Rhythm & Blues, Soul & Doo-Wop - Bulletin October 2008 - Booker T. & The MGs -> The Vibrations + DVD
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BULLETIN - October 2008
Rhythm & Blues, Soul & Doo-Wop
Booker T. & The MGs -> The Vibrations




JAMES BROWN Shout Factory 10879 I Got The Feein' - James Brown In The 60s ● DVD $36.98
Three DVD set devoted to the great James Brown. The first disc is the director's cut of a documentary called "The Night James Brown Saved Boston" about the concert by James that was staged in Boston the night after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King and his co-operation with the mayor of that city in encouraging people to stay home and thereby helping to prevent Boston being plunged into the violence that affected other cities. It also includes interviews with members of his band, friends and colleagues and a panel discussion from the film's premiere in Boston. The second disc features the complete concert where he performed songs like That's Life/ It's A Man's Man's World/ Get It Together/ I Got The Feelin'/ Cold Sweat/ I Got You (I Feel Good) and others. The third disc features a live perfromance from the famed Apollo Theater in New York in 1968 doing If I Ruled The World/ Kansas City/ Lost Someone/ There Was A Time/ Try Me and more, performances from 1967 and 1968 shows at L'Olympia In Paris and ends with James doing Out Of Sight from the 1964 "T.A.M.I. Show."Almost 5 1/2 hours in all. Comes with booklet with detailed notes.




BOOKER T. & THE MGS Rhino (UK) 77660 The Definitive Soul Collection ● CD $14.98
2 CDs, 30 tracks, highly recommended
It seemed that when the re-activated Stax Records issued The Very Best of Booker T. & the MG's (reviewed in an earlier newsletter) in late 2007, we had seen the last word regarding the ultimate compilation of that seminal group's hits and best loved recordings. However, in 2006, Rhino issued this similarly-priced European import that contains nearly everything on the Stax CD (minus four tracks: Heads or Tails/ Over Easy/ Sunday Sermon and Soul Clap '69). Which comp is better? Well, that depends on what one wants: if you want the long versions of Melting Pot and Time is Tight and 20 songs are enough to satisfy your funky soul instrumental jones, then stick with the Stax collection. On the other hand, if, for the same price, you want maximum "Soul-Limbo" goodness, then this is the CD for you. (GMC)
BOOKER T. & THE MGS: Be My Lady/ Behave Yourself/ Booker-Loo/ Boot-Leg/ Can't Be Still/ Chinese Checkers/ Green Onions/ Groovin'/ Hang 'Em High/ Hip Hug Her/ Home Grown/ Jellybread/ Jingle Bells/ Melting Pot/ Mo' Onions/ Mrs. Robinson/ My Sweet Potato/ Outrage/ Pigmy/ Red Beans & Rice/ Slim Jenkin's Place/ Slum Baby/ Something/ Soul Dressing/ Soul Sanction/ Soul-Limbo/ Summertime/ Terrible Thing/ Tic-Tac-Toe/ Time Is Tight

BRENDA & THE TABULATIONS Jamie 3909 The Dionn Records Singles Collection, 1966-1969 ● CD $14.98
14 tracks, 37 mins, highly recommended
For those of you who thought (or knew!) that there was more to late 60's/early 70's R&B vocal group Brenda and the Tabulations, I've got news for you: here's more gold from Philly's Jamie/Guyden Distribution's vaults. The group, formed in Philadelphia by vocalist Brenda Payton and keyboardist Maurice Coates, was signed to Gilda Wood's Dionn label (she was also their manager) and hit the ground running with 1966's R&B/Pop hit Dry Your Eyes. Payton's pipes were similar to Dionne Warwick's, without the latter's range, but Payton was just as expressive: she wrings every drop of emotion from Dry Your Eyes, while later coming off sassy and sexy on The Wash. Stay Together Young Lovers is a prime slice of 60's soul (originally by local singer Ben Aiken, it was written by Lorraine Ellison and Sam Bell), and a cover of Smokey Robinson's Who's Lovin' You comes off well, but the fact that many of the group's songs were written by Payton and Coates-something of a rarity in vocal group music-is surprising considering the high quality of songs like Dry Your Eyes/ Just Once in a Lifetime, and Hey Boy. An excellent document of a quasi-obscure group, that's merely part one of the story (part two is continued on " The Top & Bottom Singles Collection " , Jamie 3912). (GMC)

BRENDA & THE TABULATIONS Jamie 3912 The Top & Bottom Singles Collection, 1969-1971 ● CD $14.98
14 tracks, 43 mins, highly recommended
Continuing the musical journey of the group formed by singer Brenda Payton and organist Maurice Coates, this collection contains the seven singles they recorded for Top & Bottom, after Dionn Records folded in 1969. For these recordings, the group worked with producer/songwriter Van McCoy, who had already penned hits for Barbara Lewis and Betty Everett. McCoy and his writing partner Joe Cobb wrote several R&B hits for them including And My Heart Sang (Tra La La) (and it's flip, Lies, Lies, Lies) and the immortal Right on the Tip of My Tongue, which also crossed over Pop in the Spring of 1971. You've Changed and A Child No One Wanted also demonstrated Brenda's ability to handle the sophisticated lyrics and arrangements of McCoy/Cobb; even A Part of You, which is virtually a re-write of Tip of My Tongue, is beautifully executed. From December 69's The Touch of You to Why Didn't I Think of That, released in Oct. 1971, combination of Brenda's expressive voice, the songwriting prowess of McCoy/Cobb, and the tasteful production of McCoy and group manager Gilda Woods produced soul gold for the Pepsi generation. (GMC)

JAMES BROWN Hip-O Select 10411 The Singles - Volume 5, 1966-1967 ● CD $31.98
The latest volume in this limited edition two CD series features 43 tracks from a time when America was in turmoil. Dissent against the Vietnam war had grown and Martin Luther King was assassinated resulting in violence in urban areas. James Brown now emerged as the voice of and to the people. This set includes I Can't Stand Myself (When You Touch Me)/ Funky Soul #1/ Gittin' A Little Hipper/ You've Got The Power/ America Is My Home (Parts 1 & 2)/ I Guess I'll Have To Cry, Cry, Cry/ Say It Loud - I'm Black & I'm Proud (Parts 1 & 2)/ Santa Claus Goes Straight To The Ghetto/ Let's Unite The Whole World At Christmas/ Soul Pride, Parts 1 & 2 and more.

BOBBY CHARLES Rhino (UK) 79907-6 Bobby Charles ● CD $10.98
20 Tracks, 47 mins, recommended
This CD re-issue is about as bare an effort as you can get, surprising for Rhino: there is only the original artwork reproduced, with no notes or any extras. If there were notes, they would probably mention how this was Bobby Charles first album of the '70s, released in 1972 on the Bearsville record label. The notes would then mention how this is produced by The Band's Rick Danko and that all of the Band except for Robbie Robertson appear on this record. Bobby Charles actually performed at the "Last Waltz" concert, but unfortunately he was not filmed and it wasn't until a recent box set that the recording of his performance was even released. Danko and co.'s influence can definitely be heard, but aren't the only thing cool about this record. Bobby Charles delivers a laid back, swampy and soulful batch of tunes, a real treat to discover. At times he comes across as a backwoods Randy Newman, or maybe he sounds a bit like J.J. Cale, mostly he just sounds like the unique artist that he is. There are no remakes of See You Later Alligator or any attempts at capturing his '50s glory, just a good down-home record that fans of earthy Rock'N'Roll will dig. All songs written by Bobby Charles except for Small Town Talk co-written by Charles and Danko, and Grow Too Old which has Dave Bartholomew and Fats Domino co-writing. (JM)

RAY CHARLES Acrobat ACMCD 4326 Jukebox Hits, 1949-1957 ● CD $15.98
25 tracks, 69 mins, cer tainly essential material
Starting with some of Charles' early work where he is still finding his voice, then quickly up to some of the greatest Rhythm & Blues ever recorded. Of the early tracks Confession Blues was recorded as the Maxim Trio for the Down Beat label, with the next two, Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand, and Kiss Me Baby, were done for the Swingtime label. The rest is pure Atlantic records gold. Mess Around/ It Should Have Been Me/ Sinner's Prayer/ I Got A Woman/ This Little Girl Of Mine/ Greenbacks/ Hallelujah I Love Her So/ Lonely Avenue, and so many more. Liner notes do a quick recap of Charles' well-known story and then also provide track-by-track information. (JM)
RAY CHARLES: A Fool For You/ Ain't That Love/ Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand/ Blackjack/ Come Back Baby/ Confession Blues/ Don't You Know/ Drown In My Own Tears/ Get On The Right Track, Baby/ Greenbacks/ Hallelujah I Love Her So/ I Got A Woman/ I Want A Little Girl/ I Want To Know/ It Should've Been Me/ It's All Right/ Kissa Me Baby/ Lonely Avenue/ Losing Hand/ Mary Ann/ Mess Around/ Sinner's Prayer/ Swanee River Rock/ This Little Girl Of Mine/ What Would I Do Without You

ARETHA FRANKLIN Rhino Handmade 7757 Oh Me Oh My: Aretha Live In Philly, 1972 ● CD $22.98
14 tracks, 56 mins, highly recommended
Limited edition (7,500 numbered copies) release. This never-before released live recording of the Queen of Soul, recorded at the National Association of Television & Radio Announcers (a black broadcasters organization) convention in Philadelphia, shows Aretha at her early 70's peak roaring through some of her biggest hits in several medleys, and delivering complete performances of then-popular songs like Rock Steady/ Spanish Harlem, and Spirit in the Dark. Although her biggest hits get tossed off in the medleys (including Think and I Never Loved a Man), she does treat the adoring audience of DJ's to rousing versions of Respect and Don't Play That Song. The songs are played fast and furious (maybe too fast), and the band is razor sharp and game for the occasion. This is probably Aretha at her most frenetic--some might say sloppy--but I find it to be full of energy, joy and gratitude toward the men and women who helped her get where she was. In short, come to this CD not looking for Aretha Franklin the great technical singer, but Aretha the great artist, because as an example of the latter, this collection is invaluable. (GMC)

GARLAND GREEN Kent CDKEND 303 The Very Best Of Garland Green ● CD $18.98
24 track compilation charting the career of superb Chicago born soul singer featuring recordings made in the 60s and 70s for a variety of labels - Revue, Uni, Cotillion, Spring, RCA and Ocean-Front. Comes with booklet with extensive notes by Chicago soul expert Robert Pruter - Jealous Kind Of Fella/ These Arms/ I've Quit Running The Streets/ Plain & Simple Girl/ Let Me Be Your Pacifier/ Ask Me What You Want/ Sending My Best Wishes/ Nothing Can Take You From Me, etc.

THE HEARTBEATS Hull 712 The Heartbeats ● CD $17.98
34 tracks, very highly recommended
Wonderful collection featuring most of the recordings by this superb New York vocal group led by by the sublime lead vocals of James "Shep" Sheppard. They had their biggest hit in 1956 with the wistful A Thousand Miles Away written by Shep about a girlfriend who had moved to Texas and a lesser hit a year later with Everybody's Somebody's Fool. Over the next few years they continued to make fine records but success eluded them. They were at their best on slow ballads but also recorded some fine up tempo numbers. The group split up in 1959 and Shep formed a new group Shep & The Limelights which was essentially a sequel to a Thousand Miles Away. This disc also includes several acapella demos including one for A Thousand Mile Away. A great collection with excellent sound - unfortunately there are no notes. (FS)
THE HEARTBEATS: 500 Miles to Go/ A Thousand Miles Away/ A Thousand Miles Away (acapella)/ After New Years Eve/ After New Years Eve (acapella)/ Be Mine, Be Mine/ Be Mine, Be Mine (acapella)/ Crazy For You/ Darling How Long/ Don't You Know (acapella)/ Down on My Knees/ Everybody's Somebody's Fool/ Hands Off My Baby/ Have Rock Will Roll/ Hurry Home Baby/ Hydromatic Drive/ I Found a Job/ I Want to Know/ I Won't Be the Fool Anymore/ It's Allright With Me/ Lonely Lover/ Lovin' Sickness/ Oh Baby Don't/ One Day Next Year/ People Are Talking (fast)/ People are Talking/ Rockin' An' Rollin'/ Sometimes I Wonder/ Stars in the Sky/ Tell Me/ Wedding Bells/ When I Found You/ Your Way/ SHEP & THE LIMELITES: Daddy's Home

ELDRIDGE HOLMES AIM 1510 Deep Southern Soul ● CD $15.98
18 tracks, 49 min., very highly recommended
Holmes could be the poster boy for underrated soul talents. Despite dozens of great recordings, he never had a hit record. Fame avoided him like the plague. His recording career began in 1962 shortly after joining forces with Allen Toussaint in New Orleans. This CD, the first full album of Eldridge's work, primarily features songs recorded and produced by Toussaint and released on some of his many small labels, including Alon, Deesu, Sansu, and Jet Set. Not everything here is "deep soul." What's Your Name is drenched in doo wop, and Lovely Woman ranks with the best soul pop of the period, as does Gone Gone Gone, which had everything necessary for a hit except sales. The Book (one of three tracks here featuring The Meters!) is unmistakably in the funk camp, meanwhile Humpback is a first-class but failed attempt at starting a dance craze. Count the Wardell Quezerque-arranged Love Affair and the incredible What's Your Name among the deeper soul sounds here. Enough great Holmes sides exist for another volume...are you listening AIM? Not to be missed. (JC)

DARLENE LOVE Ace CDCHD 1169 So Much Love - A Darlene Love Anthology, 1958-1998 ● CD $18.98
24 tracks, 64 mins, highly recommended
The incomparable Darlene Love, captured throughout her fabulous career, solo or with the Blossoms, and with many well known artists who records she graced. Darlene and the Blossoms where known mostly for backing up (and in some cases singing lead) on many of Phil Spector's great Girl Group hits of the '60s, but Soul fans have long loved Love and the Blossoms on their own merits. Of course, her story is Love-ingly presented here by the fine Ace records company, with copious notes, rare pics, etc. On top of the classic Love/ Blossoms material, That's When The Tears Start, To Late To Say You're Sorry, So Much Love, No Other Love, etc, there is a host of even more obscure cuts. Tracks like 3625 Groovy Street by The Wildcats, He's a Rebel by Moose and The Pelicans, TV Commercials by Barney Kessel. Some Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans tracks would have been a welcome addition to this collection; I guess that they had so much material to work with it might not have fit, so maybe there will be a volume 2? Fans of '60s Soul, especially of that great Girl Group sound, should really enjoy this one. (JM)
HAL BLAINE & THE YOUNG COUGARS: The Drummer Plays For Me/ THE BLOSSOMS: Cherish What Is Dear To You (while It's Near To You)/ Good, Good Lovin'/ I Gotta Tell It/ Lover Boy/ So Much Love*/ Something So Wrong/ That's When The Tears Start/ The Gospel Truth*/ The Search Is Over/ Touchdown/ No Other Love/ AL CASEY & THE K-C-ETTES: What Are We Gonna Do In '64?/ DICK DALE & THE DEL TONES: King Of The Surf Guitar/ DUANE EDDY & THE REBELETTES: Boss Guitar/ BARNEY KESSEL: Tv Commercials/ DARLENE LOVE: A Change Is Gonna Come/ All Alone On Christmas/ Let Him Walk Away*/ Mr Fix-it/ Ooh-wee Baby/ Too Late To Say You're Sorry/ MOOSE & THE PELICANS: He's A Rebel/ THE WILDCATS: 3625 Groovy Street

THE MARCELS Collectables 7823 The Ultimate Collection ● CD $13.98
25 tracks, mins, highly recommended
The Marcels came in towards the end of the Doo Wop era and ended up producing one of its all-time greats--possibly the last really great Doo Wop song--the amazing, dynamic rendition of Blue Moon. I know some Doo-wop purist don't care so much for their acrobatic approach, but I for one have always loved it. Since their first hit right out of the gate was a cover of a standard, the Marcels and their handlers tended to mine the classics for possible further gold; consequently, you get their personal stamp on Tin Pan Alley favorites like Summertime/ Over the Rainbow/ You Are My Sunshine, etc. Possibly the second best track on here is the second track, the fabulous, dynamic, Heartaches, which features a similar over the top vocal workout as Blue Moon, but certainly stands on its own as well. So much fantastic stuff, totally recommended. (JM)
THE MARCELS: A Fallen Tear/ A Sunday Kind Of Love/ Allright, Okay, You Win/ Blue Heartaches/ Blue Moon/ Crazy Bells/ Find Another Fool/ Flowerpot/ Friendly Loans/ Goodbye To Love/ Heartaches/ I Wanna Be The Leader/ I'll Be Forever Loving You/ Lollipop Baby/ Love Her The Whole Week Through/ Most Of All/ My Love For You/ My Melancholy Baby/ Over The Rainbow/ Summertime/ Sweet Was The Wine/ Teeter Totter Love/ Two People In The World/ You Are My Sunshine/ You Gave Me Peace Of Mind

THE MELLOKINGS Acrobat ACMCD 4301 The Herald Sessions ● CD $15.98
26 tracks from this white teenage quintet from Mt. Vernon, N.Y. who recorded for Al Silver's Herald label between 1957 and 1959 and had some success with their initial release Tonite, Tonite. This CD contains all their Herald output, including originally unissued songs and alternate takes. The group sings well in a smooth sweet-sounding way, but occasionally drifts into commercially trite material. Besides their hit tracks this set includes Sassafras/ Kid Stuff/ Valerie/ Do Baby Do/ I Played The Part Of A Fool/ Till There Was None/ Love At First Sight, etc. Excellent sound and informative notes by Bob Fisher.

JOHNNY OTIS Disky 903639 Rocks - Ain't Nothin' Shakin' ● CD $7.98
20 tracks, 55 mins, recommended
On this CD Johnny Otis indeed "Rocks," but re-does it with both feet planted firmly in the Blues. His production job on Big Mama Thorton's Hound Dog is about as close as you are going to get to Rock n' Roll; mostly, they are playing Jump Blues/ R&B throughout. Now, I say "they" because, despite the complete lack of liner notes, it is clear that this is the Johnny Otis Orchestra with Little Esther and Mel Walker, among others, providing lead vocal. Largely made up of Otis' compositions, we get great takes from--I would say--the late 1940's - early 50's (again no notes or info) of songs like You're Fine But Not My Kind/ All Night Long/ The Turkey Hop/ Mambo Boogie, etc. Fine sound throughout, so if you don't have a good collection of Otis' classic material, this would be a good start. (JM)

THE PERSUADERS Rhino (UK) 79993-4 The Platinum Collection ● CD $10.98
20 tracks, 76 mins, recommended
The Persuaders were a minor R&B vocal group from New York, who are remembered-if at all-for recording the original versions of Thin Line Between Love and Hate and Some Guys Have All the Luck (hit covered by the Pretenders and Rod Stewart, respectively). This collection contains the cream of their early 70's output as recorded for Atlantic Records, and although they were lost in a crowd of great R&B vocal groups during that time (the Stylistics, the Spinners, Chi-Lites et al), the Persuaders did manage some memorable moments on wax. Lead singer Douglas Scott had an expressive voice from the Wilson Pickett school, which is used to good effect on Thin Line and Some Guys, as well as Bad Bold and Beautiful Girl/ If This is What You Call Love, and Peace in the Valley of Love (which sounds like a follow-up/sequel to Thin Line). There's also the usual 70's jive talkin' (Thigh Spy/ You Musta Put Something in Your Love), and a Stylistics/Temptations-style epic (We're Just Trying to Make it), but if you want to complete your collection of 70's vocal group soul, you could do worse than this compilation. (GMC)

THE PERSUASIONS Collectables 6981 Acapella ● CD $11.98
13 tracks, highly recommended
The superb vocal group The Persuasions started their recording career in 1962 without making much impact. In 1969 they were discovered by Frank Zappa who recorded them for his Straight label doing 11 acapella songs and this album became a big seller and launched the group on a lengthy career. This is a straight reissue that first album featuring them doing songs like Searchin' For My Baby/ Old Man River/ Drip Drop/ Up On The Roof/ Since I Fell For You/ It's All Right and others. (FS)

OTIS REDDING Stax 30892 Live! In London And Paris ● CD $11.98
19 tracks, 67 mins, essential
In 1967, Otis Redding was at his peak as a performer and artist: he had conquered Europe early in the year, and had set the stage for American domination with his towering performance at the Monterey Pop Festival. Had Otis not perished in that plane crash in December 1967, there's no telling how much he could have achieved. This recording of his monumental and influential shows at the Finsbury Park Astoria (aka The Rainbow) in London on March 17th and the Paris Olympia on March 21st (as part of the Stax/Volt Revue tour) are a lasting testament to the man's talent, and ability to work a crowd: when he charges through Shake/ Respect. I Can't Turn You Loose, and Try a Little Tenderness, you can smell the sweat through the speakers and feel the excitement that was doubtlessly generated. And anyone who can make songs so closely identified with the original artists like Satisfaction/ Day Tripper, and My Girl, so completely his own is a rare breed indeed (only Joe Cocker touches Otis as a song interpreter). Backed by Booker T. & the MG's and the Mar-Keys horns, Otis pulls out all the stops while the band plays relentlessly behind him. While the Paris show was released previously as "Live in Europe in July 1967", this CD represents the first time the London concert has been available, and although the latter show was shorter (due to a curfew) than the Paris one, it is great to have it for the sake of contrast. As far as I'm concerned, these live tracks are right up there with James Brown Live at the Apollo, they're that good, and no R&B lover should be without this CD. (GMC)

HOWARD TATE Evidence 26137 Blue Day ● CD $14.98
15 tracks, 59 min., highly recommended
It's easy to argue that Tate is among the greatest living soul singers based on the quality of just his early work. But damn if the guy doesn't continue to make arresting and interesting music. For my money, I'd rather hear him on the soulful side instead of leaning into the blues, but, judging from the songs here, producer Jon Tiven disagrees. He also wrote or co-wrote every song and plays guitar, organ, piano, sitar, and percussion. The opening track (Miss Beehive) is old-school soul with clever lyrics and enough drive to pass cars on the freeway. If it isn't a hit, there's no justice in the world. The title track shows off Tate's bluer tendencies with solid if less spectacular results. Good 'N' Blue stands out not just as a top shelf hunk of soul, but because it features Memphis Horn Wayne Jackson on trumpet and Dan Penn on background vocals--Penn also co-wrote the song. Tate himself co-wrote a brace of songs here: Your Move and First Class, the latter features Felix Cavaliere on keys and Steve Cropper on, you guessed it, guitar--they also share song-writing credits. For atypical subject matter, there's Stalking My Woman and If I Was White, both of which find only limited success. In short, what we have here is a very good blues album full of original material, with a few great soul songs thrown in make you guess at what might have been. (JC)

TOMMY TATE Soulscape 7010 Hold On - The Jackson Sessions - Rare & Unreleased ● CD $19.98
23 tracks, 64 min., highly recommended
Another in a long line of under-appreciated soul men, Tommy Tate began his recording career for ABC Records in 1965 with the non-hits Ordinarily and What's The Matter. This release collects rare and unreleased Tate sides cut through the sixties and early 1970s, recorded (except for three sides) at Malaco Studios in Jackson, Mississippi, most in association with Tim Whitsett. Stylistically, this stuff knocks on every door, searching, it would seem, for hits. That one singer could turn in a 5th Dimension-style piece of pop such as Little Boy as well as the emotive soul of My Wife speaks volumes about his immense range. Some of the soul pop tracks here, including All A Part Of Growing Up, with its cool, almost minimalist guitar work, might have been hits but were not. Speaking of which, if the incredible Get It Over Anyway were the only song here, the album would still be worth it. Among the other cuts to take the listener's breath away, count Hold On (To What We've Got), which was covered by the great James Carr as his only Atlantic single. The Sam & Dave-esque So Hard To Let A Good Thing Go features cool horn charts and is 1 of 5 previously unreleased sides. Amusingly, producers have included a radio commercial called Never Too Busy, (a Mighty Sam single cut at Malaco) which finds Tate singing an ad for a local insurance agent named Charlie Meyers on top of the music for the Mighty Sam single. It was issued as a "B" side by a record industry type who apparently could not be bothered to listen to the words. With so little of Tommy Tate's catalog unavailable for so long, this one is a real treat. (JC)

JOE TEX Ace CDCHD 1197 Get Way Back - The 1950s Recordings ● CD $18.98
27 tracks, 65 mins, highly recommended
Gut bucket R&B singer Joe Tex had hits in the late 60's and early 70's, but his recording career began in the mid 1950's and this compilation focuses on the sides he cut for his first two labels: King and Ace (he also cut for Anna, Checker, Jalynne and Dial in the decade or so before he made it). Since this is the first legally-licensed collection of this material--which covers all of his 50's sessions and ends with the earliest 60's releases--that makes this CD a valuable document of Tex's growth as a singer. His first two singles show his diversity: Davy, You Upset My Home, a novelty tune dis of the then-current Davy Crockett craze, is big beat fun; conversely, Come in This House is bluesy testifying beautifully sung. Fans of Show Me and Skinny Legs and All, absolutely need to hear this astutely compiled collection of Joe Tex at his young, raw, and explosive best. (GMC)
JOE TEX: Ain't Nobody's Business/ Another Man's Woman/ Baby You're Right (i'll Hold What I Got)/ Blessed Are These Tears/ Boys Will Be Boys/ Charlie Brown Got Expelled/ Come In This House/ Come On In This House (with Group Overdubbed)/ Cut It Out/ Davy You Upset My Home/ Don't Hold It Against Me/ Gee, I Really Want You (with Group Overdubbed)/ Get Way Back/ Grannie Stole The Show/ I Had To Come Back To You/ I Want To Have A Talk With You/ Just For You And Me/ Mother's Advice/ My Biggest Mistake/ Open The Door/ Pneumonia/ Put Your Confidence In Me/ Right Back To My Arms/ She's Mine/ You Little Baby Face Thing/ Yum, Yum, Yum

TONY & THE HOLIDAYS Crystal Ball 1051 AKA The Standards ● CD $17.98
27 tracks, recommended
An older release not listed before. Tony & The Holidays were a fine white group from Manhattan led by vocalist Tommy Castro who recorded a number of fine sides between 1959 and 1962. In 1962 Castro left and was replaced by Richie Tsonos and the group changed its name to The Standards and recorded a number of sides between 1963 and 1965. This CD features all the sides by these two overlapping groups as well as well as tracks by the Holidays with Buddy Sheppard in the lead and a couple of the Belmonts joining in on the harmonies. There is also one track (My Love Has Gone Away featuring Tony Castro fronting the Belmonts. There is also one track by Larry & The Legends, presumably a group led by Holidays first tenor Larry Loeb. The set also includes some acapella demos with rather mediocre sound including a fragment of I've Got The World On A String from 1957 featuring Larry Loeb and Larry Rizoo who would later become members of the Holidays. All in all an enjoyable set. (FS)

THE TURKS V.S.O.P. 116 The Keen Records Sessions ● CD $13.98
14 tracks, 49 min., recommended
The Turks, who performed wearing Fezzes, and unsurprisingly met with some market resistance, had a shifting line up of first flight Los Angeles talents. One of the songs hear finds Johnny 'Guitar' Watson on board, for example. At Keen Records the group consisted of Gaynel Hodge, Jesse Belvin, Alex Hodge, and Tommy "Buster" Williams. The Turks bounced around various labels but never recorded much, releasing only 10 songs on 5 singles. This album adds 2 more songs in the previously unreleased It's You and My Baby (which includes some pig Latin in the lyric, for that bilingual touch). The Turks were excellent, as these Keen sides testify. This album includes a trio of great songs (the aforementioned It's You, Okay and Father Time) and adds the session recordings for It's You, Father Time and My Baby. The session tape provides insight into the recording dynamics, but not everyone needs 9 takes in a row of the same song . So be forewarned; the music is wonderful, but the variety is limited. Highly informative notes from 1950's vocal group scholar Steve Propes. (JC)

THE VIBRATIONS Kent CDKEND 304 The Vibrating Vibrations - The OKeh & Epic Singles ● CD $18.98
26 tracks, 65 mins, highly recommended
Los Angeles-formed, Chicago and Philadelphia-based vocal group the Vibrations are known as one of the best-loved groups in 60's soul. This collection, which brings together all of their noteworthy soul sides in a single package for the first time, highlights the original material (written by the three songwriters within the group) recorded across four albums for Okeh (when Columbia shut down the label, they moved all of its major artists over to Epic). With a sound that is reminiscent of the Temptations, the Vibrations sound remarkably ahead of their time: songs like Love in Them There Hills from 1968, seem rooted in a 70's sound that had yet to be fully formulated at that time. Recording for Chess and Atlantic (where they had several hits, including the original version of My Girl Sloopy aka Hang on Sloopy), the group switch to Okeh in July 1964 and while they struggled to obtain more U.S. chart hits, they became Northern Soul favorites in the UK thanks to tracks like Soul A Go-Go/ Pick Me/ Cause You're Mine, and I Took An Overdose. With production back-up from the likes of Curtis Mayfield and Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, it seems inconceivable that the Vibrations went mostly hitless in this segment of their career; however, we can now cherish what the masses missed out on way back when. (GMC)


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