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NEWSLETTER #141
Rhythm & Blues, Soul & Doo-Wop
Ruby Andrews -> Timi Yuro
 

 

 

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.
 
JAMES BROWN Eagle Eye DVD 39102 Live At Montreux, 1981 DVD $13.98
14 tracks, highly recommended
The Minister of the New New Super Heavy Funk & a crack 14-piece band in fine form in this live performance that cover James' entire career, from Please Please Please to Jam '80s. One of the highlights is a long version of It's A Man's Man's Man's World where James goes through the role call of deceased stars, the obvious (Otis, Sam) & unexpected (Janis) & even has a 30 second moment of silence for the recently-assassinated John Lennon, then all of a sudden he mentions BB King who's not dead, but gives guitar legend Jimmy "Chank" Nolen a chance to do a great BB imitation! Sound is in stereo, Dolby & DTS. (GM)

 

NEW COMPACT DISCS

 
ALVIN CASH & THE CRAWLERS Mar-V-Lus 1827 Twine Time CD $17.98
25 tracks - Twine Time/ The Philly Freeze/ Shake A Tail Feather/ Doin' The Creep/ Moanin' And Groanin'/ In Need Of Love, etc.

 
THE COASTERS Collectables 6523 Coast Along With The Coasters CD $11.98
Reissue of Atco 33-135 from 1962 - 12 Coasters classics - (Aint That) Just Like Me/ Wait A Minute/ The Snake & the Bookworm/ Little Egypt/ Run Red Run/ Bad Blood and six more.

 
THE CRESTS Collectables 7819 Sing All Biggies/ The Best Of CD $13.98
Two 1960 Coed LPs on one CD featuring this fine integrated vocal group fronted by the lead of the high flying Johnny Maestro. The first album featured three of their own hits 16 Candles/ Six Nights A Week and The Angels Listened in along with fine covers of doo-wop and rock 'n' roll favorites like Earth Angel/ Butterfly/ A Rose And A Baby Ruth/ Silhouettes, etc. The second features the rets of their Coed hits (A Year Ago Tonight/ Step By Step/ Journey Of Love, etc.) along with other songs written for the group.

 
THE HAWKS/ BEES Classics 5160 The Chronological Hawks/ Bees, 1953-1954 CD $14.98
23 tracks, 56 min., highly recommended
Dave Bartholomew scouted both The Hawks and The Bees for Imperial Records of New Orleans. Originally built around Allen Matthews, The Hawks recorded four sessions with Imperial without much tangible success. Musically they remind one of the Apollo-era 5 Royales--a compliment. The previously unreleased School Girl is almost as good as anything here, which is pretty good. It Ain't That Way even crosses over into greatness. And That's What You Are, with lead vocal by tenor Joseph Gaines, comes close. The (Four) Bees lead vocalist Billy Bland went on to some measure of success as a solo performer for Old Town Records. The Bees cut only two sessions (yielding only six songs) for Imperial with My Toy, an early version of Bartholomew's risque My Ding-A-Ling, garnering the most attention. But it wasn't all complimentary and it wasn't enough to sustain them. (JC)

 
 
EARL KING Tomato 2119 New Orleans Blues CD $9.98
15 tracks, 49 min., highly recommended
Based on a dozen different accounts, most of which are at odds with each other, this much seems agreed upon: King recorded these sides in 1972 at Sea-Saint Studios with Allen Toussaint. The recordings were supposed to be issued originally on Atlanntic Records, but never made it there. Instead they were canned until 1981 when Charly Records issued them in the U.K. (as Charly LP 2021, and then later as Charly CD 232) as Street Parade. Most accounts list The Meters as backing musicians during the sessions, but none actually list Earl King as playing the guitar. Some specificlly say he isn't, which seems to defy logic, but then everything does these days. A couple of years back Varese Records reissued these recordings as "Street Parade" and offered three more songs than this disc. So it may be worth seeking out the 18-track version. But whatever the case, this music is pretty wonderful and worth picking up, if not in one form then in another. (JC)

 
THE KING PINS/ SPELLBINDERS Marginal 835 The King Pins Meet The Spellbinders CD $17.98
Two fine soul groups recorded in the mid 60s. The Spellbinders were from Jersey City, NJ and had a more urban polished sound and the 15 tracks by them include their hits For You and Help Me. The King Pins had a long career recording gospel from the early 50s to early 60s as the Kelly Brothers and then switched between gospel and R&B and soul. This features 14 of their mid 60s sould recordings as The King Pins - much of it, not surprisingly, with a gospel flavor.
THE KING PINS: (i Wanna Do) The Monkey One More Time/ (i Wanna Do) The Monkey One More Time/ Believevin Me (it's Gossip It's A Rumor)/ Believevin Me (it's Gossip It's A Rumor)/ Dance Romeo Dance/ Dance Romeo Dance/ Don't Wait Pretty Baby/ Don't Wait Pretty Baby/ How Long Will It Last/ How Long Will It Last/ I Got The Moneky/ I Got The Moneky/ I Won't Have It/ I Won't Have It/ It Won't Be This Way/ It Won't Be This Way/ Just Keep On Smiling/ Just Keep On Smiling/ Lucky Guy/ Lucky Guy/ The Hop Scotch/ The Hop Scotch/ Two Hearts/ Two Hearts/ With The Other Guy/ With The Other Guy/ Wonderful One/ Wonderful One/ THE SPELLBINDERS: A Little On The Blue Side/ A Little On The Blue Side/ Baby I Miss You/ Baby I Miss You/ Chain Reaction/ Chain Reaction/ Danny Boy/ Danny Boy/ For You/ For You/ Help Me/ Help Me/ I Believe/ I Believe/ I Need Your Love/ I Need Your Love/ Long Lost Love/ Long Lost Love/ One Of A Kind/ One Of A Kind/ Self Defense/ Self Defense/ Since I Don't Have You/ Since I Don't Have You/ Stone In Love/ Stone In Love/ That's The Way You Make Me Feel/ That's The Way You Make Me Feel/ We're Acting Like Lovers/ We're Acting Like Lovers

 
BETTY LAVETTE Varese 66708 Take Another Little Piece Of My Heart CD $13.98
First CD issue of these fine sides recorded for Silver Fox and SSS International in 1969 and 1970 by this superb soul singer from Detroit. Sessions were produced by Lelan Rogers with backup by The Dixie Flyers and includes two duets with Hank Ballard.

 
SAM & DAVE Collectables 7757 Double Dynamite CD $12.98
12 tracks, highly recommended
Reissue of Stax 712 from 1966, their third LP (the second one on Stax). The dynamic duo hit strong on a dozen classics, most written by Isaac Hayes & Dave Porter, and a couple by Booker T. Plus covers of James & Bobby Purify's I'm Your Puppet and their hit cover of The Sims Twins' Soothe Me, written by Sam Cooke, along with the hits You Got Me Hummin'/ Said I Wasn't Gonna Tell Nobody and their best ballad, the gorgeous When Something Is Wrong With My Baby (GM)

 
SAM & THE SOUL MACHINE Funky Delicacies 039 Po'k Bones & Rice - Unreleased New Orleans Funk,1969-74 CD $15.98
18 tracks, 58 min., highly recommended
The first 12 tracks were recorded at Cosima Matassa's Camp Street studio in New Orleans in 1969 in a session somehow initiated by Allen Toussaint. But the IRS charged Cosimo with tax evasion and exacted their financial revenge on his studio, confiscating all his master tapes in the process because, well, they're the IRS and they don't want people listening to funky music and having a good time. Sam Henry fortunately kept a copy of the master tapes himself, otherwise this great funk album would have remained unheard. As it is the 12-pack of instrumentals features drum work from Joseph "Zigaboo" Modeliste and cool saxing from Gary Brown. Henry's Hammond B-3 glues everything together as The Soul Machine pump through a reworking of Sly Stone's Stand, the Rascals' Beautiful Morning, a James Brown-like groove called Meditation, Mercy-D, featuring guitar sparks from a young Eugene Sinegal, and others. The remaining six tracks show off the vocal side of the Machine a little. A hidden gem from one of New Orleans finest funk bands, even if they never did break out nationally. (JC)

 
PERCY SLEDGE Collectables 7676 When A Man Loves A Woman/ Warm & Tender Soul CD $13.98
23 tracks, 63 min., essential
This release reissues Sledge's first two albums on Atlantic Records on one CD. Sledge ranks as one of the great soul song interpreters of soul music's golden age. His version of When A Man Loves A Woman may just be the most recognizable soul song of all time. WAMLAW (originally released in 1966 as Atlantic 8125) and Warm & Tender Love (originally released in 1966 as Atlantic 8132, misidentified here as 8123) features our man singing the hell out of other people's hits, including That's How Strong My Love Is (Otis Redding, O.V. Wright), You've Really Got A Hold On Me (The Miracles), Oh How Happy (Edwin Starr), Love Me Tender (Elvis Presley), A Sweet Woman Like You (Joe Tex), Love Makes The World Go Round (Deon Jackson), I Stand Accused (Jerry Butler), and others. Both albums, produced by Quin Ivy and Marlin Greene, feel of a piece--as if they came from one long recording session. Greene adds his guitar to WAMLAW, as well as the song Love Me Like You Mean It, which may have been the partial inspiration for Wilson Pickett's non-hit Lay Me Like You Hate Me, many years later. Greene's other song here, Heart Of A Child is so strikingly good it's a wonder no one ever charted with it. The Dan Penn original You Fooled Me unfairly escaped being a hit. The original liner notes are reproduced here, which is fine, although would it kill Collectables to hire someone to write some notes and include some photos or chewing gum or something? (JC)

 
JOHNNY SPARROW Classics 5163 The Chronological Johnny Sparrow, 1949-1955 CD $14.98
24 tracks, recommended
The complete recordings under his own name by obscure Grenada born tenor sax player John P. Sparrow. Little is known of his early life but he started recording with Jay McShann's Orchestra in 1944 and subsequently with Louis Armstrong and Lionel Hampton before striking out on his own in 1949. His first recording for the Melford label Sparrow's Flight reached #12 in the R&B charts and was his only hit. His material is more jazz than R&B though a few tracks have an R&B flavor but it's mostly a mix of swing, bebop flavored items, lush ballads, jive and the occasional bit of jungle exotica. (FS)

 
JOE TEX RPM 237 Live And Lively/ Soul Country CD $16.98
Two of Joe's albums originally issued on Atlantic in 1968 plus three bonus tracks. Includes hits like Papa Was Too/ Show Me/ Skinny Legs & All and Men Are Getting Scarce. The second album "Soul Country" features that wonderful blend of soul and country on songs like Dark End Of The Street/ Funny How Time Slips Awa/ Ode To Billy Joe/ By the Time I Get To Phoenix and others.

 
TITUS TURNER Classics 5151 The Chronological Titus Turner, 1949-1954 CD $14.98
20 tracks, 53 min., highly recommended
An underrated singer-songwriter whose own recordings seem to be chronically out of print, Titus Turner is best known for having written All Around The World (a.k.a. Grits Ain't Groceries) for Little Willie John and Sticks And Stones (for Ray Charles), although his later work on such labels as Josie produced such wonderful titles as His Funeral My Trial. This welcome release offers Turner's earliest recordings, including both sides of his first record, cut for Aladdin when the guy was 16 years old (released as by Mr. T) and both sides of his second record, waxed for the Regal label shortly before it went belly up. His entire Okeh output (put out here) finds Turner experimenting with styles and genres, as he not only covers Hank Williams (Jambalaya) but turns in a convincing rendition of Over The Rainbow. Of greater interest are such originals as It's Too Late Now (with the Howard Biggs Orchestra) and both sides of Okeh 6961: Big Mary's and Livin' In Misery (with the Leroy Kirkland Orchestra)--his best seller at the time, though not a charter. A pleasure to hear these all but forgotten sides. (JC)

 
JOHNNY "GUITAR" WATSON Shout Factory 97636 What The Hell Is This CD $13.98
9 tracks, 47 min., highly recommended
The liner notes call for a kind of re-evaluation of Watson as an underrated political commentator or sorts and offers the title track's dissatisfaction with the economy (high unemployment, inflation) and I Don't Want To Be President as evidence. Sounds good. Hard to afford that credential, though, and not just because he's riding a tricycle on the front cover or because there are three beautiful women in the trunk of his car on the back cover and not because he sings with his tongue in his cheek or because he wants to offer personal violence to his wife's mother in Mother In Law or because on Proud Of You he says, "Darling, you know you give a man a reason for living, not to mention you're taking my paycheck," but just because it isn't true. It hardly matters, though, since Watson's easy-going brand of funk is so likable and since this reissue (originally released as DJM 24 in 1979) offers two previously unreleased bonus tracks, The Funk If I Know and Watsonian Institute. Not a great album, but a very good one and worth the reissue. (JC)

 
JOHNNY "GUITAR" WATSON Shout Factory 97637 Love Jones CD $13.98
11 tracks, 54 min., highly recommended
If I wanted to prove that Watson was a musical genius, I wouldn't play the title track (as good as it is) or Telephone Bill, both of which were hits (#28 and #45, respectively, on Billboard's R&B charts) or even Jet Plane, on which Watson writes, arranges, produces, and performs everything. I wouldn't even point out how Watson was years ahead of his time, how he anticipated rap and hip hop. I'd just play the non-hit Lone Ranger which is as good as it gets on this reissue from 1980 (originally released as DJM 31), which also includes a pair of previously unreleased tracks--Funky Blues and Untitled Mix, the latter being the funkier of the two. (JC)

 
JOHNNY "GUITAR" WATSON Shout Factory 97638 Johnny "Guitar" watson & the Family Clone CD $13.98
10 tracks, 42 min., recommended
Originally released in 1981 (as DJM 501), the album derives its title from the obvious nod to Sly Stone and the fact that Watson plays all the instruments on all the tracks (except for drums on What Is Love where Emry Thomas plays). And even though I'm ready to believe that Prince and groups like Outkast owe something to Mr. Watson, this album is uneven and not up to his usual standard of coolness. Forget The Joneses is attitudinally refreshing, but otherwise the two previously unreleased "bonus tracks" (a cover of Percy Mayfield's Please Send Me Someone To Love and the superior guitar funk workout Chill Me Out, which sound later than 1981 if only for the Jurassic Park reference) are easily the best things here. A worthwhile but flawed outing. (JC)

 

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