Monday, July 28, 2008

Lattimore, Part 5!

Part Five of the Lattimore Brown story is now online at The B-Side! This chapter is full of info and contains a big news story for soul fans!

(EDITOR'S NOTE - Tomorrow and Wednesday your ever-lovin' Stepfather of Soul will be sitting for the Georgia bar examination. Once that monster is out of the way, it'll be time to sock soul!)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Deep Soul, Mark 1973

Kim Tolliver - Medley (I Need You - Drop Whatever You're Doing)

One of the most-awaited reissues of this year was the late Kim Tolliver's Come and Get Me I'm Ready, her 1973 LP for Chess. Despite solid material - songwriter/producer Freddie Briggs was her husband - and solid performances by Kim, Chess elected to release no 45s and the album drifted into obscurity. John Ridley, who had a hand in the reissue, has a write-up about Tolliver on the Sir Shambling site that I'll defer to for more details about Kim.

Although every track on the album is stellar, my personal favorite is "Medley (I Need You - Drop Whatever You're Doing)." The tune starts off with a "cinematic soul" opening that would not be out of place in a blaxploitation soundtrack, complete with swirling strings, chanted lines from the background singers, and Tolliver providing falsetto embellishments along the way. After a couple of minutes of this, however, the tune shifts gear, slowing down and settling into a mid-tempo groove over which Kim most effectively delivers the message of the song. This is "sho' 'nuff" soul despite the 1973 influences, and in a perfect world it would've been, in my opinion, a hit record had it received 45 release.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Chicago Soul Friday!

Mel & Tim - I've Got Puredee

Mel & Tim were featured on this blog earlier in the year, so I'll just jump into today's selection. "I've Got Puredee" had two 45 issues on Gene Chandler's Bamboo label in 1969 and 1970 (the latter release being a B-side) and was included on their sole Bamboo LP Good Guys Only Win in the Movies. It's a fine piece of Chicago soul, featuring a funky soul groove and fine vocals by the duo.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Patty Cake, Double Dutch!

The Debonaires - Eenie Meenie Gypsaleenie

Bobby Moore & The Rhythm Aces - The Hamburger Song

Any time I try to complain about how meaningless the lyrics to some modern R&B and rap songs are, my wife points out songs like today's selections to shut me up. Quite a few soul dance records of the '60s used nursery rhymes for lyrics. Quite a bit of "patty cake" was dropped by Rufus Thomas, King Coleman and Shirley Ellis with songs like "Walking the Dog," "Little Sally Walker," "The Boo Boo Song" and "The Clapping Song (Clap Pat Clap Slap)," just to name a few examples. Today's selections continue to patty cake or double dutch quite soulfully.

The Debonaires were unable to break out of Detroit with their fine soul sides for Golden World (it's criminal that the sublime "How Is Your New Love Treating You" failed to make any waves upon its 1966 release), but members Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent Wilson would go on to find fame in the '70s with Tony Orlando, and Hopkins has made a name for herself as a fine comic actress. The 1965 single "Eenie Meenie Gypsaleenie" takes the nursery rhyme of the same name and makes a surging soul dancer out of it. The girls really work the rhythm of that rhyme and the others, and the band puts down such a great groove that a listener can't just sit still while it's playing.

The Alabama act Bobby Moore & The Rhythm Aces were featured on the blog some time ago. "The Hamburger Song" came from their sole Checker LP Searching for My Love, and it finds the group also using "eenie meenie gypsaleenie" and other rhymes. The band cribs a riff from "Hot Potato" (aka "Soultrain") for the groove, and the twin vocalists (not sure who's singing with Chico Jenkins on this) challenge the listener to do the rhymes - they even up the ante in one verse, choosing to do it double-time over a drumbeat later in the tune.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Lattimore Brown Story Continues!

Red Kelly has posted the third installment of the remarkable story of Lattimore Brown over at The B-Side; go check it out and join me in being amazed at the story.

Eccentric Georgia Soul!

Eula Cooper:

Shake Daddy Shake

Heavenly Father

I'm a bit overdue in featuring the newest volume of the Numero Group's Eccentric Soul series, but I'm glad to say now that The Tragar & Note Labels is a "must buy" for serious soul fans and fans of Numero's top-notch anthologies. The Tragar/Note setup was founded by Jesse Jones, and over the course of the label's nine-year existence, quite a wide range of material was released. Although Tragar was Atlanta-based, it was not strictly a Southern soul imprint, as attested to by the diverse sounds presented on the fifty tracks spread across two CDs. The Atlanta soul scene is even more underrepresented than the Nashville one, which I champion often, so the world is a much better place that a two-disc set of Atlanta soul is available! The world is also a better place because my friend Brian Poust, the Georgia Soul guru, had a hand in the research and acquisition of material for the set. Great job, my man!

Today's two selections originally were released as a Tragar 45. I'll refer you to Brian's Georgia Soul post about Eula Cooper for some info about her, but I'll say that this two-sider shows off two great soul sounds and Cooper's fine vocals. "Shake Daddy Shake" is a fine, albeit short (1:53) groover featuring a nice juxtaposition of Cooper's relatively cool singing and a funky dance beat. The flip joins the long list of "it's not eccentric, it's awesome" ballads that grace the Numero Group's comps. "Heavenly Father" has a slight strut in its groove, but Cooper brings a lot of soul to the contemplative lyrics. Both sides have a lot going for them, but despite the fact that the record got picked up by Atlantic for further distribution it vanished like so many fine records from so many underrepresented locales. Thanks to Numero and folks like Brian, however, today these tunes can shine.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Gettin' Wiggy With It!

The Ideals - Go Get a Wig

Regular readers of this blog may have noticed that my posting schedule has been pretty erratic lately. I'm in the process of studying for my bar exam and tending to other matters, so for the rest of this month my postings will probably be a bit more sporadic. Stick with me, though!

The Ideals made their mark in the history of Chicago soul by jumping on the "monkey" craze with their 1963 Cortland 45 "Gorilla" and the 1966 follow-up, "Go Go Gorilla" on Satellite, but the group, whose membership included Major Lance (in the early days of the group) and Robert Tharp (who would later be one-half of Tom and Jerrio, of "Boo-Ga-Loo" fame), had some other fine records, including today's selection. I first heard part of the 1965 St. Lawrence single "Go Get a Wig" on a WVON aircheck as part of an ad for - you guessed it - a wig shop, but the entire song is a delightful Coasters-styled groover featuring fine harmony work by the group that is almost a throwback to '50s doo-wop.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Karate Monkey Time!

Chubby Checker - Karate Monkey

First of all, thanks to all of you who have commented to me and Red Kelly with respect to the Lattimore Brown story that's unfolding here and at The B-Side. There's more to come, so keep an eye on both sites!

I don't think I need to write much about Chubby Checker, as his place in music history is cemented by his string of early-'60s dance hits for Parkway, with "The Twist" leading the way. Today's selection is one of the lesser-known dance sides Checker put out. "Karate Monkey" is an attempt to combine two of the day's dances, but of more importance than the run-of-the-mill dance lyrics is the great Northern Soul groove of the record, which features some very attractive acoustic guitar strumming in the choruses.