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Soul

You are currently browsing the archive for the Soul category.

Super Fly!

Jimmy McGriff  “Fly Dude”  Groove Merchant Records (1972)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (34 votes, average: 3.21 out of 5)
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Work it

A mis-printed sleeve for this French German Vogue single of Dionne Warwick’s big hit – “WALK on By”.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (34 votes, average: 3.71 out of 5)
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Reach for the truth

A beautiful record for a blue-sky Manhattan Saturday.  Linda Lewis “Lark”  Reprise Records  (1972)   “Old Smokey”

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (40 votes, average: 2.80 out of 5)
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Bad move

“Blues Soul”  of Johnny (guitar) Watson  Chess Records (1964)  One of the funkiest guitar players of all time, the legendary, original “gangster of love” here plays piano and sings standards in this jazz trio album that’s not too soulful or bluesy — Witchcraft/I Cried For You/I’ll Remember April/Polka Dots And Moonbeams//Exactly Like You/When Did You Leave Heaven/Reconsider Baby/Misty

An oddball release that doesn’t do credit to his talent (or the great Chess label catalog).   This came out during a lull in his long career – after the great 50’s releases (“Gangster of Love”, “Hot Little Mama”, “Those Lonely, Lonely Nights”) and before his 70’s comeback (“A Real Motha for Ya”, “Ain’t That A Bitch”, “Superman Lover”).

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (38 votes, average: 3.79 out of 5)
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Chest fever

Bar-Kays  “Too Hot To Stop”  Mercury Records  (1976)   Also includes “Shake Your Rump to the Funk”.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (43 votes, average: 3.47 out of 5)
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A bird in the hand

Ultra Funk  “Meat Heat”  Contempo Records (1977) (UK)  LISTEN HERE

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (48 votes, average: 4.13 out of 5)
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The baddest band in the land

Here are five classic, must-have, Isley Brothers albums from the 1970’s.   (From the top) Harvest for the World (1976 ) Including “Harvest for the World,” “People of Today,” and “Who Loves You Better” (and that’s just Side One);  3+3  (1973 ) Including “That Lady Parts 1 and 2,” “What It Comes Down To,” “You Walk Your Way” and “Summer Breeze”The Heat Is On (1975) Including “Fight the Power Parts 1 and 2,” and “For the Love of You Parts 1 and 2”Showdown (1978 ) Including “Take Me to the Next Phase Parts 1 and 2,” and “Groove With You” and Live It Up (1974) Including “Hello It’s Me,”, “Live It Up” and “Midnight Sky” on T-Neck Records/Epic.   The Isley Brothers:  Ernie, Ronald, Rudolph, O’Kelly and Marvin Isley with brother-in-law Chris Jasper produced one of the greatest soul sounds of all time — a distinctive blend of soul and funk and rock led by Ernie’s guitar and Ronald’s vocals.  These recordings can make you dance, break your heart or just thank god for their deep soulful emotion and joy.  And check out those outfits!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (40 votes, average: 3.70 out of 5)
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Cover grill

“You Got Soul”  A budget label release of soul covers from 1970  Avenue Records (UK). 

Track Listing:  You Got Soul / Heard It Through The Grapevine / Dancing In The Streets / Private Number / What Does It Take / Love Is Blue – I Can Sing A Rainbow / Tracks Of My Tears / I’ll Pick A Rose For My Rose / Harlem Suffle / Stop Her On Sight / Too Busy Thinking About My Baby / Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (43 votes, average: 3.93 out of 5)
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You got the Sylvers

The Sylvers  MGM/Pride (1972)  Here we have The Sylvers self titled Debut Album.

Often unfairly dismissed as Jackson Five imitators, the Memphis born and bred Sylvers were an extension of that city’s soul tradition.  Jonathon, Edmund, Angie, Leon, Charmaine, Olympia-Ann, James, Ricky, Pat and youngest brother Foster were taken under Jerry Butler’s wing after latching on to the MGM subsidiary Pride.  Butler produced their debut album, which notched two top 10 hits with “Fool’s Paradise” and “Wish I Could Talk To You.”  These two songs were typical of the first phase of the Sylvers, where they tackled material much more sophisticated than the Jackson Five. The initial success landed them on the cover of teen magazines like Right On for what seemed like the rest of the decade.

In 1973, the label put out a solo Foster Sylvers LP, hoping to catch on with the same teen audience that supported Michael Jackson’s early solo records.  This album is now legendary for “Misdemeanor,” a bouncy groove that has been sampled several times. 

The Sylvers’ biggest hits came after they moved to the Capitol label.   There, they were paired with Freddie Perren and Keni St. Lewis, who provided the lightweight material that returned them to the charts after a couple of lean years.   “Hot Line” and “Boogie Fever” capitalized on a frothy disco-soul sound that was best described by one of their singles: cotton candy.

The group eventually outgrew titles like “High School Dance” and began to explore their writing capabilities on New Horizons.  It was pretty much a shock to everybody when the released the hardcore funk of “Don’t Stop Get Off” as the lead track to Forever Yours.  This was perhaps their most satisfying LP, as they demonstrated the skills to do disco (“Come Dance With Me,” straight soul (“Swept For You Baby,” written by Smokey Robinson) and ballads in the title tune.

From that peak Casablanca put them in the care of Giorgio Moroder, Donna Summer’s producer.  Coming off the strength of Forever Yours, the Euro-flavored Disco Fever was a disappointment.  It would be their last recording for Casablanca.

Leon Sylvers, who had been working behind the scenes since the first Sylvers record, made a name for himself as the primary producer for Solar Records in the early 1980s, putting his knowledge to work on hits by Shalamar and Dynasty.   Edmund and Foster also worked as producers, most notably on the early Janet Jackson albums. 

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (38 votes, average: 3.47 out of 5)
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Chic of the week

“C’est Chic”  Chic  (1978)  Atlantic Records  Produced by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards (The Chic Organization, LTD)   The band’s second LP includes the song “Le Freak” which topped the US charts that year and is still both Atlantic Records and parent company Warner Music’s  best-selling single ever.   The LP also contains the follow-up hit single “I Want Your Love”  Here’s a bit of the album’s last track  “(Funny) Bone”

For a great read, pick up a copy of Nile’s new autobiography, “Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny.”

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (42 votes, average: 3.00 out of 5)
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