Friday, January 31, 2014

As square as a pool table ! ?

Following on from last Friday’s entry which featured a great double header 45 from Gloria Parker- one song upbeat, one slow – here is another in a similar vein. There may be a pattern emerging here!

The Brainstorm label is a b*gger to photograph but it looks like it's turned out OK. Just to confirm, this is Brainstorm Records (Chicago, Illinois) 126, a 1968 release from Roy Hytower.

This was nestling next to the Gloria Parker 45 in the package that arrived recently. Again it looks mint, and wow!, this is a loud pressing! I had to turn the Audacity input slider all the way down to 0.7 for this one, it normally hovers around the maximum. (Hmmm. Or has the latest fiddling with the cartridge connections caused this?)       

Judging by this 45 Roy Hytower is an excellent singer and guitarist who, criminally, never had a national hit. All that I can find on him is contained in Robert Pruter’s excellent book “Chicago Soul” in a section dedicated to Brainstorm Records. There Robert tells us that Roy was born in Coffeyville, Alabama in 1943 (a close contemporary in more ways than one to Candi Staton then).  Roy moved to Chicago in 1962 and teamed up with Otis Rush, replacing Mighty Joe Young as the guitarist in his band. His first 45 was released in 1965 but as soon as his recording career started he was drafted. In 1968 returning to the Chicago scene he recorded the 45 featured here. Subsequently Roy had only two other 45 released as far as I can tell, which is a shame. He developed a career in black musicals playing such roles as Muddy Waters and Otis Redding, and was highly respected. Later in his career he has released a couple of CDs (1988 and 1999). At far as I know Roy is still performing.

Being 1968 it was early enough in soul music’s timeline to be a fair bet that the slow number would feature as the A side, and that is the case here. But as it’s Friday dance your troubles away to the hard hitting B side first, but be sure to listen to that Good Man Going Bad too, it’s a wonderful slab of deep southern soul, and if that's not enough, it contains the line “as square as a pool table”(!)(?)  

Friday, January 24, 2014

A/B or B/A - take your pick

January so far has proved to be a month of late finishes at the office (partly because I am so hopeless at getting up in the morning), and successive social whirls at the weekends. All together, that has left little, no, no time for blogging.

But hey, it’s Friday, so there must be time for a post.   

Previously here I have bemoaned the increased cost of shipping records to the UK from the US and how that has seriously curtailed my Soul 45 buying habit. This has caused me to cast around the ‘net to try and find a Soul source closer to home. I find a lot of UK dealers tend to seriously overprice their records – the Northern effect I guess – but I have found a couple of sources on mainland Europe recently. From one of those sources a few days ago this 45 dropped on the mat in amongst a pack of eight 45s, the postmark is the Netherlands of all places.    

Back in the mid Sixties it was commonplace for a Soul 45 to feature a dancefloor pitched uptempo track on one side and a slow “deepie” on the other. This 1965 release from Gloria Parker is a perfect example and a great two sider. This was early enough in that decade for the “deepie” to feature as the A side (possibly).

I’m featuring both sides. As It’s Friday and there are kitchen tables to be danced around you get the uptempo one first. l love the way that behind the pounding rhythm section and the big voiced Gloria  the pianist is throwing his own little party.  Later in the evening be sure to listen to the “deepie” too (with a glass of whiskey maybe). It reminds me strongly of something else but, maddeningly,  I can’t put a name to it. Hmm now I’ve said that, the structure is reminiscent of A Change Is Gonna Come isn’t it? With Otis singing maybe.  

To me, brought up in the UK with staid, dull, mono coloured record labels a bright yellow label looks way ahead of it’s time for 1965. Not unusual for the US of course. But 1965 –this record is almost 50 years old!, and I reckon when I pulled it out of its sleeve and put it on the turntable earlier today it was quite probably the first time it had ever been played. That thought is always a thrill.

Not surprisingly Sir Shambling has dedicated a page to Gloria, who it seems only ever had three 45 releases, and by the sounds of things her two LLP releases were almost certainly recorded at the same session. It is pointed out there that Jean Wells also performed the songs featured here with the same backing tracks and released them as a paring on an Eastern 45 . Jean also recorded "The Best Thing For You Baby", Gloria Parker's Samar release.

Friday, January 10, 2014

My turntable has a competitor

It’s about time I lifted myself out of this January torpor and kicked off another year here at Feel It.

I’ll be honest blogging (and vinyl) has taken a bit of a back seat with me recently. There is a reason for this – my head has been turned and seduced by some new technology, Mrs Darce bought me a SONOS Play1 for my birthday. 

I can't help but be amazed. Great sound, thousands of internet radio stations - have already dipped into Radio Costa Rica and Radio Guyana, played a friend of ours some Latvian Polka to make him feel at home, and some Bluegrass and Funk amongst other things. WFMU Downtown Soulville can now coexist as a favourite alongside my long time DAB favourites BBC6 Music and Jazz FM (which incidentally went internet only outside of London from Jan 1). It also introduced me to Amazon Cloud Player which I wasn't previously aware of. All the music purchases I have made through Amazon down the years are there catalogued and available to play/stream! (this is actually quite scary when you think about it). Also I could if I choose to, and I think I might, upload my entire collection of mp3 files to the Amazon Cloud (for a small annual fee) and then select and play them through the SONOS. I would therefore never have to have a computer on to listen to my mp3 collection (the SONOS can be controlled via a smartphone app!). The only thing I can't do (although I might be able to if I bought a SONOS Connect at nearly £300) is play my vinyl as a line in to it). 

Anyway, back to the vinyl. Here is an excellent , and obscure, version of an early disco classic which will probably be more familiar to you as performed by KC & The Sunshine Band or George McCrae. I love the synthesizer on this. Both sides of the 7” for you here - Parts 1 & 2 – all wrapped up together. 

Sweet Music – I Get Lifted (Parts 1 & 2) 1976