Friday, December 15, 2017

That Capsoul feeling

If somebody asked me to name my favourite record label I would not give an instant response.  That would not be possible for such a serious and difficult question. It's a question akin to "what 10 records would you take to a desert island?" after all, almost impossible to answer. But if I were forced to give an answer, after some inevitable pondering, I might just say: Capsoul.

Ten years ago (nearly eleven now) I featured in two successive posts the two Capsoul singles I owned at the time, and mentioned then that the label, for some unknown reason, held some special mystique for me.

The mystique started in 1976 from the moment I bought, blind off a mailing list, Kool Blues' I'm Going To Keep On Loving You. It immediately meant something special to me that I could not, and still cannot, fully explain. It took me 28 years before I bought my second Capsoul single - Johnson Hawkins, Tatum & Durr's You Can't Blame Me - at a record fair in Atlanta. At that point Numero had not released their excellent compilation of the Capsoul label's output so the mystique was still intact. Numero's great work has since immortalised the label so now I know it's background and more about it's artists. But despite this, somehow, the mystique still endures for me. This was brought home when, a few weeks ago, I opened a package that had arrived in the mail and pulled out, finally, another Capsoul single that can keep my other two company. Just handling it brought on a little frisson of excitement. Why? I still cannot fully explain it. The label is colourful and individual, but so are so many others. Perhaps it is something to do with what's in the grooves – a group soul sound that seems to be just that little bit different, a production that does have a sort of home made feel to it.

There is also the fact that these records don't seem to be quite of their time. All three singles I own were released in the early 70s but they seem to hark back to earlier times. Perhaps that gets closest to the reason I have this special feeling for the label. When I bought the Kool Blues single in 1976 that was only four short years after its release in 1972, that was the same year as, for example, David Bowie's Starman and Al Green's I'm Still in Love With You - two artists that had shaped my listening habits back then - but it sounded worlds apart. I could attempt to develop and expand on my thinking here, but I think it is better to just let the mystique remain.

Johnson, Hawkins, Tatum & Durr – that certainly is a mouthful. Discogs is, I assume, consistent with Numero when they state in their profile on the group: After scoring an successful audition with Capsoul’s Bill Moss, the Revelations which comprised of Vigil Johnson, Al Dawson, Willie Tatum, and Norris Durr found themselves cutting their first side for the label in 1971. Moss changed the group’s name to comprise all of their last names; then he finally mistakenly changed their name to Johnson, Hawkins, Tatum, and Durr for the labels on the 45” That was a bum rap for Al Dawson!

My Capsoul fixation is full blaze again now. I'm hunting down a copy of a Four Mint's single as I write this. And how I would love to own a copy of Kool Blues' Can We Try Love Again. I would have to spend big money to do so, I might just treat myself one day!


drew said...

I love that Darcy, thanks. Not familiar with that label. I have similar feelings To yours for the GWP label.

Darcy said...

GWP - yes agree another label in a similar vein. Coincidently Debbie Taylor Never Going To Let Him Know was another one I picked up in Atlanta all those years ago.