Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Stepping It Up With The Charmels!

The Charmels - Lovin' Feeling

One of the things about the classic soul era that continually amazes me is that so much great material by very talented people was released to no commercial success. Of course, to be fair, there was a lot of competition out there, both in terms of the larger players (Motown, Atlantic, Chess, Stax, etc.) and scads of local concerns, all jockeying for position on the nation's soul (and pop, if they were lucky - or if they were Motown) radio stations, where the disc jockeys wielded the power to make or break the records. Naturally the larger players had a better shot than smaller concerns, but even they released lots of good stuff that just didn't take off.

The Charmels started out on Sound Stage 7 as the Dixiebelles before recording for Volt as the Tonettes for two releases and as the Charmels for four more. Although they were a very competent group (their "Loving Material," featured in a prior podcast, is a personal favorite), none of their recordings took off and they were released from the label in 1968. Today's selection was their swan song, and what a nice one it was. "Lovin' Feeling" is a Hayes-Porter production of the smash pop and R&B hit "You've Lost That Loving Feeling" by the Righteous Brothers. They decided to transform the song from an intense ballad into a mid-tempo groover, and the arrangement is very nice. The tune opens with a decidedly Motown-ish feel, but as the song unfolds the Memphis groove rings loud and clear. Probably this stylistic shift was too much for an audience that had devoured the Righteous Brothers record, so unfortunately the Charmels' hitless streak included this fine but final single.

(EDITOR'S NOTE - Thanks to all of you who showed such support in response to yesterday's post. Tomorrow's selection will be dedicated to each of you, and will serve as this blog's anthem as I soldier on - "Nothing Can Stop Me"!)

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