Friday, July 03, 2015

Parish Notices

My Box account seems to be screwed up. It is not doing its monthly bandwidth limit reset so downloads are not possible. Anybody else had this problem? Anybody know of any good alternatives to Box nowadays? For now I have done the simple thing and created a new account. The Andy Butler track link has been updated in my previous post so should be fully functional now, as should others posted from now on. Unfortunately, unless my original account sorts itself out older track links will be available as stream only.

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On an altogether more serious note I will tell you that my mum has recently been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She has not been well all year and since the diagnosis a few weeks ago her decline has been frightening, and rapid. Mum is 88 and has had a good and full life but in all probability this month will be her last with us.

I am sure you will understand that in the circumstances posts here will be thin on the ground for a while.      

Friday, June 19, 2015

Take Me - I'm free!


Here we go again. I’m listening to a really good mix put together by Larry, Mr Funky16Corners. I’m about six tracks through and I’m already thinking I need some of them on vinyl, you know, my very own copy.  Right, let’s get searching. Time to open up a few tabs: Manship – what silly price will he be asking? Any copies listed on t’bay in the UK? What about the ‘ogs? Track two: which one is that again? Andy Butler – Take Me.  Andy Butler! Hang on, I think I might already have this one. It is worth a look in the boxes, after all they are pretty well ordered now so it should be easy to find if I do have it. I pad up the stairs, open up cabinet S (for Soul, I just made that up), take out the A-B box (lots of Bs), riffle through – it was on Ray Charles’ Tangerine label wasn’t it? – and… voila! 

I really must learn to spend more time searching my own boxes rather than trawling the internet for more records!    

I think I bought my copy of this 45 near the beginning of my second phase of record buying, probably close on 10 years ago now. My love of soul music had been rekindled by some early ‘00s contemporary artists such as Angie Stone and Jill Scott, and then, slightly belatedly, I discovered on-line fan sites such as Yoni’s Soul Of The Net and fledgling blogs such as Larry’s Funky16Corners, and also the wealth of old records for sale on ebay and other on-line emporia.

Andy Butler had three releases on Tangerine in the late ‘60s, this one being the first. That is just about all I know about him. Except I did stumble across this comment, evidently from a musician contemporary of Andy’s,  on a YouTube entry: “ Butler is none other than Andrew Butler from the Five Dutones. He was the lead singer on "Shake a tailfeather". I recorded on several of their songs when they were with One der-ful records. After the Five Dutones disbanded Andrew went on his own. I still communicate with him frequently. Andy's most recent ventures was with the Coasters and the Rivingtons.”  
Apart from that, hard facts regarding Andy Butler remain elusive. What is true though, as demonstrated on this track, is he had a fine voice.

A bit of wear on this 45, I’m afraid – call it patina.


Friday, June 12, 2015

Tee Time


The “big” record fair was in town last weekend. I am starting to frequent these more regularly now, driven in part by the fact that lately I am not finding much I want (at a price I can afford) on-line. I am not sure frequenting them is a good idea though. I usually get carried away and end up spending more than I really want, and come home with records I had no idea I really wanted. That is OK if they are cheap but when they are “going rate”, which they are more than likely to be at a fair, I end up feeling a bit guilty at spending the money. When I get home and play the records properly for the first time it is often with a certain amount of trepidation as I wonder if they will still grab me once the “fair fever” has subsided. This is all very silly really, and is just another symptom of my collector addiction.     

Anyway, I can report that I am happy with all my purchases this time around. Very happy with one: I now have all Candi Staton’s Fame output (big ones and little ones) as I finally bagged an original copy (at a fair price) of her 1971 album Stand By Your Man. All but one of the tracks on the album I already have on 45, but it was worth getting the album on so many levels: the album has a lovely picture of Candi and some “word up” sleeve notes, nice quality sound on a vinyl LP, and of course it completes the collection!

I also bought a few 45s, some of which may feature here along the way. While I was sifting through a sizeable stack of soul 45s somebody else was playing 80s Disco Boogie 12s on the dealer’s system. I have always had a soft spot for the genre, and have been exploring it more on YouTube recently. I’m especially drawn to anything released between ‘81 and ’85. I hung up my DJing headphones sometime in ’81 (from memory). This was a difficult decision for me and I think I have forever since had a yearning for those records I would have been undoubtedly playing had I not stopped spinning those wheels of steel.

So it was I came away from the Fair with two 12” singles I had never (knowingly at least) heard before. Both, it turns out, are mixed by a legend of those Boogie days Tee Scott who was best known for his residency at Better Days in Manhattan. Here is one of them in its full 12” glory. I can pick out little touches of other records in this mix, but can’t put a name to them at the moment. There is something insanely infectious and uplifting about this sort of music, especially with the volume turned up, and although over 7 minutes long I don’t think it gets  boring either.


Wednesday, June 03, 2015

A source has run it's course?


The “little” record fair, as I like to call it, was in town last weekend. I’ve mentioned it before – it’s mainly focussed on R&R, Doo-Wop, 50s and early 60s but there are one or two dealers who bring along some Soul boxes.

This time my “Mr Reliable” when it comes to Soul had just the two boxes. Not a good sign. “Any new ones?” I asked. “No, you will have seen them all before” was the reply. Oh. I had a little chat and he said it that Soul was now generally too expensive to pick up, he goes to the US fairs and has found that the Americans are getting back into Soul. He also dropped the bombshell that he is planning to retire next year after 46 years in the business. I get the feeling he’s a really nice guy and I will miss him.

Being told there was nothing new to flick through didn’t put me off diving into the boxes one more time. I’m glad I did too. I’m sure I hadn’t seen some of them before. Perhaps it was just that they were discounted a bit more this time so I paid more attention to some of them. Also, now with my trusty portable by my side I am happy to grab handfuls of records and give them a quick spin to see if anything grabs me. And so it was that I came away with nine 45s this time, and I’m really pleased with them all. As I handed over the cash for them he (stupidly I don’t know the dealer’s name) said: “Managed to find a few more then? I won’t bother to bring the Soul boxes next time”. L

Many of these purchases were only a £1 but this obscure Loma 45 from 1966 set me back a few more pounds. This was Mary Lee Whitney’s only 45. Just another fine singer who only got one shot at a recording career then?  Well no, not exactly. You, along with many millions of people, will have probably heard her sing, although you may not have been aware of it. In the Seventies Mary Lee Whitney was one of Stevie Wonder’s chosen female vocalists – a Wonderlover. On Songs In The Key Of Life she is the only credited female vocalist on the sublime As, and on Ordinary Pain shares the background vocal duties with Minnie Riperton, Deniece Williams, and Syreeta Wright – now there’s a team! She also makes an appearance on at least one other album - Hotter Than July.  
    


PS: When I was playing this 45 Mrs Darce piped up that she thought Mary Lee sounded a little like Dusty Springfield. I agree, especially on the B side of this 45, and the arrangement on Knockin’ is just the sort of thing Dusty might have recorded.  

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Deep... and Sweet... and about time!


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       




        

Friday, May 22, 2015

Late... and brief - but juicy


“… 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.

And it was a good call.


Friday, May 15, 2015

Almost too/two eager


Had 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.    

The 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.

The 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?

Turning 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.

Both 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 1967.