So here we are at the end of another Advent-ure. A cliche I know, but they seem to go quicker each year. I hope you have enjoyed the ride. Not a Christmas record in sight and that's because I don't own many on vinyl, apart from the obvious ones you have no doubt heard more than enough times already again this year on the radio and in the supermarkets etc. This is as close as I'm going to get to a Christmas record. It's one that comes with a suggestion I put forward with a certain amount of trepidation: you are feeling just a little full after the turkey and all the trimmings, but of course you will somehow find room for Christmas pudding. Take that pudding in it's dish in one hand, and a spoon (or fork if you're posh) in the other, stand up and move around the table, you know - dance, shake a tail feather, do the shakey pudding! I will not be held responsible for the consequences! Jesse Morrsion - Shakey Pudding 1975 I wish you and yours a collective Happy Christmas. Enjoy the holidays.
The holiday is approaching (actually, it's here! yippee!). This may allow me to relocate a box or two of singles into the record room and give them some love over the next week or so. I buy all these records, play them a couple of times, and then they get filed. Madness really. Since a refiling exercise earlier this year this C & The Shells 45 has been at the front of one of the boxes. Too few times I've been to those boxes this year, but whenever I have it seems C & The Shells have been crying out "play me". Now, finally, this 45's time has come. C was Calvin White, and the Shells were Lonzine Wright and Andrea Bolden. They started recording in 1967 on Calla as The Sandpebbles. At the end of the Sixties they moved to Cotillion and that was then when they changed their name to C & The Shells. On an old Soulful Detroit thread Jerry Williams Jr (Swamp Dogg), who produced some of their earlier output, says that Lonzine was the main female lead. In their two incarnations they released 14 singles in all. This was their first on Zanzee, it came out in 1972 and only two more would follow before they called it a day in 1973. I don't know for sure if any of the group members carried on in the musical world. A Lonzine Wright, probably the same lady, did have a few 12" releases on Tyson, which presumably date to the early Eighties. Calvin White started out in the Gospel world and possibly he returned to his roots, he passed away in 2007.
It has just struck me the ladies have been under-represented in this
year's Advent-ure. So I'll go some way towards putting that right
Crutcher made her way primarily as a songwriter, and a very
successful one too. You can find her name in the writing credits of
many songs, especially at Stax. And if you find We Three in the
credits that is her too in partnership with Homer Banks and Raymond
Jackson. Johnnie Taylor's Who's Making Love was probably their
biggest and most well known song.
had just one album in her own name, Long As You Love Me (I'll Be
Alright). Released in 1974 on
Enterprise (and amazingly it got a UK release too, on Stax) it is a
great lost gem. Bettye had a hand in the writing, mostly alongside
Sir Mack Rice, on all the tracks. It turns out Bettye also had a very
pretty voice, not powerful, but perfectly suited to the material on
the album which is a mix of ballads and slinky mid tempo numbers.
Deep and sophisticated in equal measure, there is a real cohesion to
the album. It should be on everybody's list of top 10 Soul albums of
all time in my opinion.
It's a shame my copy is not in better shape. I really need an upgrade. This one, incredibly, was described as M- record and
sleeve. It is not even close. It didn't even have an inner sleeve and
was shipped in a flimsy envelope with no stiffeners. It was a miracle
it got to me in one piece. Just about the worst experience I have
ever had buying on-line. Not bought through ebay, but I did manage to
extract a small partial refund, given with ill grace, from the
seller. Should you find yourself contemplating a purchase from a UK
seller who has a bulldog for a logo, think twice.
Earlier this year, or was it last year? time goes so quickly nowadays, I had a run of listening to George Duke. My introduction to him had been back in 1979 when Brazilian Love Affair, that irresistible slab of jazz-funk crossed over into the discos. Until this year I had never really explored his catalog further. Faces In Reflection is one album of his I have picked up recently. Released in 1974 before the jazz brigade moved, seemingly wholesale, into more accessible jazz-funk and disco territory this album is very much for the head rather than the feet and is a very rewarding listen. George Duke - North Beach 1974
I was looking for a double header in the disco vein for this post, or anything remorselessly uptempo. But a brief search of the boxes turned up nothing worthy of a post. I'm not in the mood really and struggling to focus today if I'm honest, I'm full of cold and feeling a bit glum. So, instead, it's another serious hit of Soul. Last weekend I went to Fopp, which could be classed as a record shop I suppose - it was noticeable how much more vinyl was on the shelves lately. I went there because I had a gift token given to me last Christmas that I thought I ought to spend before this Christmas came upon us! After a lot of browsing I eventually came away with 4 CDs which I'm very happy with. One of them was Don Covay's 1966 album See Saw (only £3 in Fopp) which includes one of the sides on the 45 featured here (I think it is maybe a differnt take on the 45 though?). Don passed away earlier this year, just after I had started playing lots of his records again. He really was a giant of Soul and Rhythm & Blues and was underappreciated I think. Certainly the people in the Bristol branch of Fopp have some way to go in their appreciation of him - the CD I bought was filed under Dan Covay. Oh dear! Don Covay & The Goodtimers - Iron Out The Rough Spots 1966 Don Covay & The Goodtimers - You Put Something On Me 1966
And so my team are back on the manager merry-go-round again. Have they done the right thing in relieving our beloved Jose of his duties? Who knows?, the team have been terrible this season and something isn't right. But I thought owner and manager together had a common goal this time - stability, a dynasty. Gone now. I've supported Chelsea for nearly 50 years now - passionately - but I find myself strangely ambivalent to their fate this time, I'm getting tired of all this. The Mad Lads - "Gone"! The Promises Of Yesterday 1971
A quick rummage in the boxes tonight came up with this. A bit crackly I grant you but this is a gorgeous mid pacer that deserves to be shared. I'm struggling to remember where I picked this one up but I think it was amongst a bunch of sleeveless records at a car boot a few years ago that set me back 10p each. The lack of a sleeve would account for the crackles, and the crackles would probably account for me putting it in the box and promptly forgetting about it. Finally, and rightfully, it has its time. Bob & Earl - Baby, Your Time Is My Time 1966
Keep smiling - good advice for a Chelsea supporter this season. The tables have been turned. Slow and moody, black and bluesy. Let's hope the mood of this song doesn't match mine later on tonight. Let's have a win to celebrate for a change! In my mind I had somehow misfiled Ray Agee as a Country singer (I think I might have confused him with Roy Acuff). I stand corrected! Ray Agee - Keep Smiling 1968 PS The A side of this is another wonderful Bobby Bland-esque slab of bluesy soul (or should that be soulful blues?). I might have to post it as well before the month's out.
It's been a long search but finally I bagged a copy of this Cynthia Sheeler 45 recently. What's the story behind Xs on labels? When the radio station doesn't get issued with a promo the DJ makes his mark on the side they're going to plug is my thinking. Although maybe if a record label, or the press, is so small they don't print a special promo label then the record label itself marks the side they want plugged? Double love on this one, and quite right too, but it's a pity they couldn't spell her name correctly! Cynthia has the voice of an angel and I love it more than words can say. Cynthia Sheeler - Love You More (Than Words Can Say) 1973 The other side of this, One Minute Of Your Time, deserves that from you too if you are not already familiar with it. It's available again at my old post of the Phil LA Of Soul release of the song.
X Factor on the tele was my cue to move into the record room. Something prompted me to pull this Fat Larry's Band album out the other day, but I can't remember what it was now. It's called Feel It! I must admit I had forgotten that, and before you ask, no, this album was not the prompt for the title of this blog, but it does contain two tracks I do really feel. The lyrics to Center City may be banal in the extreme but the rise and fall of the song and the chorus just get me every time. This one is for all of you in the City Centres today - whether it was shopping or partying. Fascination is a great soulful and funky reworking of the David Bowie track, ooh those horns. Brings back memories of my early DJing days. Fat Larry's Band - Center City 1976 Fat Larry's Band - Fascination 1976
It's Friday, it's double header time. This 45 by The Artistics should have been a big hit in my opinion, but did nothing. The Artistics were a wonderful group and had a great lead singer in Marvin Smith, who I've featured here before on more than one occasion. Marvin was in and out of the group during their Brunswick years but in this interview he confirms he was featured on The Articulate Artistics and What Happened albums. Just look at all the big names in the credits on this 45 - Carl Davis, Eugene Record, Barbara Acklin, Sonny Sanders, Willie Henderson - top drawer Chicago. The guitar places it very much at the end of the 60s, and The Four Tops come to mind on Walking Tall. My copy has had a few plays but the wear can't detract from the music, which oozes class. The Artistics - What Happened 1969 The Artistics - Walking Tall 1969
I gorged myself on four chocolates from my Advant calendar just now playing catch up. I plan to have caught up here too by the end of the evening. The Hi-Fi Cabinet Of Curiosities once again offers up what can be found behind door 10.
Yes, I know, I missed a day, now I'm playing catch up. Only time for one post today so the catch up will happen tomorrow with two posts, all being well. I'm even further behind with my real Advent calendar (Mrs Darce buys me one every year :) ). Door 8 is still unopened. A chocolate fest for me tomorrow! #9 has finally been opened over at the Hi-Fi Cabinet Of Curiosities.
I wasn't sure about this one at the record fair the other week. "Big Band" usually puts me off but I liked the cover. Needle dropping left me undecided. I said as much to the seller and he effectively threw it in for nothing with my other purchases. You can't argue with that and I'm glad I didn't, In the right mood this is a good listen. This album - Duality - was released in 1980 on Discovery but features previously unreleased material from 1969 sessions. This track in particular sound very late 60s I think. Clare Fischer Big Band - The Greek 1969/80
I keep telling myself not to take punts on 12" singles, especially if they are recent issues (recent means 90s on in my book). I really know next to nothing about how dance music has evolved over the last 20 years, but I have heard enough to know I am not a fan of, for example, techno, trance, and hard house. I figure for every ten punts I took I might find only one track that I might vaguely like, and there is something about the 12" format that doesn't quite grab me in the same way as a 7". And it takes up too much space! The original shop price sticker helped me out with this one though. I had never heard of Deyampert, but the sticker said "deep soulful garage" and that was enough to sell it to me because that is one of the recent genres of "R&B" I have found I quite like, and when I played this 12" for the first time it was a bit of a Ronseal moment - I found it does exactly what it says on the tin (or label to be more precise here). Something nice and chilled for a Saturday night - and something to take my mind off the fact it looks like my beloved football team are actually being drawn into a relegation dog fight - for real ("unbelievable, Jeff!"). Deyampert feat. Jane Hamilton - It's You 2003
The Players had just the four singles released, in an 18 month period between 1966 and '67. Their debut single, with a Vietnam theme, was a big hit on the soul stations and made the R&B top 30 in '66. Unusually for a soul group who were not an established act Minit released an album on them. The (brief) history of the band is complicated and is expanded upon in Robert Pruter's book Doo-Wop, The Chicago Scene. This, their third single, certainly demonstrates Herbert Butler had a good voice, and the producers of their debut single obviously thought so too by keeping him on the recording session and teaming him with most of the members of The Dells on backing. The singers that eventually joined Butler to become The Players could all trace their roots back to the fifties Chicago Doo Wop scene, and on these sides they complement Butler's warm tenor very well. I can find no information on what became of the members of The Players, Herbert Butler certainly deserved more success, but it was a crowded scene back then and it would seem he was played no more. In true Friday fashion here, both sides of this Chicago delight are served up for your pleasure. The Players - There's Got To Be A Way 1967 The Players - That's The Way (To Tend To Business) 1967
I would like to say I found this 45 in the wild, but I didn't, this one came from the 'bay. Reggae records very seldom turn up at car boots and charity shops. I always get excited when I spy the Trojan label at such a venue - except actually I don't anymore because now I automatically assume it is going to be Ken Boothe's Everything I Own, and my assumption is almost always correct. I was surprised to find U Roy on a Trojan release, and in fact I was right to be surprised - on 45cat the Trojan record label currently have 587 singles listed and TR 7884 is the only one featuring U Roy. I am not as well versed in Reggae as I am in Soul so I also admit to being surprised at the year 1972 on the label. That seemed early to me for U Roy, I always think of him as coming to the fore later in the 70s. This track also sounds a little ahead of its time to me. But it seems it was released in December 1972, so will now be celebrating, roughly, its 43rd birthday. I was going to feature the A side, Hat Trick, which would have tied in nicely with this being door number 3 on this year's Advent-ure. But the B side is even better so gets the nod. It's a little bit swishy swooshy for starters - I could maybe have blamed the rain on the window for that! U Roy - Wet Vision 1972
I've been trying to buy less in the charity shops and booters lately because storage space is getting a serious problem. But my addiction is just as strong as ever in truth as exhibited by this, a charity shop purchase yesterday. It was odds on it would contain sub standard fare in the grooves. From the West Indies, but Barbados not Jamaica, so Reggae would not feature. Possibly Calypso, bit containing lots of covers - Knock Three Times for instance - so the hopes weren't high. Still the cover was worth the entry price anyway. Having played most of this now I have to say I've been charmed by it. It does feature an organist who places the band fairly and squarely on the Windies hotel circuit, and there is too much of him. But I'm really liking the horns, in turns haunting and jaunty, and when they are haunting they sort of bring to mind Tower Of Power in their early days (I'm thinking Sparkling In the Sand especially, which is what these Tropical Islanders are doing).
Yikes! All of a sudden it's December. How did that happen? As is now customary around here that means it is time for another Feel It Advent-ure. A post a day, can i really do it again? I'm not sure to be honest, but I'll give it a go. McKinley Mitchell - All Of A Sudden 1962 (PS be sure to tell me if the downloads stop working).
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.