Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Goin' Back to the Well

Young-Holt Unlimited - Young & Holtful

Eldee Young and Isaac "Red" Holt made a name for themselves as 2/3 of the Ramsey Lewis Trio, whose recordings for Argo and then Cadet put them at the top of the jazz world and at times the R&B charts. When the tensions that fame brings most groups resulted in Ramsey Lewis choosing to assert himself as the star of the group, Young and Holt moved on to Brunswick, drafted pianist Hysear Don Walker, and resumed their successes with swinging things like "Wack Wack" and then having the smash hit "Soulful Strut." As most soul fans know, "Soulful Strut" was actually a record company trick, as the record was nothing but Barbara Acklin's "Am I The Same Girl" with Acklin's vocal removed and Walker's piano overdubbed. I admit I prefer the Acklin recording over the group's "version."

Considering this, I suppose I should speak negatively about "Young & Holtful," which was nothing but a revisiting of the "Soulful Strut" groove, but for some reason I do like it. "Young & Holtful" is a pleasant rearrangement of "Soulful Strut" that should've been the hit; had that happened, Acklin could've scored a hit with "Am I The Same Girl" and all would be perfect with the world. (In all fairness to Young, Holt and their group, "Soulful Strut" was not the only situation where Brunswick recycling took place; Lionel Hampton's LPs for the label found Hamp playing the vibes over recycled tracks. Young and Holt had a lot of great soul jazz records for the label, and this Brunswick Records profile of the group does a good job telling their story.)

PS - On a totally unrelated tip - awhile back I did a post featuring the retro-soul group Eli Reed & The True Loves; get over to the group's MySpace page and check out their forthcoming single, "The Satisfier" b/w "It's Easier," which is dy-no-mite!


Dan said...

FYI, Eldee Young just passed away a couple months ago here in Chicago. Ken Chaney, the pianist in the group, is still active and plays around Chicago.

Keeping Soul Alive said...

Thanks for the reminder on Eli Reed - dropped over to his MySpace - superb stuff!!!!