Thursday, April 13, 2006

A Whole Lot of Soul!

I am going to be going to Chicago tomorrow for the Easter weekend and will not be back until Wednesday, so here is a ZIP file of material that I will keep on my main server (so no expiring links) until I get back, a little "easter basket," if you will, from your ever-lovin' Stepfather of Soul. Now for the details:

1. The Gerald Sisters, "At the Gate I Know" - I had planned to post Madame Edna Gallmon Cooke's "The Hammer Rings," a haunting song about the Crucifixion, to commemorate Good Friday, but unfortunately I accidentally deleted the file from my Online File Folder page (d'oh!) ... in its stead I present this cover of Cooke's "At the Gate," as sung by the Gerald Sisters, a group I know nothing about. The record came out on HSE, a label which deserves a fuller write-up, so next "gospel Sunday" I'll talk about the label and its interesting recordings.

2. Robert Parker, "Let's Go Baby (Where the Action Is)" - New Orleans soul legend Robert Parker will forever be known for his 1966 smash hit "Barefootin'," and for good reason - it's probably one of the best New Orleans soul dance tunes ever recorded. This was the flip to that classic NOLA single. (See Larry Grogan's Funky 16 Corners article for more information about Parker and his great recordings).

3. B.B. King and Bobby "Blue" Bland, "I Like to Live the Love" (live)

These two blues legends have known each other since the early '50s, where B.B. was quickly making a name for himself in Memphis and nationally and Bobby, who served for a time as King's valet and hung out with other Memphis hepcats like Junior Parker and Roscoe Gordon, was making his first recordings. Both men were top draws on the "chitlin' circuit" and, when ABC bought Duke Records in 1973 it was a cinch that the two would record together. Two live album releases came out of the venture, with "I Like to Live the Love" closing out the Together for the First Time ... Live LP. Being that the song was an R&B hit for King, he handles most of the vocal chores, but Bobby lends nice support and does a great job getting the audience involved.

4. Jerry Butler, "Only the Strong Survive" - The Chicago soul legend / Cook County Commissioner needs no intro here, and this song, one of his most famous recordings, needs no write-up. Just get on down with the Chicago-meets-Philadelphia sound!

5. Joseph Henry, "I Feel Right" - See my post about retro-funk hero Joseph Henry for info about the artist and the whole "deep funk" movement. Although this song is a newer recording, the spirit of the funky 45 is there!

6. The Spinners, "The Rubberband Man" (album version) - Neither the group nor this song (especially with its use in ads for Staples stores) needs any write-up. Here's the album version of "Rubberband Man," which features Phillippe Wynne's inspired vocals over a solid slab of get-down Philly soul. "How much of this stuff does he think we can stand?" is a very appropriate lyric. It's almost too much soul to stand.

See you next week!


Rob Whatman said...

Thanks Jason, for these great tracks. I haven't been aware of blogs like this for long - I wish I had known! I love Robert Parker, I have the album with that song. And Joseph Henry was a new discovery for me, v funky.

Brandon said...

Yes, seriously, thank you for both these posts and the podcasts (which have vastly improved my ability to make it through a day at work). You've got an impressive collection of rare soul - you've introduced me to my current favorite song, The Vibrations' "Love In Them There Hills".