I went to a car boot sale today. It felt like something of a novelty. It is (only) the second time I've been this year but I'm calling it a season opener because a) meteorologically speaking at least, it is now Spring, b) the booters are beginning to open up again and c) I actually bought something this time.
As you can see from the picture what I bought amounted to a clutch of 2nd division Soul (and an album by someone I had not heard of before - Felix Cavaliere - but names such as Brecker, Sanborn, Feiten and Farrell in the supporting cast alerted me to its jazz/funk possibilities. It's playing at the moment and I can report it does have a pinch of soul and funkiness but is very bland). Nothing in this clutch was wildly attractive but at 50p a pop and great condition all round I couldn't leave them behind.
2nd division soul? Do I relegate Barry White and Smokey Robinson to that? Well, inasmuch as these albums have pop-soul leanings, then yes. Actually I wasn't even going to buy the Smokey Robinson album but the lady seller was struggling with change (and possibly the maths too!) so I chucked it in to make up the total to a nice round number.
Most of the artists represented on this little pile of albums were not big names at the time however, and could be said to be fashion followers rather than trend setters. Although most of the artists enjoyed some chart success it wasn't sustained, and was just as likely to have come via the pop charts than the R&B charts. Most of the albums also date to the mid-late 70s by which time the golden age of Soul could be said to be over and commercialism - and disco - was having a big effect on style.
I will take some time to listen to all of these albums but I reckon it's worth it as they surely offer possibilities of a hidden gem or two, or three. (I was already aware of The Honey Cone's Sitting On A Time Bomb for example). Proof of this wasn't long in coming either as I gave the Hodges, James & Smith album What's On Your Mind a spin. The date on this album is 1977 which had me expecting the tracks to exhibit a liberal daubing of the disco brush. Not true, and I'm particularly taken by the closing two tracks of Side 1 of the album.
Hodges, James & Smith - Love Baby 1977
Hodges, James & Smith - People Needing People 1977