Monday, December 23, 2013

The 2013 Advent-ure #23

I thought I was going to get away with it, but no, the monthly bandwidth limit has maxxed out! Sorry about that. 

All that remains is for me to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, which is when this show will get back on the road (with a fresh bandwidth quota!).

I will bid you similar greetings from the Cabinet tomorrow.   

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The 2013 Advent-ure #21

By 1984 when this Dayton 12” Remix was released my DJ days were well behind me and I had gone from 2-3 nights in a club every week to very sporadic visits as just another “punter”. I did miss the club vibe and walking into a club and hearing songs like this one used to make me want to get behind those wheels of steels again.

Joyous, uplifting, dance your troubles away music. It stands the test of time very well as does much of the Boogie music from the early eighties.

A great 20p find at a car boot sale this year.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The 2013 Advent-ure #19

I’m not sure where I stand with Tania Maria. One problem is that I don’t speak Portuguese and more often than she sings in her native tongue on her records. As well is her tendency to go over the top with the scatting, at least to my mind.

That said every time I see a Tania Maria album I buy it. I like the Brazilian feel of her compositions, there tends to be a complex interplay between rhythm and melody, and many twists and turns. There is also, usually, at least one “killer” cut.

I picked up a copy of her 1978 outing “Brazil With My Soul” at a booter earlier this year and it was initially true to my expectations. I was a little disappointed, the vocals and scatting are much in evidence, but there were a couple of tracks that made me say “yes!”.  Since then I have given it a couple more plays and this has made me realise that her compositions are complex and therefore you do have to give them a chance. The more I listen the more I hear the more I like. Still struggle with the vocals though at times!

Side 2 really winds up the pace on the last two tracks. The first is instrumental  and to me qualifies as the “killer cut” with some great piano work from Tania, the other has Tania vocalising and… I like it too!

Although it has been released on CD I can’t find “Brazil With My Soul” currently available. It is available as an mp3 download though (which should improve on my slightly crackly copies!). 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The 2013 Advent-ure #17


No further words necessary.

Alvin Robinson - Down Home Girl  1964

I was beginning to think I would never own a copy of this. Every Red Bird original I had found (all on line) was either that little bit too expensive or in questionable condition. So I was happy to grab this 1975 UK Charly release the other day. (Bought at the same time as the Ujima 45 featured behind an earlier door. Ujima was an auction win, the seller was only a few miles away so I said I would collect. When I got there he pointed out that my petrol cost was probably about equal to what the postage would have been. Which was quite true. But something told me the seller might have other records, and it turned out he did! I spent 20 minutes or so going through 3 boxes of, mostly, UK issue soul and funk and found this Alvin 45 and a couple of other things too. Result!)          

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The 2013 Advent-ure #15

It's always a thrill to come across reggae out in the wild. It doesn't happen often, and when it does the record is often so trashed it is questionable whether it is worth taking a chance on it. 

For me, 2013 has been a particularly barren year reggae-wise. This 12", an original from 1977 on Phase One, is probably the pick of a very small bunch. I found it at a car boot sale in a suitcase full of, mostly, sleeveless 12 inchers and albums. As I started to go through them it was apparent that a high proportion of them were going to be reggae of one form or another so I was initially thrilled to the point I could hardly catch my breath. Unfortunately it turned out most of them seemed to be 90s and 00s Dancehall and Ragga, not my cup of tea at all. This coupled with the upfront entry price being £2 a pop and the questionable condition they were in had me deflated (to the point I was breathing easy again - now that's a strange contradiction!). In the end, after some serious sifting, I managed to amass five albums and two 12" singles that were in my era and free of deep gouges.

Visually the vinyl on this one is not pretty, but 12" platters are usually quite rugged and I was right to take a chance because this one plays much better than it looks. Beneath all the scuffs, scratches, and grime the grooves bear witness to the Chantells performing some wonderfully sweet rockers roots and, for those that like jam on their toast, some equally sweet toasting from U Brown.

Here you can read more on the Chantells short career, an unlucky episode (I mean, who wasn't?!) , and a sticky end.

Chantells - Children Of Jah  1977  


Friday, December 13, 2013

The 2013 Advent-ure #13

At a "booter" earlier this year there was no other record in the box that was remotely like this one. It's at times like this I can't help thinking 'what have I missed - has somebody got here before me and cleaned up?'. Don't get me wrong though, I'm grateful for whatever I can find.  

"From The Heart Of A Woman" is one of nine albums that KoKo Taylor (born Cara Walton and nicknamed KoKo because of her love of chocolate) recorded for Alligator records from the 70s through to the 90s. 
Side 1 of this album wins out over side 2 for me as it has a greater variety, side 2 being more in a straightforward blues vein.

Captured for the price of a chocolate bar.

KoKo Taylor - Something Strange Is Going On  1981

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The 2013 Advent-ure #11

Someone who works in the warehouse at my place of work owns a bright yellow car. Yellow cars were commonplace in the Seventies but it is very unusual to see one nowadays. I was gazing out of the window the other day and saw him get out of his car - he was wearing trainers with bright yellow soles.

In his car I imagine him having this album by Breakwater on permanent play (on his auto-reverse cassette player).

Finding this amongst all the usual dross in the charity shop record corner was a nice surprise.

“Say You Love Me Girl” is probably the killer track on this album – “Splashdown” - but the track that follows it will put a smile on your face and a skip in your step too. Breakwater sounding very much like Earth, Wind & Fire here.

Monday, December 09, 2013

The 2013 Advent-ure #9

Leave no 45 unturned is my motto.

In the Sixties many a Soul 45 would pair an uptempo attention grabbing A side – insert your favourite style here: gritty R&B mover, “Northern” stomper – with a ballad style B side. Many of those B sides are deep soul gems and to my ears are far superior to their DJ friendly A side.

Jump forward in time around 10 years and although R&B in its original incarnation, and deep soul, may have both been things of the past it seems the general A/B idea hadn’t.  This 45 is a good example. It was released (in the UK) in 1976. The A side, “Keep On Rolling (Disco Train)” leaves you in no doubt what to expect: and yes, it’s an uptempo track aimed fair and square at the Disco floor, it leaves the station but doesn’t really go anywhere and is ultimately very dull. The B side though is something else entirely. A really well arranged ballad, on the sweet side, but by no means too sweet. This has been on the turntable a lot in the last few days.

Dig deep, and turn those 45s over, and the gems are still there to be found.

Ujima – Still Hooked On You  1975 (1976 in the UK)  

Ujima is an African term meaning "collective work and responsibility". Ujima, the group, came from Richmond VA. You can read more about them here.              

Saturday, December 07, 2013

The 2013 Advent-ure #7

It was a quick midweek lunchtime dart out of the office, to post a letter or something similarly mundane. I didn’t really have time but something told me I should just pop in to a charity shop before I went back to work. There, amongst the Mantovani, My Fair Lady, and Marti Webb…. was an early Millie Jackson album! That I didn’t already have!    

This is not an easy album to find, so to come across it in a charity shop, on an unscheduled digging trip, was a big surprise.  A nice original US release too. An extra thrill (sad, I know) was to see a paste on back cover, ’73 was quite late to see that on a relatively major label release I think. Really love the lettering style too.  

Millie Jackson has always done it for me. I like to think that connection led me to this record.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

The 2013 Advent-ure #5

A true vinyl junkie (yes, I admit it) will find all sorts of reasons to buy a record that don’t necessarily have anything to do with what maybe hidden in the grooves: 
love that cover, is that a dog under her arm?; 
ah! a label I’ve not seen before; 
oh! interesting dead wax markings there;
it’s a 10”!; 

As a bonus the grooves of this particular 45 contain the “write” stuff.

I felt this 45 dated later, but ’62 is right as you can read here

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

The 2013 Advent-ure #3

I have found myself listening to more and more jazz and jazz-fusion in recent months. I have blown hot on jazz more than once before in my life, so my desire for it may wane again but right now I can’t see that happening this time.

This renewed interest has been partly fuelled by some great albums picked up in charity shops and car boots this year. Here’s a case in point.

Caldera were a short lived group, active in the latter half of the Seventies, recording four albums.

The album I picked up earlier this year, “blind”, was their third “Time And Chance”. Their sound certainly carries influences from Return To Forever and Weather Report (who also found their way into my collection this year), with a strong Latin edge. Also, one track on this album – “Shanti” - could very easily have appeared on an Earth, Wind & Fire album, but that is no surprise really as Larry Dunn was involved in it. It was probably meant as the commercial “in” to the album. I’m going to go with a track that represents the latin tinged jazzier feel that is most prevalent on the album, the appropriately named “Mosaico”. 

I have noticed that the track times on the label do not match in any instance with those on the cover (the sort of minutiae that only a true vinyl addict would notice, I guess!) , all I can say is this one is 7 minutes long or thereabouts and is worth every minute.


Sunday, December 01, 2013

The Annual Advent-ure

It’s December already! Here we go then. This is the third year I have been doing this so I guess it can be called a tradition now. A post a day from now until Christmas. This year every record posted will be something I have acquired this year, mostly at car boot sales or charity shops. In truth, the majority of records I pick up in such places don’t fall into the soul/funk/jazz/reggae category, but many are worth sharing, so this year I am going to alternate the daily posts between Feel It and my, to date, very occasional other blog The Hi-Fi Cabinet Of Curiosities. So you will find the usual brew here and “everything/anything else” in the Cabinet.

First up is Jess(i)e Anderson on his True Love Express. This one was actually a mailbox find.  Chess and Cadet 45s can suffer more than most from poor pressings but this one is a really good quality one, and nice and thick vinyl too.

I can find no really concrete information on Jess(i)e other than he started singing in a group called Willie Wright & His Sparklers – great name.

Chicago again! File under stone groove.

All aboard the Feel It Advent-ure.

(PS: sorry about the fuzzy picture).


Friday, November 29, 2013

A rarity in more ways than one

This one arrived at chez Feel It last week in the same package as last week's offering. This is the B-side. I had bought it for the A-side so turning it over and playing this was a big bonus. A lovely slice of late Sixties Chicago (although actually I suppose it hasn't strictly got the classic Chicago sound), it was the Bamboo label's debut release, and being a solid green label I think makes it a regional first issue. 

As far as I can ascertain this was Sylvia Thomas' only appearance on wax. A pity.

You can listen to a very well executed extended edit of the A-side over on YouTube. (The track on the 45 only runs to about 3:30). 

As for "At Last" it's not on YouTube - which makes it something of a rarity in more ways than one!

Sylvia Thomas - At Last 1968  


Friday, November 22, 2013

See what I go through to bring you these sounds?

This 45 represents a third of the contents of a little package that dropped through the letterbox today and made its way onto my turntable in double quick time. Too quick in fact. I hadn’t noticed the record was covered in a sort of vaguely sticky film (for want of a better description). The record wasn’t playing well at all. The subsequent record didn’t play well either. I whipped the stylus off and put it under the magnifying glass. Where was the stylus? Encased in that great wadge of gunk (I hoped). After a careful bit of stroking with a small paintbrush the gunk was removed and the stylus was revealed again. Out with the magic fluid and Jeannie was given a good clean and polish. Back to the turntable, stylus returned to the cartridge, “needle to the record” and ..… no sound coming out of one channel. Putting the stylus back on had disturbed the cartridge connections (which have been giving me a bit of trouble lately). Some fiddling and prodding ensued and finally I managed to play this 45 with no distortion, and out of both channels.

I understand there may be easier ways to listen to music nowadays!

I can find virtually no information on Jeannie Piersol . She had two releases on Cadet Concept, a sister label to Cadet which featured Rock and 'more adventurous' music, (and Rotary Connection).  I have only just realised it was also the US label home of Status Quo in the late Sixties – Pictures Of Matchstick Men was the second release on the label, Rotary Connection having the first (of course).

The writing credit on this track is Darby Slick. Darby’s sister was Grace Slick. Darby and Grace were both founding members of the San Fransisco based rock band The Great! Society!! in the mid Sixties and it seems that Jean Piersol was also a vocalist with that band for a short period in 1965. That’s as much as I have been able to find out.    

Time to push the furniture to the edges of the room again.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Tapping My Feet #17 - Let The Music Play

This one has been inspired a bit of Friday night "Yeah Baby" action over at DavyH's blogcave. 

I had to interrupt the playing of my latest charity shop purchase to record this one. What is my latest purchase I don't hear you ask? I'll tell you anyway - it's Pinky & Perky's rare album (at least it has virtually no presence on the internet) "Pinky & Perky's Melodymaster", and very enjoyable it is too (surprisingly!).    

Anyway, back to Charles Earland with a jazz-funk classic. You will need to push the kitchen table to one side for this one. (The B-side of this I had completely forgotten -i.e. when I played new back in '78 it didn't have that, then essential, jazz-funk vibe - but is very good in a totally different way and I must post it here soon).

Charles Earland - Let The Music Play 1978

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Hot toddy

Uh-oh.  I feel a cold coming on. Time for the honey and lemon, and the whisky of course. 

Or I could just play this (again), it has the same soothing effect.

I was very happy to receive this via the letter box recently.

Everything you could want to know about the wonderful Willie West can be found here.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Slept on too long

I heard a Candido track on the radio last night. I thought - I’ve got this.

It was easy to find because I knew it was filed away under C in my Expedit full of my “original collection” from back in the day. I’ve slept on this one for far too long. I seem to remember Jingo was the track that made me buy this album, but all four tracks on the LP are joyous, percussion driven, dance floor movers. The lyrics may be basic but that is not the point of such records, there is more than enough going on in the mix to mean you don’t need to be in the vicinity of a dance floor to enjoy them. Also, although all the tracks are long – it was recorded in the middle of the disco age after all – they don’t feel over long as so much of the disco output did.

By the looks of my LP I didn’t play it nearly as much as I should have done back in ’79. My gain now though, the LP is in mint condition and sounds great.

Thousand Finger Man is the track that I heard last night. Candido Camero originally recorded this in 1970. I haven’t heard the original version but expect it is very different from this 1979 version which, I think now, sounds way ahead of its time.  

Candido has a recording career stretching back to the 50s. He was 58 when he recorded this track. He is still alive, and turned 92 last month.

That’s what congas and bongos can do for you!

Candido – Thousand Finger Man 1979

Friday, October 25, 2013

Thanks For Yesterday (Keeping It Peel)

When John Peel died I remember spending the entire evening in our "spare room", which then housed the hi-fi and the (steam) computer, playing records, listening to the radio, and plonking around on the internet reading peoples' memories of him. I shed a few tears too. It was like a part of me had died.

John amassed round 100,000 records I believe, and 142 of them were housed in a, now well documented, special box. In that special box were no less than three records by Eddie & Ernie. I expanded on that in one of my old posts. John always played a gloriously eclectic mix of music which included more more deep soul than people may remember.  

I now have five Eddie & Ernie records in my collection. More than John Peel? Probably not, he had the rest of their singles, including this one, squirreled away elsewhere in Peel Acres I expect. No doubt supplied by neighbour John Anderson of Soul Bowl. 

Thanks for yesterday, John.


Friday, October 11, 2013

The Judy Files

Regular readers will know I am a fan of Judy White. The last time I featured her here was at the end of 2010. In that post I mentioned a very obscure record of hers I had picked up at a boot fair on the same day as I had also found one of her father’s LPs. One of those coincidences I love so much.

Well, the following summer there was another coincidence. At the same boot fair, in exactly the same corner of the field I had found the obscure single of hers the year before (though a different seller), I came across a souvenir programme of a Josh White concert. The concert was scheduled to have taken place on October 9th 1967 at the Bristol Colston Hall (I don’t know if it did happen, but certainly around the same time Josh and Judy made an appearance on Swedish TV). I was thrilled to find that the programme had two full page photographs of Judy. As far as the photos were concerned Judy had equal billing with her father, although it was a shame that in the programme narrative Judy didn’t get a single mention!  I bought the programme, of course.

So, to think, Judy may well have made an appearance in my home town. I would have been 9 at the time and yet to discover the magic of soul music.

I have been waiting to post up the photos from that programme ever since but wanted to include a particular 45 of Judy’s in the post too, and that 45 eluded me until a few months ago.

The Clarence Reid penned “Girls Can’t Do What The Guys Do” maybe more familiar to you as recorded by a young Betty Wright and I had thought, naturally really considering the Florida connection, that Betty’s was the original release. But in fact I now believe Judy’s record preceded Betty’s by a few months. Sometime ago I stumbled across an extensive radio station interview with Judy, her brother Josh White Jnr, and her eldest daughter Kelli Ellis in which they talked about Josh White, and their own careers. In the interview they discussed the “Girls” song. I believe in that interview Judy said that she did not know of Clarence Reid. I thought that funny at the time, but thinking about it now it doesn’t seem so unusual. Now with the benefit of a good deal of hindsight, and an internet that is awash with historical information, it is easy to be knowledgeable. But in 1967 Judy was a young person trying to forge her way in a big music world. New York, where Judy was based then, and Henry Stone’s Alston in Florida where Clarence Reid was based, were a long way apart back then.           

Friday, September 27, 2013

Those were the days

It’s now eight months since I bought any records from the States. Back at the start of the year the US Mail postage hike made buying records at the cheap end of the spectrum (where I usually operate!) a whole lot more expensive. I also hear that a much tighter customs regime is resulting in import charges being levied on many more low value packages and now, also, I read about ebay’s “wonderful” global shipping program which can result in even higher shipping costs.  I still browse US listings, but I can’t bring myself to hit the buy button anymore.    

As you can imagine, with my musical tastes, not having USA on the buying map is proving a bit limiting and it’s getting me down.

Today’s record was in my last package to arrive from the US, back in January.  

Nostalgia in more ways than one.

“His New Group” were in fact the new Charms. Otis Williams had to set up a new group after the original Charms decided they no longer wanted his services. Otis wanted to call the new group The Charms and while a law suit was bubbling away over that three 45s were released as “Otis Williams And His New Group”. “That’s Your Mistake” was the last of those three singles, issued in November 1955. It would be re-released soon after as “Otis Williams And The Charms” when the law suit was settled in William’s favour. This information and a whole lot more on Otis Williams And The Charms was found here.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Tapping my feet #16 (12" heaven - nudge nudge, wink wink)

I have too many records. Recently I made the momentous decision to purge some of the ones I bought back in the 70s/early 80s. These form the core of my collection and I have a special affinity towards them – the first ones I bought, memories, and all that. But some, especially the 12” singles, I’m sure I will never play again and I need the space (for more records!).

This one found its way, briefly, onto the out pile. I thought I would give it one last play and found that the B side has some merit – more than some merit, in fact - and I’m not sure I had ever played it before! (It bears no real resemblance to its namesake (Part I) on the other side). So it has been returned to the bosom of my collection. 

Dick Morrissey and Ronnie Scott are the sax players on this track. They of the horn. I seem to remember reading somewhere (but I could easily be wrong) that Dick could be heard on some film soundtracks of, shall we say, the smutty variety. If that was true, I wouldn’t mind betting he slipped this one in (sorry!) in his lunch hour during one such soundtrack session. (“Let’s do a disco number”. “What shall we call it?”).   

This one is very long and Dick keeps it up admirably (sorry again!). It certainly has its moments – just like one of those films he may have soundtracked (or so I imagine!).   

PS: It has just registered that the combined playing time of the two sides of this 12” exceed the length of Arthur Conley’s entire “Sweet Soul Music” LP! How times changed in 13 years! And, indeed, the ”excesses” of the 70s/80s era 12” have been reined back somewhat since then too, I think .   

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Quality not quantity

In some ways it is difficult to call Arthur Conley’s “Sweet Soul Music” an album at all. Running times of albums were shorter back in the 60s but even by that decade’s standards under 26 minutes is short. Then there is the fact that it hadn’t initially been conceived as an album. Pricked by the success of Arthur Conley’s single of the same name it was, I'm sure, swiftly put together and rushed out essentially as a cash in, and is a collection of mostly earlier recordings - a greatest hits that weren’t (but should have been) if you will.   

So, not worthy of being called an album? I jest. In reality it is one of the great Soul albums, and, although not in pristine condition, I was feeling very pleased with myself when I picked up a copy for 20p at a car boot sale the other week.  

Arthur Conley had been making singles for a few years when he eventually hit gold in 1967 with what was, arguably, his most pop friendly 45, “Sweet Soul Music”. Otis Redding had taken Conley under his wing and become his producer after hearing his original version of “I’m A Lonely Stranger”, which was re-recorded and issued Otis’ own label, Jotis, in 1965. That song is included on this album and it should be regarded as a deep soul masterpiece. That superlative could easily be applied to all 10 tracks on the album. In equal measures the soul is deep, sweet and uptempo. With the usual suspects making up the backing band, and some tracks recorded at Rick Hall’s Fame studio, there is guaranteed quality in the groove. But then there is also the not so little matter of Arthur Conley’s performance. Bear in mind he was only 21 when this album was released, and only 19 when some of the tracks were laid down (including “Stranger”). The depth of feeling – Soul with a capital S – he elicits in his delivery is astonishing for someone so young. And it wasn’t just his voice, his song-writing talent was also undeniable, three of the tracks on this album were credited to Conley and three more to Redding/Conley.  

Otis Redding was certainly a fan. He had this to say in the closing sleeve notes on the back cover of this album: “Being an A&R man is still a new thing for me. Arthur makes the job exciting through his great artistry. I feel he’s in the early stages of a sensational career as a recording artist and in-person performer. Listen to him on this new album and see if you don’t agree with me”.

Only a few months after penning those words about his protégé Redding would, of course, perish in a plane crash. Tragically, Soul music had lost a great voice. In fact, in a way, it lost two great voices. Arthur Conley, having finally been recognised as a real talent was a star on the rise, and furthermore could have ably stepped into the void left by Otis Redding. But, deeply affected by Redding’s death, he sort of lost his way as a singer in the soul music world.   

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Summer break over

I had a summer break from blogging, as you may have noticed. It was a conscious decision, and I should have told you I suppose. Anyway, I'm back.

Just a quickie to get things moving again. This one was in a little package the postman delivered today (yes, I know, what was the postie doing delivering on a Sunday?!). 

I have always thought of The Jones Girls as a Philly group - they were on PIR by the time I became aware of them back in the late 70s, their classic "Nights Over Egypt" might be most familiar to some. But Brenda, Valerie, and Shirley hailed from Detroit. Their first recording was issued on Guido Marasco's GM label sometime around 1968-1970.   

This track appeared twice as a B-side on separate Holland-Dozier-Holland run Music Merchant 45s released in 1972: "Come Back" and "Your Love Controls Me". The sound is definitively Motown, with strings that could easily have served as a template for Barry White's sound that also emerged in 1972 with Love Unlimited. I absolutely love the intro on this one.

Jones Girls - You're The Only Bargain I've Got 1972 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tapping my feet #15

You will have to excuse me for the sporadic posting of late but when the sun shines the blog takes a back seat (it's turned into a proper summer and we are not used to it in Blighty).

Took the morning off today for an emergency trip to the dentist - a front crown broke last Sunday.  - I go private and British dentists are about the most expensive in Europe I believe, so I was prepared for some damage to the wallet. When he said it would be £530 for a replacement I took it in my stride as I had half expected even more. Then the bad news: I have three front crowns, another one also has a crack and, yes you guessed it, it makes sense to replace the good one in the middle too because it is likely to go soon and they are difficult to match (yes, I know, perhaps he saw me coming on that one). You can do the maths. The one good thing about dentists is at least you are sitting down when you hear the bad news.

After that I thought I deserved a quick charity shop trawl to refocus my thoughts. I picked up a few bits including this Shalamar 12". Dating from 1979 I really should have had it in my collection already, I have always been partial to their blend of disco and soul and have most of their other 12" singles from that era. A bargain at 50p (which is about all I can afford now after that trip to the dentist!).

This one sounded good as I was playing it on yet another warm summer's evening with the windows open.  

Shalamar - Right In The Socket 1979

Buy Shalamar The Ultimate Best Of


Monday, July 15, 2013

A flake with that sir?....

… Sorry, can you speak up, or turn Greensleeves down!

It’s summer - really! - sunshine and warm evenings and everything.... including the Government silly season. Keen to cash in on the good weather (and an ‘historic’ British sporting achievement), first our esteemed leader suggests Andy Murray should be knighted (really?), and then the powers that be come up with a seasonal, headline friendly, law amendment: ice cream vans can now play their music for a whole 12 seconds rather than the miserly 4 seconds that was currently allowed; except it won’t come into effect until later this year i.e. after the summer is over. Doh! Thinking about it I can’t remember hearing an ice cream van’s delicate(?) chimes at all this year. The first year ever for me, I reckon.

Picked up fair haul of 45s at the car booters today. A seller was impressed at my dedication as I proceeded to appraise every single, er, single in the box he had for sale. A right old rag bag was in the box, but I was pleased to find, among some other bits, no less than three Rolf Harris Stylophone singles complete with booklet. A fair few of the singles were sleeveless and after a while the seller said I could have all of those for nothing as they probably would be too scratched to play. Thankyou very much said I. On getting them home I can say that most of them play OK and with a bit of a polish will be perfectly serviceable, and there are a few little nuggets in amongst them too.

This was one of the sleeveless ones, quite catchy I think, and perfect for the weather we are enjoying.:

By way of a bonus (a flake, if you will) here is a short video snippet of the sun reflecting off the record as it spun round:       

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Alan Whicker (1925 -2013)

BBC obituary

The Evasions - Wikka Wrap 1981

It had to be done.

RIP Alan. Top bloke.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Bobby Bland (1930-2013)

You will notice I am sold on Soul. It has become an obsession with me now. Marry an obsession with a collector instinct and it was inevitable that I would start seeking out more and more obscure examples of my chosen passion. The trouble with that is that sometimes you overlook what is right under your nose. So it is with me and Bobby Bland.     

I first became aware of Bobby Bland in the mid Seventies when I bought his “Dreamer” album as a cut out, I think this purchase was the result of me hearing the wonderful “Aint No Love In The Heart Of The City”. So I really have no excuse for then virtually ignoring his extensive body of work for the next few decades.

Then, earlier this year, I dug out that Dreamer album and gave it another spin, kicked myself, and vowed to give his work some proper attention.
So it is, finally, I have come to realise what a great blues, soul, R&B – call it what you will – singer Bobby Bland was - yes, was. I bought these two singles only last week, and now I read that Bobby passed away yesterday at the age of 83.

I’m a bit late in saying this - but thank you for the music Bobby.     

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Cue music

I do love Kim Weston’s voice and I’m a sucker for those moody “big city” arrangements.

No further words required.

PS: flash is unforgiving - but it sounds good even without the clean!

PPS: half an inch to the left and the drill hole would have hit the bullseye!!

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Three Ounces Of Love

Off air for a while there. Blame the sunshine.

Visited a couple of low key carboots today in an effort to avoid the “usual suspect” dealers and collectors who almost inevitably seem to just beat me to the vinyl stacks.  

Picked up this one – a Motown album from 1978. I wasn’t expecting much in truth, the cover was anonymous and the year suggested bland disco-esque workouts would lie within.

How wrong I was, and how much I enjoyed this whole LP when I got it home.
Plenty of names in the writing and production/arranging credits – e.g. Pam Sawyer, H-D-H, Mike & Brenda Sutton to name a few – but no clue as to the identity of Three Ounces Of Love save for the picture in the pendant.

A bit of googling around tells me that Three Ounces Of Love were three sisters – Ann, Elaine, and Regina Alexander – Detroit girls who were, by all accounts, slim and petite, hence the “three ounces” I guess. 

Listening to this album the similarity to The Emotions is undeniable. There is a nice mix of the uptempo, mid tempo and ballad and it’s a mystery why Motown put so little effort into the cover – nowhere do the Alexander sisters get a namecheck and their only picture (shown) is a small affair relegated to the back cover.   

“Star Love” opens the album and was a single. The “star love” chant on this track is driving me mad – it reminds me of something else, and something well known too I think, but I can’t bring it to mind. Help me, please!

“Today Will Soon Be Yesterday” closes the album and unfortunately the title would predict Three Ounces Of Love’s future tenure at Motown. Motown’s loss, and fault? A shame.  

Checking YouTube for other tracks of theirs I stumbled on an obscure local label – Ecology out of Souhfield Michigan - 45 issue that is really nice and must predate their Motown album by some years I would guess.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Arm across, down, repeat.

This one has been getting a lot of spins at chez Darcy in recent days. A storming record that really packs a punch, and it’s a B side.

A few years ago I featured two of Syl Johnson’s albums he recorded for Hi (another May post – Syl is like apple blossom it seems!). I am sure when I bought those albums back in the Seventies I wouldn’t have known that Syl Johnson’s recording career had begun in 1959, when he had his first single released on Federal, and that he was far from just another product of the Willie Mitchell Hi stable.

Syl Johnson had been around the musical block at least once by the time Willie Mitchell finally took him to Hi in 1971. That must have been soon after the single here was released on Twinight. In all Syl had 15 singles released on the Chicago based Twinight (initially Twilight) label between 1967 and 1972, the final one being released after his first single had already appeared on Hi.

This track can be found on the magnificent 6 LP box set Complete Mythology issued by the Numero Group, from which these notes on Syl Johnson’s career are, I believe, taken.   

Sunday, May 12, 2013

It's worth repeating

Slim pickings at the boots today but pleased with this one for the princely sum of 50p.

The Masqueraders were a great vocal harmony group that should have made it BIG.  

Isaac Hayes on production here on an album that was released in 1977. It's really only a one tracker but I've had "Modern Day Woman" on repeat this afternoon.

This will certainly do until one day I hopefully snag an affordable copy of James Shorter's original version which came out on La Beat in 1967. The Masqueraders were also signed to La Beat in 1967 and I believe they were providing some of the background vocals on the James Shorter release.

Interesting how the credits for the song completely changed in the 10 years between these two recordings:

1967: Bridges-Eaton-Knight
1977: Equehart-Shorter   

Friday, May 10, 2013

Easy does it

Life has been fairly hectic again these last few weeks but in amongst the general hurly burly Mrs Darce and I spent a very relaxing few days in Faro last weekend. The plan was to go with friends, as we usually do on these sort of jaunts, but a dodgy knee and flu respectively meant that neither of them could travel. So while they looked forward with dread to making an insurance claim we got on with the taxing process of enjoying three days of sunshine, good food, and each other’s company.

Neither of us are big on walking around museums and the inside of churches on such weekends away, preferring just to simply soak up the atmosphere of the place and enjoy the architecture – and many leisurely drinks and good food. Mrs Darce undoubtedly came out with the quote of the weekend: “I like the inside of a glass and the outside of a building”!

"Easy does it" was the perfect motto for our break and this one from Willie Hutch, a luscious B side which I picked up at a booty a few weeks ago, fitted the mood of our weekend perfectly.

(A bit worried about the sound quality on this, and a couple of other records I’ve been playing recently. The vinyl looks in excellent nick - the crackle at the beginning is a mystery.  I’m thinking it may almost be time for a new stylus – but surely not already, this one isn’t very old!)