Rhythm & Blues, Soul & Doo-Wop - Bulletin May/June 2009 - Lee Andrews -> Various Artists
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BULLETIN - May/ June 2009
Rhythm & Blues, Soul & Doo-Wop
Lee Andrews -> Various Artists




FONTELLA BASS Chess (UK) 983 521-2 The Very Best Of Fontella Bass ● CD $13.98
25 tracks, 72 mins, highly recommended
This release collects most of Fontella's recordings for the Chess label between 1964-'68, including her only #1 hit Rescue Me and the moving The Soul Of A Man, often considered her finest recording. Three duets with Bobby McClure are here including Don't Mess Up A Good Thing and You're Gonna Miss Me along with often overlooked gems Don't Jump and Jimmy Reed's Baby What You Want Me To Do. The set also includes a slew of great originally unreleased cuts - most which didn't surface until the 80s and 90s including her versions of classic songs like Our Day Will Come/ Since I Fell For You/ You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' and others as well as the stunning and mysterious Joy Of Love. Superb sound and 8 page booklet has informative notes by Lois Wilson of Mojo magazine. (JC/ FS)

THE CADILLACS Collectables 1341 Speedo - 20 Doo Wop Classics ● CD $13.98
20 tracks, 49 mins, recommended
Formed in Harlem, NY as the Carnations in the early 50's, this R&B/doo-wop vocal group was very influenced by the Orioles and managed to make a fine body of work during its original lifespan. So named the Cadillacs to distinguish themselves from the "bird" and "flower" groups then crowding the circuit, the group's first single-included here-was I Wonder Why b/w Gloria and it was a regional hit on the East Coast; both sum up the group's style: Gloria with its romantic balladry and I Wonder Why with its up-tempo, swing-y love declarations. The group finally hit big in 1955 with Speedoo - a memorable paean to romantic prowess in honor of the group's leader Earl "Speedoo" Caroll - and although they couldn't quite repeat the feat, they remained a popular live act with their flamboyant stage antics. The 20 tracks collected herein are an excellent cross section of this fine group's recordings. (GMC)
THE CADILLACS: Betty My Love/ Buzz Buzz Buzz/ Girl I Love/ Gloria/ Great Googly Moo/ I Want You To Know/ I Wonder Why/ My Girlfriend/ No Chance/ Peek-A-Boo/ Please Mr. Johnson/ Romeo/ Shock-A-Doo/ Speedo/ Speedo Is Back/ Sugar Sugar/ Sympathy/ Window Lady/ You Are/ Zoom

THE CHANTELS Collectables 1343 Maybe - 20 Doo Wop Classics ● CD $13.98
20 tracks, 49 mins, highly recommended
Formed in the Bronx in 1956, the Chantels were one of the first "girl groups" and cut one of the definitive songs of that genre, Maybe. Unusual for the time, the group's lead singer, Arlene Smith, also wrote many of the group's songs including Maybe. Recording for End Records, the group also cut Every Night and I Love You So, among others, in an attempt to duplicate the success of "Maybe". After End dropped them in 1959, Smith went solo and the group soldiered on managing a minor hit with Look in My Eyes in 1961. This compilation contains the Smith era recordings and the post-Smith Look in My Eyes. Arlene Smith was one of the best vocalists of the girl group era - listen to her phrasing on Whoever You Are - and this newest collection, containing essential and lesser known tracks, shows her at her best. (GMC)
THE CHANTELS: C'est Si Bon/ Come My Little Baby/ Congratulations/ Every Night/ Goodbye To Love/ He's Gone/ I Can't Take It (There's Our Song Again)/ I Love You So/ I'll Walk Alone/ I'm Confessin' That I Love You/ If You Try/ Look In My Eyes/ Maybe/ My Darling/ Never Let Go/ Plea/ Prayee/ So Real/ Sure Of Love/ Whoever You Are

THE COOKIES RPM Retro 844 Chains - The Dimension Links, 1962-1964 ● CD $18.98
24 tracks, 61 mins, highly recommended
This collection replaces the out-of-print "The Complete Cookies" on Sequel Records, and it's better value as it has eight more tracks. As the title suggests, the comp contains the sides the re-vamped Cookies (after six years as Ray Charles' Raelettes) cut for Don Kirshner's Dimension and Colpix Records imprints. Many of the songs were written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King (including the hits Chains and Don't Say Nothin' Bad About My Baby), but the group also recorded other Brill Building writer's material. During their time with Kirshner and co., the girls also recorded tracks as The Cinderellas, The Palisades, and The Honey Bees-which are also included here. Also featured are singer Earl-Jean McCrae's solo singles (including the original version of I'm Into Something Good, later made into a hit by Herman's Hermits) and solo tracks by her sister Darlene McCrae (who was a member of the original Cookies). This is classic "girl group" goodness and is not to be missed by fans of the genre. (GMC)
THE CINDERELLAS: Baby, Baby I Still Love You/ Please Don't Wake Me/ THE COOKIES: Chains/ Don't Say Nothin' Bad About My Baby/ Foolish Little Girl/ Girls Grow Up Faster Than Boys/ I Never Dreamed/ I Want A Boy For My Birthday/ On Broadway/ Only To Other People/ Softly In The Night/ Stranger In My Arms/ The Old Crowd/ Will Power/ THE HONEY BEES: One Wonderful Night/ She Don't Deserve You/ EARL JEAN: I'm Into Something Good/ Randy/ They're Jealous Of Me/ We Love & Learn/ DARLENE MCCREA: Don't Worry Baby/ My Heart's Not In It/ THE PALISADES: Heaven Is Being With You/ Make The Night A Little Longer

AL GREEN Fat Possum/ Hi 1135 Greatest Hits ● CD $14.98
Exact reissue of this incredible hits package originally Hi 32089 from 1975. 10 of Al's best - Call Me/ Tired Of Being Alone/ Let's Stay Together/ You Oughta Be With Me/ How Can You Mend A Broken Heart , etc.

AL GREEN Fat Possum/ Hi 1136 I'm Still In Love With You ● CD $14.98
9 tracks, 35 mins, essential
There's an old saying that I just made up: if you are a "name" recording artist, then your catalog will never be out of print. And just to prove the point, Fat Possum has re-issued Al Green's 70's albums recorded for Hi Records and produced by the great Willie Mitchell. Now, these albums have been available before (most recently through The Right Stuff label) and if you have them already, then you're ahead of the game. If you don't own these albums already, then here's your chance to correct that injustice. Sure, the original albums are REALLY short (this was the 70's after all) and Fat Possum doesn't help matters by not including any interesting extras or liner notes. But when the songs are as good as "I'm Glad You're Mine" or "Love and Happiness", or as classic as "I'm Still in Love With You" and "Look What You Done For Me", then who cares about a little thing like bells and whistles. I'm Still in Love With You was Green's fifth album (his second release of 1972), his fourth with Mitchell, and, to my mind, his best. This is sleek, Southern 70's Soul at its apex, and this version of "For the Good Times" will blow your mind! (Also available, Let's Stay Together [Hi/Fat Possum 1137]; and Greatest Hits [Hi/Fat Possum 1135]) (GMC)

AL GREEN Fat Possum/ Hi 1137 Let's Stay Together ● CD $14.98
Reissue of his classic 1971 album with La La For You/ How Can You Mend A Broken Heart/ I've Never Found A Girl, etc.

WILLIE HUTCH Shout 52 Soul Portrait ● CD $18.98
11 tracks, 30 mins, highly recommended
Willie Hutch became famous for his songwriting and producing chores for Motown during the 70's (Michael Jackson and Smokey Robinson were among his clients), and his movie soundtracks work (his most noteworthy was for Blaxploitation flick "The Mack"); but before that, Hutch released his first solo album in 1969 which Shout! has thoughtfully re-issued. When listening to tracks like A Love That's Worth Havin' and That's What I Call Lovin' You, it's easy to see, in retrospect, the origins of Hutch's later soundtrack work: the songs have definite cinematic quality about them. And as You Gotta Try demonstrates, Hutch's funk chops were as good as anybody else's from that time frame. (GMC)

LITTLE WILLIE JOHN Ace CDCHD 1221 The Later King Sessions, 1961-1963 ● CD $18.98
The later King recordings (1962-64) of this pioneering genius of early soul. 24 tracks, one previously unreleased including (I'm Afriad) The Masquerade Is Over/ Inside Information/ My Baby's In LOve With Another Guy/ Doll Face/ She Thinks I Still Care/ Without A Friend/ Come On Sugar/ I Wish I Could Cry, etc.

LITTLE WILLIE JOHN Kent CDKEND 305 Nineteen Sixty Six - The David Axelrod/ BB Barnum Sessi ● CD $18.98
The last, previously unissued, recordings of one R&B's greatest ever voices. Recorded for Capitol in 1966 the album was shelved following Willie's conviction for manslaughter. It includes at least one version of every song recorded at the sessions along with a selection of stereo mixes and alternate takes.

BETTYE LAVETTE Sundazed 6262 Do Your Duty ● CD $13.98
11 tracks, 31 mins, highly recommended
In the space of 5 years, Bettye LaVette has gone from a barely remembered 60's-70's soul singer to a cult sensation thanks to her two Anti- albums from 2005 and 2007. Since then her former labels have been falling over themselves re-issuing her old material, and the latest is this compilation from Sundazed. Basically, this collection is a duplicate of one issued on Varese Sarabande in 2006, minus two tracks, that showcases tracks LaVette recorded in Memphis 1969-1970 for the Silver Fox and SSS International labels. But no matter what form this music takes, it is worth owning because LaVette is the real deal, with a powerhouse voice and charisma to spare: just check out Do Your Duty/ At the Mercy of a Man, her superior cover of Erma Franklin's Piece of My Heart, and the banned-in-the-USA He Made a Woman Out of Me. If you've only heard LaVette's recent albums, then you're in for a treat. (GMC)

FRANKIE LYMON & THE TEENAGERS Bear Family BCD 16545 Rock ● CD $24.98
33 tracks, 76 mins, essential
Short-lived (they were only together for 18 months) but highly influential (notably on Motown and many of its stars, especially Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5) Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers gets the Bear Family treatment. Actually, this latest edition in Bear Family's "Rock" series is really a single disc condensation of the 1994 Bear Family box set. Whatever, it's an affordable definitive collection of Lymon and the Teenagers' extraordinary '50s recordings inclduing solo sides by Frankie after the group split including tracks from his 1958 LP where he covered recent rock 'n' roll and R&B hits. It also includes a few cuts by The Teenagers without Frankie. Lymon had the voice of an angel and justifiably so became the first teen age pop star (at 13!). The hits - Why Do Fools Fall in Love/ I Want You to Be My Girl and Goody Goody - are here, but so are worthy tracks like I'm Not a Juvenile Delinquent/ ABC's of Love, and It Hurts to Be in Love (not the Gene Pitney song). Any definitive collection of early rock 'n' roll needs to spotlight this CD. (GMC/ FS)
FRANKIE LYMON & THE TEENAGERS: ABC's Of Love (Version #2)/ Baby Baby/ Buzz Buzz Buzz/ Diana/ Everything To Me/ Flip Flop/ Fortunate Fellow/ Good Love/ Goody Goody (Version #2)/ I Promise To Remember/ I Want You To Be My Girl (Version #2)/ I'm Not A Juvenile Delinquent/ It Hurts To Be In Love/ Jailhouse Rock/ Little Bitty Pretty One/ Little Girl/ Love Is A Clown/ Love Put Me Out Of My Head/ Mama Don't Allow It/ My Girl/ Next Time You See Me/ Portable On My Shoulder/ Searchin'/ Send For Me (Version #1)/ Short Fat Fannie/ Silhouettes/ Teenage Love/ Thumb Thumb/ Together/ Waitin' In School/ Wake Up, Little Susie/ Who Can Explain/ Why Do Fools Fall In Love

MASTERS OF SOUL Soul-Tay-Shus 6351 Right On! ● CD $15.98
21 tracks, 67 min, highly recommended
This compilation draws its fire from the group's sessions at Ovide Records (1968-71), Duke/Peacock Records (1972-74), and E-Groove Records (1977-78), Houston labels all. Stylistically, the fellows' early infatuation with doo-wop plays around the edges of several songs, and on their biggest (only) hit Please Wait For Me it ain't just the edges, a fact driven home by the "accappella rehersal version" offered at the end of the album. But just as often, the Masters turn their collective attention to funk and psychedelic funk. Their Star Child would sound right at home next to The Temptations psychedelic soul efforts of the late 1960s and early 1970s. In fact, the Masters can sound a bit derivative at times, but not often enough to become annoying. Several of the finer moments here belong to ballads, including a remake of the Flamingos The Vow, In A Little While, and the Drifters-esque, Andre Williams-produced I Can See It In Your Eyes. And if the horns sound exceptionally cool, it may be because they belong to the TSU Toronados horn section. Too much good stuff here to walk away. (JC)

THE ROOMATES Ace CDCHD 1206 Lost On Belmont Avenue ● CD $18.98
30 tracks, 80 min., highly recommended
If you didn't know any better, and you probably do, you'd swear that this was late 1950s-early 1960s white doo wop. and that's just they way English singer Steve Webb and the guys want it. To say that the Roomates like Dion and the Belmonts (but especially Dion) is like saying Amy Winehouse enjoys an occasional drink now and then. But their hero would be proud of what they've accomplished, in fact The Roomates backed Dion in 2007 on a visit to the U.K. If The Roomates make any mistakes or missteps, I can't hear them. And unlike a lot of doo wop throwbacks, these guys write a lot of their own songs, and their quality is on a par with their covers. This album, recorded in 2007 to celebrate the groups 20th anniversary, features 30 tracks, of which 11 are well chosen covers and (predictably)19 are originals--they clock in at just a few second short of 80 minutes! Fans of the style should find a great deal to like here. If it falls short of true originality, it also moves well beyond nostalgia. (JC)

SAM & DAVE Collector's Choice 2007 Sam & Dave ● CD $12.98
12 tracks, 29 min, highly recommended
Previously reissued some years back on Edsel. Originally released in 1963, Sam & Dave's first album collects their Roulette sides and finds the duo searching for a consistent style--or for something that would sell. That classic S&D soul sound seeps through frequently on these early cuts, through it would not be fully realized until Isaac Hayes & David Porter joined pens. Several tracks here work at turning R&B and gospel into soul, and on songs like I Need Love, Sam Cooke's influence is undeniable. Yet for all their experimenting, the team is invariably fine. Newly remastered with new notes by Bill Dahl. (JC)

ROSCOE SHELTON AIM 1501 Deep In My Soul ● CD $15.98
27 tracks, 68 min., essential
Though not well known, Roscoe Shelton is one of the great soul singers of the 1960s. He even released an LP on Excello (impossibly rare) and one of Sound Stage 7 (a little easier to find but still tough) called Music In His Soul; Soul In His Music. This CD collects all 12 songs from the SS7 LP and adds other selections form that label, as well as a few from the Sims label and both sides of a rare single on Tee Jay. Shelton moves between soulful blues and bluesy soul, Bobby Bland style, and even sounds like Bland on such cuts as Master Mind, which sounds like a cop of Ain't That Loving You. But aside from a pair of absolute pop attempts (My Laura & Challenge My Love) where Shelton either took bad advice or lost a bet, everything here kills, even if only a few songs actually charted. Get it while you can. (Note: For reasons unknown, AIM has screwed up the titles of many of the songs.) (JC)

VARIOUS ARTISTS GC 307 Group Classics, Vol. 7 ● CD $17.98
30 tracks, 71 mins, recommended
This series is now up to volume 8 but we missed out listing volume 7 so here it is. A fine collection of 30 rare, mostly white, doo-wop sides from the 50s and early 60s - some making their first appearance on CD. Includes The Buddies (the fine previously unreissued rocker Castle Of Love with fine guitar solo), George Bryan & The Ding Dongs, The Bob O LInks, The Fortunes (the beautiful In The Night), The Co Hearts, Link Adams, Morry Williams & The Kids, Johnny & Joe (not the group that had Over The Mountain), The V-Eights, The Barons, etc. Fine sound but usual minimal packaging. (FS)
LINK ADAMS: Angel or Not/ BOB ARLIN: East LA/ JOHN ASHLEY: Seriously In Love/ BILLY BARNETTE: Marlene/ CHUCK BARNETTE: Seven Days/ THE BARONS: If You Want a Little Lovin'/ SUE BLACK: Take Me/ THE BOB-O-LINKS: I Promise/ BOBBY & JIMMY: Day and Night/ GEORGE BRYAN & THE DING DONGS: I Love Only You/ THE BUDDIES: Castle of Love/ Give Me Your Love/ CARL BURNETT & THE HUSTLERS: Sweet Memories/ THE C-NOTES: Last Saturday Night/ We Were Meant For Each Ofher/ THE CO HEARTS: Cry Baby/ THE DYKES: Rockin' and Whailin'Daddy/ JOEY EDWARDS: This Little Girl/ THE FABULOUS DOWNBEATS: Oh Night and Day/ THE FABULOUS FLAMES: I'm So All Alone/ Lover/ THE FAIRLAINES: Johnny Rhythm/ Seventeen Steps/ THE FORTUNES: In the Night/ JOHNNY & JOE: You Broke Our Hearts/ THE LARKS: Love Me True/ THE TRIANGLES: Let's Live For Today/ THE V-EIGHTS: All I Could Do Was Cry/ Casualaire/ MORRY WILLIAMS & THE KIDS: Time Runs Out

VARIOUS ARTISTS Honest Jons 027 Boogaloo Pow Wow-Dancefloor RendezVous In Young Nuyoric ● CD $18.98
17 tracks, 55 mins, highly recommended
Showcasing the short-lived 'boogaloo' craze of the 60's is the goal of this collection. The mix of African American music (R&B, soul, funk) with Cuban and Puerto Rican rhythms created 'boogaloo', which for a time was the music of choice for young 'Nuyorcans'. Thrill to the sounds of Willie Rosario, Manny Corchado, Willie Bobo, and Joe Loco, and just try not to dance. And Kako's version of The Capitol's Cool Jerk will knock your socks off. These tracks capture a time when two separate cultures merged to create shimmering sounds the like of which we'll probably never hear again. (GMC)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Kent CDKEND 316 The Soul Of Money, Volume 3 ● CD $18.98
The third in a series (Vols. 1 & 2 are Kent 209 and 267, respectively) of collections documenting John and Ruth Dolphin's Money label (and its assorted off-shoots), with the focus on the mid-60's to early 70's. 24 tracks including more collectable soul from Bettye Swann, Bobby Angelle, Tommy & Eddie, Eric Williams, The Question Marks, Hank Jacobs & the TKOs, and The M&Ms & the Peanuts(!). This is the final edition in Kent's series on the Dolphins' family of Los Angeles-based labels.
BOBBY ANGELLE: Girl Youre So Fine/ Someone is Gonna Hurt You/ You Got Me Dizzy/ THE CHOICE OF COLOURS: If She Wants To Go/ FILMORE ST SOUL REBELLIONS: Put Your Weight On It Part II/ EDDIE HORAN: Im Gonna Speak Out/ HANK JACOBS & THE TKOS: Speak To Me In Your Soulful Way/ THE LARKS: The Answer Came Too Late/ The Skate/ PAT LIVINGSTON: Sugar Love/ M-MS & THE PEANUTS: Open Up Your Eyes/ Theres Nothing I Wouldnt Do/ DELILAH MOORE: I Wish/ THE MYSTERIES: Sad And Blue/ THE QUESTION MARKS: Doin The Thing/ BOBBI ROW & THE ENGLISHMEN: Whyd You Put Me On/ BETTYE SWANN: Don't Take My Mind/ I Will Not Cry (single)/ The Heartache Is Gone/ THE T-K-OS WITH HANK JACOBS AT THE ORGAN: The Charge/ TOMMY & EDDIE: I Dont Want Nobody/ DON TROTTER: Give Back Your Lovin/ ERIC WILLIAMS: Hard Times Are Coming/ Ill Give My Love To You

VARIOUS ARTISTS Numero 027 Eccentric Soul: Smart's Palace ● CD $19.98
19 tracks, 60 mins, highly recommended
More obscure R&B from the American hinterlands courtesy of the folks at Numero; this time they delve into the Wichita, Kansas soul scene (who even knew that Wichita had a soul scene) to focus on Dick Smart, DJ, bassist, club owner (the "Smart's Palace" of the title), record store owner, promoter, and solo proprietor of Solo Records. This CD is the story of the Smart and Neal brothers, and how their fortunes dominated the Wichita show band circuit during the 1960s and 1970s. The music here is passionate R&B by Baby Neal & the Smart Brothers, Fred Williams & the Jewels Band, Chocolate Snow (a great instrumental cover of the Beatles' A Day in the Life), and Hard Road featuring C.C. Neal. This is actually one of the more interesting Numero collections because the music has a lot of spirit, fire, and oomph (!), and the story of how the music came to be is a classic American success story. In short, this is a must-have for lover of grass-roots R&B. (GMC)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Pontiac 501 Rare R'n'B Honkers ● CD $16.98
26 tracks, 73 mins, highly recommended
If you like hot R&B instrumentals with lots of honkin' sax then this is the CD for you. 26 gems from the late 40s and early from the likes of King Porter & His Orch., Sam Taylor & His Orch., Manhattan Paul with the Three Riffs, Al Cooper & His Original Savoy Sultans, Choker Campbell & His Orch., George Barkley Quintet and others - most making their first appearance on CD. There are no notes but sound quality is excellent and booklet has original release labels and numbers and some handsome label shots. (FS)

VARIOUS ARTISTS TRCD 1700 From The Doo-Wop Vaults Of Titan Records ● CD $17.98
20 fine vocal group tracks recorded for this small West Coast label in the late 50s/ early 60s. Best known group here is the Olympics who did an excllent one off for this label (Cool Short/ The Chicken) in between successful stints for Arvee and Tri-Disc. Other groups include The Elgins, Elements, Bobby Nunn & Ginny Taylor, The Vistas, Voyagers, Eddie Jones, Ginger and others.
THE ELEMENTS: Bad Man/ Lonely Hearts' Club/ THE ELGINS: Extra! Extra!/ My Illness/ GINGER: Dry Tears/ Spare Time/ JEFF HOWARD: I Can't Understand/ Please/ EDDIE JONES: My Friend/ No Invitation/ BOBBY NUNN: Like/ Henrietta/ THE OLYMPICS: Cool Short/ The Chicken/ RUTH ROBIN: Footsteps To the See/ Lonely Eyes/ THE VISTAS: I Don't Need You No More/ In the Park/ THE VOYAGERS: Farewell/ I Never Loved Anyone


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