Regular visitors here will know I like my soul deep, with a capital D. Casting around Youtube recently I stumbled across an excellent deep soul mix (shared below). It is certainly one of the best I have ever heard. It includes quite a few tracks that are new to me and has set me off to hunt down copies of the singles to add to the collection (I've overlooked Don Bryant for too long, that's for sure). I actually have four of the records in this mix. One of them being a 1967 UNI release by Ural Thomas. I must have had my copy nearly ten years now. Searching around on the Internet back then there was not much info to be had on Ural, but I must have found something because it stuck in my mind that Ural (born Ural Thompson) had some link to James Brown. The Internet now is more forthcoming. I found this article on Ural in which he says he did indeed play the Apollo with James Brown. It is good to know that Ural is alive and well and, more than that, is in fact a current fixture on the Portland, Oregon music scene in the band Ural Thomas and The Pain (named after his 1967 single). Here is that UNI 45 freshly extracted from one of my record boxes. It's funny, for years it has been on and off my radar as a 45 to feature here. It's as Deep as you like: Ural Thomas - Pain Is The Name of Your Game 1967 The flip (which I think I have overlooked until now) is in a much sweeter vein. Don't be fooled by the intro (which sounds like it might have come from a twee period documentary ramble through the English countryside), it is charming in every way, and I can't stop playing it at the moment. Ural Thomas - Since You Went Away 1967
“… and a lovely Lovers 45 which will
appear here very soon”. I said that – a whole week ago now. I didn’t mean it to
take that long. Where does the time go?
I knew Juicy Fruit as the original Mtume classic. I had never heard of
Christine Lewin but had an inkling – instinct? – the 45 I had in my hand would
be reggae. The “flagship” shop of the local charity chain was asking double the
price of its other shops for a single, but the combination of Juicy Fruit and reggae(?) told me it was
worth a punt.
some minutes to kill earlier in the week so nipped into a charity shop (of
course). Together with last weekend's booter finds these have restored my
digging faith which had been seriously flagging lately. There was quite a lot
of vinyl to rummage through, and while most of it was certainly staying in the
shop I was very happy with to come away with two albums and a single – one Soul
comp, a great slab of post punk a la Slits from the Mo-dettes, and a lovely
Lovers 45 which will appear here very soon.
Soul comp is New York City Soul, a Kent
compilation album from 1985 focussing on the Laurie, Rust, Spectrum and
Providence labels. Kent Soul comps are always worth it. I wondered about this
one though as the focus was the Laurie label which in my limited experience is
a bit too poppy for my liking. But it turns out to be well worth it.
original title for this post was going to be “Eager to please”. Why? Because in
the cover notes of this album "Harboro' Horace" (aka Ady Croasdell)
points out that Brenda Lee Jones, who is also Jean in Dean & Jean, would resurface in the early Seventies as Brenda
Lee Eager. I certainly didn’t know that but was willing to share this “fact”
with you today. I thought it best to do a bit of on-line research on Brenda
first with the result that I am now confident to say that Jones (RIP) and Eager are certainly not the same person. Unusual for Kent to get this
wrong. I suppose 30 years on and with a medium available that encourages
information sharing it is not surprising that new facts have come to light. At
the same time though when “Horace” wrote the notes for the album it would have
been little more than 10 years after Brenda Lee Eager’s duets with Jerry Butler
(and her sublime 1974 Larry Mizell produced When
I’m With You), and Eager I’m sure would still have been active on the scene.
So it would surely have been easy to check?
to Brenda Lee Jones, to summarise what I have found out in my reading around:
she may have come from Dayton, Ohio. She was the Jean half of Dean & Jean
that recorded on Rust in the first half of the Sixties. By this time she was
married, her married name being Melson. After the Dean & Jean duo she went
on to record a number of solo outings up until the late Sixties. She then took
a break from the music scene to raise an adopted son. She returned to the scene
around 1971, although had little output after that. Brenda passed away in 2001
four years after her long time husband.
these tracks can be found on the New York City Soul compilation. Silly Little Girl was, unbelievably, left
unreleased at the time of its recording (around 1965?). You’re The Love Of My Life was one side of a Rust 45 issued in
So, the Tories, somewhat surprisingly, won
the election this time around with a few seats to spare. Painful for many, but
the “shy Tories” had their say at the ballot box. I don’t do politics here, so
I’ll leave it at that.
The mighty Blues are Premiership
champions again for the first time since the UK had its last general election. TSO
is back at the helm and normal service is resumed.
And what did I find at the car boot this
Sunday? Blues albums!
I have bought virtually no vinyl for a
few weeks now. The charity shops and the car boots are dry and it seems
everything that take my fancy on-line is out of my price range. I was casting
around on the ‘net the other evening for a fresh fix of soul 45s when I came
across an Oscar Weathers 45. I put it on my watch list. Then I thought – do I
already have it? Checked the T-Z box and, yes, I do! Shame on me for letting it
lie in the box unplayed, for a good few years now too in all probability. Now
there’s an idea – why don’t I go rummaging around in my boxes and play some
soul I already own? Radical!
I can find hardly any info on Oscar
Weathers. He has his page on Deep Soul Heaven, but even the good Sir cannot
really offer any info on the man himself. I found a very old thread (1999,
that’s really is old in Internet terms) on a Yahoo group where it was mentioned
Oscar hailed from Macon, Georgia. How did his Southern sounding recordings come
to appear on a Philly label, though? Well that was probably down to Alan Walden.
In checking Oscar’s discography I was a
bit surprised to see that this 45 was released in 1970, it sounds earlier than
that to me. It may even have been early 1971 in fact, it got its first mention
in the Jan 23 1971 edition of Billboard. By April 3 1971 You Wants to Play could be found, static, in the middle reaches of
the Soul Singles chart. By then it was in its 6th week on the chart.
Digging deeper into the Billboard magazines from around that time – meandering
around these old magazines in all their preserved glory at Google books is a thing
I get constant pleasure from – I found that Oscar Weathers, along with Bill
Coday and Phillip Mitchell to name two others, were all part of the roster of
artists on a then fledgling Macon based artist management, publishing, and
recording company – Hustlers Inc. This had been set up in late 1970 by Alan
Walden, and Eddie Floyd also had involvement. By that time Alan Walden had
already had plenty of experience in music publishing having been part of Redwal
Music along with his older brother Phil, and Otis Redding. When A Man Loves A Woman was just one of the songs they had
publishing rights on. Hustlers Inc.
therefore obviously had plenty of connections in the music industry and would
have been well placed to promote their artists to labels nationally so that is
probably how Oscar Weathers got a deal on a Philly label.
It’s odd that You Wants to Play was the side that got the chart credit at the
time of its release. Nowadays this 45 is always listed in discographies with The Spoiler as the A, which seems to be
correct if you look at the matrix numbers on the label. (Incidentally, I have
just noticed they follow the Phil LA Of Soul label’s convention for numbering,
which I have always loved – I’m sad, I know - i.e. in this case TB-OWE-5 and -6
so TB for Top & Bottom, O for Oscar, WE for Weathers and 5 and 6 for the fifth and sixth tracks by the artist on the label). I could imagine The Spoiler being more instantly radio friendly too and therefore
having more hit potential but it is You
Wants To Play that seemed to get the sales and the plaudits.
Deservedly so too, it’s a gorgeous track.
Written by Oscar it runs to four minutes, quite long for a 45 of that era. Oscar is tired of his woman playing games with
his heart and attentions. The games were no doubt stormy, the flood came, and
now Oscar has had enough and this song is a glorious meander through the
alluvial deposits that are his thoughts. (Just there too, is that guitar describing
an oxbow lake?) . The guitar and horns provide some delightful touches and the
(way)backing singers are hauntingly beautiful. In fact I would be happy if this
song could meander on forever.
It seems that C and I are involved in a
spot of inspiration tennis at the moment. (Hang on, this is starting to sound
like an episode of Grandstand!)
I couldn't resist this box of singles at
a car boot earlier this month. "They're all reggae, roots, lovers" the
seller said. Yeah, right. A quick flick through told me there were likely lots
(and lots) of dancehall and ragga which is not my cup of tea at all. It's funny
how sellers like to pass off dancehall as reggae. Yes, dancehall and ragga is
where reggae went but their soundscapes are so different they really shouldn’t
be described as reggae. Well, they know what they're doing, I suppose, as
dancehall is mostly a challenging listen (and almost worthless) in my limited
experience. Still, there was bound to be something in there worth having, I
thought, and I just felt like taking home a box of mystery 45s to sift through
(especially as there was nothing else on the vinyl front to be had). I couldn’t
budge him on his price but he had set that on the estimation of about 50
records in the box. I could see there were more than that so I handed over the
money, I’m not a great haggler.
It turns out there were 85 records in the
box. I have to say my gut feel on the content was borne out. Nevertheless, I
have had enormous fun working through the box, and felt I have had my money’s
worth simply by doing that.
On first play many of these records
sounded a bit rough. I was sort of expecting that really, as I thought it came
with the territory i.e. cheap local label presses. But I’m working through
cleaning them and that is mostly having a marked improvement on the sound
So what is in this box? They were nearly
all released in the period 1996-2006 it seems – so no roots or lovers in the
classic tradition. But on a first quick play through I actually put aside about
30-40 that grabbed me enough to warrant further investigation. Tracking the
records down on the internet has been a bit of a challenge due to the general
lack of release numbers and the somewhat loose way artists and track names can
be identified. I’ve managed to pinpoint many on Discogs though. This has opened
my eyes to the staggering quantity of records some of these artists have
released. I suppose this high release rate is driven by the nature of the
dancehall scene where there is a constant battle to come up with a new sound.
In the end it has to be quantity rather quality though.
I really wanted to like Harry Toddler's
offerings (read it quickly as Hairy Toddler if you want!), and a version called
Flying Green Puss (which involves the deejay/singer doing much clearing of
throat a la Bob Fleming!), but they are in the out pile. One artist is called
Teetimus, that name really makes me chuckle.
Also finding their way into the box were
a few US R&B singles. There was a white label Angie Stone which is great
and the two singles in the picture outside the box. These are bootlegs it seems (of K-Ci & JoJo and Usher). The label is the interesting thing though, both
singles show a photocopy of the venerable US Volt label (VOA4010 B side to be
exact - to save you looking that up it is The Emotions - Got To Be The Man).
Why did the bootleggers choose that particular label and release I wonder?
Of all the songs (if you can call them
that), and their almost inevitable B side versions,
the track that gets my #1 vote is an artist named on the label simply as Tami
with So In Love on the Gibbo label. Some
research tells me Tami is Tami Chynn, This single was released in 2005 which is
about a year before Tami went “overground” into the worldwide pop arena. Tami
was born in Jamaica. When she was 14 she came to England and spent three years
in Leamington Spa studying performing arts. Her younger sister, Tessanne, won
series 5 of the American version of The
Voice. In 2009 she and Wayne Marshall, another dancehall artist, were
married and they now have a child. Incidentally, there is at least
one Wayne Marshall single in this box too.
Another one that has worked its way into
my brain is Sizzla with Baby and its Version. On Discogs Sizzla has a mind-boggling
925 singles listed! On many of these his singjaying just makes an appearance
but he is co-credited and, as Discogs states: “he is very prolific even by
Jamaican standards”. Discogs also informs us that this track is based on the Money Juggling rhythm, son now we know.
Until now I have been living my life BG. In a few hours time, for the first time in my life, I will finally see one of my heroes perform. I'm going to see George Clinton and the P Funk gang. Then I can count my days as AG - After George. Will they play a P-Funked version of this I wonder? The Parliaments - A New Day Begins 1969
So here I am AG.
Well they didn't perform
this but they did play for two and a half hours
(essentially with no break between songs/jams/grooves!) and it was, for me, a
The man himself was very
fetching too in tramp's trousers, check shirt, striped pink tie and a hat that
the barmy army down in the Caribbean would die for right now.
Mostly vinyl, mostly a private pleasure - until now.
Music posted here I have bought and gained much pleasure from listening to down the years (or months, or days!). So in the spirit of an 'all back to mine' it's time to share it.
DISCLAIMER: If you hear something you like I urge you to seek it out and purchase it in your format of choice. Mp3s found here are posted for a limited time and are for illustrative and previewing purposes only. If you are the creator or copyright holder of any material posted and object to it's appearance on this blog then please email me at darcyfeelit (at) blueyonder.co.uk and it will be removed forthwith.