July 9, 2017

funk / soul ~ South Chicago 1969


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Henry Lee "Shot" Williams
May 1938 ~ November 2010

The b-side of this Shama 45 is 'Our Thing Is Through.'
Recorded/pressed first on 45 by Harmonica George (also of Chicago) in 1968, on the Toddlin' Town label. Harmonica George's version is blues.

June 24, 2017

rock / soul pop ~ 1971


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First pressed as a 45 on A&M in 1971, many bars/restaurants had these 7" -33 1/3s EPs (extended play) in jukeboxes through the 70s.




Rock soulster & Hammond organ composer, Lee Michaels kept his organ at the forefront of most all of his songs. Hard rock with a soul gospel sound, could argue Lee Michaels wasn't so much of a hit maker, but more of an LP artist - Longer, fluid rock-soul jams, most probably lent themselves more to the song sequenced LP format than top 40 hits.
Born in Los Angeles, Lee Michaels aka Lee Olson started out as a keyboardist/singer for the California surf band, the Sentinals in 1966. A keyboardist and guitarist, he also did session work with a lot of other musicians.
Moving to and living in San Francisco, he toured with his long time drummer, Barry 'Frosty' Smith and shared the stage with most all the SF rock bands at the time. By the late 70s, he disappeared from the music business to run his shrimp restaurant in Los Angeles.

Lee ~ somewhere in Northern California 1970

His self-titled A&M LP, 'Lee Michaels' from 1969 is worth checking out if you like this sound.
Lee Michaels will always be one of my favorite West Coast hippys. Spark up memories of early 70s AM radio... The reality of "Free Love" gone bad?
'Do You Know What I Mean?' was Lee Michaels' only top ten hit.

May 19, 2017

funk instrumental ~ Las Vegas 1972


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Louis Prima (1910 – 1978), trumpeter/singer, jump blues/swing bandleader, features his guitarist Ronnie James on this a-side.
Ronnie James was Louis' guitarist for two years in the early 70s. Owned by Louis, the Prima-Magnagroove record label existed out of Las Vegas from about 1962 to '72.
Great funk with a bit of cheese, backed by some fantastic drumming by Jimmy Vincent, 'Two Face' may be just that, a bit annoying perhaps in its' wah-wah goodness, but also a perfect display in exercising a funky freakout overindulgence.
The b-side is 'Oh Happy Day.'

This track is from the same 1972 recording sessions which produced the LP, 'Louis Prima with Sam Butera & the Witnesses - The Prima Generation '72.'

* note: this is not heavy metal vocalist/guitarist, Ronnie James Dio.

May 12, 2017

West Coast Rock ~ San Francisco 1971


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Anyone living through the 1970s probably remembers hearing Norman Greenbaum's huge hit, 'Spirit In The Sky.' A top ten hit around the world in 1970, it was all over the radio in the early 70s and a song with one of the most famous fuzz-guitar riffs in rock.
A fantastic song, 'Spirit In The Sky' may have overshadowed a few other great songs he composed and recorded as well. Track to track, his LPs have a rock/folk, jug-band blues feel. I still like his 'Petaluma' LP from 1972, featuring a young Ry Cooder.
Defining musical genres can be a bit of a mixed bag with the passing of time. But one could argue that Norman wrote a few other great West Coast rock "hippy anthems."
'California Earthquake' will always be a favorite of mine. Recorded at Wally Heider Studios, San Francisco, spring 1971, it never appeared on any of his LPs. Peaking at #93 in '71, it was played on the radio for a short time, but only stayed on the Billboard record chart for about six weeks.
The flip is: 'Rhode Island Red.'


Norman the goat farmer, on his farm ~ Penngrove, Northern California 1972.

May 4, 2017

rocksteady reggae ~ Jamaica 1969


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Haunting rhythmic vocal side reissue with a correct late 60s, "period-blue" Supreme label. The flip is, 'So Many Problems' by the Viceroys. The Supreme label was an offshoot/subsidiary label of producer Coxsone Dodd's Studio One label through the early 70s.
Recorded at Studio One in Jamaica in 1969, 'Whisper To Me' was originally pressed/released the same year on a blank Jamaican Estick label (also as Estic) with the B-side flip, 'I Need Love.'

If 'Whisper To Me' was ever intended to be officially released on any of Coxsone Dodd's stock, full design colored labels, it's anyone's guess...It never was at the time. Such is the case and mystery with many great Jamaican blank pre-release 45s.

Cecile Campbell joined Jamaica's, 'Soulettes' in '68 during the middle period of the group's incarnation with Rita Marley (Bob Marley's wife) and Hortense Lewis (not to be confused with the other reggae soulster, Hortense Ellis).
She recorded two other 45s, 'Breaking Up' with Jackie Estick on the Studio One label in 1968 with the flip, 'Musical Scorcher' by the Sound Dimension (also pressed on Muzik City). The other, 'Shimmering Star' which was pressed on a blank Coxsone/Studio One pre-release label about the same time. Though not sure of the flip.

'The Soulettes' in 1968, left to right: Rita Marley, Nora Dean, & Cecile Campbell.
Nora Dean left the group in 1969, joined/replaced then by Hortense Lewis.

April 28, 2017

rocksteady reggae ~ Jamaica 1967


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Depends on what one is searching for, but I find it difficult to find good 45s in record stores these days. Though don't always take the time to look, my persistence does pay off once in awhile.
Nice to find this second pressing Errol Dunkley 45. Originally pressed in '67, released first on the Jamaican amalgamated label without the dub-toast intro.
Errol was just 16 when it was recorded.

The young Errol somewhere between 1965-68.

April 26, 2017

tropical pop ~ lovers rock reggae 2014


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"Tropical pop," a touch of dub, meshed with a classic 70s/80s lovers rock reggae sound, I can never get enough of Hollie Cook's music. Her musical charms can really carry one away into a pleasant hypnotic state.
Mystical perhaps, the pairing of Hollie Cook with producer/songwriter-dub/arranger extraordinaire, Mike 'Prince Fatty' Pelanconi is really a perfect match. Prince Fatty has really helped to define and contribute in creating Hollie's sound.
Also really like the fact that Hollie is keeping with the tradition of still pressing vinyl 45s of her music.
This is the b-side flip to 'Looking For Real Love.' Both songs are on her LP, 'Twice,' also worth checking out.
Vinyl, CDs, downloads...

www.holliecook.com/
www.mrbongo.com/

April 22, 2017

jazz / funk instrumental ~ Chicago 1968


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Jazz / R&B organ-pianist, Floyd Morris ... 1926 - 1988

Always been a sucker for jazz-funk instrumentals. Cool to find this. Pleasantly surprised to dig around and find how accomplished Floyd Morris' career was. The Johnny Pate Quintet (mid-50s), Al Grey, Oscar Brown Jr, Bobby Hutcherson, Donald Byrd, Junior Parker, Little Milton, Andre Williams, Curtis Mayfield, The Staple Singers, Barbara Lewis, Sam Cooke, The Chi-Lites... Just a few artists Floyd Morris played/recorded or composed with. Floyd recorded/released about ten 45s, also an LP from 1965. 'Mellow Mood' was written by Floyd, Andre Williams, and Leo Hutton. This is the "B" side flip to 'Bee Que.'

March 12, 2017

experimental electronic / rock ~ San Francisco 1984


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The Residents of San Francisco

The Residents started out as part of a San Francisco "art collective" in the late 60s. Their first release, 'Santa Dog' was pressed in 1972. The Ralph record label put out some amazing avant-garde, experimental, electronic sounds from numerous bands.
The label office in San Francisco was on Minna Street downtown - south of Market at the time. In the early to mid-80s, I remember calling Ralph records on the phone to check the availability of records I wanted. I'd usually get a live person on the phone, always the same woman. She was always really nice and chatty. We'd chat. A few days later I'd get the latest Ralph Records, "Buy Or Die Catalog" in the mail (wish I would've kept some these catalogs). A great live band that still perform occasionally.
www.residents.com
The flip side is a cover of James Brown's, 'This Is A Man's Man's Man's World.'

February 11, 2017

rock-pop / mod beat ~ 1966


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Del in London - 1967

Del Shannon had huge lasting hits in the 60s. Though many, a bit too pop for my taste. Just the same, he'll always be remembered for his song, 'Runaway' which I've always liked.
An often overlooked Stones cover and 45 side that glimmers. The flip is, 'She was mine'.

mod beat instrumental ~ 1964


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One of the many great British beat instrumentals from The Shadows, originally recorded/pressed on the UK Columbia label. This is the US press from the same year.
The Shadows go back as far as 1958, when they started playing in the UK as 'The Drifters.' Lead guitarist Hank Marvin's relaxed mid-tempo sound I've always admired. Though with a couple exceptions, always preferred The Shadows as an instrumental band, without Cliff Richard.

Written by The Shadows, 'The Rise And Fall Of Flingel Bunt' was a top ten hit in four countries, including the UK. It was played on US radio in 1964, but never reached the top 100 in the US.
The flip side is, 'Theme For Young Lovers.'


"Before The Shadows, there had been nothing worth listening to in British music." - John Lennon

The Shadows in 1964.

left to right: John Rostill, Brian Bennett, Hank Marvin, Bruce Welch

February 8, 2017

TV soundtrack / mod jazz instrumental ~ 1966


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Recently found groovy, mod-jazz instrumental score, the b-side flip to the 'Mission Impossible' theme.
'Jim On The Move' is also on his '67 Dot label TV series soundtrack LP.

Jazz, Stage & Screen music maestro, Lalo in '65

February 1, 2017

soul / funk vocal ~ New Orleans 1969


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Edward Ross, aka "Little Buck", started out originally as a singer/member of Huey "Piano" Smith's Clowns in the late 50s.
As a solo artist, Little Buck recorded and released only four 45s from 1960 to '69 including this Seven B label 45. Really a perfect soul side and a brilliant vocal performance.
(*Note this is not R&B singer/guitarist Little Buck Sinegal, who has a 45 on the La Louisanne label).

The New Orleans based Seven B label released about forty two 45s from 1965 through the early 70s. The story on this song, and Little Buck himself, is tough to be completely clear on. The music/backing track was written by New Orleans soul-funk musician/composer/producer, Eddie Bo (Edwin Bocage).
First recorded/pressed in 1968 as a duet on the Seven B label, Eddie Bo & Inez Cheatham's - 'Lover And A Friend' was produced by Seven B label owner, Joe Banashek at Cosimo Matassa's studios in the French quarter of New Orleans. Eddie Bo composed and arranged the song using drummer, Bobby Williams, Louis Clark on guitar, and Paul Boudreaux on bass.

A year later, Little Buck sang over the existing, 'Lover And A Friend' backing track with different lyrics written by Huey Smith and Brenda Brandon. In 1969 it was pressed and released again on Seven B as, 'Little Boy Blue'.
The flip side is, 'Whisper My Name'.

Aside from his four solo 45 pressings, in 1968 Little Buck recorded another great two-side soul vocal on Joe Banashak's Instant label. Recorded with Huey Smith's group The Hueys, 'You Ain't No Hippie / Coo Coo Over You' displays Little Buck's distinct soul/funk style of singing on both sides. Huey Smith's co-writer and common law wife, Brenda Brandon, sings backup on 'Coo Coo Over You' along with one of Huey's on and off backup singers, Pearl Edwards* (*unconfirmed, researched deductive guess - could also be Gloria Franklin, who Huey used on other sessions at this time...).

The flip side: 'You Ain't No Hippie' I like just a bit better for it's uptempo, slightly frantic pace and timely topic. For 1968, a bit of a throwback sound and production perhaps, it almost sounds like an early 60s R&B dance record, to my ears anyhow. Little Buck calls out all the "Hippie" imposters...Though not sure if being bald makes anyone unqualified to be a Hippie!
Whoever he is, wherever he is, I love Little Buck's singing.



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January 12, 2017

deep soul - Birmingham, Alabama ~ 1969


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Sam Dees recorded/released about twenty 45s from 1968 to '78. He's also wrote and produced dozens of songs for others including, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, The Manhattans, Whitney Houston, Larry Graham, among others.
This is the B-side flip to, 'Easier To Say Than Do.'

December 30, 2016

early group soul / bossa nova ~ New York 1962


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One of the many incarnations of The Clovers, with Roosevelt " Tippie" Hubbard singing lead, this is the original recording of 'Bossa Nova Baby'. The song was a hit for Elvis a year later in '63.
Quite fast for "Bossa Nova." Nice sax solo by King Curtis.

December 28, 2016

early rock & roll ~ New Orleans 1959


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'Cinderella' is really a great example of early rock & roll at its' best. I love obscurity in music. Paul Marvin is a great example. Born Marvin Geatreaux, it's difficult to find much information on his recordings or history. Though I did find that he sang with a young Malcolm John Rebennack (aka Dr. John) and his band, sometime in the 1950s.
Not sure who the backing musicians might be on this recording ... Perhaps Mac Rebennack or guitarist, arranger, Edgar Blanchard? Could also be saxophonist, pianist, Harold Battiste and his A.F.O Studio Combo ... a guess.

Although Joe Ruffino's New Orleans based, 'Ron' label had a now historical stable of artists, somehow Paul Marvin's talent only showed itself for a short time.

Besides this, his only Ron label 45, he recorded three other 45s, one of which I can't find any information on (DeLuxe label - mid-late 1950s?), and two others, one on the Verve label from 1958, and one on the Desire label 1959-60.
The flip side, 'Hurry Up' was co-written by Mac Rebennack (Dr.John) and just as good.

December 27, 2016

yé-yé pop ~ Belgium 1966


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Belgian yé-yé singer/guitarist, Ariane Buyst started playing in Brussels sometime in 1963 with her group, 'Ariane Et Les 10/20'. From '64 to 1965, the group released five EPs on the Brussels based Palette label. They played in Belgium, toured the Netherlands, even opened for Cliff Richard at the end of 1964.

Ariane Et Les 10-20 first EP from 1964

Blue-eyed soul/pop singer, Len Barry's hit, '1-2-3', which he co-wrote, was huge in 1965.
A top ten hit in four countries, by 1969 it was covered and recorded about thirty times by everyone from Ramsey Lewis to Jan & Dean, Jimmy Smith to Herbie Mann, Sarah Vaughn to yé-yé chanson singer, Annie Markan.

One of my favorites, and possibly one of the best cover versions next to Len Barry's first original, this Palette label 45 by Ariane is really magnifique. It has energy and soul. I like it because it has a production sound one hears in a lot of "northern soul" recordings, but is also very much still in the style of the classic yé-yé beat sound that was popular in Europe in the early to mid-60s.

In 1966 Ariane decided to go solo. This Palette 45 is her first recording as a solo artist. She recorded and released four other 45s before disappearing into musical history. The flip side, 'Ice Cream' she co-wrote.

December 24, 2016

prog folk-rock ~ Quebec, Canada 1975


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If you listen to, or grew up listening to 70s progressive rock, you may not have heard of the band, 'Harmonium' from Quebec, Canada. The music Harmonium produced through the 70s was equally as good as other similar sounding "Prog Folk-Rock" bands of the time. The difference is, Harmonium are French-Canadian and chose to sing in French, which may have made it difficult for wider audiences. But surprisingly, one doesn't have to know French to enjoy the feeling Harmonium's records take you on.
Listening to Harmonium's music, I often am reminded of a parallel sound in Nick Drake's music - In fact, his songs might stand up or mix well with Harmonium.

I suppose posting a 45 is really just a taste of Harmonium's sound. A lot of "Rock" from the 1970s didn't always lend itself to the format of the 45 rpm record. Many bands who produced a "Prog Folk-Rock" sound, composed music for the LP format. Listening to an LP was sort of an event. One would listen to all the songs in succession on an LP. Great bands in this genre would often lead their listeners through their compositions into the next song. They were often connected. One song would inform the next.
With exceptions, not always the case with much new music composed today. I mean, pick your favorite 1000 songs and let the iPod roll...

Although, 1970s FM radio would play songs from bands, it was not always about the "3 minute radio hit". Much like many similar sounding bands/artists of the time, i.e., Nick Drake, Yes, Genesis, Fairport Convention, King Crimson, Supertramp, Pink Floyd, etc., Harmonium were not hit makers, they were composers and LP makers.

Harmonium was an LP band and should probably be listened to best in this way. Guitarist, singer, composer, Serge Fiori was really at the core of their music, as was Serge Locat, Michel Normandeau, and Louis Valois. But the group had many contributing members during their short history.

Harmonium ~ Quebec 1976

Harmonium's music has a distinct French inspired, lush, symphonic, folk-rock sound that reflects the mid-70s like a bookmarker in time and place. Their music captures the feeling of Quebec, the landscape, and the sensibility of the Québécoise culture.
Having spent some time in Quebec myself, Harmonium's sounds are unique, melancholy, and beautiful.


'En Pleine Face' (In The Face) is the flip to 'Dixie'. Both songs are on their Celebration label LP, 'Les Cinq Saisons' (The Five Seasons) from 1975.

Not the best translation,
but I like the feeling of the song and the lyrics hold true:

"Another tour page
Oh oh oh oh

Too bad for this day
Oh oh oh oh

Melt your ice
Or change place
Melt your ice
It is me that fell in full face
What do I need to do?

We have nothing more to give ourselves
Oh oh oh oh
There's more sounds to ring
Oh oh oh oh
Melt your ice
Where else changes place
Melt your ice
It is me that fell in full face
What do I need to do?

As an old lady
Who has more charms
I'm coming to you, I come to you
As an old lady
Who has more charms
I come to you, come to you, come to you

Give me a sign
At the end of your line
I cannot hear you anymore
Where are you
I do not know
I cannot hear you anymore
Where are you
I do not know
I cannot hear you anymore
Where are you
I do not know
I cannot hear you anymore
Where are you
I do not know
I cannot hear you anymore"