It’s been a while but I return here once again to my digital corner with a new selection for you. Things have been fairly busy over in the real world with the usual work/ life commitments getting in the way. Fortunately I’ve still managed to squeeze in some record digging at a few of my favourite spots over the last few weeks. This has seen a healthy influx of new records coming into my collection, some of which I’ve included here today for you!
First up is Lou Johnson with ‘The Beat’, a track some of you may recognise as providing the main hook to De La Soul’s 'Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)'. 'The Beat' was originally released on his 1971 LP ‘With You In Mind' which was produced by NoLa living legend Allen Toussaint. It’s a great little builder with a huge baseline which has recently been given a limited pressed issue on a boutique label 45 to coincide with its' inclusion on the amusing Southern Comfort commercials that have been doing the rounds recently.
Jimmy 'Preacher' Ellis hailed from Arkansas and this mid 60’s Northern Crossover record was released on accomplished songwriter, Ferdinand ‘Fats’ Washington’s Ride Record Label. After making a few waves amongst Soul collectors hungry to snap up a copy of this rarity, Tobais Kirmayer has done an excellent job getting this released again through Tramp Records. Sublime stuff!
Gene Chandler has released a wealth of hits including the Doo-Wop stormer ‘The Duke Of Earl' as well as turning his hand to producing several Northern Soul classics such as 'Backfield In Motion' by Mel & Tim. It’s his lesser known 1968 B-side on Brunswick, ‘Those Were The Good Days' which features here today. A nice mid-tempo two stepper produced by Carl Davis which is perfect for the dancefloor. The horn section on this 45 is seriously amazing!
Myron Glasper & Eric 'E de Boss' Cooke have been making several waves across the Soul scene with a series of fantastic 45s since hooking up together while on tour with Blackalicious. After crossing paths with Timmion Records producer Didier Selin, the duo teamed up with Timmion house band The Soul Investigators and the rest is history.
Myron & E
This Joe Tex 45 has been on my wants list for several years since appearing on a mix swap project I organised with a few fellow collectors several years back. It finally turned up in the field this week after a long overdue trip out to see a record dealer I'd not touched base with in a while! The guitar playing on this 45 is phenomenal and totally makes the record!
The Wilbert Harrison record came out of the same digging trip and the Hot Line records label artwork instantly caught my eye. A swift listen on an ageing turntable ensured this ended up in my collection and once again the percussive style chicken scratch guitar licks prove this swamp funk 45 to be a real winner!
This is a huge favourite of mine at the moment and it would appear a minor brain accident has caused me to include it again even though it appeared back in Episode 6! Nevermind, as they say "It's so nice we played it twice!".
Chris Kenner’s 1957 release was a minor local hit for Lew Chudd’s New Orleans Imperial Record label before being covered and released by Fats Domino just a year later. It hit #22 and #14 on the US Hot 100 and US R&B charts respectively and confirmed Fats Domino’s continuing rise to fame. Personally I prefer Chris Kenner’s version which has a real raw Nola vibe to it compared to the more polished Fats release. Top Stuff!
Most of you will recognise 'Got My Mo-Jo Working' due to Muddy Waters version from 1978 being included in the Rolling Stone magazine's list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time at #359. Ann Cole's original recording on Baton records was released just one year previously! She'd been touring with Waters in 1956 across the Southern states.
Her take on the Preston Foster penned track had caught his ear so much so that he returned from the tour and recorded his own version with the now legendary Chess Record label. For me it's Ann Cole who takes the upper hand on this one every time!
'Hit, Git And Spit' is nothing short of an R&B monster. "Obie" Jessie had enjoyed brief stints in Doo-Wop outfits such as The Flairs and The Coasters before going solo as Young Jessie in 1954 with Modern Records at the tender age of 18! This is a huge favourite of mine and really does the business on the dance floor!
Ray Johnson's 'Calypso Blues' is yet another quality 45 that the guys from "JukeBox Jam Records have carefully put together. Originally released on Aladdin Records this Nat King Cole cover is a haunting rendition with an island feel to it. Sultry female backing vocals really lift this above the rest.
Whilst record digging a while ago in the deepest darkest South London backwaters I crossed paths with this Orquestra Los Cubanacans LP and bought it on the cover alone. Once I got it home I realised it contained an instrumental version of 'The Peanut Vendor'. It's a song which has seen in excess of 160 recorded versions and was the first million selling 78 and is a song I'm very fond of. This version sits next to the Ray Johnson track nicely and provides a nice little interlude.
'Didn't It Rain' is a Gospel standard which has also seen several versions put out since it's inception back in the 20's. The Clovertones version featured here is fronted by the Reverand Willie Green and features Esquerita holding it down and providing the back bone of the record on the piano.
Esquerita aside from having an awesome pompadour haircut was the man credited as being responsible for inspiring Little Richard. This is a great builder which reaches fever pitch and then some! Absolute quality!
Oakland guitarist Eugene Blacknell hits us with his 1973 Funk nugget on Seaside Records. This isn't as rare as 'The Trip' on Boola-Boola Records but that doesn't mean the music within the grooves doesn't hit the mark! Aside from being a first class musician, Eugene Blacknell was also some what of an activist and was instrumental in opening new doors as well as negotiating higher rates of pay for Afro-American musicians in the Bay Area. "We Know We Got live Together" was also sampled by Beck on his 2005 track, 'Black Tambourine'.
Eugene Blacknell & The New Breed
New Funk bands have been dropping in (and out) of the scene for a while now but one outfit that has stood fast and stayed consistent with releases and touring is Brighton based 10 piece, The Impellers.
After making waves with their first two LPs, 'Robot Legs' and 'This Is Not A Drill', the group have been hard at work and have almost finalised their third studio album, 'My Certainty' which will be launched on Saturday 17th May with a special show in Brighton at The Warren. Check their website HERE for ticket info!
The track that is included here today is from their first album and is an absolute Hammond organ behemoth featuring percussion maestro Snowboy. This is a dancefloor funk grenade that really needs a release on 45 (hint hint!)! Having had the pleasure of having The Impellers play at my old funk night, The Hook & Sling, I can highly recommend you catch them at one of their forthcoming live shows!
'Crackin' Up' is the opening track from Bo Diddley's 1959 second album, 'Go Bo Diddley'. The album was ranked #214 on The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine. 'Crackin' Up' is a laid back guitar led affair and made #14 on The Billboard R&B charts
Sticking on the Bo Diddley vibe is Willie Cobb with his 1960 reworking of Bo's track 'She's fine, She's Mine' which features the line "Well you don't love me baby, you don't love me I know". The record went onto be covered and reworked again by Dawn Penn through Coxsone Records in 1967 (and again in 1994) which brings us onto the final offing of today.
Clement Seymour 'Sir Coxsone' Dodd was pivotal in bringing Ska and Reggae to a welcoming audience through the 50s & 60s with his Sound System and innovative record label. Keyboard aficionado, Richard Ace's version of 'Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying' is for me THE version. So, so Soulful and the perfect way to close out this episode! Lovely!
Thanks for taking the time to drop by here and listen to my new mix. Your ongoing support is a reason in itself to continue my small space here on the internet and I only hope you get half as much enjoyment from listening as I do from putting it together!
Stay safe and I'll be back here shortly with some more of 'The Good Stuff' for you
Lou Johnson - The Beat - Southern Soul
Jimmy Ellis - Baby I Love You - Ride Records
Gene Chandler - Those Were The Good Days - Brunswick Records
Myron & E With The Soul Investigators - If I Gave You My Love - Stones Throw
Joe Tex - You Better Believe It Baby - Atlantic
Wilbert Harrison - Get It While You Can - Hot Line Records
Chris Kenner - Sick And Tired - Imperial Records
Ann Cole With the Suburbans & Orchestra - Got My Mo-Jo Working - Baton
Young Jessie - Hit, Git And Spit - Modern Records
Ray Johnson - Calypso Blues - Jukebox Jam Records
Orquestra Los Cubanacans - The Peanut Vendor - MFP
The Clovertones - Didn't It Rain - Norton Records
Eugene Blacknell & The New Breed - We Know We Got live Together - Goldmine
The Impellers Featuring Snowboy - Tastes Like Chicken - Freestyle Records
Bo Diddley - Crackin' Up - Chess
Willie Cobb - You Don't Love Me - DeeJay Records
Richard Ace - Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying - Coxsone Records