SHADES OF SOUL #28 - July '99
Jesse Davis - So Full Of Love - Jaboth 4001
To start with, if you don't already know, and due to his voice one might be forgiven, Jesse is in fact black, as confirmed on the extremely rare picture-cover for his Revere disc, "There's Room For Me". OK, that said, y'all should all know (and love) by now Jesse's "There's Room...", along with the stonking "Gonna Hang On In There" and possibly the not so significant, "You Don't Need A Crown" both on Era, but are you aware of this one? Out of Los Angeles, and penned by Jimmy Holiday and Rene Hall, who was also responsible for the arrangement, here's another potential Northern hit from our erstwhile hero. So, answer me this one, as all the credits are well known people that would attract most Soul fans, as would the label with its "Modern" appearance, why hasn't this one turned up - 'cause it's bloody rare? "But is it any good, Dave?", I hear you cry?! Well, cross "There's Room...", with Tommy Mosely's "For Her Love" on Uptown, and there you have it - would you appreciate that combination?! Coincidentally, "For Her..." also features Holiday and Hall within its credits, and Tommy also recorded for Era - wow it's like being Sherlock Holmes this collecting lark! An ever present organ gently breathes away in the background, whilst a haunting French horn announces the arrival of Jesse informing us that, "Every boy needs a girl, every woman needs a man", as he starts to spin the tale of his search for true love. "How long must I wonder, how long must I cry", and "Won't you please send me someone, 'cause I'm so full of love", now ain't that sad!? The faultless production also features a female chorus thrown in, rounding it off nicely. I picked this one up in the late eighties and have never seen or heard of another copy since it's been on my shelves. Hence, in my opinion, it deserves to be just as expensive as his Revere disc - by the way, anyone want to sell me a white demo of that one, Carl?!
Tony Daniels - I Won't Cry - Beval 501
A very tidy and classy Detroit piece, from the man who brought you "How Lonely" on Sport. Known to some collectors of that particular City's Soul output, it came to light via a Martin Koppell tape from many, many moons ago. This one has remained very rare with possibly only 3 or 4 copies on these shores, if that, not helped by the fact that it is a $500+ disc for the Doo-Wop flip side, "Drip drop". The song is about how he's gotten over the break up with his woman, which is performed quite well by Tony, with ample male group vocal support performing some tight harmonies behind him. "When I first met you, my heart was in pain, but your bad lovin' almost drove me insane", but he's strong, "No I won't cry anymore", and "I'll find another if it takes me years!", right through to the fade out, "You know that I know that they know that I'm not to blame". What did she do to him? An up tempo, bouncy and happy little number, considering the lyrical content, featuring plenty of rattling percussion, and lead and bass guitar work, which doesn't make you miss the fact that there is no brass (or string) section present - probably absent due to the budget they had to work to? Never heard this one played out before, or seen or heard of anything else on the label, and this one must surely justify a hefty price tag, maybe even destined for four figures, if spun.
Rico Barr & The Boston Barristers - I Need You Baby - Boss Town 1113
Not too much Northern Soul seems to have come out of Boston, but here's one that seems to have escaped. Warning, it's exhausting stuff just listening to it, let alone dancing to it! A frantic pace old fashioned stomper with a couple of instrumental breaks, including one sax break of some 25 seconds! It's definitely reminiscent in parts of Marvin's "Can I Get A Witness", meets The Executive Four's "I Got A Good Thing Goin' ", mmMMM. The lead singer seems to be proud of his woman, "When you stand beside me, I get that feeling inside, I don't know what it is, but it makes me feel so high!", yet he still needs reassurance from her, "One look is all I need to make me feel all right", with added backing blokes repeating "I need you baby", in all the right places. Only know of one other copy, but time will tell, but dance floor punters get ready, as Keb has just obtained it from Butch's collection! So, most likely a future biggie, and interestingly enough, it still sounds great when slowed down to -6 on your Technics!
Endeavors - I Can't Help Crying - Empire State 18798
Everyone seems to like this one out of Cincinnati, Ohio. A mid to late 60's track which stands out from the rest, due to it's unusual for Soul bass line that goes up and down the scales in a jazzy fashion, but never fear as it's easily danceable. A male group vocal with the lead telling us that his lover, “Went away, left me all alone, just 'cause you thought I was doin' you wrong" - we never find out more on that subject?! However, he's regretting his actions as later he's pleading, “I hope and pray that you'll come back", and the chorus confesses all with, "I can't help crying", and "These tears, I can't hide". A saxophone break leads to a brief change of tempo, before it once again settles down to its challenging bass line. Brass stabs, bongos and chopping guitar are all to be found within its classy production, and be sure to check out its flip, "Beware Of Your Friends", which is also very good Northern, set in a more swinging Chicago style. Not ridiculously rare, but it may take you a while to locate, and make you part with towards a couple of hundred of your hard earned £££'s. Finally, can't help but mention, mainly for the editor's amusement knowing his sense of humour, that both sides were written by one John Thomas!
Wendell Watts - You Girl - Ref-O-Ree 715
Wendell's a smooth brother from Grand Rapids, Michigan, who had two releases on Ted Jarrett's Ref-O-Ree logo, "You Girl" in '69, followed in '70 by "Kiss A Good Thing Goodbye", which itself received a few spins at the Stafford All Nighters. Not surprisingly, they were masterly produced by Ted, and equally well arranged and conducted by label co-owner, Bob Holmes. Now, the label may be out of Nashville, but "You Girl" is by now means "Southern" sounding, being very reminiscent of the Stafford classic, "Pyramid" by The Soul Inc. Wendell's big rich vocal glides in with, "Eaach day, my loove grows, for yoou girl, yes yoou girl, wo-o-o-ooo, wo-o-o-ooo!" The lush yet tight string section swoops in and out, as his love continues to grow for his woman - just like in "Pyramid"! It definitely deserves exposure, and will not doubt appeal to many genre of Soul collector. It can be found on Kent's "Music City Soul" CD compilation of Ted Jarrett material, alternatively expect to pay £100+ for the original vinyl 7".
Yvonne Carroll - Please Don't Go - Vee Jay 592
During my stint at Charly Records in the '80's/early '90's, I was lucky enough to play through many Vee Jay tape reels, ever hoping to come across fresh tunes and/or alternate takes. At this point I started avidly collecting the label's Soul output, and hence championed this particular disc since I first come across it in the mid-eighties. Yvonne recorded for several other labels including Domain and Challenge, but to me this one is her finest 2 minutes 3 seconds. It's from '64, and is in a Ruby "Feminine Ingenuity" style, with its full orchestration. Heartbreak ahead, as she tells him, "The clock is only striking one, the best part of the night has only just begun, so don't tell me that you have to run away", you're on a promise there, mate! However, all is not well as she's sussed him, "Is there someone else you're thinking of, one kiss and I will know", with her fellow sisters present with some "Don't go now!" - seems his mind's else where, put her out of her misery, please! It has an uncomplicated solo guitar break that doesn't ruin the mood the way a screaming' saxophone, would have! The B Side, "There She Goes", is also well worthy of a spin or two, and reminds me of Terri Goodnight's "They Didn't Know". As with everything else Soul wise on the label, it's not excruciatingly rare, but copies of this one are usually quickly snapped up when they come onto the market place, even more so of late, and currently it commands a worthy £100 to £150.
The Whispers - It Only Hurts For A Little While - Dore 724
The Whispers have a fine pedigree of Soul music dating right back to the early 60's, where this, their first ever waxing, emanates from on a rare purple Dore label. Set at a slow to mid-tempo pace, it's magnificent production boasts a rolling glockenspiel and a dramatic yet sympathetic string section, complimenting The Whispers' impeccable vocals telling of the woes of the aftermath of the familiar by now romantic break up; "It only hurts for a little while, that's what they tell me", but he's not so sure and doesn't believe that things will ever be the same again, " 'til you come back to me", which is the final line of the song, with the lead vocalist holding and scaling down his final long note, whilst the rest of the group harmonise with, " 'till you come back to me, Fa-la-la"! Its backing track was later utilised, although with slight variations, by The Entertainers IV for their "My Garden Of Eden", also on Dore (which is to be found on the flip side of "Gettin' Back Into Circulation"). Apart from the original 45, you can find a (later cut) up tempo version of "It only hurts..." with added trumpets, on an obscure and deleted US CD called, "The Planet Of Life", and on a Japanese "Whisper's Greatest Hits" LP, but be warned as there are some nasty "80's" synthesiser drums waiting for you on the latter's version! Take it from me they didn't improve on the original 45. Value wise, who knows, but it took me ten years of trawling through the fine print of US lists to find a copy. It would be nice to think that in the future, it won't just be their Dore disc, "The Dip", that appears on Northern wants list.
Hal Miller - A Blessing In Disguise - Amy 920
What's this one like? - just take the brushed snare drum intro. from Jimmy's "Long After Tonight Is All Over", add a heavyweight piano, a brief and moody guitar, and then Hal's rich tones enter with, "I begged you on my knees, girl don't leave me please, I'm in misery". Later introduce dramatic strings just like in Sam's "I'd Think It Over". Mix well with chimes and brass stabs, and surely you're on the way to one of the best underplayed "enders" ever - this is serious BIG production moody mid-tempo Northern. Forget Hal's "On My Own Two Feet" for the same label, it doesn't do his rich vocal justice, and The Rays featuring Hal Miller's "Love Another Girl" also on Amy, as fantastic as it is, also comes second to "A Blessing...". This '64 classic tale of heartbreak continues with lines such as, "I saw you yesterday, the hurt has gone away, no more misery", and a hook line of "Sometimes a break up, is a blessing in disguise". Boy, she sure must be some kinda woman to reduce Hal to a state like that! OK, you can satisfy the craving for this disc by obtaining Mitch Ryder's version on either US Dynovoice or UK Stateside, which utilises the same backing track, albeit a flatter recording, BUT as good as it is, you won't be satisfied with it once you've experienced Hal's original. This Bob Crewe/Charles Callelo penned and produced tune for their famous Saturday Music publishing company, seems to be proving hard to locate, hence it's received little club exposure - I've only heard it spun a couple of times in the past decade. My copy came via Mick Smith some years ago, as a straight swap for a Roy Hamilton "Panic..." M.G.M. UK issue - a trade that I've never regretted. It's a classic, right up there with "The Drifter", and its legendary status is almost certainly assured, along with the afore mentioned discs by Jimmy, Sam and Ray.