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NEWSLETTER #144
Rhythm & Blues, Soul & Doo-Wop
Johnny Adams -> Wilson Pickett
 

 

 

NEW DVDS

 
JAMES BROWN Eagle Eye 39129 Live At Montreux, 1981 ● DVD $18.98
DVD 14 tracks, 70 mins/ CD 10 Tracks, 37 Mins, highly recommended
Previously released (and reviewed for our catalog) in its DVD-only format, this is now released in a special "Collectors Edition" format with the same DVD, but also including a CD that has 10 of the performances that are featured on the DVD. This is James Brown at his funky, funky best. The band is tight enough to bounce a quarter off. James Brown himself is sensational, at a point in his career when he could still hit all of the notes, make all of the moves, and put in a 110% performance. If you already have the DVD, I'm not sure how much of an incentive this new version with the CD is, but if you don't have this in any form, it is definitely well worth picking up. For James Brown fans, it is a must own. (JM)

 
IKE & TINA TURNER IMC Music 940955 Rollin' With Ike & Tina Turner ● DVD $13.98
14 tracks, 45 mins, recommended
Not the best music DVD collection that I have seen, but despite its somewhat murky video quality on much of the DVD, there are enough artifacts of great performances here that I can recommend this. The first half of the DVD is taken from T.V. appearances in Germany and the U.S.A. in the late 1960s and early 1970s. There are clips that I have seen a lot, like Proud Mary and other rock covers, and there are other great Turner-penned tunes like Nutbush City Limits and Baby Get It On. In the first half you get Tina solo doing Acid Queen which is O.K. (at least it's not the performance from the "Tommy" movie.) The second half of the DVD are two live shows that I would date as about 1970 or 1971. Mostly more renditions of rock covers, "River Deep, Mountain High" etc. For the most parts, the performances are all exceptional as to be expected, the overall quality of this release is a bit disappointing, though. (JM)

 

NEW COMPACT DISCS

 
JOHNNY ADAMS Fuel 2000 61615 An Introduction To Johnny Adams ● CD $13.98
16 tracks, 65 mins, highly recommended
New Orleans singer Adams wraps his soulful, soaring pipes around 16 searing ballads and up tempo R&B items on these recordings produced by Senator Jones for a number of different labels in the late 70s and early 80s. Recorded at the Sea-Saint Studio with top New Orleans musicians like Walter Washington, Alan Toussaint, Leo Nocentelli and others he does a selection of new compositions as well as a diverse selection of covers ranging from Bobby Bland's Share Your Love With Me to Tom Jones's Ill never Fall In Love Again. Also includes After All The Good Is Gone/ Don't Let The Green Grass Fool You/ Your Love Is All I Need/ Who Will The Next Fool Be/ I Only Want To Be With You/ Struttin' On Sunday/ Love Letters/ Love Me Now and the terrific A Shoulder To Cry On featuring stellar guitar work. About half these tracks were previously available on AIM 1201 ($13.98). Now if only someone would make all of Adams' material from this period available. (FS)

 
CHUCK BERRY Chess (UK) 984 242-8 You Came A Long Way From St. Louis - The Many Sides Of ● CD $19.98
31 tracks, 79 mins, highly recommended
Fine 31 track collection devoted to some of Chuck's more obscure sides. Apart from the classics Reelin' And Rockin' and Sweet Little Rock & Roller this is a mix of lesser known singles, album cuts and originally unissued performances. Among the high points here are several great blues covers and originals (Worried Life Blues/ Ain't That Just Like A Woman/ Don't You Lie To Me, etc), some typically fine original rockers that somehow got lost in the shuffle (It's My Own Business/ Broken Arrow/ Go Bobby Soxer/ have Mercy Judge, etc) and the great steel guitar instrumental Mad Lad. There are also a few duds here like the awful Thirteen Question Method (possibly his worst song) and his attempt at calypso Run Joe but most of it is very worthwhile. Includes informative notes on each song by Peter Doggett. (FS)
CHUCK BERRY: A Deuce/ Ain't That Just Like A Woman/ Anthony Boy/ Big Ben/ Broken Arrow/ Butterscotch/ Club Nitty Gritty/ County Line/ Don't You Lie To Me/ Go Bobby Soxer/ Have Mercy Judge/ How High The Moon/ I've Changed/ It Wasn't Me/ It's My Own Business/ Laugh And Cry/ Lonely School Days/ Louis To Frisco/ Mad Lad/ My Mustang Ford/ Reelin' And Rockin'/ Right Off Rampart Street/ Route 66/ Run Joe/ She Once Was Mine/ Soul Rockin'/ St. Louis Blues/ Sweet Little Rock & Roller/ Thirteen Question Method/ Worried Life Blues/ You Came A Long Way From St. Louis (With The Five Demensions)

 
SOLOMON BURKE Music Avenue 250105 Soul Lucky ● CD $15.98
11 tracks, 45 min., recommended
A compilation (circa the late 1970s) of rare tracks Burke recorded with producer/songwriter/singer/genius Jerry "Swamp Dogg" Williams. It's a little troubling that most of what's good about these tracks (and there is considerable good) can be directly attributed to Williams, who wrote much of the material and whose style Burke apparently adopts for the duration of their collaboration. Of the three songs Burke wrote, Music To Make Love By recalls the worst excesses of Barry White and includes the illuminating observation, "It's so hard to make love to a picture, baby." The rest of the song is even more embarrassing. His other two are merely filler. (JC)

 
CAB CALLOWAY RPM 164 The Hi-De-Ho Man ● CD $15.98
26 tracks, 77 mins, highly recommended
26 tracks from the great jiving bandleader and vocalist drawn from recordings made in the 40s. Calloway's earlier sides were influential on the upcoming jump blues styles and on many of the tracks here he returns the favor with tracks that have a strong rhythm & blues flavor incuding covers of hits like The Honeydripper (which itself was a big hit) and Shotgun Boogie. It includes a hard driving 1942 version of his theme song Minnie The Moocher along with sides like Everybody eats When they Come To My House/ Boo Wah! Boo Wah/ Que Pasa Chica?/ The Calloway Boogie/ Come On With The "Come On"/ Roomin' House Boogie/ I Want To Rock/ A Chicken Ain't Nothin' But A Bird and others. Excellent sound, informative notes by Dave Penny, loads of illustrations and cool cover art. (FS)

 
BOBBY CHARLES Fuel 2000 61613 An Introduction To Bobby Charles ● CD $13.98
20 tracks, 50 min., highly recommended
With a few possible exceptions, these sides appear to be culled from the Jewel and Paula labels, circa 1964-65. Charles, famous for having written Walkin' To New Orleans, See You Later Alligator and others, had a smooth, relaxed vocal style that dripped with Crescent City influence. (Leonard Chess was shocked to find that Charles was white.) While best known for his compositional acumen, Charles sang his own material as well as, if not better than, anyone. Most of his catalog remains out of print, making this release welcome indeed. This album was previously available as an expensive import on Westside UK, now deleted. (JC)

 
RAY CHARLES Rhino (UK) 73556 The Definitive Ray Charles ● CD $25.98
I don't know about "Definitive" but this is certainly a very nice two CD retrospective of The Genius covering the best of both his Atlantic and ABC recordings and beyond. 46 tracks starting with 1953's Mess Around and ending with his 1997 version of John Lennon's Imagine (originally used on a TV commercial for a French bank). Along the way are loads of classics - This Little Girl Of Mine/ Leave My Woman Alone/ (Night Time) Is The Right Time/ What'd I Say/ I'm Movin' On/ Sticks And Stones/ One Mint Julep/ Unchain My Heart/ I Can't Stop Lovin' You/ You Are My Sunshine/ Busted/ Cincinnati Kid/ In The Heat Of The Night and much more. Superb sound and informative notes by Peter Doggett.
RAY CHARLES: At The Club/ Baby It's Cold Outside/ Born To Lose/ Busted/ Cincinnati Kid/ Come Rain Or Come Shine/ Crying Time/ Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying/ Drown In My Own Tears/ Eleanor Rigby/ Fool For/ Georgia On My Mind/ Hallelujah I Love Her So/ Hit The Road Jack/ I Believe To My Soul/ I Can Make It Thru' The Days/ I Can't Stop Loving You/ I Don't Need No Doctor/ I'll Be Good To You/ I'm Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town/ I'm Movin' On/ I've Got A Woman/ Imagine/ In The Heat Of The Night/ It Should've Been Me/ Jealous Kind/ Leave My Woman Alone You/ Let's Go Get Stoned/ Lonely Avenue/ Mess Around/ Night Time Is The Right Time/ One Mint Julep/ Rainy Night In Georgia/ Ruby/ Sticks And Stones/ Take These Chains From My Heart/ That Lucky Old Sun/ This Little Girl Of Mine/ Unchain My Heart/ What I Say (parts 1 & 2)/ Yesterday/ You Are My Sunshine/ You Don't Know Me/ Your Cheatin' Heart/ Seven Spanish Angels/ Shake Your Tailfeather

 
THE CHIFFONS Stateside 69278 Sweet Talkin' Girls - The Best Of The Chiffons ● CD $29.98
The ultimate Chiffons collection. A two CD set with 50 tracks covering pretty much their complete recorded output including all their hits and their cheeky cover of George Harrison's My Sweet Lord

 
DONNIE & THE DEL CHORDS Raven 7450 Donnie & The Del Chords ● CD $17.98
22 tracks by white trio from New York featuring Donnie Barto in lead joined by his cousins Al and Santo Barbarino. Their first record When You're Alone was a local hit. This is presumably their complete output and also includes This Is The Last Time/ I'll Be With You In Apple Blossom Time/ Transylvania Mist/ I Found Heaven/ I Gotta Woman/ At The Hop/ My Heart Has A Mind Of Its own, etc.
DONNIE & THE DEL CHORDS: At The Hop/ Be With You/ Guardian Angel/ I Don't Care/ I Found Heaven/ I Gotta Woman/ I'll Be With You In Apple Blossom Time/ I'm In The Mood For Love/ My Heart Has A Mind Of It's Own/ Oh What A Nite/ Only You/ Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind/ Pink Cadillac/ Please Say You Want Me/ So Lonely/ Tell Me Why/ That Old Feeling/ That'll Be The Day/ That's My Desire/ This Is The Last Time/ Transylvania Mist/ When You're Alone

 
DYKE & THE BLAZERS BGP CDBGP2 180 We Got More Soul ● CD $33.98
The complete recordings from 1966-1970 of this important funk group. The first disc features his recordings cut in Phoenix with the original hit-making line-up of The Blazers and the second features his later sessions in Hollywood with members of Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band. All tracks are mastered from original master tapes and include unissued songs and many titles in their full length unedited versionsfor the first time.

 
ISAAC HAYES Stax 88043 Can You Dig It? The Ultimate Isaac Hayes ● CD $16.98
2 CDs, 36 tracks, 158 mins, highly recommended
Isaac Hayes is certainly one of the most influential and well-loved Soul artists of the '60s and '70s. This collection really captures the magic of the man and his music. The 2 music disks here have all the great cuts that you would want from a collection like this, from his total reworking of pop tunes, great tracks from the Shaft soundtrack, and all the way up to the brink of Disco. Isaac Hayes was brilliant at all stages and all of them are well represented here. Where else could you get I Say A Little Prayer and Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic on the same collection? Fantastic. The bonus DVD doesn't offer much, you get three live tracks from "Wattstax" and the South Park video for Chocolate Salty Balls, which are cool, but easily available elsewhere. (JM)

 
JOHNNIE & JOE Ace CDCHD 1138 I'll Be Spinning ● CD $18.98
30 Tracks, 75 mins, recommended
Johnnie & Joe were one of the great '50s duos, right up there with Mickey & Sylvia and Shirley and Lee (Johnnie was the girl). Lush, sweeping soulful serenades were their forte. Their big hit Over The Mountain; Across The Sea would set the template for much of their work. Occasionally J&J could whip up some fine lively R&B like Feel Alright and Why, Oh Why, but those type of tracks are few. This collection covers their recordings from the J&S, Chess, Gone and Omega labels from the mid 1950s up to about 1970. Many tracks are making their first appearance on CD and two tracks, I Pray To Keep Our Love Strong and Be Sure, are making their first appearance anywhere. (JM)

 
PAUL KELLY Water 184 Dirt ● CD $15.98
12 tracks, 35 mins, highly recommended
With his Warner Brothers retrospective out of print this is the only currently available album by this utterly superb deep soul singer. His first real release, the incredible Stealin' In The Name Of The Lord (included here), attacked hypocritical evangelists and proselytizers, and since soul stations and gospel stations tended to be the same thing, it wound up in many a DJ's trash can though this didn't prevent it from climbing the R&B charts. Originally recorded for Happy Tiger, Paul's contract and masters were purchased by Warner Brothers who issued this and three subsequent albums. Paul was a powerful singer with a sweet soulful voice and also a terrific songwriter (he wrote or co-wrote all the songs here) - some of his other songs have a topical edge. Recordings were produced by Buddy Killen and recorded in Nashville, Memphis & Muscle Shoals with musicians like Chips Moman (gtr), Bobby Emmons (kb), Tommy Cogbill (b), and many others. This CD includes original liner notes by Barry "Dr. Demento" Hansen along with new notes by David Cole. Hopefully Water will release the rest of Paul's WB output. (FS)

 
DENISE LASALLE Smith & Co. 1034 My Toot Toot ● CD $15.98
Two CD, 36 track retrospective of sides by this fine and prolific Southern blues and soul singer drawing on sides recorded for Westbound between 1972 and 1975 and for Malaco between 1983 and 1997. Many of the tracks here were R&B hits including her version of Rockin' SIdney's My Toot Toot which became an international hit. Quite a few of the Malaco sides have a raunchy quality to them. Include Trapped By A Thing Called Love/ Do Me Right/ I Was Not The Best Woman/ Right Place, Right Time/ Bump And Grind/ Bring It On Home To Me/ If You Can Do Me Right/ Trapped ... 1990/ Paper Thin/ Love Me Right/ Three People/ Child Of The Ghetto, etc.

 
BETTY LAVETTE Rhino Handmade 7899 Child Of The Seventies ● CD $22.98
22 tracks, 69 min, essential
Limited edition (7,500 copies). Yes, this would be essential if all it had was the 2 singles cut at the beginning of her career ('62) for Atlantic, including the fine My Man-He's A Lovin' Man, & her 2 singles done mid-career ('72) for Atlantic including a surprising cover of Neil Young's Heart Of Gold. Yeah, they're all here & wonderful, but what makes this release noteworthy is the 1st release of one of the few "Legndary Lost Albums" in soul music, her "Child Of The 70s", recorded in Muscle Shoals 11/72. Fine fine 70s soul - no writers credits, but includes covers of Ron Davies' It Ain't Easy & Free's The Stealer! Most of this was issued some years ago on the French Art & Soul label but this release adds two additional unissued tracks and mono single mixes of Your Turn To Cry and Soul Tambourine. Includes 12 page booklet with detailed notes by British soul expert David Nathan. (GM/ FS)

 
FRANKIE LEE Blues Express 6 Standing At The Crossroads ● CD $14.98
13 tracks, 61 min., recommended
The Texas-born singer (and cousin of Johnny "Guitar" Watson) first recorded for the tiny Great Scott label in 1963 -- songs which were immediately picked up by Peacock's Don Robey, who added the diminutive in front of Lee's Christian name. As a Bay Area transplant, Lee cut a "come back" album for HighTone in 1984 that received some critical acclaim, if limited financial remuneration. Like that album, this one has its best songs (Where You Been All My Life, Better Than That) written by Dennis Walker. On his Let's Think Twice, the Sweet Inspirations add vocal sugar. Lee reaches back to his gospel roots for a version of the Swan Silvertones' Mary Don't You Weep and Prayer For Peace, written by Ira Tucker of the Dixie Hummingbirds. The latter song no doubt holds special significance for Lee whose daughter was killed in Afghanistan on the same day his son was killed in Iraq. A strong outing with top notch musicians and arrangements. (JC)

 
LAURA LEE Chess (UK) 983 229-4 The Chess Collection ● CD $13.98
20 tracks, 53 mins essential
After recording gospel with the Meditation Singers on Gospel, and Checker, and have a moderately successful soul single on Ric Tic, she was persuaded by Rick Hall to quit gospel and stick to soul singing. A series of anguish-drenched deep soul singles ensued on Chess between 1969 including such gems as her signature tune, the take no prisoners Dirty Man and it's more forgiving follow up Uptight Good Man along with other superb sides like Mama's Got A Good Thing/ It Ain't What You Do (But How You Do It)/ It's All Wrong But It's All Right/ But You Know I Love You/ It's How You Make It Good/ Are You Doing Me Wrong/ A Man With Some Backbone/ Hang It Up and more including a great cover of Jerry Butler's He Will Break Your Heart from a woman's perspective. Most tracks were recorded at Rick Hall's studio in Muscle Shoals with that fabulous group of studio musicians. Great songs, great singing, great arrangements - an absolute must! One minor complaint - the CD lists 21 songs but track 4 She Don't Love You is missing in action. (FS)

 
LITTLE EVA Pavillion 71241 The Singles Collection ● CD $17.98
31 tracks, 80 mins, recommended
Sure, you could write off Little Eva as a one--possibly 1 1/2 hit wonder and not bother with her whole oeuvre, but you would be missing out on a lot of fun. There is currently a Collectables Little Eva collection available (Collectables 5407) that has 15 tracks, of which only 1 track ("Get Him") is not featured on here. Of the 17 tracks that this collection has over the other, some of them are of the best of her career, not to mention that this comp also features the stereo version of The Loco Motion. Compiling all of her singles with A & B both represented that she released on the Amy, Bell, Dimension, and Verve labels, it also features tracks from one of her Spring records releases Mama Said/ Something About You Boy (her other Spring release features the same B side, but its A side "Night After Night" is the only song in her entire singles catalog that is not represented on this compilation, still that's pretty damn close). Some of the cool rarities that you get on this are both of her cool Christmas duets with Big Dee Irwin and Eva's single she did with The McCoys backing her on a cover of Stand By Me and That's My Man -- nice to hear some tasteful Rick Derringer guitar work that I had never heard before. I'm not saying there is a wealth of amazing material on this, but there are definitely a lot of gems to be found. (JM)

 
BARBARA MASON AIM 2019 Yes I'm Ready ● CD $14.98
12 sides from the 60s and 70s by fine Philadelphia soul singer including several of her hits - Yes, I'm Ready/ Give Me Your Love/ Shackin' Up/ For Your Precious Love/ You Blew Your Chance With Me/ Love & Happiness, etc.

 
EDNA MCGRIFF Black Tulip 38731 Heavenly Father ● CD $17.98
30 tracks, 77 mins, recommended
Edna McGriff is best known for this album's title song - a rather maudlin R&B ballad which was a big hit in 1952 and was her only hit. Though she continued to record throughout the 50s she was never able to crack the charts again though most of her other recordings were more interesting than "Father." She was a powerful singer who did some solid blues and jumping R&B numbers. Her earliest sides (including her hit) feature her with the Buddy Lucas band which including some intriguing steel guitar work. For a while she recorded for one of the budget labels that specializing in doing copies of current hits and several of these are featured here. By the end of the 50s she had disappeared off the scene and I don't know if these are her complete solo recordings (she also did some duets with Sonny Til not included here) but it probably comes close. Definitely worth a listen. (FS)

 
WILSON MEADOWS Shout 32 Go ON And Cry - A Soul Selection ● CD $15.98
12 tracks, 49 min., recommended
A solid contemporary soul outing for a singer whose career stretches back four decades. Meadows recorded as a member of The Zircons between 1962-64 for the Federal label and others. He later recorded with brothers Wallace and Eugene as The Meadows Brothers, and had a single on Kayvette Records (I Cant't Understand Kayvette 5132), with Wilson on lead, that just made it into the R&B Top 100 in 1977. He went solo in 1995 and cut at least four albums for Bob Grady's Georgia-based BGR Records, the source material for this album, most of which comes from the album Memories. The opener, When You're Gettin' My Love is an uptempo summons to the dance floor and stands as the high point for the album, although Where Will This Leave Me, Just Can't Do Without You, Go On And Cry and Everybody Needs Help,I Promise all deserve praise. And that's a better average than most. (JC)

 
LUCKY MILLINDER Rev-Ola CRBAND 7 Let It Roll Again, 1949-1955 ● CD $15.98
29 tracks, highly recommended
Wonderful collection of swinging rhythm & blues featuring recordings of this great and important big band cut between 1949 and 1955. Includes vocals by Big John Greer, Annisteen Allen, Wynonie Harris, Melvin Moore 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 Moanin' The Blues/ In The Middle Of The Night/ Teardrops From My Eyes/ Baby, You've Been Wrong/ Clap Your Hands/ Backslider's Ball/ No One Else Could Be and more. Excellent sound and quality notes by Dave Penny but no discographical. Many of these tracks were issued a couple of years ago on the 24 track Collectables 2828 but if you don't have that then this is a better deal. (FS)
LUCKY MILLINDER: Adam, Come And Get Your Rib/ Awful Natural/ Baby, You've Been Wrong/ Backslider's Ball/ Chew Tobacco Rag/ Clap Your Hands/ D Natural Blues/ Heavy Sugar/ I'll Never Be Free/ In The Middle Of The Night/ It's A Sad, Sad Feeling/ Let It Be/ Let It Roll Again/ Little Girl, Don't cry/ Lord Knows I Tried/ Moanin' The Blues/ Night Train/ No One Else Could Be/ Oh Babe!/ Old Spice/ Ow!/ Please Be Careful/ Ram-Bunk-Shush/ Silent George/ Teardrops From My Eyes/ The Grape Vine/ The Jumpin' Jack/ The Right Kind Of Lovin'/ Who Said Shorty Wasn't Coming Back?

 
DOTTIE PEARSON Grapevine 3011 A House Made Of LOve ● CD $19.98
12 tracks, 44 min., recommended
Contemporary soul with horns and strings, and various assistance from pop producer Don Dixon. If every song were as good as the title track this album would be indispensable. (But it isn't and it isn't.) Maybe that's why it's here twice (as is the less interesting Very Strong Affection) in regular and extended forms. Still, more songs would be better, what with there only being 10 titles, and England being so far from Nashville. That said, Ms Pearson has a respectable set of pipes that put one in mind of, say, Laura Lee, with less attitude and bitterness, and ultimately then, less personality. (JC)

 
LITTLE ESTHER PHILLIPS Acrobat ACRCD 213 Mistrustin' And Deceivin' ● CD $10.98
25 tracks, 70 mins, highly recommended
Esther Phillips with an influence on the "Little" part; all tracks on this while she was still a teenager. Originally a prot‚g‚ of Johnny Otis, the first half of these tracks are recorded with Esther fronting Otis's spectacular orchestra, performing Otis's material. The first 14 tracks are Otis compositions recorded for Savoy including the #1 R&B smash Double Crossing Blues, recorded as a duet with the Robins, especially bass man Bobby Nunn. Other high points of the Savoy sessions include Misery/ Cupid's Blues, the hilarious Wedding Boogie and just in time for this catalog, Far Away Christmas Blues. After the usual royalty/ business disputes, Phillips left Savoy for Federal records, but for the most part kept Johnny Otis and crew with her working incognito. Of the 11 Federal tracks here, most didn't do nearly as well as her Savoy cuts, but there's great tunes aplenty nonetheless. Other Lips, Other Arms/ The Deacon Moves In/ Aged and Mellow Blues and Turn The Lamps Down Low to name just a few of the great tracks that round this collection out. (JM)

 
WILSON PICKETT DBK Works 529 Hey Jude ● CD $15.98
Reissue of 1969 album featuring the title song + Save Me/ Back In Your Arms/ Night Owl/ A Man And A Half/ Search Your Heart/ People Make The World, etc. Production by Rick Hall & Tom Dowd.

 

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