Thursday, 23 December 2010

DICK JENSEN - DICK JENSEN (Phil. Intl 1973) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve

One of the strangest albums ever issued on Philly International – a set of tunes by Dick Jensen, who was part blue-eyed soul singer, part easy male vocalist – sounding here as if he'd almost hit the market about 5 years too late to make a difference. The record's the kind that would be more at home on late 60s Capitol than early 70s Philly – but they must have had big plans for it, as all the tracks are originals by Gamble & Huff, who also do the production with Thom Bell and Bunny Sigler. Bobby Martin, Vince Montana, and Norman Harris all arrange, so the backings are top-shelf too – it's just that Dick can't seem to figure out what he wants to be from track to track on the record. Titles include the funky "Fat Mama", plus "Peace Of Mind", "Going Up To The Mountain", "I Don't Want To Cry", "32nd Street", and "Tamika". [Dusty Groove America]
A really wonderful (mostly late '60s pop style) album!

Friday, 10 December 2010

MERRY CLAYTON - GIMME SHELTER (ODE 1970) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve

Best known for her background vocal work on the Rolling Stones' legendary single "Gimme Shelter," Merry Clayton had a long and successful career as backup singer, solo artist, and actress. Born December 25, 1948 (hence the rather "holiday" feel of her first name), in New Orleans, LA, Clayton recorded tracks with Elvis Presley, the Supremes, Ray Charles, and Joe Cocker, as well as being a member of Ray Charles' Raelettes in the early '60s. Her solo debut, "The Doorbell Rings," was released in 1963, and she eventually found success as a session singer for the aforementioned artists. She followed up her best-known work -- the appearance on "Gimme Shelter" -- with a solo album of the same name, and during the '70s managed some minor R&B hits with tracks like "After All This Time" in 1971 and "Oh No Not My Baby" in 1973. After a brief hiatus from the music business, Clayton did minor acting work, appearing in the film Maid to Order and Cagney & Lacey. Clayton returned to the music side of things in 1994, albeit as a gospel singer, with the album Miracles. In 1996, Clayton performed with Marianne Faithfull and Darlene Love in the show 20th Century Pop, a performance of "20 rock-era standards."[allmusic]

YELLOW SUNSHINE - YELLOW SUNSHINE (GAMBLE 1973) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve

An excellent bit of spacey funk – and one of the most obscure Gamble/Huff records ever recorded! Yellow Sunshine are a hip funky jazz group, very tight in the riffing department, with a sound that would be more at home on Fantasy Records than Philly International. Dexter Wansel's in the group playing some excellent keyboards, and the tracks are mostly instrumentals with an excellent funky fusion groove – really ripping away with a massive intensity, and storing up a few very tasty breaks – of the sort that's made this album a legend for years with the beatheads! Titles include "All Along The Seashore", "Happiness", "Yellow Sunshine", "The Greetch", and "Apollo 17".[Dusty Groove America]

Friday, 24 September 2010

PROFESSOR LETT AND STUDY - LOVE SERENADE (BEANTOWN 1978) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve

From the rear cover liner notes...
"Professor Lett And Study is the most fascinating new recording group to emerge in ages, and no connoisseur of music can afford to miss this album".
Mattie Swaine
"Professor Lett and Study's debut album is loaded with originality, each idea fully realized and perfectly on target".
E.R. Stone

BO DIDDLEY - ANOTHER DIMENSION (CHESS 1971) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve

Funky Bo Diddley – one of Bo's key early 70s sessions for Chess Records – all of which have him stepping out in a much harder groove than years past! The sound here is relatively tight – with Diddley guitar and vocals on top of some larger arrangements from Bob Gallo – backings that mix together sounds from contemporary rock and soul, but always with an ear for the roots that Bo inspired in the first place – put forward towards a new generation with nicely kicking rhythms and really fuzzy guitars! The standout number here is the break classic "Go For Broke" – a drum-heavy instrumental that's worth the price of the record alone – and other titles include the great original "Pollution", plus versions of "The Shape I'm In", "Down On The Corner", "Lodi", "Bad Side Of the Moon", and "Bad Moon Rising".

Monday, 30 August 2010

SUPREMES - WHERE DID OUR LOVE GO (MOTOWN 1964) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve

In the spring of 1964, The Supremes recorded the single "Where Did Our Love Go". The song was originally intended by Holland-Dozier-Holland for The Marvelettes, who rejected it. Although The Supremes disliked the song, the producers coerced them into recording it. In August 1964, while The Supremes toured as part of Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars, "Where Did Our Love Go" reached number one on the US pop charts, much to the surprise and delight of the group. It was also their first song to appear on the UK pop charts, where it reached number three.
"Where Did Our Love Go" was followed by four consecutive US number-one hits: "Baby Love" (which was also a number-one hit in the UK), "Come See About Me", "Stop! In the Name of Love" and "Back in My Arms Again". "Baby Love" was nominated for the 1965 Grammy Award for Best Rhythm & Blues Recording...

Thursday, 5 August 2010

DIANA ROSS & THE SUPREMES - REFLECTIONS (MOTOWN 1967) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve + 2 bonus

Diana Ross & the Supremes "Reflections" was the first regular studio LP to display the new billing of the group formerly known as "The Supremes". It contains the singles "Reflections", "In and Out of Love", and "Forever Came Today." Also included are covers of songs made famous by Martha and the Vandellas ("Love (Makes Me Do Foolish Things)") and The 5th Dimension ("Up, Up and Away"). Also present are songs written by other famous names, including "Bah-Bah-Bah" co-written by Motown songstress Brenda Holloway with her younger sister, Patrice, an original Smokey Robinson compostion titled "Then", and "What the World Needs Now Is Love" by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, which Motown planned to release as a single in the spring of 1968, but cancelled. It also contains a cover of Bobbie Gentry's "Ode to Bille Joe", whose original recording kept the single #2 "Reflections" from peaking at the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 in September 1967, and #1 on Cashbox.
The album includes the final songs the Supremes recorded with their main creative team of Holland–Dozier–Holland before the three writers/producers departed Motown over royalty and title disputes. Although Florence Ballard recorded some of this album before being fired from the group in June 1967, her replacement Cindy Birdsong along with Mary Wilson recorded several songs and appears on the album cover. One of the album's singles, "Forever Came Today", was later covered by The Jackson 5 on their 1975 album Moving Violation...

Thursday, 15 July 2010

MAXINE BROWN - OUT OF SIGHT (EPIC 1968) Jap DSD mastering cardboard sleeve + 2 bonus

Miss Brown Is no newcomer to the hit charts, having been there with Chuck Jackson and alone on another label, but she is a newcomer to EPIC, and this LP marks her debut.
She is never sounded better. Listen to her wail "Sunny" as though it belonged to her from the beginning, and her treatment of Percy Sledge's "When A Man Loves A Woman" is a pure gem.
Hear "In My Entire Life" to Know that Maxine Brown has a hot package on her hands...[Billboard, July 1968]


Tuesday, 6 July 2010

THE NEW VIBRATIONS - THE NEW VIBRATIONS (OKeh 1966) Jap DSD mastering cardboard sleeve + 10 bonus

Killer "Okeh" soul by this great group from the 60s!! The record covers both sides of The Vibrations' bag – from mellow moody vocal group standards, to uptempo groovers – of the sort that have always made the group a favorite with the Northern Soul scene! The album's a nice departure from the group's earlier work, as it shows them really locking in some great harmonies on the mellower cuts – but still able to really let loose when they want to! Titles include great versions of the cuts "Secret Love" and "Everybody Loves A Lover" – plus the tracks "Soul A Go Go", "Gonna Get Along Without You Now", "Forgive & Forget", and "For Your Love". CD features a whopping 10 bonus tracks – including "Cause You're Mine", "Remember The Rain", "Love In Them There Hills", "Talkin Bout Love", "End Up Crying", "Pick Me", and "You Better Beware".

Saturday, 3 July 2010

THE ARTISTICS - GET MY HANDS ON SOME LOVIN' (Okeh 1966) Jap DSD mastering cardboard sleeve

A Chicago R&B and soul group discovered by Major Lance, the Artistics were formed in 1958 at Marshall High School. They sang at the 1960 Democratic Convention and backed Lance before recording for Okeh in 1963. Original lead vocalist Robert Dobyne joined founding members Aaron Floyd, Curt Thomas, Laurence Johnson, and Jesse Bolian in 1963.
Their early recordings for Okeh included the singles "Get My Hands on Some Lovin" and "This Heart of Mine" in 1964 and 1965. Former El Dorado Marvin Smith replaced Dobyne in 1964. The Artistics joined Brunswick in 1966, and scored their biggest hit with "I'm Gonna Miss You," which was also the title of their debut album for the label. They had three more moderate hits for Brunswick in the late '60s and early '70s. Smith left in 1967, though he continued singing on studio recordings. Tommy Green and Fred Pettis also served as lead vocalists until the group disbanded in 1973. ~ Ron Wynn, All Music Guide

Monday, 21 June 2010

MAJOR LANCE - UM UM UM UM/BEST (OKeh 1963) Jap DSD mastering cardboard sleeve + 6 bonus

Blessed with a warm, sweet voice, Major Lance was one of the leading figures of Chicago soul during the '60s and the top-selling artist for OKeh Records during the decade. Lance not only had a lovely voice, but his material was excellent. During the height of his success, the majority of his songs were written by Curtis Mayfield and produced by Carl Davis, and the pair developed a smooth, Latin-flavored sound that was punctuated by brass and layered with vocal harmonies, usually from the Impressions. It was urban, uptown soul and while it was considerably less gritty than its Southern counterpart, its breezy rhythms and joyous melodies made songs like "The Monkey Time" and "Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um" some of the most popular good-time R&B of its era. Major Lance's career declined significantly after he parted ways with Mayfield and Davis in the late '60s, but his classic OKeh recordings remain some of the best-loved soul music of the decade.
In 1962, Lance was signed to the revived OKeh Records, based on his connections with Otis Leavill and, especially, Curtis Mayfield, who signed with the Impressions to ABC Records and had hits with his own group. Later that year, Lance recorded his first single, "Delilah," for the label. Like most of the Major's material, the song was written by Mayfield who, along with OKeh president Carl Davis and arranger Johnny Pate, developed a distinctive, Latin-tinged sound for the record, filled with sliding trombones and a light-stepping rhythms in order to distinguish Chicago soul from its counterparts in the South, New York, Detroit, and California. Though "Delilah" wasn't a hit, Lance's second single, "The Monkey Time," was a monster. Released in the summer of 1963, "The Monkey Time" reached number two on the R&B charts and number eight pop, establishing not only Lance as a singer but the revitalized OKeh Records as a pop music force. "Hey Little Girl" was a Top 15 pop and R&B hit later that year, followed by the Top Ten "Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um" early in 1964.[allmusic]

LEWIS SISTERS - WAY OUT...FAR (LIBERTY 1959) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve

Helen and Kay Lewis', two sisters from Michigan, names cropped up on Motown albums and some single releases in the '60s, such as Gladys Knight & the Pips' "Just Walk in My Shoes." But their careers didn't begin at Motown, rather, in the '50s as jazz singers and songwriters. After high school, Kay attended Michigan State University and earned a degree in music; Helen graduated from UCLA with the same degree.
In 1955, Kay, whose primary instrument is guitar, moved to California to join her sister Helen who plays piano. They befriended jazz pianist Les McCann in 1958 and he got them a deal with Liberty Records where they recorded a jazz album entitled Way out...Far. McCann played piano on the session and Paul Horn played alto sax. Next came a few sides for Chess/Checker records, including "Come on Let's Stroll," which found its way onto the Checker LP Hits That Jumped in 1959. A year later they cut what Kay describes as a weird album for Verve Records. The Russ Garcia produced Voices, Strings and Percussions was quite odd, Garcia used the sisters' voices like violins on the 1960 album of Tchaikovsky songs.
They met Hal Davis in California and through Davis' partner Marc Gordon, got them inked to Motown in 1963 as recording artists, but their only releases as artists came two years later on the company's VIP subsidiary. "He's an Oddball" b/w "By Some Chance" and "You Need Me" b/w "Moonlight on the Beach" were good records, different from their early jazz and voice albums, more mainstream. 11 days before the release on their final single, Kay's daughter Little Lisa emerged on VIP as well with "Hang on Bill" b/w "Puppet on a String" (August 20, 1965). The dynamic sisters appeared with Chris Clark on Clark's November, 1965, single "Do Right Baby, Do Right." Nothing hit with much authority and no more recordings were issued. Helen and Kay's songs were being snapped up mostly as album cuts by other artists including the Miracles' "Baby, Baby" and Edwin Starr and Blinky's LP Just We Two which featured "Can't We Be Strangers Again" and "I See a Rainbow."...[All Music Guide]


"Lee Wiley was one of the greatest and most neglected American vocalists. Wiley began in the early '30s as a torch singer and was a formative influence on the young Billie Holiday. Wiley also pioneered the concept of the "composer's songbook" with her 1939 Cole Porter and Gershwin sets for the specialized Liberty Music Shop label. Still, it wasn't until the early '50s that Wiley recorded again in a commercial setting worthy of her stature.
Several disparate Columbia sessions make up NIGHT IN MANHATTAN. One session features a small string section, another the great trumpeter Bobby Hackett, and another the piano team of Stan Freeman and Cy Walter. Still, the eventual LP was held together by Wiley's stylistically consistent and utterly honest delivery, an approach to song (and life) both wistful and sophisticated at once. "I've Got a Crush on You" rivals Sinatra's celebrated 1945 version (again with Hackett providing the trumpet obligato), but it is the moving, emotionally stripped-down versions of "How Deep is the Ocean," "Time on my Hand" and "More Than you Know" that provide the key to her art."(Joe Sarno, Muze)

Thursday, 27 May 2010


A killer album of Afro Funk -- with a very unusual origin! In the wake of Manu Dibango's big hit (and some kind of failure to register the copyright), many many versions of "Soul Makossa" were recorded and released, some good, some bad. This album is a good example of that situation -- kind of a quickie project issued by Mainstream Records to cash in on the hit -- but it's also an amazing bit of lost funk, and a record that's lasted for years in the hearts of beatheads! The group's a studio combo headed by Richard Fritz -- and includes funky drummer Paul Humphrey, organist Charles Kynard, and guitarist David T Walker -- all players we can trust to keep things groovy. The record does include a version of "Soul Makossa" that's pretty great -- but even better is the breakbeat classic "House Of The Rising Funk", apparently the same version of the track that was issued on a 45 under the name The Chubukos. Other nice ones include "Kissing My Love", "Hot Mud", "Get It", "Hot Doggin", and "Let Me Do My Thing".

Monday, 17 May 2010

SUGAR BILLY - SUPER DUPER LOVE (FAST TRACK/MAINSTREAM 1975) Jap mastering cardboard sleve + 1 bonus

A classic indie cooker from Sugar Billy -- a bit funky, a bit clubby -- and a really great batch of grooves done in a pre-disco mode! The tracks are all pretty darn upbeat -- somewhat warmer than the funk of Fatback or Kool & The Gang, but still with a nicely rough-edged feel overall -- one that mixes snapping rhythms with Billy's slightly raspy vocals -- all in a groove that's somewhat unique, and which is almost a hybrid of southern soul modes and some of the indie styles bubbling out of the New York scene in the early 70s. Arrangements are by Jimmy Roach, who definitely helps the group groove -- and a young Marcus Belgrave is actually in the group on Trumpet! Titles include the classic "Super Duper Love (parts 1 & 2)", plus "Treat Me Like You Don't Know Me", "Love Bug", "Sugar Pie", "Too Much Too Soon", and "Believe In Me". CD also features a great bonus track -- the single-only "Freak & You Shall Find", presented in the long version!

Friday, 16 April 2010

MARVIN GAYE - MOODS OF MARVIN GAYE (TAMLA 1966) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve + 3 bonus

After Marvin Gaye recorded tributes to Broadway and Nat King Cole in the previous two years, Motown fans may have had their suspicions raised by an LP titled Moods of Marvin Gaye. Yes, there are a few supper-club standards to be found here, but Gaye moves smoothly between good-time soul and adult pop. Most important are his first two R&B number ones, "I'll Be Doggone" and "Ain't That Particular," both from 1965 and both produced by Smokey Robinson. Berry Gordy's right-hand man also helmed "Take This Heart of Mine" and "One More Heartache," another pair of big R&B scores, and just as good as the better-known hits. As for the copyrights not owned by Jobete, the chestnut "One for My Baby (And One More for the Road)" certainly didn't need another reading, but Gaye's take on Willie Nelson's after-hours classic "Night Life" was inspired. Marvin Gaye was improving with every record, gaining in character and strength of performance, and Moods of Marvin Gaye is a radically better record than its predecessors. ~ John Bush, All Music Guide

MARVIN GAYE - HOW SWEET IT IS TO BE LOVED BY YOU (TAMLA 1964) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve + 3 bonus

Another great album; Gaye was at this time Motown's finest solo vocalist (Smokey Robinson, Eddie Kendricks, David Ruffin, and Levi Stubbs were all heading groups). His vocal on the title track was both smooth and churning, celebratory and introspective. He could do no wrong during this period, regardless of content, tempo, or arrangement. ~ Ron Wynn, All Music Guide
The title track,was his best-selling single at the time. Other hits include "Try It Baby" (which features David Ruffin of The Temptations) and "Baby Don't You Do It" (with backing vocals provided by The Andantes).
Also the song "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)" is featured in the first American Pie movie, and has been covered by many notable musicians, including James Taylor, Joan Osborne, Michael McDonald and Michael Buble.
The song "You Are a Wonderful One" is featured in the film Bowfinger.