Wednesday, August 21, 2019

What day is it, anyway?



It is evident I have been struggling to keep this thing going. Time to break another long silence.


There has been a life development since the my last post – both Mrs Darce and I are now retired! So at least I should have more time on my hands to post a few more things here. Hmm. Not so fast! Because I should tell you I retired at the end of April. That's nearly four months ago now, where did that time go!

I had been been thinking of retiring for the last year or two but what had stopped me was the thought I might not have enough things to do and I might be bored (for “I” also read “we”, of course). So, having taken the plunge what have we been doing for this last four months? Not much at all really – no big holidays (one is coming next year); unlike some of my friends I'm not a golfer, a sport that can easily take up a lot of time; and I have not yet taken up any new interests. So am I bored? No, and the weird thing is the days seem to go by really quickly. I guess we are just simply enjoying not having to be at anybody's beck and call, and not having to have a routine. I also find I have this real urge to spend as much time as possible outside, that urge had been growing in me for some time now. In that regard the summer has helped, so we have been going on lots of walks, bike rides, and lots of general pottering in the garden. As the days shorten and winter approaches those activities will no doubt reduce and it will be interesting to see what fills the time then.

This first flush of retirement had also, until a few weeks ago, caused the record collection to be a bit neglected. But now I find I'm immersed in them again, already anticipating winter, and long nights, maybe.

So I won't promise anything but there maybe some more action again here from now on (although we are off to Cornwall for a few days next week so straight away that will cause another silence).

I think I have featured this 45 from The Intruders before* but I thought it would be appropriate in the circumstances – in the land of the retired it is very easy to completely lose track of which day of the week it is, so it is easier to say that every day is a holiday!


* I just checked. In fact it has featured twice before, way back at the dawn of this blog in 2006,  and again in 2011.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Dial O for obscure



If you are a fan of classic Soul & R&B music will undoubtedly know, and love, Joe Tex. It then follows that you will be familiar with the Dial label. In 1961 Buddy Killen set up the Dial label primarily to feature Joe Tex. Joe had the first release on the label and, fittingly, in 1979 he had the last. In between he had countless other singles released, many of which would justifiably feature in any Soul Hall of Fame. The label was primarily a Soul label – for example some other artists you will probably recognise that also had releases on the label are Clarence Reid, Bobby Marchan, Paul Kelly, and Annette Snell – but it was not exclusively so with, I believe, some Pop and Country tinged records featured. Dial was quite a prolific label, and at time of writing this there were 158 US releases documented on 45cat (albeit a few of those are promo doubles). So I think we can say it is as well known, well loved, and well documented.

Looking at the catalog numbers on 45cat there appear to be hardly any missing Dial releases. But recently whilst trawling Ebay I found one of them! I was in the process of buying something else so I thought I would scan the other items the seller had for sale to see if there was anything else worth getting and so diluting the postage cost (as you do). The Dial label caught my attention and when I went off to t'interweb to see if I could find some more info on this particular 45 … I found nothing. Nothing at all. It was not on 45cat, not on Discogs, there were no links to old sales lists or ebay listings anywhere; the only references to it were a few repeated Dial master release lists (e.g. Global Dog Productions). Likewise I could not find any info at all on the artist – Sherrie Hughes.
I was curious now and as the price was small I decided I had to have this record, so I bought it blind.

Info on Sherrie Hughes maybe elusive but not so for the songwriters – Ronnie Wilkins and John Hurley – who were prolific, writing songs for Joe Tex and also some other very well known songs and big hits – Son Of A Preacher Man and Love Of The Common People being just two.

So have I found a lost Soul classic? No. Is it even Soul? Not really. The A side I would class as Pop. My preference is for the B side (presented here) which is more difficult to pigeon hole, it has elements of Country, Soul and Pop to my ears, and on this side particularly Sherrie has a Country edge to her voice I think and is most probably white. It has some nice background vocals, I would be interested to know who the singers were. The pity is the track clocks in at just under two minutes and is sort of over before it really gets going.. But despite this not being the greatest of records it is not always what is in the grooves that counts. I have had my money's worth in researching this 45 (or attempting to) and had the pleasure of filling one of the tiny chinks in 45cat's Dial listing (yes the entry you now see for Dial 45-4043 on 45cat is mine). For these reasons this 45 will, from now on, sit proudly in my collection.

Sherrie Hughes – It's Just My Love That's Showing 1966

PS: Publishing this post sent me off on another quick bit of googling around this 45. I have now found that the A side -  I've Got A Lot Of Love (Left In Me) -  was originally recorded by Nancy Ames and was the B side to Friends And Lovers Forever which got a release (on both sides of the pond) late in 1965. It has been described as Northern Soul, but that is a bit of a stretch in my book. Nancy's version is superior I think with Sherrie's version maybe being pitched more fairly and squarely at a Pop audience.     

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Lucky 13



Wake up! Wake up! You're thirteen!

If I can't muster a post on this blog's birthday – 13 on the 13th to boot – then there is surely no hope for it.

Once again I have been silent for a while – in fact, Happy New Year!

So, if there are any of you still checking in occasionally, I hear you wondering: were there reasons for the latest silence? Yes, and no. It all started with our central heating. Or rather, lack of it. We came home from our US trip at the end of last October knowing it needed some attention. The boiler, which is basically new, was happily pumping away but the radiators, one by one, had started to stop radiating. The man was called. He was puzzled, but decided some acid in the system and a flush through should sort it out. It didn't. As Christmas approached the only radiators giving out heat were in our kitchen and conservatory (they were on their own loop). As the system and the radiators were old we bit the bullet and decided to go for a re-pipe and replace most of the radiators. Unfortunately our man couldn't do it for six weeks from the point of decision. So we hunkered down in the lounge – which had a gas fire – and kitchen/conservatory over Christmas and throughout January. A couple of fan heaters were drafted in for other areas of the house. (It did make us think this was normal for our parents and us as children in the days before central heating was commonplace, and we don't know how lucky we are nowadays).

As far as this blog is concerned the point of all this is the record room, which is north facing and cool at the best of times, was bl**dy cold! A fan heater could warm it up but fan heaters are noisy and not conducive to listening to music. So the record room became almost out of bounds. It was the end of January – the day before the snow arrived luckily – before we could once again feel nice and toasty in our own house. The source of the original problem was never really found, but now we realise the system had not really been that efficient for years. The upheaval – floors up, furniture and stuff shuffled around, left its mark through most of February as we took the opportunity to redecorate a room and do some general sorting out. This meant the record room became a holding room so once again was almost off limits vinyl wise.

The record room is where I am typing this on my laptop, and although I could type it anywhere habit dictates that it is usually the record room, with vinyl in close proximity, where Feel It's posts are composed. That is the thing with habits too, when you fall out of them it sometimes takes a while to pick them up again. And so, now in mid March, that is how Feel It's 2019 is only just beginning. Quite frankly it was only the sudden realisation that his blog was about to be 13 that snapped me into action!

I could make a new blog year resolution to post more frequently, but I have never been one to make resolutions, so that is probably not a good idea. However, the record room is warm once again, and relatively clutter free, and I have broken the 2019 silence so there is a fair chance of some action around here again!

I have still been acquiring records (of course!), and a few have been played. One that became a real earworm was (another) Jackie Wilson single. As you dig deeper you realise there is so much to admire in his catalog. Once again peerless vocals matched by a stunning arrangement.


PS: As is tradition here on this day in March: !! Happy Birthday Candi Staton !!