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NEWSLETTER #139
Rhythm & Blues, Soul & Doo-Wop
Johnny Ace ->
Young Holt Unlimited
 

 

 
 

NEW BOOK

 
DREAM BOOGIE The Triumph Of Sam Cooke by Peter Guralnick ● BOOK $27.98
Hardback, 750 pages, counts as nine CDs for shipping purposes. Long awaited in depth biography of one of the great icons of gospel music and pioneers in the birth of soul music as well as a determined fighter against racism. Written by Peter Guralnick who is one of America's finest writers on music and has been researching the Sam Cooke story for 15 years this tells the story of Sam's rapid rise to stardom, his troubled marriage and relationships with women, his triumphant recording career and his senseless death at the age of 33.

 

NEW DVD

 
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.
 
VARIOUS ARTISTS White Star 3094 Life Could Be A Dream - The Doo-Wop Sound ● DVD $14.98
Color/ Black & White, 70 mins, recommended Entertaining and respectful documentary on the golden age of doo-wop from the late 40s to the late 50s featuring interviews with former group members like Lewis Lymon, Earl "Speedo" Carroll, Arlene Smith, Pookie Hudson, pop music historians, disc jockeys Bobby Jay and Don K. Reed, entrepreneur Ronnie I. and others. It also features archival music clips as well as more recent performances by The Cadillacs and a couple of newer groups. Too short to be definitive but most worth while. (FS)

 

NEW COMPACT DISCS

 

EDDIE BO & OTHERS Funky Delicacies 021 Eddie Bo's Funky Funky New Orleans ● CD $15.98
13 tracks produced by Eddie Bo for Fireball, Gold Cup, Bo Sound and the Scram group of labels between 1968 and 1971. Funk sides from Bo himself as well as Chuck Carbo, The Explosions, Vibrettes and The Scram band.

 
JERRY BUTLER Charly SNAP 256 The Very Best Of The Vee-Jay Years ● CD $13.98
26 tracks, 70 min., recommended
This is the pre-Philly stuff cut for Vee Jay/ Abner between 1958-66. Thwo are with The Impressions the sublime For Your Precious Love and Come Back My Love; three are with Betty Everett including a beautiful rendition of The Everly Brothers' arrangement of Gilbert Becaud's Let It Be Me. The oft-covered #1 hit He Will Break Your Heart and Find Another Girl/ I'm A-Telling You rank with his best solo performances, and although the hit Moon River is less enthusiastically received by us, Butler's voice is almost always worth hearing. (JC/ FS)

 
BOBBY BYRD Henry Stone Music 25009 Back From The Dead ● CD $11.98
11 tracks, 43 min., recommended
Bobby Byrd and James Brown burned brightly as The Flames (before they were Famous) in 1956 when they signed to King Records. Byrd made it to wax with the classic Please, Please, Please, but found his friend's name fronting the group on the record label. So it goes. At least King made the right decision. Byrd stuck with that label for several years as a writer and occasional performer (he and Anna King cut Baby, Baby, Baby, which made some splashes sales-wise) before moving to Henry Stone's stable of labels. The tracks here include a pair written by the Reid-Clarke team (Back From The Dead, The Way To Get Down); two produced by funk icon Bootsy Collins (It's My Blood, and the slow, jazzyTell Me What's In Your Mind), one featuring Maceo Parker and Fred Wesley; and two produced by James Brown his bad self, including Never Get Enough, featuring Brown's shouts, whoops, and screams throughout. Byrd's performances are energetic if unremarkable. He's got talent, to be sure, but it isn't always enough. (JC)

 
EUGENE CHURCH Ace CDCHD 1067 The Very Best Of Eugene Church ● CD $16.98
26 tracks, 69 min, essential
Best known for having penned & recorded the immortal Pretty Girls Everywhere (liner notes mention covers by everyone from Gene Vincent to Magic Slim to The Ventures!) this is the first ever collection totally devoted to Church. Starting out as half of The Cliques (the classic Girl Of My Dreams) with his buddy Jesse Belvin, this set covers his early career with both sides of all his singles for Modern (The Cliques -'56), Specialty '56-57, again with a usually uncredited Belvin, the hit years with Class '58-60, again often with Belvin, a one-off for Rendezvous in '60, then five singles for King '60-61. Besides lots of great cuts (The Struttin' Kind/ I'm Your Taboo Man), there's also a never before issued alternate take of his hit Miami, an extended version with studio chat of Geneva as well as a great booklet full of pics, record labels & detailed history. (GM)

 
KING CURTIS Spy 46006 Sweet Soul/ Everybody's Talkin' ● CD $15.98
Two Atlantic albums from the sax master. 1968's "Sweet Soul" was recorded in Memphis with top Memphis studio musicians plus some vocal work from The Sweet Inspirations. He does versions of pop and R&B hits like (Theme Fr) Valley Of The Dolls/ I Heart It Through The Grapevine/ By the Time I get To Phoenix/ Honey and more. The second features his last studio recordings cut in New York shortly before his untimely death in 1971. Accompanying musicians include Billy Preston, Cornell Dupree, Chuck Rainey and others and tunes include Groove Me/ Honky Tonk/ If I Were A Carpenter/ Ridin' Thumb, etc.

 
TYRONE DAVIS Brunswick 33013 The Ultimate Tyrone Davis ● CD $23.98
2 CDs, 40 tracks, essential
This release coves the early work of Chicago-based singer Tyrone Davis on Dakar (a Brunswick imprint) between 1968-76. Over half the tracks made the R&B Top 40 (three went to #1). His many mid-tempo hits (classics of the form), and the non-charters offered here showing off his bluesier side, prove Tyrone Davis to be one of the finest soul singers/performers of the 1970s. His live shows were legendary, thanks in no small part to a band so tight few could touch them for sheer power. No one had a better horn section or better arrangements. And the ladies reportedly loved Davis. While others sang of getting it on or slipping around, Davis was always the self-deprecating, loving guy, deserving of another romantic chance. What other soul singer could manage to sing "I thought I was a real big man, / but she thought not" without ever jeopardizing his coolness? Davis sings Happiness Is Being With You, A Woman Needs To Be Loved, I Had It All The Time, It's Good (To Be Home With You), You Keep Me Holding On, and other sensitive songs. Among his many hits are Turn Back The Hands Of Time, Turning Point, Without You In My Life, Ever Lovin' Girl, Is It Something You've Got, Let Me Back In, There It Is and many others. Until now reissues of Davis' Dakar period have been few and unsatisfying. If only Brunswick had included session information and a discography. (JC)

 
WILD BILL DAVIS Ocium 046 Organology, Vol. 1 - April In Paris ● CD $14.98
The Hammond Organ in jazz and R&B isn't to everyone's taste but if you like it then Wild Bill Davis is your man. He was a pioneer who influenced many organ players to come. 14 of the 20 tracks feature most of the sides cut by Bill for OKeh between 1950 and 1953 with a trio including the brilliant and underrated guitarist Bill Jennings and drummer Chris Columbus. These are a mix of blues, jazz and R&B including some vocals by Bill. There are also two sides from 1950 with Louis Jordan & His Tympani Five, a couple of cuts from a 1951 - one with Duke Ellington on piano and two unissued alternates from a 1972 Black & Blue session with Chris Columbus still on drums and the great guitarist Floyd Smith. Includes 16 page booklet with extensive notes, photos and discographical info and if you slip the disc into your computer you check out the multimedia content which includes biographies, selective discography, an essay on the history of the organ in jazz and a photo gallery.

 
WILD BILL DAVIS Ocium 047 Organology, Vol. 2 - Syncopated Clock ● CD $14.98
Ocium's second volume features most of the rest of Davis's Okeh/ Epic recordings cut between 1953 and 1955 with Floyd Smith on guitar and Chris Columbus on drums plus two bonus previously unissued alternate takes from 1972 with Smith and Columbus - Pompton Turnpike/ Jitterbug Waltz/ Wailin' For The Moondog/ Nice Work If You Can get It/ East Of The Sun/ Caravan/ Danny Boy/ canadian Sunset, etc.

 
DION AND FRIENDS Collectables 2899 Live - New York City ● CD $15.98
Two CD set featuring Dion recorded at a concert in New York in 1987 with background vocals by his cousin Louis Colleti, Carlos Mastrangelo of The Belmonts and others and with a band including Jerry Vivino on sax, Jimmy Vino on guitar and others. Mostly versions of his 50s and 60s hits along with a few later. Includes That's My Desire/ Donna The Prima Donna/ Drip Drop/ I used To Be A Brooklyn Dodger/ The Wanderer/ The Truth Will Set You Free/ Where Or When/ Love Came To Me and more plus an encore performance of Runaround Sue

 
THE GALLAHADS Nite Owl 220 Doo-Wop Favorites ● CD $17.98
16 tracks from the late 50s/ early 60s by fine West Coast black vocal group plus one solo side by the group's lead singer Jim Pipkins. Includes Be Fair/ Why Do Fools Fall In Love (really nice version)/ I'm Without A Girlfriend/ This Letter Is You/ Jo Jo The Big Wheel/ Gone (two different versions)/So Long, etc.

 
SHIRLEY GUNTER Ace CDCHD 1082 Oop Shoop - The Flair & Modern Recordings, 1953-1957 ● CD $16.98
The first legitimate album release of the recordings of fine R&B singer Shirly Gunter and the first release on CD for 70% of these tracks. It includes sides with The Queens - the seminal female R&B group as well as sides with her brother Cornel's group The Flairs. It includes th etitle song which was her only hit plus Send Him Back/ Baby I Love You So/ Ipsie Opsie ooh/ The way I Like It/ I'm Sorry/ Come On/ Why and more. Includes the previously unissued song In My Heart plus three previously unissued demos.

 
BETTY HARRIS AIM 1502 The Lost Soul Queen ● CD $15.98
21 tracks, recommended Betty Harris from Orlando, Florida was a superb singer - powerful and expressive with a wonderful command of dynamics. This CD features 21 tracks recorded for Sansu & SSS International between 1965 and 1968 under the production guidance of Alan Toussaint who also wrote most of the songs here with the exception of the remake of her Jubilee hit Cry To Me. The set includes two tracks with label-mate Lee Dorsey. Betty was a splendid singer who stopped recording in 1969 and has been relegated to undeserved obscurity. All these tracks were on a now out of print Westside album which also included her Jubilee sides. (FS)

 
JIMMY HOLIDAY Acrobat 175 How Can I Forget ● CD $10.98
12 tracks, 31 min., highly recommended
How Can I Forget
(issued as Everest 2022 and later covered by Ben E. King) brought Jimmy Holiday his first commercial success, reaching #8 on the R&B charts and #57 on its Pop cousin in 1963. His only other charting performances, all three of them, came on Minit Records (1966-68). As these early Everest recordings demonstrate, the label knew it had a talent on its hands, but was less clear about what to do with it. Half the time Holiday is saddled with sappy, string-filled arrangements that he is only partly able to overcome. On some songs (Country Girl comes to mind), Holiday has to deal with background singers that can turn soul into pop without breaking a sweat. Even strong vocal performances threaten to drown in a sea of the producer's musical bad judgment. Our man also swims upstream with feather-weight teen ballads such as I Believe In Love and Janet. But despite all of that, anything from the criminally under-recorded Holiday is worth picking up. But get the Minit sides first. (JC)

 
TAMI LYNN DBK Works 521 Love Is Here And Now You're Gone ● CD $15.98
14 tracks, 40 min., highly recommended
When "uneven" is used to describe an album, it usually falls short of being complimentary, but in this case no negative connotations are intended. The first part of the CD sports a deep soul feel, moving like a slow train at night. Just listen to her dirge-like version of the Holland-Dozier-Holland title track! Much of the rest will make the Northern soul fanatics smile, while the remainder scores high on the international scale of funkiness. Production credits include Bert Berns, Jerry Wexler, John Abbey, and Wardell Quezergue (sometimes spelled Queszerque). Lynn's nascent career was lifted up when Northern soulsters in England resurrected her I'm Gonna Run Away From You. The CD reissues her first LP, released in 1971 in the U.K. and 1972 in the U.S. It sold little, perhaps because is was not stylistically unified. It is reissued here for the first time and is well worth exploring. (JC)

 
GLORIA LYNNE Acrobat 5004 Love Songs ● CD $19.98
2 discs, 43 tracks, highly recommended
Gloria was more of a jazz singer than anything else, so few of her recordings became hits - in fact there were only two, Impossible, which hit the R&B charts in '61 & her signature sing I Wish You Love, a top 30 on both pop & R&B. However, her output was uniformly excellent, as this set will show. Featuring all of her A sides done for Everest '59-65 as well as most of her B-sides, with musicians including Kenny Burrell, Sweets Edison & Sam The Man Taylor, includes such great tracks as Perdido/ I'll Buy You A Star/ Condemned Without A Trial/ The Lamp Is Low & of course the two hits. With 12 pg booklet of bio, pics & more. (GM)

 
THE MARCELS EMI Gold 331360-2 The Best Of The Marcels ● CD $11.98
25 tracks, 61 mins, highly recommended
A fine collection by this excellent group best known for their dadaistic interpretations of pop standards including their #1 hit in 1961 Blue Moon and my favorite Heartaches but they were an excellent all round doo-wop group featuring the expressive baritone lead of Cornelius Harp and the all important bass of Fred Johnson. In addition to standards they also did fine covers of doo wop classics like Sweet Was The Wine/ Peace Of Mind and Sunday Kind Of Love as well as songs written for them. Fine true stereo remastering and notes by groups original producer Stu Phillips. (FS)

 
NATHANIEL MAYER Fat Possum 1016 I Just Want To Be Held ● CD $15.98
10 tracks, 36 min., very highly recommended
In 1962 Detroiter Nathaniel Mayer was a star at Fortune Records, thanks to the song Village Of Love, which went to #16 on the R&B charts. Then they both went under. A whole lot of drugs and booze later, Mayer surfaced and signed with the Fat Possum label out of Oxford, Mississippi, and this CD is the result. And for those who figure this to be another forgettable, generic, guitar-based blues album, Mr. Mayer has a big surprise. This disc leans as much towards rock and roll as it does towards blues and soul. And Mayer sounds more like Tom Waits (sandpapered throat) than he does B. B. King. Writes his own songs, mostly, too. Sings a John Lennon cover (I Found Out). His own songs (You Gotta Work, Leave Me Alone) owe something to the sixties, something to right now. An original talent, not to be missed. (JC)

 
MEMPHIS HORNS DBK Works 516 Memphis Horns ● CD $15.98
11 tracks, 30 min., highly recommended
Andrew Love (tenor, alto & baritone saxes & flute) and Wayne Jackson (trumpet, flugelhorn & trombone)--the constants in an otherwise changing aggregation--made names for themselves at Stax playing on records by Sam & Dave, Carla Thomas, and Otis Redding, to name a select few. Later they added their sound to Willie Mitchell's Hi Records releases, including most of Al Green's best stuff. As session musicians no one could match their sound and consequently they've worked on thousands of soul records. On this album, originally released in 1970 an Atlantic's Cotillion label, they work on their own. They cover familiar territory, including I Can't Turn You Loose, Soul Man, Sad Song, and Cry Like A Baby, as well as some originals. Jackson speculates that Atlantic allowed them to make their own album as "almost a 'thank you, guys' record." To be sure, it didn't sell well, but as instrumental soul goes, it's pretty fine work. (JC)

 
LUCKY MILLINDER Collectables 2898 The Very Best Of Lucky Millinder ● CD $15.98
24 tracks, 65 mins, highly recommended
Wonderful collection of swinging rhythm & blues featuring the complete King recordings of this great and important big band cut between 1950 and 1955. Includes vocals by Big John Greer, Annisteen Allen, Brother John Sellers, Melvin Moore, Cathy Ryan and others. Top musicians like Lamar Wright, John Hardee, Sonny Thompson, Tyree Glenn, Sam "The Man" Taylor and others help the fun along on tracks like Who Said Shorty Wasn't Coming Back/ My Little Baby/ Clap Your Hands/ Silent George/ I'm Waiting Just For You/ It's Been A Long Long Time/ The Grape VineWhen I Gave You My Love, etc. Excellent sound. (FS)

 
PHILLIP MITCHELL Grapevine Soul 3021 Pick Hit Of The Week ● CD $21.98
20 tracks, 70 min., essential
Phillip Mitchell wrote hits for Bobby Womack, Joe Simon, Archie Bell & The Drells, The Staple Singers, Bettye Swann, and dozens of other top soul acts. An impressive singer with impeccable phrasing, Mitchell always sounds convincing. This excellent follow up to "Just The Beginning" (also on Grapevine) continues the offering of demo vocals he cut between 1969 and the mid-1970s. But make no mistake, these are finished, highly polished recordings laid down at Muscle Shoals Sound. As one would wish, Jimmy Johnson is on guitar, Barry Beckett on keys, Roger Hawkins on drums, and David Hood on bass. Highlights include Mitchell's original versions of well-known hits such as It Hurts So Good, I May Not Be What You Want, I Don't Do This (To Every Girl I Meet), and Free For All (Winner Takes All). Your ears will be thankful that the folks at Grapevine decided to poke around in the vaults at Muscle Shoals. (JC)

 
THE ORLONS Abkco 9227 The Best Of The Orlons, 1961-1966 ● CD $12.98
20 tracks, 48 min, highly recommended
Where do all the hippies meet? No, not Haight-Ashbury. Come back to South Street with the early girl-group sound of The Orlons, which featured the voice of future British background star Rosetta Hightower &, as their secret weapon, the "froggy" bass of Steve Caldwell - yes, there was a guy in this girl group! Starting with the doo-wop of I'll Be True, all the hits are here - The Wah-Watusi/ Don't Hang Up/ Crossfire!, & Bon-Doo-Wah, who's flip, also heard here, would go on to immortality when covered by The Searchers - Don't Throw Your Love Away. There's even a never before released rehearsal version of Mr. 21. Liner notes by Jeff Tamarkin. (GM)

 
WARDELL QUEZERQUE Funky Delicacies 2CD 038 Sixty Smokin' Soul Senders ● CD $23.98
2 CDs, 60 tracks, 2 hours, 38 min., highly recommended
After Allen Toussaint, Wardell Quezerque tops the list of great New Orleans soul producers during the 1960's (and beyond). These sixty Quezerque-produced and/or -arranged soul sides offer diversity (funk, doo-wop, girl group, ballads, up-tempo) and rarity (see the Jades Lucky Fellow b/w And Now), and obscurity (George Woods, Lydia Marcelle). The songs come from a variety of labels, including Nola, Atco, Mode, Hot Line, Axe, A.B.S., Shagg, Whurley Burley, and others. And while connoisseurs of rare soul will probably not be put off by the fact that this CD was made from vinyl sources (with the limitations inherent therein), they may be excused from wondering why the compilers couldn't find a better copy of a 45 or two. Specifically, Guitar Ray's Ball & Chain is a challenge to enjoy, thanks to a recurring collection of clicks and surface noise. And Denny Fox's It's You For Me sounds as if someone was randomly twisting the volume knob during recording--perhaps a result of a severely warped piece of wax. Difficult to explain their inclusion, given the circumstances. Still, that leaves 58 songs worth hearing, including such rewarding offerings as The Bates Sisters' So Broken Hearted, who sound like they walked out of a Tamla session in Detroit; The Medallions' You Are Irresistable, a nice slice of late doo-wop; Vickie Labat's When You're In Love and Got To Keep Hanging On; Earl King's Poor Sam; C.L. Blast's I'm In A Daze, and more . Other artists represented include June Gardner, Al Reed, Curley Moore, Marie Boubarere, Klickly Robinson, Raymond Parker, Senator Jones, Edward Jones, Yvonne Wise, Eddie Bo, Billy Tircuit, Sammy Ridgley, The Fabulettes, Elliot Small, Jerry Foucha, Warren Lee, and others. A nice retrospective of Mr. Q's 1960s material and well worth picking up. (JC)

 
CLARENCE REID Henry Stone Music 25016 Funky Party ● CD $11.98
14 tracks, 39 min., highly recommended
Reid wore many hats for Henry Stone's music machine in the 1960s and early 1970s, including talent scout, producer, arranger, singer, and, usually with partner Willie Clarke, songwriter. In 1966 Reid "discovered," wrote for, and fostered the then-12-year-old Betty Wright, and Stone's T.K. Studios label put out her first hit: Girls Can't Do What The Boys Do, a Reid-Clarke number. Wright moved to Stone's Alston label and kept cutting hits, thanks to Reid-Clarke songs such as Clean Up Woman. The same pen wrote Gwen McCrae's #1 R&B hit Rockin' Chair. These tracks (drawn from various Stone labels) include the #17 R&B hit Funky Party (Alston 4621), and-at least in their preoccupation with sex-anticipate Reid's later career as the not-so-mysterious masked sex maniac Blowfly, whose x-rated albums (and covers) made up in crudeness what they lacked in subtlety. But here, the sexual braggadocio doesn't get too annoying and the songs are well-crafted soul gems-even if lyrics like "She stays home with the kids/keeps her dislikes hid/She's a real woman" do tend to set the teeth on edge, if only momentarily. And even if Till I Get My Share does feel like a sexual kidnapping. But this is high-octane funk and soul from a singer-songwriter-producer at the height of his musical powers. Hard to resist, but couldn't the legendary Henry Stone throw in a few more songs? (JC)

 
WILLIS SANDERS & THE EMBERS Castle 1005 Doo-Wop Delights ● CD $17.98
Not a new release but not listed before. 22 tracks by this New York group recorded between 1953 and 1961 including solo sides by Sanders.
WILLIS SANDERS & THE EMBERS: Couldn't Wait Any Longer/ Honey Bun/ Hungry For Your Love/ I Want To Dance/ I'll Be With You/ I'm Movin' In/ Let Me Know, Let Me Know, Let Me Know/ Loveable You/ My Dearest Darling/ My Vow To You/ Paradise Hill/ Please, Mr. Sun/ Sound Of Love/ Summertime/ Sweet Lips/ Takin' A Chance On You/ Then (I'll Stop Loving You)/ There Is No Greater Love/ There'll Be No One Else But You/ Time Out For Tears/ Wait For Me/ Your Souvenier

 
DEE DEE SHARP Abkco 9233 The Best Of Dee Dee Sharp, 1962-1966 ● CD $12.98
24 tracks, 58 min, recommended
It's the latest. It's the greatest. The mighty voiced Dee Dee couldn't dance to save her life, but taught us about Mashed Potato Time (if the tune sounds familiar, it's cuz the tune was stolen from Please Mr. Postman, which is why there's Motown credits on it) & of course the sequel Gravy (For My Mashed Potatoes). Dee Dee started doing backgrounds, but got her break when she was chosen to do a female lead to on Chubby Checker's Slow Twinstin', also heard here, as are hits Do The Bird/ Ride! (Get on your pony &)/ Wild! and Rock Me In The Cradle Of Love. Dee Dee's even given the 4 Seasons treatment on the rare b-side Deep Dark Secret which was written & produced by Bob Crewe & arranged by Charlie Calello. The last tunes here were produced by her future husband Kenny Gamble! (GM)

 
CANDI STATON Spy 46005 Candi/ Music Speaks Louder Than Words ● CD $15.98
This CD reissues two LPs recorded by this superb soul singer for Warner Brothers in 1974 and 1977. "Candi" was produced by Rick Hall in Muscle Shoals and continues in the Southern Soul vein of her classic Fame releases though more heavily arranged. "Music Speaks Louder Than Words" was recorded after Candi had topped the R&B charts with her disco song Young Hearts Run Free and is dominated by dance and pop songs but that oh so soulful voice is still prominent and her cover of the Freddy Fender classic Before The Next Teardrop Falls rates up there with her Fame masterworks.

 
THE SWALLOWS Collectables 2878 The Very Best Of The Swallows ● CD $15.98
25 tracks, highly recommended
The Baltimore based Swallows were known primarily for their smooth, laid-back blues-based harmony style, a sort of vocal group equivalent of early Charles Brown & The Four Blazes recordings. The group is also remembered for novelty songs like Bicycle Tille and It Ain't The Meat. Led by tenors Eddie Rich (on jumps) and string-bass player Junior Denby (on ballads), the group had a rich earthy blues style all their own. Other original members included Earl Hurley (tenor & bongos), Fred "Money Guitar" Johnson (bari & guitar), and Norris "Bunky" Mack (bass, piano, guitar, drums). Formerly known as The Oakaleers, they came out of the "swing in rhythm" quartet tradition of The Spirits Of Rhythm, etc., and first recorded for King in 1950. The first 22 tracks are drawn from their sides recorded for King between 1951 and 1953 and includes their R&B hits Will You Be Mine and Beside You. The last three tracks were recorded for Federal in 1958 with a somewhat differnt line up though still featuring the fine lead of Eddie Rich and includes a cover of Bobby Hendricks's Itchy Twitchy Feeling. (OLN/FS)

 
THE TYMES Abkco 9234 The Best Of The Times, 1963-64 ● CD $12.98
22 tracks, 53 min, highly recommended
It sounds like Johnny Mathis doing The Stroll, the beautiful sound of George Williams & The Tymes sing So Much In Love, so much so that they were able to score again by covering Johnny's hit Wonderful Wonderful. A further Mathis cover, Chances Are, was an LP track that is also included here. In fact, in their brief time (tyme?) with C-P they managed to put out & chart 3 LPs, so this set has hits & classic tracks that bridge the gap between doo-wop, having resurgence in '61-63, & soul. Also includes such hits as Somewhere/ To Each His Own and more. (GM)

 
DON VARNER RPM 299 Finally Got Over! Deep Soul From The Classic Era ● CD $16.98
23 tracks from the 60s and early 70s by obscure but superb soul singer from Alabama recorded in the mid 60s for various labels. Includes all his recordings on the Quinvy & South Camp labels produced by Eddie Hinton including originally unissued sides. Includes original songs plus compositions by Eddie Hinton, Dan Penn & Spooner Oldham and others including a great cover of Joe Tex's Meet Me In Church.

 
JOHNNY "GUITAR" WATSON Shout Factory 31771 The Funk Anthology ● CD $24.98
2 CDs, 31 tracks, 2 hour 34 min., highly recommended
Those who refer to Watson as a genius have an easy case to make. Here, except on 8 tracks, he plays all the instruments. This anthology focuses on the DJM LPs cut between 1976-81 and throws in 3 cuts from 1994 (two from his Belmark LP "Bow Wow," and one unissued), and it's easy enough to hold up Lone Ranger or I'm Gonna Get You Baby as confirmation of his talent and funk credentials. But even though compilers cherry picked his LPs, too much of CD #1 is uninspired and safe. And that's giving him a pass on Miss Frisco (Queen Of The Disco). But CD #2 redeems the whole. Watson created his own sound (a little casual funk, a jazz phrase or two, a blues riff, a big helping of coolness) and it's pretty dependable. Included are such hits as I Need It, Superman Lover, Gangster Of Love, Love That Will Not Die, A Real Mother For Ya, Love Jones, Telephone Bill, What The Hell IS This?, and 5 previously unreleased tracks. (JC)

 
ANDRE WILLIAMS & THE OUT OF SIGHTERS Soul-Tay-Shus 6361 Red Beans & Biscuits - Rare & Unreleased Recordings ● CD $15.98
16 tracks, 55 min., highly recommended
Too often "rare and unreleased" is a euphemism for "bad." But for Andre Williams (who had his first hit with Bacon Fat in 1957 and began producing records in the 1960s), it means rare and unreleased. He takes writing and production credits on these 16 tracks, half of which are previously unissued. Nineteen-year-old Jo Ann Garrett's Can You Deal With That if first-rate funk with an attitude, just as The Profiles' If I Didn't Love You is as fine a slice of mid-tempo soul as you're likely to hear any time soon. And the many Andre Williams instrumentals start a fire and keep it burning. Wish everybody's lesser achievements sounded this good. (Extra points for Williams for cashing in on a fad by cutting Streakin' Song and for observing that "nudists go real slow" and "winter is a bummer.") (JC)

 
PEARL WOODS Night Train 7147 Sippin' Sorrow (With A Spoon) ● CD $15.98
19 tracks, 47 min., highly recommended
Woods spent much of her early musical career as an in-demand demo singer for other artists to copy, and her handful of solo releases demonstrates why. Blessed with a gifted voice and an ear for phrasing, Woods never gained the success her talent called for, even though she did appear in the popular 1950s film Rockin' The Blues. Also a fine songwriter, Woods has had her words recorded by such musical heavy hitters as Ray Charles, Etta James, Dinah Washington, and Bobby "Blue" Bland, to name but a (famous) few. This release includes four songs with the Wanderers (for vocal group fans), a pair with The Upsetters (Little Richard's Band), and wonderful originals such as the up-tempo Fool Like Me and the sweet and slow I'm Gonna Stick With You . That Let Him Go never climbed the Billboard charts throws the very concept of a justice into question. Woods, seemingly the only soul singer not raised singing in the church, gave up secular music in 1970 in favor of gospel, so there won't be any more like these. A soul discovery worth making. (JC)

 
YOUNG-HOLT UNLIMITED Brunswick 33012 The Definitive Young-Holt Unlimited ● CD $15.98
20 tracks, 63 min., recommended The first hit for these former Ramsey Lewis Trio members (Wack Wack, #12 R&B and #40 Pop in 1966) made a big enough impression for Brunswick to let them cut half a dozen jazz-funk LPs. And while some of the YHU grooves make for pleasant diversions, they seldom captivate the mind or press the feet into service. Still, this is the way to own the music--6 LPs boiled down to 20 tracks, one of which is previously unreleased (You Gotta, I Gotta). Funk lite. Might bring back some memories--can't say if they'll be any good. (JC)

 
 

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