Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Parish Notices #10

I’m still here, but with one thing and another…

Writing this on a new (to me) computer. My old one decided to throw strange vertical lines and general weirdness on the screen - a sure sign the video card is on the way out I think. So I finally decided to bite the bullet and transfer all my stuff  to another computer. Said computer is my son’s old desktop. He has long since moved onto a laptop and his old desktop has been lying idle for a while now. I’m not proud. Anyway, it’s a better spec than my old one and, as you have probably gathered, I like retro. No fancy laptops or ipads for me.

This painful, and necessary, computer transition process happened  to coincide with all the admin that surrounded my first selling experience on ebay - perfect timing! I think I’ve got the hang of it, but the admin shouldn’t be under-estimated.

Prior to all that I had a bit of a crisis of confidence with the hi-fi. The vinyl seemed to be sounding much quieter out of one speaker than the other, but CDs sounded ok. I did a bit of wire jiggling and juggling but came to no real conclusion. But put back together again and it sounds much better. The initial problem remains a mystery.    

Then there was the annual golf day and night out with wags. (I find the less I play golf the better I am at it - a bit of a paradox really. Recently I’ve settled for playing once a year!)        

As you can see I’ve been a bit preoccupied and the blog had to take a back seat.

And it will again as Mrs Darce and I are off to Cornwall for a few days.

So, by way of some music, here’s the first thing that came to hand and the first track to have been recorded on the new computer. (The same software recorded it but it’s a different sound card and the levels are totally different so I hope it sounds ok.)

The James Taylor Quartet - Jungle Strut 1988

From Wait A Minute

Back in the groove later next week.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Parish Notices #9

Had a lot of hits on an old post of mine this week. The post went way back to 2006 and the track everyone was searching for was "Just A Little Overcome" by the Nightingales. I wondered, why the sudden interest?

It turns out this track was featured in Episode Four of a new TV series called Treme (pronounced tre-may I think). The series started last month on HBO in the States. Named after a district of New Orleans you can read all about the series on it's own Wiki page. This sounds like a must see series not least because it would appear to have a great soundtrack which is documented here. Let's hope it gets an airing in the UK soon.

Completely disconnected from the Nightingales track, my old post initially rambled on a bit about the stratospheric amounts of money Northern Soulies are prepared to pay for obscure records from the 60s.
To save you ploughing through all that I'm re-posting here what I said about the The Nightingales when I finally got 'round to them (you are of course welcome to read the original post in full if you want).


..... 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.


It's worth another listen:

Nightingales - Just A Little Overcome 1971  

Now go and buy "Tommy Tate - I'm So Satisfied: The Complete KoKo Recordings, and More" which also includes this track.  


Tuesday, May 04, 2010


Here’s my latest car booty booty!

6 LPs for £5.

K C & The Sunhine Band – Do It Good

I love the look of the UK Jay Boy label.

And there is something extra special about it in the middle of an LP.

Z Z Top – Tres Hombres

A German issue from 1980 in sparkling condition.

This was the hairy ones’ third LP, originally released in 1973,
when they were still down home and dirty and before they
became too formulaic.

It includes the magnificent “La Grange”.

Kool & the Gang - Light Of Worlds

I have this already but must be able to make a profit on this copy.

Includes the timeless “Summer Madness”.

Le Pamplemousse – Sweet Magic~Do You Have Any?

Irresistible disco-jazz-funk beats from Rinder & Lewis.

Post The Jones Girls on vocals.

Dig the yellow vinyl!

Tighten Up (Trojan)
There were a whole series of these, this is the first so wasn’t called Vol. 1 although that is, essentially, what it is. Scratched and crackly, but then after all these years that’s generally par for the course with these albums. I love the crackles anyway: adds to the atmosphere and conjures up images of all the parties this must have been played at as the 60s became the 70s.

Derick Morgan - Fat Man

And the cream of the crop....

Blues & Soul (Marble Arch)
Complete with scratches and some surface noise again,
but that can’t hide the fact that this LP is stunning!!
A compilation LP from 1966.

My purchase of the year so far, and I will be lucky to find
something as good.

Here is the full track listing:

See what I mean - I can assure you every one is right out of the top drawer. There can’t have been many better blues/soul compilations than this issued - ever, and Marble Arch was a budget label under the UK Pye umbrella.

Jamo Thomas - Must I Holler

Sonny Warner - Been So Long

Saturday, May 01, 2010

A marvel

The path to the album featured here starts with the batch of singles I bought recently (all 168 of them, if you remember). I sorted them out and decided there were about 100 I had no interest in. Yesterday I took them to a local 2nd hand record shop (there are a few still standing) to see if I could at least recoup my money. In fact I doubled my money which can’t be bad (actually I think the carry case they came in was the main attraction) – beginners luck? I could have tripled my money by taking a credit note to spend in the shop. A no brainer you might think, but in the past I have had trouble finding things to buy there. I had a good look but once again it was a fruitless search so I settled for the cash and walked away.

Except there was this one album in the reggae section that caused me to stop and ponder. The cover was held together with tape and the vinyl itself looked a bit beat up. But there was something about it… The group’s name rang a bell but nothing more. The album’s look didn’t say reggae to me, and it looked a little like a private press LP – which I think is what caused me to give it a second look. Looking at the tracklisting one track “Lee Goofed” rang a big bell- something I loved when I heard either Alexis Korner or John Peel play it on the radio many years ago, I decided. I know that track to be a cover now but there were obviously a few other covers on the album. Maybe this was just a very average collection of covers done in a la lovers rock? And the album is pretty beat. I’ll leave it, I thought.

Last night I couldn’t get the album out of my mind. So I googled it. Hardly any hits on the album itself, but I hit a link to an ebay listing which had “hear it” snippets of many of the tracks! What I heard told me that, predominantly, it certainly could not be described as reggae. But I liked what I heard.

So this morning I rushed back down to the shop – and luckily the album was still there. I knew I was going to buy it but had another good look at the condition. I convinced myself the scratches were superficial, so paid my money and hotfooted it home.

Believe me this album does have its fair share of scratches but for the most part they are superficial and it plays much better than I expected.

The album in question is The Marvels "In The Middle Of The Night". You can read about The Marvels here.

The album was filed under reggae because it is in that genre – and in rock-steady and ska – that the group made its name. On this album though “Lee Goofed (So Long Baby)” – written by Leonard Lee and originally recorded by Shirley and Lee around 50 years ago – is one of only two or three tracks on the album I could put in the reggae category. Most of the rest of the tracks come from a doo-wop starting point. There are also elements of gospel, soul, and – dare I say it – easy listening in the mix. The group – Alex ‘Dimples Hinds’, Ornell Hinds, Tracey, and Bobby (surnames unknown) take turns with lead vocals and all chip in with background vocals. The arrangements are simple but really show off the vocalists who are superb throughout. It has the feel of a group of friends in the back bar just making music for the fun of it – which of course is how it should be. The whole album is charming and beautiful, and I love it.

The Marvels – In The Middle Of The Night 1978
(male lead "Dimples" Hinds")

The Marvels - Just My Imagination 1978
(male lead Bobby)

The Marvels – Lee Goofed (So Long Baby) 1978
(female lead Ornell Hinds, male lead R D (Dandy) Livingstone)