Friday, June 23, 2017


I've said it before and I'm saying it again, the allure of a piece of plastic seven inches in diameter otherwise known as a single, a 45, or simply “ a little one” goes far beyond just what's in the grooves. The sleeve, be it picture or sporting a record company design, the label, and the dead wax, all have their attractions and the little details they hold can cause me to happily lose endless hours diving down some research rabbit hole.

Focussing on the label for now, just some of the information it will offer in addition to the artist and title, usually, are composer, arranger, and producer credits. I am a digger so I happily trawl, physically and virtually, through lots and lots of records that are unknown to me and I have learnt to pay close attention to the credits beyond the artist because they can hold clues. The artist maybe unknown, so now is it Soul, or Country, or Psych? The label name itself can help but not always, but a look at the detail credits can often pinpoint a genre. I've been a Soul nut for a fair few years now so I'm pretty good at spotting a Soul record, but will it be any good? I've learnt that certain names are almost a guarantee of quality.

There are many such names that will spark my interest, here are just five by way of example: Dees, Terry, Wansel, Armstead, Warren.
Familiar to Soul buffs I'm sure, here is just a line or two on each of them anyway.

Sam Dees writes, sings and produces. He has written so many great soul songs and released one of the greatest Soul albums – The Show Must Go On.

Mike Terry was initially a session bari' sax player at Motown, he has featured on so many of Soul's well known records; he then went on to become a prolific arranger in Detroit, Chicago, Philly, New York and elsewhere.

Dexter Wansel is a keyboardist and producer/arranger responsible for so many sublime Philly records throughout the 70s.

Joshie” Jo Armstead is a singer but is more well known as a songwriter. She also worked with Ashford & Simpson (ah, two more names on the “hallmark” list).

Dale Warren was an accomplished conservatory-trained violinist who became an arranger initially at Motown and later with Stax.

So to today's 45. I am familiar with Back Beat and Little Carl Carlton so there is no doubting there will be Soul in the grooves. But let's take a closer inspection on those credits – not one, but two names make an appearance from my list – producer Mike Terry, songwriter J. Armstead. This record is most definitely hallmarked!

There, see?!

PS: The latest hiatus here was partially caused by the collapse in faith in my stylus. It wasn't that old but everything I was playing no longer sounded right. So I just stopped playing things, and so the mojo disappeared again, and writer's block followed (something other bloggers around this neck of the 'net also seemed to be suffering from lately). New stylus arrived in the post a few days ago and is now duly installed. So, let's see.

PPS: Rustiness caused me to put the wrong link up (thanks for pointing it out John). Link corrected above and as a bonus here is the B side correctly named: 

Little Carl Carlton - Drop By My Place  1970


drew said...

Funnily, I had a similar stylus problem a few weeks ago. I use a Shure M44 g cartridge and usually a 44g stylus and try to keep two in the drawer as sometimes you just can't get them. The last time when I wanted to re-stock after changing the stylus could get one but got a good deal on a brace of 44-7s and so took a punt on these. So a couple of weeks ago the sound started to get ever so slightly fuzzy and I decided to change my last 44-g to one of the 44-7's which meant changing the tracking etc. After about 3 hrs play the sound was absolutely terrible and so I had a look and the stylus had bent by about 30 degrees which was bizarre as the boys hadn't been near the turntable and I hadn't scratched or bumped the deck or anything. So I had to replace it and as a result I have no spares at the moment which isn't really a problem for the next two weeks as I'm on holiday and I've also put the turntable in for a service. But when I come back I will need to try and get at least one spare.

That was a bit wanky wasn't it?

John said...

Link is thru to Drop By My Place which I think was the B to Two Timer.

Thanks for the background info on the 5 names - wasn't really aware of Mike Terry and Dale Warren.

Darcy said...

Thanks for pointing that out John. Corrected now.

In case you don't know Ro(s)zetta Johnson's "Who Are You Going To Love, Your Woman Or Your Wife" is a stunning Dees/Warren track. I wrote a piece around it here
mp3 links are gone but I'm sure you can find it on youtube.

Darcy said...

Drew: Nothing wrong with being nerdy. These are things of great importance :)

John said...

Thanks - yes, the Roszetta J track is indeed very good - I have the Dave Godin album that you mention in your piece.

C said...

There's definitely something special about singles' label designs and company sleeves, etc. as you say. I'm not up on soul at all, but when looking for '60s gems it was beat/psych - those lovely logos that held so much promise, like Deram and Reaction. Mind you I think I just love old label graphics generally, regardless of the music!