This top ranking piece of vinyl can definitely be described as having a very cosmopolitan background.
Released very early in 1981 on Donovan Germain’s New York based label, this single features one of JA’s very best harmony groups – The Mighty Diamonds. This 12” comes in a Y Records Disco 45 sleeve showing their Uxbridge, London address and telephone number. This Disco 45 (as Reggae 12” singles were known back in the day) entered the UK Disco 45 Reggae charts on 17th January 1981. Almost 30 years later I bought this copy from a seller based in Poland.
I’ve been shedding a few tears these last few days. Don’t worry, nothing's upsetting me, it’s just some of the music I have been listening to recently.
I’ve been revisiting a few favourites. First it was Candi Staton – guaranteed to bring a tear to the eye – and just now I finally got around to playing a Percy Sledge compilation I picked up at a boot sale earlier this year. I’ve always loved Percy Sledge’s work and this 1984 Charly compilation ("Any Day Now") is packed full of tear jerkers. It also contains a few tracks of Percy’s that I was previously unfamiliar with.
By 1970 the hits had dried up for him so the two tracks featured here went by virtually unnoticed at time of release. “Sunshine”, written by Phil Hurtt and Bunny Sigler, did just dent the US R&B Top 100 chart but “Stop The World Tonight” didn’t trouble the chart compilers at all, and for my money it’s a gem.
Sometimes I try to pinpoint exactly when I put the brake on spinning the wheels of steel and hung up the DJ headphones. Looking at my collection of Shalamar singles helps a bit. I have “Take That To The Bank” (1977/8 – definitely from the mobile days) and “I Owe You One” (1980) and “Make That Move” (1981) on 12” singles but “There It Is” and “I Can Make You Feel Good” (1982) are only on 7”. So that narrows it down to sometime in 1981 I reckon.
I was going to put up “I Owe You One” – even now opening up the 12” case the smell of the club still hits me – but in the end it has to be “There It Is” which is just a brilliant pop/soul/disco record.
Looking at Shalamar’s chart history it is apparent just how much the UK loved them. Here you can see John Peel(!) introducing them on Top Of The Pops.
Missed a day again! And not because I was getting legless at a Christmas bash, either. In fact I was just doing the round trip to Southampton picking up our son from Uni to bring him back to the bosom of his family for the holidays. Then I was on taxi duty for daughter. By the time I hit the sofa I was too kn*ckered to even switch the 'puter on!
I was very happy to pick up a copy of The Persuasions “Street Corner Symphony” for less than a £1 at a boot sale earlier this year.
The Counts may not have included a bass player in the group but The Persuasions eschewed instruments altogether – except for the human voice.
Lorez Alexandria was not a name I was familiar with until a year or so ago. I think it was an ebay listing where I first came across her name and that triggered a YouTube trawl. Everything of hers I play there I like a lot. One track in particular stood out but it took some serious Googling to find out which album it came from. Once I had identified the album I was pleasantly surprised to find that in only a few weeks I had managed to track one down on ebay for a very good price.
The track in question is "Morning" written by Clare Fischer. It comes from the album "A Woman Knows" an album full of cool, laid back jazz that caresses you from start to finish. It was recorded in December 1978 and released the following year on the small LA label Discovery.
Lorez was born in Chicago in 1929 and passed away in 2001. For me Jazz singers can often get a little bit too carried away with their interpretations and when they move into scat territory I usually get turned off. But Lorez certainly doesn't turn me off, her voice was pure in tone and she had a wonderfully subtle way of interpreting the songs she sang.
Her recording career started in the late Fifties and ran fairly consistently into the mid Sixties on the King, Argo, and Impulse labels. Then her output dropped off, until 1978 when she was back with a run of releases on Discovery, and then a few more albums through the Eighties and into the Nineties when ill health forced her to stop performing in 1996.
All in all Lorez Alexandria left behind a decent catalogue of recordings, but for somebody with such a wonderful voice it should have been much bigger and she remains relatively little known and largely under-appreciated.
We got one of those new fangled Tivo boxes installed today. We can now get YouTube on the tele. It's a bit painful typing in the searches but I gave it a go. Earlier this week Blue Magic set me off on a Philly tip and yesterday I homed in on First Choice, so they were, appropriately I suppose, the first thing I looked up and listened to on YouTeletube. I'm true to type - get some new technology and the first thing I do is use it to listen to some 30 something year old music.
I have come to realise that I massively underrated this group back in the Seventies. Their 45s are always good value as the B sides never seem to be throwaways, Here's a great double sider of theirs from 1973. The A side will no doubt be familiar but the B side may not. Make sure you give it a listen, it's beautiful.
Like the favourite decorations that re-emerge every year from their blankets of tissue paper and beds of tinsel to be lovingly hung on the Christmas tree I thought for this Advent run I would pick a few favourites songs that have made a previous appearance here on Feel It.
Here is the first of them, spinning gently around.
The B side of yesterday’s Blue Magic single was “What’s Come Over Me”, which was included on their debut album released early in 1974. In the following year the powers that be at Atlantic took the, I think, unusual decision to team Blue Magic with one of their solo artists – Margie Joseph. One of the songs they recorded together was a new take on “What’s Come Over Me”. The result was stunning – an underappreciated, and now largely forgotten(?), gem. And, I apologise if I sound like and old broken record, but they just don’t make them like this anymore.
Featuring the Margie Joseph 45 the other day made me think of Blue Magic.
I dug deep in the boxes for this one. I think it must be 30 years at least since it was last played. Not forgotten though, I must have played it so many times back then that is has always been a song that has stuck with me. From time to time it still pops in my head.
The Feel It Advent..ure will feature very simple post titles.
Each day I will tell you in what image my Advent Calendar chocolate has been crafted. (Yes Mrs Darce has bought me a Cadbury’s Advent Calendar (she has accurately identified the fact that I am just a big kid).
Behind door #2 : Angel (yesterday was a Christmas Tree).
Heard Etta James on the radio today doing “Misty Blue”. Good version.
I have to say I’m usually not one to be bowled over by the seasonal festivities, especially not this early in the proceedings. And in truth this year is no exception, but – recklessly? – I have decided to give you a post a day from here on up to Christmas Day – a Feel It advent calendar! Don’t expect Christmas themed tracks, nor many wordy posts, just plenty of vinyl in the usual vein.
I’m kicking things off with a follow on from the Jackie Moore post the other day. This is the other “gotta share it straightaway” 45 I alluded to.
I went on a run of missed targets on ebay recently. Sniped three times in a row. I wasn’t surprised to be honest. I’m not in the big league when it comes to bidding, so when I go chasing records that are extra special I’m always likely to lose out in the end. It’s good to take part in the race though. One of the three I missed out on (just, as it happens) you can see and hear over at The Singing Bones. Yes, it turned out it was Ana-B (I had guessed as much) who beat me to the sublime Ella Brown 45, at least I know it’s gone to a good home.
There was a silver lining to my recent ebay woes though. One of the three records missed I was given a second chance offer on, and so now, after all, I am the proud owner of this Margie Joseph 45 – “Never Can You Be”. This is a demo so has the same song on both sides. It’s possible the original buyer pulled out when they realised this as the issue of this 45 has “One More Chance” on the other side (yes, I got one more chance although I didn’t get “One More Chance”!) which is something of an evergreen “in demander” on the Northern/Crossover scene I believe. It would have been nice to have an issue copy but it was “Never Can You Be” that I was really after. “One More Chance” may garner the attention due to its dance floor friendliness but I think “Never Can You Be” is the real jewel – Stax/Volt must have thought so as this demo copy proves it was obviously originally intended to be an A side, and Margie Joseph herself singled it out as one of her favourites in an interview she gave a few years ago.
I love the arrangement on this track. It has a big city jazz feel, but at the same time it is underpinned with a really churchy organ. The song was written by W Turbinton, aka Willie Tee. It was very probably him on the organ and the jazzy feel would be down to his brother Earl. Both, sadly, passed away in 2007. Also, of course, there is Margie Joseph. In the 60s and 70s there were so many great soul singers who didn’t get the success or recognition they deserved, and unfortunately Margie Joseph could be said to be one of them – such a beautiful voice.
Mostly vinyl, mostly a private pleasure - until now.
Music posted here I have bought and gained much pleasure from listening to down the years (or months, or days!). So in the spirit of an 'all back to mine' it's time to share it.
DISCLAIMER: If you hear something you like I urge you to seek it out and purchase it in your format of choice. Mp3s found here are posted for a limited time and are for illustrative and previewing purposes only. If you are the creator or copyright holder of any material posted and object to it's appearance on this blog then please email me at darcyfeelit (at) blueyonder.co.uk and it will be removed forthwith.