Fair Use disclaimer

All music presented on this site is shared under the premise of "fair use"; this site is solely intended for the purpose of education and critique. If you are a rights holder to any of the music presented and wish for it to be removed, simply contact me directly and it will be taken down.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

THE VANDALS - IN MY OPINION

 (Originally posted 1/13/13)

This record is so beautiful, I could sit and listen to it 20 times in a row...

The Vandals began their singing career as a teenage Temptations tribute act called The Young Tempts around 1967, while the singers were still in high school. A court order from THE Temptations saw the group change their name to The Young Vandals, then, by the time of this final release, The Vandals. Lead singer Otis Harris nails Eddie Kendricks' falsetto lead vocal style. After this release, Harris broke up the group because he wanted to go to college. Fate had other plans, and in a bizarre twist of life imitating art, Harris BECAME the lead singer for The Temptations in 1971, as a friend urged him to audition for Kendricks' vacated slot.  After changing his first name to Damon, Harris held the position which he until 1975. His falsetto, which we hear here, is all over the massive hit and stone classic "Papa Was A Rolling Stone".

from 1970...

THE VANDALS - IN MY OPINION

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

THE LOVE POTION - THIS LOVE + THE DYNAMIC TINTS - PACKAGE OF LOVE


Of course the one recurring theme in music is that of love; for me, the two are one in the same! While I believe in practicing and sharing love every day of the year, I suppose that 2/14 is a fine day to share two soul tracks that epitomize those 'butterfly in the tummy' feelings of love.May all of our days be filled with pure, unfiltered, organic, and genuine love.

(originally posted 10/16/11)

This beautiful song has a rather strange story, and one that is unique to this record (to my knowledge); namely, the same track was released three times, in a span of 4 years, by three separate labels, and under two different group names!

Originally released in 1965 by the Joytones, apparently the producers of the record felt strongly enough about the record to re-release it, hoping for the success that it deserved. Unfortunately, it did not hit the charts on any of its releases.

I believe that it is a Detroit recording, but I may be wrong.

from 1965/1969...

THE LOVE POTION - THIS LOVE


(originally posted 10/27/08)

There's no good way to describe my love affair with the Chicago soul sound of the '60s and early '70s better than whats contained in the grooves. The propulsive motion and swing that's heard in so many Windy City cuts is not only an inspiration, but it's a downright life affirming sound, and it's heard on hundreds and hundreds of superb 45's.

The Dynamic Tints were an extraordinary vocal group that was discovered by musician/ producer/ and Twinight Records A&R talent scout Syl Johnson. While the group penned several of their own sides, this one was written by the incredible session bass player Bernard Reed, whose bubbling style is heard on hundreds of records - some hits (Tyrone Davis - 'Turn Back The Hands Of Time'), but far too many such as this that should have been hits.

There is an underlying sweetness to this record that just hits me straight in the heart; it sounds as though it's beaming down straight from the stars...


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

DENISE LA SALLE (1939-2018) - A LOVE REPUTATION


I was sad to see that Denise La Salle has passed away; she spent her entire life in music, and was a staple on the blues festival scene until the end. Her debut 45 is one of THE greatest Chicago soul singles, and made such a splash on the Chicago scene that Chess Records licensed it for national release.

(originally posted 9/28/09) here's what I wrote then:

Born in Mississippi and relocated to Chicago, this is the debut 45 from Denise who later went on to score big with the excellent 1971 track 'Trapped By A Thing Called Love". This number, however, is one of those tracks that epitomizes the mid 60's Chicago sound and in my opinion is one of the greatest debut singles ever made. The exact same backing track was used for Nolan Chance's 'Just Like The Weather'; IMO, though, THIS is the version.

from 1967...

DENISE LA SALLE - A LOVE REPUTATION

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

In tribute to RICK HALL - JIMMY HUGHES - STEAL AWAY + BARBARA LYNN - YOU LEFT THE WATER RUNNING




Rick Hall was one of the most important 'behind the scenes' folks in the history of soul music. His Fame Studios (and record label), based in the sticks of Muscle Shoals, AL, had a SOUND. During the most intense years of the struggle for racial equality and in the middle of some of the nastiest racial segregation, Hall and the 'Fame Gang' encouraged integration and sent it straight out to wax. Here was a studio in rural Alabama, run by a white man, where (mostly) white musicians laid down some incredibly soulful sounds for some of the greatest black singers of all time.

A few years after the first studio opened, Hall scored his first hit as a producer with Arthur Alexander's beautiful country fried soul track 'You Better Move On'. The success of this single allowed for a new studio to be built, and the first session yielded the incredible 'Steal Away' by Jimmy Hughes (who sang and wrote this track). 'Steal Away' is easily in my 50 favorite songs of all time if I were to compile such a list; in my opinion, it is the epitome of the deep soul sound.

Fame found their biggest successes when Atlantic Records sent Wilson Pickett south to capture some of the Muscle Shoals sound, and Wilson was initially skeptical upon arrival. However, any cynicism was brushed aside when the Fame Gang cut 'Land Of A Thousand Dances' with the Wicked Pickett. Further triumphs were achieved in the studio with Aretha Franklin, and Etta James (both of whom, arguably, cut their greatest records at Fame).

While Rick Hall's greatest strength was as a technical whiz and a friendly presence who made his artists comfortable in the studio (evidenced by the other worldly performances), he also had a hand in some songwriting. Joined up with Dan Penn and the mysterious Oscar Frank, this trio penned the classic breakup cut, 'You Left The Water Running'. While it wasn't cut at Fame, Barbara Lynn's swinging version is a true gem.

Thank you, Rick Hall. You were an American treasure.

from 1964...

JIMMY HUGHES - STEAL AWAY

and from 1966...

BARBARA LYNN - YOU LEFT THE WATER RUNNING

Thursday, December 21, 2017

THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT - WILL YOU STILL BELIEVE IN ME


What happened when (Monkees producer and Turtles member) Chip Douglas, Linda Ronstadt, Gram Parsons, Gene Parsons, Howard Kaylan, Henry Diltz, Cyrus Faryar, and (probably) Micky Dolenz' Moog synthesizer got together in '67? This beautiful piece of folk-rock melancholy holiday sound was born.

Unjustly obscure, in a perfect world this is the type of record that would be heard everywhere during the holiday season.

Peace and love to all.

from 1967...

THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT - WILL YOU STILL BELIEVE IN ME

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

THE MONKEES - CHRISTMAS IS MY TIME OF YEAR b/w WHITE CHRISTMAS


(originally posted 12/24/2013)

Christmas arrived early this year, in that I found a copy of this record (that I've been chasing for many years) back last July.

Issued both in 1976 (to the fan club in limited numbers) and again in 1986 (this copy), this single hardly ever turns up for sale because both pressings were so limited, and most people tend to hang onto them. I have no idea where the '86 release was even SOLD, as I was both a Monkees fan and reading Goldmine magazine as a youngster during this era and I never remember seeing it for sale, and certainly have never seen it in any record stores. Perhaps producer Chip Douglas repressed it for the fan club only, I'm simply not sure. I've had both sides of this 45 on a lo-fi bootleg LP for over 20 years, but nothing beats having this copy with the uber-cool picture sleeve showing the fellas in the studio, reunited.

Chip Douglas and (Turtle) Howard Kaylan wrote the song back in 1968, and it was issued as a single by a group calling themselves The Christmas Spirit, which was made up of several Turtles and Linda Ronstadt. While the song was revisited for The Monkees version, it was completely re-arranged in a far superior way for their track, which is pure magic.

The group was unable to use the name Monkees due to legal restrictions, so the record was cleverly released as We Three Monkees. Michael Nesmith chose not to participate, but the rumor mill claims that it's none other than Nez playing pedal steel guitar on both sides. Micky and Davy take turns on the lead vocal, which is heartfelt and lovely, and the song itself is a wonderful thing. What's in the grooves makes it obvious that everyone involved was having a ball when they made the record. Davy takes the lead for a very moving, country flavored version of "White Christmas" on the flip side, which shows how this man could croon with the best of them and how missed he is.

The words written on the back of the picture sleeve, "An expression of friendship and togetherness to make the holidays a little brighter for all of us" couldn't be more spot on.

Whatever it is that you celebrate, I wish you peace, love, and happiness today, tomorrow and everyday.

from 1976...

THE MONKEES - CHRISTMAS IS MY TIME OF YEAR b/w WHITE CHRISTMAS

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

BETTY LLOYD - SNOWFLAKES

(originally posted 12/24/2011)

One of the prettiest, yet little known soul Christmas singles.

I'm not sure if this Betty Lloyd is the same singer who was a member of the east coast girl group The Percells; Thomas Records was a Chicago label (an offshoot of Curtis Mayfields' Curtom label), and this track certainly has an indelible Chicago stamp on it.

The lyrics brilliantly capture the feeling of being alone at Christmas, but without self pity. Oozing with quality, this song should truly be a holiday standard.

from 1969...

BETTY LLOYD - SNOWFLAKES

Saturday, December 16, 2017

SATURDAY'S CHILDREN - CHRISTMAS SOUNDS b/w DECK FIVE

(originally posted on 12/12/10)

I'm not one to pick favorites of anything, but this 45, along with The Staple Singers staggeringly beautiful Twenty Fifth Day Of December are my favorite holiday records.

I didn't say much about the a-side on my original post, but the real story is in the grooves. It's a wonderful song, played and sang with exceptional talent by this excellent group that deserved mass fame. 

Here's what I wrote about it 7 years ago:

One area that wasn't explored very deeply by US garage bands was the Christmas record; however, Chicago's Saturday's Children were way too sophisticated to be called a garage band.

Here, the band (deeply influenced by the Beatles) melds "Deck The Halls" with Dave Brubeck's jazz standard "Take Five' and turns it into a jazzy, quasi-psychedelic number that I almost guarantee will bring on some holiday cheer. This group had an incredible knack for harmonies, and tackle the tricky 5/4 time signature with ease making for the most hypnotic Christmas record I've ever heard. The other side is an exceptional holiday original showcasing their excellent group harmonies and songwriting skill.

I don't know what was in the water and air in Chicago & Detroit during the 60s, but whatever it was it propelled soul and rock music into the stratosphere, with massive amounts of high quality records being released.

from 1966...

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

THE FIFTH DIMENSION - DON'T CHA HEAR ME CALLING TO YA


File under: Greatest B-Sides to a massive hit single.

I make no bones about the fact that I love the hits as much as the rarities; it's all music that makes us feel good, and just because millions of people happen to dig something collectively, that doesn't make it any less beautiful (I always have to excuse myself to get a glass of water when someone starts rambling about how any popular music isn't as good as "X"). So, yeah, I love the A-side of this record, and the lightweight pop-soul of The Fifth Dimension was pretty darn groovy.

The b-side, though, is a STONE GROOVE! LA's finest session musicians GET DOWN, and of course this groups patented vocal blend is heard in supreme form. The song, too, is unique - pushing aside conventional chord changes, it keeps modulating higher and higher, echoing the yearning sentiment as heard in the lyrics. When this one comes on during long drives, it's pretty much a guarantee that I'm gonna repeat it a few times, 'cause it's just *that* cool.

from 1969...

THE FIFTH DIMENSION - DON'T CHA HEAR ME CALLING TO YA



Tuesday, December 5, 2017

DWIGHT TWILLEY - BURNING SAND

While it isn't a secret that Dwight Twilley is one of the all time great power pop artists, this very scarce track is a  bit of a secret psychedelic mini-masterpiece.

I first heard this song on the excellent Great Lost Twilley Album CD that I was fortunate enough to snag from the record store I worked at in the mid-90s before it disappeared and became a pricey collectable in the days when out of print CD's actually commanded a serious premium. I couldn't even begin to guess how many times I used this song on mixed tapes over the years.

This record was a bit of myth for me for many years as it NEVER turned up, and I doubted whether a US copy even existed; this is the b-side to 'Runaway', and the relatively common promo copy has mono/ stereo versions of that track, with no 'Burning Sand'. It was a happy day indeed when a copy of this turned up a few years ago, but it almost met a sad fate, as it was sent to me in a non-padded 'envelope' (basically a pathetic job of someone covering it in paper, taping it shut and shipping it). How it made it to me without getting cracked is a minor miracle.

from 1979...

DWIGHT TWILLEY - BURNING SAND

Sunday, December 3, 2017

DORIS & KELLEY - YOU DON'T HAVE TO WORRY

 (originally posted 5/19/2009)

This record has received the most hits to this site, and also has been responsible for the most people writing to me and either asking me to sell my copy (nope, not for sale) or to get a high-res rip off of my copy (undoubtedly since Common sampled this track). One of those wishes is (kinda) granted, as my YT uploads are always the highest possible resolution/ fidelity.

Everything about this record sounds STONED.

Here's what I wrote originally, and to my knowledge there's still no information out there about who D&K were/ are:

Another day, another mystery record!

I am completely transfixed by the psychedelic, deep vibe of this song. Sadly, it appears as if this is the only record that these two made. A pity, but at least we have this one.

As always, any information about this record would be greatly appreciated.

from 1967...

DORIS & KELLEY - YOU DON'T HAVE TO WORRY