Friday, February 16, 2018

The tip of the iceberg


As I mentioned in my last post there has been a relatively large influx of vinyl at chez Darcy in recent weeks. I relieved an ex-work colleague of close to 100 albums a few weeks ago and this followed what I can safely say is my best ever 24 hours trawling the charity shops. In one day I spent in excess of £60 in three shops and finished up with a very heavy bag to cart back to the car. The very next day I scored again, but more of that in my next post. The five singles you see in the picture - all mid Sixties soul/R&B on UK labels - were just a very small part of my £60 haul on a very lucky Friday earier last month.

It's interesting to note that by the mid Sixties US singles labels were already a riot of colour and design. Not so in UK. The record industry here was still dominated by a few major labels, the independent spirit hadn't taken hold; and "Swinging London" was yet to get going. Our record labels could still be best described as sombre and conservative, but at least with Atlantic you knew the music in grooves would be guaranteed to brighten up proceedings.

Solomon Burke - Maggie's Farm  1965

Booker T & The MGs - Red Beans And Rice  1966 

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Southern soul's galaxy dims


Once again time seems to have been limited for blogging. Our daughter has unexpectedly returned to the nest in need of a bit of TLC after splitting up with her boyfriend (not her doing) and an abortive job as a ski chalet manager in Austria where her bosses and the working conditions were pretty bad (to put it mildly), especially considering the pittance of a wage.

I am also drowning in vinyl again. There has been quite an influx in recent weeks from various sources and I have been attempting to give them some proper attention, and to manage their conspicuousness in the eyes of Mrs Darce!

So, I'm well behind the curve here this year. Already two (that I am aware of) bright stars in Soul music – Rick Hall and DeniseLaSalle – have passed in 2018. I should have dedicated a post here to each of them but feel I'm a bit late to the game. I did report these sad events soon after they happened on a record forum I frequent. Such is the nature of those forums that comments can be made very quickly. Here, at such times, I feel the need to be more, I don't know: considered, reverential, verbose? That takes time, which has been in short supply, so, as I said I feel the moment has passed for a detailed celebration of Rick and Denise's lives.

To both I shall just simply say thanks for all the great music you left us with and Rest In Peace.




I featured this track a few years ago. As I said then this is Denise in a more wistful and mellow mood. It's worth a re-up I think. 



Monday, January 15, 2018

Re-lighting my fire

And there I was starting to build up a bit of a head of steam with a few posts here before Christmas and then the dreaded Aussie flu (or at least something approaching it) struck. At 4pm on Christmas Day to be precise. At least I managed to enjoy the Christmas dinner. The rest of the holidays were pretty much a write off and I was close to cancelling my big (as in a rather large round number) birthday party at the end of the year. I finally managed to get rid of the lingering cough yesterday.

I've been fit again now for most of this new year but it knocked me out of my blogging stride.

Anyway a belated Happy New Year to you all.

As I hinted at above it was my birthday on NYE and I reached the big six oh. I know, it's only a number. An early birthday present to myself arrived in the post a couple of days before the day in question. I had been on the look out for a copy of this album at the right price and condition for a few years, and finally I found one that even after factoring in postage from the USA was a good buy. Not stung for customs either, that's two packages in the last couple of months that have got through. I think the USA is on my radar again as a record source.



The album in question is Rhetta Hughes' Re-Light My Fire. It is not very well known but is one of the great soul albums I think. Soul albums, especially from the Sixties, are often little more than a collection of singles as the album format was slow to catch on in the Soul world. This album could be said to be the same, seven of the tracks appeared on four 45 releases in 1968 - the year before this album was released. But all the tracks are so strong it makes the album a winner. The back cover tells us it is “A Mike Terry & Jo Armstead Production”, Mike Terry arranged, and Jo Armstead is named in the writing credits of eight of the eleven tracks – surefire quality marks right there!

After her run of Tetragrammaton 45s and this album at the end of Sixties Rhetta would not commit anything else to wax until the early Eighties. It seems she went in the direction of the stage instead, appearing in a number of musicals. In truth it would have been difficult to follow Re-Light My Fire.

I'll share two tracks with you. One picks itself but I could happily pick any one of the other tracks on the album and they wouldn't disappoint. I'll settle for this one, which also be found as a B-side to one of Rhetta's 45s.

Then there is this, a desert island disc for me. The intro just gets me every time and the whole track is just perfect.