Wednesday, August 29, 2007
The Soulful Soul Stirrers!
J.J. Farley & The Original Soul Stirrers - Steal Away
Over the last few years my appreciation for the Soul Stirrers has increased dramatically, particularly in connection with the material they recorded after Sam left the group to seek his pop fortune in the late '50s. The group's SAR sides (which found Sam writing and producing the group) featuring Jimmy Outler and Paul Foster on leads, and then the later material for Checker, HSE and others in the '60s and '70s which found the group trying out more soul-flavored arrangements, continue to thrill me with the fine harmony and intensity of feeling (winking at Brian Phillips re: that phrase) shown by latter leads Martin Wallace, Eddie Hoffman, Willie Rogers and Martin Jacox. "Steal Away" was an HSE release by the group, billed at the time as "J.J. Farley and the Original Soul Stirrers" (Farley was the group's bass singer and manager, by that time the only original member left of the classic lineup). Eddie Hoffman's lead vocals have a touch of Sam Cooke to them, but to my ears he sounds a lot more like Bobby Womack. Although Martin Jacox doesn't bring his throat-shredding scream on any lead vocals, you can hear him every now and then in the background, as you can also hear J.J. Farley, whose intonations of the title at the beginning of each chorus strike me as being a wee bit flat. That quibble aside, it's a moving record along the lines of my fave from the Checker era, "Slow Train," and I couldn't wait until "Sunday Gospel Time" to showcase it here.
(Thanks to John Glassburner for this track.)
(EDITOR'S NOTE - Later this week or during the weekend this blog will have its first guest post. Gregory Rose, loyal friend of this blog and major Jr. Walker & The All-Stars aficionado, will share a few words, several pictures, and lots of music related to the Motown sax legend.)