s of his that were released on Johnny Baylor’s KoKo label in a ten year period starting in 1968, all recorded in Muscle Shoals or Memphis.

Coincidentally Ace Records have just this week released Volume Two(I Don’t Want To Be Right) of a collection of Luther’s Ko Ko singles. Sadly Luther passed away in March last year (some of the information here has been gleaned from Luther’s obituary that was published in the UK’s Independent newspaper. While Luther was still alive Ace had already been planning to spotlight Luther’s KoKo output. In the end Volume One(Pity For The Lonely) of this work was released in July last year, and you can find both of the singles featured here on Volume One.

“I’ll Just Call You Honey” is in fact a B side (to “To The Other Man”) but it’s a belter, and sounds really fresh, it could have been recorded yesterday. Despite some surface noise picked up from nearly 40 years of knocking around various record boxes and turntables the sound quality on both of these singles is really good and loud although that may not come across on the mp3s.

NOTE: I’ve also re-upped an Intruders track (see link, right) that was featured here a while back, a record that was also picked up digging in America a few years ago.

Luther Ingram – I’ll Just Call You Honey 1970
Luther Ingram – You Can Depend On Me 1969

1 comment:

Davy H said...

NYC - coldest place I've ever been at this time of year...

I'm v.impressed that against all the odds you managed to return with some records in your luggage.

Truly you are a Collector, and hang the 'other couples' if they didn't understand.

I wants me a drink or three in that bar. But welcome home.