Sunday, February 22, 2009

Still good to me

You know how it is – sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day. This week there has certainly not been much time available for compiling a post, and work takes me to Munich again (first time for a while) for most of next week.

I don’t want to leave it a whole two weeks here between vinyl fixes so here’s some more Ashford & Simpson for you. I featured the “Don’t Cost You Nothing” 12 inch recently and that prompted me to dig out their 1978 album “Is It Still Good To Ya”. Motown’s loss was Warner Brothers gain and this is a seriously good album, especially the first side, whose four tracks are all irresistible and still sound so fresh.

Ashford & Simpson – Is It Still Good To Ya

Ashford & Simpson – The Debt Is Settled

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Or “yeah” as Candi would say.

I first heard Candi Staton on the radio in 1972 and it was love at first listen. 37 years later (count them!) I have finally seen her live, and in my home town! You will have to excuse me, I am still a little overcome.

There is a special day just a few short weeks away which has become something of a ritual here at Feel It so I will save further Candi-ness until then. If you must have some Candi now – and you can never have too much - then you can read previous Feel It posts dated March 13th or, even better, buy her brand new CD “Who’s Hurting Now”. (I notice that it has got a UK/Europe release in advance of a US release).

Also on the bill at Candi’s Bristol gig last night were two new names I am sure we will all be hearing a lot more of in the not to distant future – London’s Bridgette Amofah, and Bristol’s very own Phantom Limb (I must say I’m not sure about the name, when I saw the billing my immediate thought was why has Candi Staton got a prog rock band as support? But as you can hear below they are in fact definitely not prog rock).

Phantom Limb:

Bridgette Amofah:

All in all the whole night was a feast of great music and great voices, topped off with, to my mind, THE greatest voice.

More vinyl soon!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Parish Notices #6

A coincidence last Saturday. In the car traveling down to an Open Day at Southampton University (our son is intending to go to Uni later this year) Twitter was being discussed on the radio, which led us to – er – twitter about this latest form of Internet socializing. Back home later that evening I was idly checking Feel It’s Sitemeter stats (like you do) and found a massive spike in the hit rate. On further investigation I found it had been caused by some guy(Robert Ashley) in California mentioning my Delfonics post on his Twitter page. I have never seen a hit on Feel It from Twitter before, but it would appear to demonstrate the power of the Twittering Classes.


Souled On is in the middle of the Love Lockdown series. At least one post a day, often more, from selected contributors offering a few songs and words on a Valentine theme. I will keep saying it – Souled On is one of my favourite sites. Scholar’s own posts are always a joy and, although the Love Lockdown series are guest posts, the amount of work that must be required to collate and publish them, and to keep finding on point quotes in “A word from your Moms”, - and that’s every day - shouldn’t be underestimated. Scholar is a star, and he was kind enough to ask for a contribution from Feel It.


Right>> you will find I have recently added a link to Soul Portrait. This appears to be an excellent blog, I can’t actually vouch for the written content because unfortunately for me it’s in Spanish (which is just one of every other language in existence apart from English that I cannot speak!), however there are excellent pictures and music links too. It is also somewhat unusual because it is hosted on Flickr. I have never seen a blog on Flickr before, but a music blog is what it essentially is. The custodian Alex has also recently asked me for a Feel It style contribution in the form of a ten track list for his monthly charts feature. I’m generally not good on the 10 this, or 10 that, type questions usually finding it impossible to pin myself down to a definitive list of 10 whatevers. In this case I made it easy for myself by choosing the 10 singles that have being getting the most plays on my turntable recently, generally because they have been my most recent purchases. You can find the list here, together with a link to a couple of downloads.


Over at The Songs That People Sing recently Simon posted a track by the Vee Gees and wondered if anybody knew anything more about them. DavyH ("The Ghost") suggested that I might be able to help. I was flattered. My knowledge of, and obsession with, soul music grows by the day but essentially I am hanging on the coat-tails of others far more knowledgeable in the genre than me (think Sir Shambling, Red Kelly, Mr. Finewine, Colin Dilnott - and they are just a few). I had never heard of the Vee Gees but after a bit of Googling I found a forum discussion that hinted they may have hailed from North Carolina. That led me to Jason Perlmutter’s (there you are, somebody else with a fine set of coat-tails) excellent Carolina Soul site where the Vee Gees singles are indeed listed. A quick email enquiry ensued and Jason kindly replied to give a bit of a back story and the fact that the Vee Gees were almost definitely a 70s incarnation of the Versatile Gents who were active in the late 60s. Back to Google with the Versatile Gents as a search term and would you believe it I found a c1967 picture of the Greensboro, NC Versatile Gents. Haven’t turned anything up on the Vee Gees / Versatile Gents post 1974 though, anybody have any ideas?


I tell you, I’m everywhere on the Internet right now (ha ha!).

What should I post, “Here, There, and Everywhere”? Don’t know of a soul take on this song. Instead here’s another one from my “chart” on Soul Portrait.

Ted Taylor – Something Strange Is Goin’ On In My House (mp3) 1970

Friday, February 06, 2009

Missions accomplished

The label of The Delfonics first release brings to mind (obviously!) Man’s endeavours to reach the moon, and this sparked a thought with me recently that their peak activity must have roughly coincided with the Apollo missions. I finally got around to researching this some more yesterday and found that on this day (6th February) 38 years ago Shepard, Mitchell and Mauro were cavorting around the Moon having made Man’s third moon landing in Antares as part of the Apollo 14 mission.

Comparing The Delfonics chart activity with some of the Apollo mission statistics there are indeed a number of similarities, if no exact coincidences. Also, the Apollo missions were usually manned by three astronauts, and of course The Delfonics were a trio.

In the same year – 1966 – as the Apollo space program began The Delfonics launched their first single on the tiny, Calla distributed, Moon Shot label. “He Don’t Really Love You” wasn’t a hit first time around, but following their first hits on Philly Groove – “La-La Means I Love You” and “I’m Sorry” - the retro rockets were fired and it got a reissue, just managing to establish orbit in the US Top 100 in May of ’68. In the December that followed The Delfonics were ascending the US charts with another one of their classic singles “Ready Or Not Here I Come”. At the same time, around the world, people were captivated by images of Borman, Lovell, and Anders orbiting the Moon as part of the Apollo 8 mission. I was 10 years old and glued to the TV when those images were shown and I remember it making a big impression on me. At that time, though, I was completely unaware of The Delfonics despite them also hitting the UK charts with “Ready Or Not”.

Moving forward to 1969 and the historic first moon landing during the Apollo 11 mission was sandwiched between The Delfonics 7th (“Funny Feeling”) and 8th (“You Got Yours And I’ll Get Mine”) US hits. Whilst we were all watching news footage of that third moon landing that I mentioned earlier the powers that be at Philly Groove were probably making the decision on the next Delfonics single. “Hey! Love” was the choice and it would enter the US charts in June of 1971 and peak at #52. I love “Hey! Love”, it has a wonderful dream like air, and you could imagine the lyrics could easily echo the feelings of any of the astronauts as, in their lazy orbit, they gazed out of their space module at the Moon.

There were, not including the catastrophic failed launch of the fourth Apollo mission (now strangely known as Apollo 1), 17 Apollo missions stretching between 1966 and 1972. The Delfonics recording career also started in 1966 and in 1973 “I Don’t Want To Make You Wait” would rack up their 16th US chart entry. It is fair to say The Apollo missions and The Delfonics shared a place in time.

I don’t recall really being aware of The Delfonics at all until some years after their chart activity, and the Apollo missions, had ended. It is possible I had originally dismissed them - at the time I hadn’t developed my sweet soul tooth and just a small exposure to The Stylistics was more than enough for me. In fact it was the soundtrack to Tarantino’s classic film “Jackie Brown” that finally slapped me around the ears and made me sit up and take notice of The Delfonics. Since then I have become a firm fan.

Not so long ago I was lucky enough to pick up a small lot of Delfonics singles for next to nothing that included their Moon Shot release, their second release “You’ve Been Untrue” (the only one on Cameo Parkway as far as I know, and not a hit), and a Bell test press of “I’m Sorry”. For me this little collection, in its way, is every bit as good as a piece of Moon rock.

The Delfonics – He Don’t Really Love You (mp3) 1966

The Delfonics – I Was There (mp3) 1967
(B side of "You've Been Untrue")

The Delfonics – Hey! Love (mp3) 1971

For a fascinating story on how The Delfonics got themselves on wax in the first place with this Moon Shot single have a read of "A House On Fire" (page 52-53) (I must get a copy of this book).I'm guessing Stan Watson's credit on "He Don't Really Love You" was in lieu of a finders fee.

Get some Delfonics in your life with this. A great CD with superb sound quality.