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You are currently browsing the archive for the Soul category.

The Temps

The Temptations   “I Wish It Would Rain”/”I Truly, Truly Believe”   Tamla/Motown   The last of the classic lineup of David Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks, Paul Williams, Melvin Franklin and Otis Williams   (1968)   Produced by Norman Whitfield     Check out this performance clip with David Ruffin upfront. Bass Melvin steps up to the mic on this single’s B-Side “I Truly, Truly Believe”

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Geno Washington vs. Gino Washington

Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band   PYE Records UK   (1966)   Here’s one by the OTHER Gino Washington   that’s not on this 45 … but I really like it:

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“My joy is not a toy”

Al Green The Belle Album (1977)   The first without producer Willie Mitchell and the Hi Records rhythm section and his last album of “secular” music in the Seventies.   Not Grade “A” Al, maybe, but here’s a sweet live performance of the title track!

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The Tammi show

Tammi Terrell   “Irresistible”   Motown Records (1969)   “Irresistible” is a collection of Tammi’s solo releases including “I Cried,” “I Can’t Believe You Love Me” and “Come On And See Me.” “All I Do” which is my favorite Tammi Terrell solo recording, wasn’t released until 2002 in the UK (in the compilation A Cellarful of Motown!).

The song was written for her in 1966 by a sixteen year-old Stevie Wonder (with Clarence Paul and Morris Broadnax), and was recorded that year by Tammi and also by Brenda Holloway (also not released until 2005).   Stevie Wonder finally released his own version on the 1980 album “Hotter Than July.”   (Michael Jackson, Eddie Levert and Walter Williams of the O’Jays, Charie and Ronnie Wilson of The Gap Band and Betty Wright all provided background vocals!)

Tammi began her singing career in 1960.   In 1967, she met Marvin Gaye.   Their eternally beautiful and romantic duets include “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, “Your Precious Love”, “You’re All I Need To Get By”, “If I Could Build My Whole World Around You”, “If This World Were Mine” and “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing” !

In late 1967, she collapsed on stage with Marvin and was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor.   After eight surgeries failed to save her, Tammi passed away in March of 1970, causing Marvin Gaye to sequester himself from the studio until he returned with “What’s Goin’ On” in 1971.   Worse yet, her illness and death at just 24 years-old prevented her from realizing her potential as a solo artist.   “All I Do” is nice way to remember her.

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Who are the African Beavers?

African Beavers   “Find My Baby” / “Jungle Fever”   RCA Records

Here’s a great story found at The Further Adventures of Boogaloo Omnibus of a lost and mysterious record.   Thanks to our friend Tim at the always edutaining Stupefaction for sending it in:

Around 1980, while attending a late night record listening party at the house of Dave and Phil Alvin of The Blasters, a record by The African Beavers was played.   At the time it was suggested that the record was recorded by The Isley Brothers with Jimi Hendrix playing guitar under an assumed name—and, indeed, this is what the record sounds like.   The lead singer hits high falsetto notes that sound a lot like the singing of Ronald Isley.   For a soul record, the production is sparse.   There are no horns, only guitar bass and drums—much like a rock group.   The playing of the guitarist, however, is sufficiently forward-looking to sound not unlike the work of Jimi Hendrix during this period, 1964-1965.

This was a revelation.

For years, I thought that this was certainly an Isley/Hendrix collaboration; one that no one was talking about as it appeared in no books about Jimi Hendrix (unfortunately, there are no books about The Isley Brothers—a shame, considering that the group had a LOT more longevity and success than Hendrix).

Anyway, I duly went out and found copies of both records by The African Beavers:   Jungle Fever/Find My Baby (RCA 47-8530) and Night Time is the Right Time/You Got Something (RCA 47-8639).   The more I listened to them, the more I thought that these are Isley/Hendrix recordings.

During the nineties, I met a fellow who had access to the RCA vaults.   I asked him if he could find information on these records.   All he found out was that the tracks were licensed from an independent record label/production company called Gwen Records out of New Jersey (blues singer Buster Brown cut a single for Gwen in 1963).

Further research turned up this:   Buster Brown’s real name is Wayman Glasco, who is credited to have written the two original African Beavers songs.   Glasco must have been in the band, or acted as a producer/Svengali of some sort.   Perhaps he was an owner of Gwen Records, but he seems to have been involved somehow.   Buster Brown, who had a Number One R&B hit with “Fannie Mae” in 1960, was a fine blues harmonica player, yet there is no harmonica playing on the records by The African Beavers.

Nothing else.

In 2001, I had the opportunity to interview Ronald and Ernie Isley.   By the end of the interview I mustered up enough courage to ask them about The African Beavers.   They denied any knowledge of the records.   At this late date, they have no reason to lie about such a session, if it really took place, so I believe them.

So that was all we knew about The African Beavers—until last month, when a picture sleeve for the first single surfaced at a record show in Wayne, NJ.   The dealer wanted a little bit of change for it, so, even though I held it in my hands and slobbered on it, I didn’t buy it.   For a month I regretted that decision.   When it came time for the August Wayne, NJ record show, I went and bought it!   – Boogaloo Omnibus

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James Brown “Hell”   Polydor Records (1974) Includes updated versions of “Lost Someone” “Please Please Please” “I Can’t Stand It” plus “A Man Has To Go Back To The Cross Road Before He Finds Himself” “Sayin’ It And Doin’ It” “These Foolish Things Remind Me of You” “Sometime” and “Coldblooded” Check out James (and a funky little girl) performing the title song on Soul Train.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (51 votes, average: 3.53 out of 5)
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Catcher in the rye

Junie “Bread Alone” (1980) Westbound Records   A rare solo release by Ohio Players and P-Funk alumn Junie Morrison.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (65 votes, average: 3.78 out of 5)
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“Your Love is so Doggone Good”

Ray Charles “Love Country Style”   ABC/Tangerine Records (1970)   I heard someone say that they fall in love at least once a day.   I do too.   Today this song says it all to the one I love.     Isaac Hayes does it his way on the “Black Moses” LP, but this one from Ray’s country and western catalog, (which he returned to throughout his long career),   is today’s source of sweet inspiration.

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It’s getting mighty crowded

Dobie Gray Sings for the “In” Crowders (That Go “Go-Go”)   Charger Records   (1965)     Ramsey Lewis does a killer instrumental version of “IN Crowd”.   Gray scored big again in 1973 with “Drift Away”.

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Billy the kid

I’m posting this cover because I wanted to share this performance by Billy Preston at the Concert for Bangladesh: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyyetXvX76Q My buddy Fred and my friend Tony were both there in the Garden!   I was in Cleveland and bought the three-disc box set.   Billy – he’s got the spirit in him!   And this original issue LP cover of “That’s The Way God Planned It” on Apple (produced by George Harrison in 1969) is rarer than the more recognized sleeve showing multiple images of Billy dancing:

Billy Preston was a keyboard prodigy who, at ten, in 1956, played a duet with Nat King Cole on his TV show and later, as a teen in the early sixties, toured Europe with Little Richard (the Beatles were the opening act!).   By the end of the decade, Billy was being called “the fifth Beatle” AND “the sixth Stone” for his recordings with each.   Billy had his own top 40 hits with “Nothing from Nothing,” “Will It Go Round in Circles” and “Outta-Space” in the early seventies. Check this out!:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GF6GjGQy0o

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (43 votes, average: 2.79 out of 5)
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