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Rhythm & Blues, Soul & Doo-Wop
Brook Benton ->
Albert Washingon




NOTE: Unless otherwise noted all DVDs offered are in NTSC format which means that they will not play on a European DVD players unless you have a multiple format player.
THE FUNKY METERS Shout Factory DVD 36787 Live At The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival ● DVD $19.98
DVD, 92 minutes, recommended
If there were an International Scale of Funkiness, Bobby Sherman would be on one end and The Meters would be on the other, playing Saturday Night Fish Fry and making the ground shake. In 1994 The Meters added the modifier "Funky" preceding their name, perhaps as legal protection for the unsuspecting faint of heart. The foundation of the band is Art Neville, a.k.a. Poppa Funk, on keys and his long-time bass player George Porter, Jr. Still, the muscular drumming of David Russell Batiste, Jr. is a thing of glory all by itself. The hot hands of Brian Stoltz on the guitar round out the group, here performing at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in 2000. Neville and co. work up a thirst on Chug A Lug, Cissy Strut, Look-A Py Py, Africa, and other classics. Special features include 5.1 audio and enlightening interviews with Neville and Porter. (JC)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Bear Family 20126 The !!! Beat, Vol. 01 : Shows 1-5 ● DVD $28.98
50 performances, 2 1/2 hours, color, essential
First in a fantastic series of DVDs presenting all 26 episodes of this groundbreaking TV show that was broadcast over various Southern TV stations in 1966. The brainchild of Nashville disk jockey and entrepreneur William "Hoss" Allen, who also hosted the show, it featured some of the top R&B and soul artists of the time along with some more obscure artists. The house band was led by Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown (who does two or three instrumentals on each show) with Skippy Brooks on piano and David "Fathead" Newman leading the horn section on the earlier shows. The performances themselves are a mix of live in the studio, lip-synching to house band backing or miming to the artists' current recording. Even with the lip-synching it's a treat to see these artists at their peak. This first volume features performances by Little Milton, Esther Phillips, Joe Tex, Etta James, Lattimore Brown, Roscoe Shelton, Lee Shot Williams & Gerri taylor, Art Grayson, Cleo Randle, Carla Thomas, Mighty Joe Young and Jimmy Church - wow! The show also includes a couple of go-go dancers and the house group Frank Howard & The Commanders who dance and do a song on some of the shows. Production is loose with Allen frequently looking and acting tipsy and sometimes dancing at the finale. And talking about finales - check out the finale of show 3 where Etta James, Lattimore Moore, Esther Phillips, Roscoe Shelton and Gatemouth each do a couple of verses of What'd I Say. Video and sound quality is superb and DVD includes 20 page illustrated booklet with informative notes by Fred James. (FS)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Bear Family 20127 The !!! Beat, Vol. 02 : Shows 6-9 ● DVD $28.98
42 performances, 2 hours, essential
The next four shows with guitarist Johnny Jones (who does one instrumental) added to the house band. Includes performances by Jimmy Church, Freddie King, Gerri Taylor, Barbara Lynn, The Kelly Brothers, Mighty Joe Young, Art Grayson, Joe Tex, The Carnations, Little Gary Ferguson and Charles "Charlie" Hodges plus instrumentals from Gatemouth and the band. (FS)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Bear Family 20128 The !!! Beat, Vol. 03 : Shows 10-13 ● DVD $28.98
43 performances, 2 hours, essential
This one features the next four shows which feature Jimmy Church (who does Satisfaction), Wanda Rouzan, Louis Jordan, Charles "Charlie" Hodges, The Mighty Hannibal, Little Gary Ferguson, Johnny Taylor, The Dolls, Bobby Powell, Rodge Martin, Maurice & The Radints and The Poppies. The final three volumes featuring the remaining 13 shows will be issued later in the year and includes an all Stax artists show! Your patience will be rewarded. (FS)



LARRY BIRDSONG Black Magic 9203 Every Night In The Week ● CD $15.98
26 tracks recorded in the 50s, 60s and 70s by this fine and distinctive blues, R&B and soul singer from Nashville. The tracks were originally issued on small local lables like Calvert, Cherokee, Sur-Speed and others produced for Nashville entrepreneur Ted Jarrett. Includes Tell Me The Truth/ Now That We're Together/ Every Night In The Week/ Somebody Somewhere/ Try Me One More Time/ Young And Fancy Free/ Tell Me The Truth/ I'd Like To Try It One More Time/ The Sea Sand, etc. INcludes 12 page illustarted booklet with notes by Chris James and full discographical info.

THE CHAMBERS BROTHERS Acrobat 4046 Live ● CD $13.98
12 tracks, 59 minutes, excellent
With workman-like instrumental skills and vocal harmonies as good as any, this live set (circa 1975) from The Chambers Brothers (Lester, Willie, and George) stands quite tall among the other releases in their catalog. Primarily made up of blues and rock 'n' roll standards, the brothers weave their way through Mellow Down Easy/ Mean Ol' Frisco/ High Heel Sneakers/ Your Old Lady/ Mustang Sally/ People Get Ready, and Please Please Please, closing out with their late-1960s major chart hit Time Has Come Today, a nine-minute tour-de-force. Solid and powerful. (CR)

ARTHUR CONLEY Collectables 7632 Sweet Soul Music/ Shake, Rattle & Roll ● CD $13.98
20 tracks, 54 mins, essential
The fates not only blessed soul singer Arthur Conley with a powerful voice (a heavy Sam Cooke influence without being derivative), but they sent him Otis Redding as a mentor. This disc reissues Conley's first two LPs (Atco 33-125 & Atco 33-220), complete with a reprinting of the liner notes. Redding wrote or co-wrote 8 of the songs here, including the worthy Wholesale Love and Let Nothing Separate Us. That aside, Conley is the powerhouse here, releasing two albums at age 21 that would secure his place in soul music history. Songs include the hit Sweet Soul Music, HA! HA! HA!, also by Redding, Conley's own I'm Gonna Forget About You, Take Me (Just As I Am) and others.(JC)

SWAMP DOGG S.D.E.G. 1940 The Excellent Sides Of Swamp Dogg, Vol. 1 ● CD $14.98
22 tracks, 71 minutes, essential
Reissues two complete classic Swamp Dogg LPs: "Total Destruction To Your Mind" and "Rat On". Charly put out the same package with different art and notes in 1991, but through grammatical or typographical misadventure, the phrase "of your mind" replaced "to your mind." A big difference, really. Destruction opens the show with the lines, "Sitting on a corn flake,/Riding on a roller skate," and thus the world is warned that this man is not going to follow anybody's rules. The songs take on racism, marital infidelity, the Vietnam war, the end of the world as we know it, and other light topics. And yet, the amusingly titled Mama's Baby, Daddy's Maybe proved to be the only song to gain substantial attention, rising to #33 on the R&B charts in 1970. (Although Rat On's God Bless America, For What? got some attention when it reportedly engendered a legal attack from the Irving Berlin people.) The cover of follow up LP, "Rat On", features our man, with fists clenched and raised over head, riding a giant white rat. Symbolism anyone? The original LPs were tough to find, seemingly from the moment they were released, so this CD is most welcome. Soul music this good deserves to stay in print. Now if someone will reissue his "Gag A Maggot" LP. (JC)

DR. JOHN DBK Works 510 Desitively Bonnaroo ● CD $15.98
12 tracks, highly recommended
Reissue of 1974 Atco LP. As the incense smoke cleared, Mac Rebennack glided into the mid-70's, shedding the Night Tripper appellation and making a 360 back to his Crescent City roots. He enlisted long-time pals Allen Toussaint, The Meters and more to do his tunes Quitters Never Win/ Stealin'/ What Comes Around/ Me-You=Loneliness/ Mos' Scocious/ Rite Away/ RU 4 Real/ Sing Along Song/ Can't Git Enuff and title track, plus producer Toussaint's Go Tell The People and Earl King's Let's Make A Better World. (MB)

DORIS DUKE Kent CDKEND 242 I'm A Loser - The Swamp Dogg Sessions ● CD $16.98
Superb southern soul featuring Doris's two LPs produced by Swamp Dogg in the early 70s plus three bonus cuts from her first session (as Doris Willingham) in 1966.

VERNON GARRETT Kent CDKEND 224 I Made My Own World ● CD $16.98
24 tracks, 78 mins, recommended
Add Vernon Garrett to the list of gifted soul men whose talents have always outstripped their success. The first 12 solo cuts are the primary reason to include this in your soul library. Some of the cuts are from the Kent Records vaults, a few come from Garrett's first (now hard-to-find) LP (on the obscure Grenade label), and two are from the Watts USA label. I'm Guilty is a previously unreleased Kent side. Note, this collections offers "take 2" of Garrett's well-known If I Could Turn Back The Hands Of Time (which features the same backing track but a different vocal that the Northern soul gem) which was previously only available on the Japanese-only P-Vine CD (PCD 4766). The 11 duets with wife Jewel (Whittaker) are mostly culled from the same P-Vine CD, 4 are live shots from a 1964 Oakland club date. Kent does their usual admirable reissuing job here, including informative booklet notes. (JC)

EDDIE HINTON Zane 1020 The Songwriting Sessions, Vol. 2 ● CD $19.98
20 tracks, 63 mins, highly recommended
Normally, volume 2 of the recording dregs of a minor (obscure?) performer would be nothing to get worked up over, but normally the performer isn't the greatest blue-eyed soul singer/songwriter/guitarist ever. Hinton was. He played lead guitar for the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section from 1967-71 and did session work on hits by Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Joe Tex, Arthur Conley, Solomon Burke, Percy Sledge, and too many other soul greats to name here. Hinton, heavily influenced by Otis Redding, also proved to be a gifted songwriter. This disc collects session material from as early as 1964 (a cover of The Beatles' You Can't Do That! and as late as 1991 (two live tracks from the Porretta International Soul Music Festival in Italy). Songs include Big City Woman, Down In Texas, A Man Ain't A Man, Still Water Runs Deep, Have A Little Mercy On Me, and more. A welcome addition to the small but powerful Hinton catalog. (JC)

BRENDA HOLLOWAY Spectrum 554 471-2 Grestest Hits & Rare Classics ● CD $11.98
18 tracks, 51 mins, recommended
Although a Motown artist, Holloway recorded in Los Angeles instead of Detroit, a fact that arguably gave her a different sound than the usual Berry Gordy-machine product. As easy on the eyes as her music was on the ears, Brenda Holloway exuded sophistication, and somehow managed to miss out on the fame she deserved. Her voice proved as comfortable on such ballads as Every Little Bit Hurts (where she apparently also plays cello!) and When I'm Gone as on such jump sides as Just Look What You've Done. She even co-wrote the hit song You've Made Me So Very Happy. This disc collects 9 A-sides, 6 B-sides, and 3 LP cuts, and is superior to the domestic issue if only because it's still in print. For now. (JC)

NAT KENDRICK & THE SWANS Henry Stone Music 25005 Nat Kendrick & The Swans ● CD $11.98
13 tracks, recommended
Back in 1960 Henry Stone had a hit on the Dade label with a driving two part R&B instrumental with shouted interjections by Nat Kendrick & The Swans called Mashed Potatoes. It turns out that the group was actually James Brown's backing group the JBs - Kendrick was the group's drummer at the time. Originally the interjections were done by Brown himself but fearing the wrath of Syd Nathan, Stone decided to overdub the voice of local DJ Carlton " King" Coleman. This CD opens with the unreleased original version with Brown shouting and includes several other sides by the group mostly two parters in a similar vein and ends with two fine soul flavored sides by vocalist with the JBs Yvonne Fair. (FS)

THE LAMPLIGHTERS Ace CDCHD 1040 Loving Rocking Thrilling - The Complete Federal Recordi ● CD $16.98
Terrific collection of 25 soulful up-tempo doo-wops and ballads recorded in 1953 and '54 by this excellent West Coast group, mostly featuring the excellent lead vocals of Thurston Harris with Willie Ray Rockwell stepping up as front man for one number - the group's biggest hit Be-Bop Wino. There are lots of other fine numbers here including a couple of previoulsy unissued sides. Includes 12 page booklet with extensive notes by Jim Dawson plus rare photos and label shots.

BENNY LATIMORE Henry Stone Music 25001 The Early Years ● CD $11.98
16 tracks recorded in mid/late 60s by this fine deep soul singer for Henry Stone's Blade and Dade labels including the local hits I Can't Go On Anymore and Rain From The Sky plus There She Is/ The Power & The Glory/ Love Don't Love Me/ It's Just A Matter Of Time/ I Pity The Fool/ I'ma Believer, etc.
BENNY LATIMORE: Ain't Gonna Cry No More/ Girl I Got News For You/ Have A Little Faith/ I Can't Go On/ I Pity The Fool/ I'm A Believer/ I'm Just An Ordinary Man/ It Was So Nice While It Lasted/ It's Just A Matter Of Time/ IŽll Be Good To You/ Life's Little Ups And Downs/ Love Don't Love Me/ Moove And Groove Together/ Rain From The Sky/ The Power And The Glory/ There She Is

BETTYE LAVETTE Munich MUSA 507 Let Me Down Easy - In Concert ● CD $22.98
8 tracks, 44 mins, highly recommended
Lavette, a criminally under-recorded Detroit-area soul singer, spent the better part of the '60s and '70s sporadically issuing soul songs of the first water, typically on obscure labels that did little to promote her. It wasn't until 1982 that she cut her first LP (Tell Me A Lie for Motown), which is well worth seeking out. As with all her work, this is all but required listening for serious soul fans. She's captured on stage on Sept. 23, 1999, in Holland, where a small, sympathetic band moves through mostly familiar blue-soul territory, including He Made A Woman Out Of Me, You'll Never Change, Damn Your Eyes, Almost, My Man, Right In The Middle, Your Turn To Cry (Your Time To Cry), and Let Me Down Easy. Smoldering. (JC)

LITTLE RICHARD Rhino Handmade 7888 King Of Rock & Roll ● CD $45.98
Three CDs, 54 tracks, recommended
Though best remembered for his classic 50s recordings Little Richard continued to make fine original music when he wasn't remaking his Specialty hits as this collection of early 70s recordings for Reprise clearly shows. This set features Richard's three issued album, an album that was completed but never issued, songs from the soundtrack of the movie "$ (Dollar)", non LP singles, unissued songs, alternate takes and a couple of radio spots featuring Richard plugging his Reprise albums. A high proportion of the songs here are Little Richard originals and the material ranges from hard driving rock 'n' roll to soul to country (including several nice covers of Hank Williams songs). Sessions were produced by H.B. Barnum, "Bumps" Blackwell and Richard himself. Some of the material is pretty forgettable and some of arrangements are not always appropriate but there's a lot of good stuff here. The 20 page booklet includes reproductions of original album covers and notes plus new notes by Tom Vickers which helps put these recordings into perspective. (FS)

THE MANHATTANS Collectables 6376 I'm The One That Love Forgot ● CD $11.98
17 tracks, highly recommended The Manhattans, not to be confused with the group who recorded for Dootone in 1959, got their start on Capitol Records in 1962. In 1964 they switched to Carnival where ther remained for the next three years. This CD features the two LPs issued on Carnival in 1965 and 1967 and includes some of their best work. The group's Carnival style is best described as a mix of The Spinners with the latter-day Impressions. One of the earliest exponents of Soul-Funk This set includes 4 chart-toppers -- I Wanna Be (Your Everything)/ I Betcha (Couldn't Love Me), When We're Made As One, and I Call It Love. Personal faves include Alone on New Year's Eve and the beautiful Can I. (OLN/ FS)

J.P. ROBINSON Henry Stone Music 25008 Classic R&B From The 60s ● CD $11.98
First CD release of this fine soul singer who recorded for Henry Stone's Alston label between 1968 including his two minor hits You Got Your Thing On A String and Love Is Not A Stranger plus the gorgeous deep soul ballads Love Is Not A Stranger and I've Got A Long Way To Go and others.

SAM & DAVE Henry Stone Music 25013 Sam & Dave ● CD $11.98
16 tracks, recommended
12 of the 16 tracks on this collection features the duos earliest recordings produced by Henry Stone and issued on Roulette in 1963. It 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. The last two cuts features Dave Prater's fine 1972 Alston single and the remaining two of undetermined origin and includes an exciting version of Gene Vincent's Lotta Lovin. (FS/ JC)

HOWARD TATE Koch 9512 Reaction ● CD $11.98
12 tracks, 32 mins, essential
Two years after cutting one of the finest soul albums of all time, Howard Tate recorded Reaction for Lloyd Price's Turntable label (using some of the same studio musicians), only to have it slip into obscurity. Many soul music mavins have never even seen a copy. Produced by Price (who also contributes 7 songs) and Johnny Nash (who contributes not only his hit Hold Me Tight, but the arrangement and backing vocal!), this album is as good as it is rare, not the typical case. Up-tempo soul gems include Question, That's What Happens, and Have You Ever Had The Blues, but Tate is equally skilled when the speeds slow on his reading of Sam Cooke's Chain Gang and the Jimmy Norman tune These Are The Things That Make Me Know You're Gone. Why did the reissue take so long? (JC)

IRMA THOMAS Stateside 579 965-2 Straight From the Soul ● CD $11.98
24 tracks, 62 min, highly recommended
The "EMI Legends of Rock & Roll" best of from 1992 (now deleted) still ranks as the gold standard for Irma Thomas collections, but this set comes close. And ten tracks here do not appear on the EMI disc, including the northern soul workout Teasing But You're Pleasing, the Thomas-penned Straight From The Heart, Randy Newman's Baby Don't Look Down, I Need Your Love So Bad, and the superb You Don't Miss Your Good Thing (Until It's Gone). Seventeen of the songs appeared on Thomas' two fine Imperial LPs, Wish Someone Would Care (1964) and Take A Look (1966). In fact except for a two tracks, the latter release is all here. Ignoring some remarkable singles in favor of the LP material is forgivable, as is leaving off Ruler Of My Heart, though it is hard to accept. But how could the anyone omit It's Raining, one of the sweetest soul songs ever to fall from the sky? Still, this is worth picking up. (JC)
IRMA THOMAS: Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (will Understand)/ Baby Don‘t Look Down/ Break-a-way/ Girl Needs Boy/ I Haven't Got Time To Cry/ I Need Your Love So Bad/ I'm Gonna Cry Til My Tears Run Dry/ It's Starting To Get To Me Now/ Live Again/ Long After Tonight Is All Over/ Some Things You Never Get Used To/ Somebody Told You/ Straight From The Heart/ Sufferin' With The Blues/ Take A Look/ Teasing, But You‘re Pleasing/ The Hurt's All Gone/ Time Is On My Side/ Two Winters Long/ Wait Wait Wait/ What Are You Trying To Do/ While The City Sleeps/ Wish Someone Would Care/ You Don't Miss Your Good Thing (until It's Gone)

BILLY WARD & HIS DOMINOES Classics 5120 The Chronological Billy Ward & His Dominoes, 1950-53 ● CD $14.98
This features the first 24 sides recorded by this great vocal group - the first 22 with Clyde McPhatter in the lead role and the last two from 1953 with Jackie Wilson. Unlike the Varese album (see below) this does not have the alternate takes or the duet with Little Esther.

BILLY WARD & HIS DOMINOES Varese 66553 Featuring Jackie Wilson ● CD $13.98
19 tracks, 51 mins, highly recommended
This volume picks up where the previous one left off after Clyde McPhatter had left the group in 1953 and went to Atlantic and helped form The Drifters. His place was taken by the equally fine Jackie Wilson who was lead singer for the group for the next three years. He was fired from the group in 1956 and went back to Detroit where he started on his highly successful solo career. The group only had a couple of hits during this period - the jumping You Can't Keep A Good Man Down and a soulful rendition of the pop ballad Rags To Riches but continued turning out fine performances including a superb reworking of the traditional blues I'm Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town, a rocking rendition of St. Louis, the gospel flavored Above Jacob's Ladder and others. As a bonus the set includes Jackie first two solo sides recorded as Sonny Wilson in 1952 for the Dee Gee label - the blues Rainy Day Blues and a version of the much recorded Danny Boy (FS)

ALBERT WASHINGTON Westbound CDSEWM 142 Sad And Lonely ● CD $12.98
11 tracks, 44 min., highly recommended
Reissues the 1973 soul/blues lost classic Eastbound LP (originally EB 9007), and adding the previously unissued cover of Jimmy Hughes' Steal Away as a bonus. As comfortable on the self-penned, blues inflected No Matter What The Cost May Be as he is on the James Brown influenced funky soul work-out You're Messing Up My Mind, Washington blurred the soul-blues line beyond recognition. His own My Mother's Prayer brings his gospel background into the soul foreground, with powerful results. Washington punches out a pair of Detroit Emeralds covers, Feel The Need and If I Lose Your Love, while the Memphis Horns turn up the fire now and again, giving these recordings a fuller sound that some earlier Washington sides. This release brings the many talents of the Cincinnati-based Washington into sharp focus and makes his lack of commercial success a mystery. Perhaps disco is to blame. (JC)


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