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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.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Belita Woods - Grounded b/w Magic Corner



(originally posted 3/2007)

Although Belita Woods only released three solo singles, they are three records that I deeply cherish. In the later 70's Belita went on to sing with disco band Brainstorm, and had a few dance hits (driven mightily by her powerful voice) with that group.

Her first release (1967) was the incredible double sider "Magic Corner b/w Grounded"; which, in my opinion, is one of the greatest two-siders in 45 RPM history. 'Grounded' was the b-side, but it's just so damn powerful that I'm featuring it first. I'm a massive fan of the period in soul when the hard edged, funk tinged sound was coming in to more vocal oriented tracks; that sound is displayed here in an unparalleled way. 'Magic Corner' is a dreamy song, but it's no less intense thanks to the unbelievable vocal performance; Belita sings so hard that her voice distorts the tape and/ or microphone in several spots. Magic stuff indeed.

Belita Woods passed away far too young (63) in 2012; she was a touring member of the P-Funk mob for many years, a tiny little lady with a massive voice.

from 1967...


Sunday, August 20, 2017

Lezli Valentine - I Won't Do Anything






I'm back!

Gonna keep the daily 45 archives alive as best as I can, with the highest possible audio. It's truly touching how many people still write with kind words, or the people I meet/ speak to in real life that this site has made a positive impact upon.

Can't possibly keep up 'every day', but my goal is to repost something from the archives a few times a week, seasoned with the occasional 'new' track.

(originally posted on 10/12/2012)


This record is downright HAUNTING. A lone acoustic guitar picks out the intro and sets the mood, which leads into the brilliant song and arrangement. Lezli Valentine (a founding member of The Jaynetts), turns in such a gorgeous, restrained performance, and is backed by a heavenly group of ladies (or is it Lezli overdubbed?) on backing vocals.

This record sounds like the soundtrack from a dream, and I can't get enough of it. It's so subtle that the depth of what's happening can easily be overlooked through its hypnotic power.

from 1968...

LEZLI VALENTINE - I WON'T DO ANYTHING

Monday, March 16, 2015

RAY AGEE - THE MONKEY ON MY BACK

I know, I know...it's been a while! I've been very busy establishing my online record store among other things; however, I realized that I've been accumulating some more post- worthy 45's, and it was high time to get back into action.

I can think of no better record than this to return with - this side from Alabama born/ Los Angeles based vocalist Ray Agee (with an uncredited female vocalist who truly steals the show here) is by far the best recent discovery I've had in years. (Of course I would never make any claim on discovering a record - I mean in the sense that it's new to me; however, not many people 'in the know' seem to know about this one.)

Ray Agee made several records with West Coast guitarist Johnny Heartsman, and Johnny cranked out a superb arrangement for this haunting track. While the song itself (and Ray's vocal delivery) is undoubtedly influenced by Ray Charles, the raw vocals and downright frightening lyrics make any comparison inconsequential.

Fate definitely smiled down on me the day that I found this one - I had only 90m or so to spend in a store that had countless boxes of unsorted, filthy 45's. I didn't make it thru every box, but fortunately I did get to the box that had this one. I'd never heard it before, but I know Ray Agee and figured for 50c it would be worthwhile. I certainly was...

from c1963...

RAY AGEE - THE MONKEY ON MY BACK
Upload Music Files - Upload Audio - The Monkey On My Back

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

FBI - RHYTHM TRIP b/w DO SOMETHING FREE

This record is a complete mystery; not only is it the only known release from this mysterious group called F B I, but it also seems to be the only release from the Oakland, CA based Daisy Records.

Whatever the back story, this is a FREAKY double sided psychedelic funk slab. It kinda goes without saying that this record is RARE (like, REALLY rare); however, I'm not one that freaks out on records just because they're 'grails'. There has to be something captivating in the grooves, and this one has IT. Drum breaks, fuzzed-out wah wah'ed guitar, a SUPER bad bass player, excellent group vocals, creative horn charts? Check. Both sides flat out COOK, and there's just no more words needed for these two jams. I'm taking a guess at the year; if you know more, please write.

I won't say how many exactly, but I traded off BOXES of 45's to score this record a few months back. No joke! Granted, they were mostly cheapies, but it helped stock up my pals Allen and Michael's store (Needle To The Groove, San Jose, CA) with 45's for a LONG time.

from c1971...

FBI - RHYTHM TRIP

DO SOMETHING FREE

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

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


While I don't generally pick favorites, as each year passes this record has gotten deeper and deeper into my soul, and I could probably say that it's my favorite rock n roll Christmas single.

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 ("Christmas Sounds") is an exceptional holiday original showcasing their excellent group harmonies and songwriting skill.


from 1966...

SATURDAY'S CHILDREN - CHRISTMAS SOUNDS

b/w DECK FIVE

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

BETTY LLOYD - SNOWFLAKES


(Originally posted 12/24/11)

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, 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 be a holiday standard.

from 1969...

BETTY LLOYD - SNOWFLAKES

Monday, December 22, 2014

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

This was a record that I'd been chasing for YEARS until I finally scored a copy a few years back.

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 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



Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas with the Godfather; James Brown wishes you a Merry Christmas

Of course "The Christmas Song" is one of the most-recorded standards of the season, but James Brown beautifully croons the number in a way that wasn't his norm, yet, as usual, he makes the song all his own. His spoken outro is priceless as well.

This single has two takes of the same song, one on each side; both sides were also featured on JB's first (scarce!) Christmas album. 

from 1966...

THE CHRISTMAS SONG

"Don't Leave Nothing for me, I've had my chance you see" is my favorite line on this great track from JB. James Brown and co-lyricist Hank Ballard definitely share the true spirit of giving during the holiday season here, and it's a lesson to all of us. The Godfather remembers that the child without toys was once himself...

YOU can be a Santa Claus yourself by donating to one of my charities of choice - Toys For Tots. Help put a smile on the face of a child this year, and every year. 

from 1968...

SANTA CLAUS GO STRAIGHT TO THE GHETTO

While a few years of shouting the funk may have started putting a strain on James' voice, he returns to his lovely croon on another JB original; "It's Christmas Time". While a lonely Christmas theme may have been used on numerous holiday classics, JB once again puts his own spin on the theme with excellent results and a poetic side that shows the versatility and talent of this legend.

from 1969...

IT'S CHRISTMAS TIME


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

In tribute to Wendy Rene (1947-2014)

With a yearning voice that is unrestrained and full of emotion, some of my favorite records on the Stax label were cut by Mary Frierson, aka Wendy Rene. Not only did Mary possess a unique and powerful voice, but she had a hand in writing all of her records, as well. I was very sad to read that Mary passed away yesterday. "Wendy" was given her stage name by fellow Stax legend Otis Redding, and this was the name which she used for all of her records. Even though none of Wendy Rene's records sold well, she toured regularly with other Stax artists in the mid-60's, and was initially scheduled to be a part of Otis Redding's final (tragic) tour. Wendy became pregnant shortly before, and dropped out of the tour and ended her musical career.

Wendy's solo career began after releasing a few Stax 45's with her brother and two friends in a group called The Drapels (whose records are by far among the rarest Stax releases, and probably the hardest records to find on the label in general). "After Laughter", written with her brother, is the record which Wendy is most known for; this record was initially supposed to be a Drapels release, but became the first Wendy Rene release in 1964.

No matter how many times I've heard this record, its undeniable spook factor still scares the heck out of me- something about the performance here sounds like something a tad bit too personal; something we're not SUPPOSED to hear, as if listening in on an audio diary.The backing (provided by Booker T. And The MG's) is an unbelievable performance in itself. WuTang Clan famously sampled this record, and it also appeared on the soundtrack of the film Lucky Number Slevin in 2006.



Wendy's next single (also released in '64) was an amazing, double sided masterpiece: "Young And Foolish" carries on the type of almost-too-personal emotion found on "After Laughter", while the flip side "Bar-B-Q" is as rollicking a tribute to soul food as one could ever wax.As silly as Bar-B-Q may seem on the surface, Wendy hits a few notes with incredible soul power and force, while MG Steve Cropper lays out a NASTY soul that drips grease 'n' sauce all over the place.

YOUNG AND FOOLISH


Bar-B-Q


Wendy's final release, 1965's "Give You What I Got" may well be my favorite of her records. Booker T & The MG's seem especially inspired (Cropper co-wrote, dig how Duck Dunn mimics her vocal line on bass!), while Wendy turns in a performance of Otis stye intensity, pushed along by a brilliant female backing vocal section.


Thankfully, Light In The Attic records compiled all of Wendy's singles a few years back (both solo and with The Drapels) and added a few non-released tracks as well; the amazing "Crying All By Myself" is worth the price of admission alone. The vinyl pressing sounds great, as well.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

CURT DARIN - TWO ON A CLOUD

This beautiful track seems to be a one off for Curt Darin, unless this is another singer working under a pseudonym. Considering that both Ivy Hunter and Robert Bateman (both Motown alums) are credited on the label, all signs point to this being a Detroit production.

from 1976...

CURT DARIN - TWO ON A CLOUD


Thursday, December 4, 2014

THE MONTANAS - THAT'S WHEN HAPPINESS BEGAN

Phew...What a RAVER!

The Montanas hailed from Wolverhampton, UK ("the Midlands") and had a rather long run together which later produced two minor US hit singles. Most of the groups releases found more of a pop flavor, but this track matches two of my favorite things; namely, a strong R&B influence and devastating FUZZ guitar.

from 1966...

THE MONTANAS - THAT'S WHEN HAPPINESS BEGAN