Monthly Archives: November, 2011

WILLIE HUTCH-ODE TO MY LADY.

WILLIE HUTCH-ODE TO MY LADY. Although Willie Hutch’s career spanned five decades, during which time he released a number of successful, influential and innovative albums, there are two albums that many people remember him best for. These two albums are The Mack, released in 1974, and Foxy Brown released in 1975, which were both soundtracks …

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MILLIE JACKSON-STILL CAUGHT UP.

MILLIE JACKSON-STILL CAUGHT UP. I’ve always thought that there’s nothing worse than not hearing how a story ends. That’s how I felt after I reviewed Millie Jackson’s 1974 album Caught Up, which launched her musical career. The album is like a musical soap opera, with side one featuring Millie playing the role of “the other …

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GLADYS KNIGHT AND THE PIPS-NEITHER ONE OF US.

GLADYS KNIGHT AND THE PIPS-NEITHER ONE OF US. I’ve always though that Gladys Knight and the Pips were one of the most underrated acts on Motown. During their time on Motown, it seemed much of the focus was on Diana Ross, and as a result, Gladys Knight’s music was somewhat overlooked. That to me is …

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LOU RAWLS-ALL THINGS IN TIME.

LOU RAWLS-ALL THINGS IN TIME. By the time Lou Rawls signed for Philadelphia International Records, he’d already had a long and successful career in the music industry. He’d released his debut album Stormy Monday on Blue Note Records back in 1962, and since then, had released over twenty-five albums for a various record companies including …

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MARLENA SHAW-SWEET BEGINNINGS.

MARLENA SHAW-SWEET BEGINNINGS. During a career that began in 1967, Marlena Shaw has recorded albums for some of the biggest and most famous, record labels. Her first label was Cadet Records, a subsidiary of Chess Records, where she released two albums Out of Different Bags in 1967 and Spice of Life in 1969. From there, …

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ETTA JAMES-TELL MAMA.

ETTA JAMES-TELL MAMA. When I was recently reading a review of Etta James new album The Dreamer online, I was saddened to discover that because of health reasons, this would be the final album she’d release. Etta now seventy-three, has had a long and illustrious career, recording her debut album At Last! fifty years ago …

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JEAN CARN-HAPPY TO BE WITH YOU.

JEAN CARN-HAPPY TO BE WITH YOU. Recently I was listening to a compilation entitled Philly Disco, released on the Bac Beats label when I heard one of my favorite Jean Carn tracks If You Want To Go Back. That made me think that it was time that I wrote another article on Jean Carn’s music. …

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DEE DEE SHARP-DEE DEE.

DEE DEE SHARP-DEE DEE. During the last few months, I’ve been writing a series about some of the great music released by Philadelphia International Records. This series has featured some of the labels biggest stars like The O’Jays, Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes, Billy Paul and The Three Degrees. Many of these artists released …

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CHARLIE WHITEHEAD-RAW SPITT.

CHARLIE WHITEHEAD-RAW SPITT. For many years, I’ve been a huge fan of Swamp Dogg’s productions, and recently, reviewed Doris Duke’s seminal album I’m A Loser. During his career, Swamp Dogg, aka Jerry Williams worked with many artists, including Gary US Bonds, Patti La Belle, Arthur Conley and ZZ Hill. One of the lesser known artists …

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THE O’JAYS-SO FULL OF LOVE.

THE O’JAYS-SO FULL OF LOVE. Since I first started collecting vinyl in the early seventies, I’ve noticed that with the advent of new mediums like the compact disc, that albums nowadays are much longer. Now albums are sprawling affairs, lasting up to eighty minutes. This new development isn’t necessary a good development. Back when The …

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EVELYN “CHAMPAGNE” KING-GET LOOSE.

EVELYN “CHAMPAGNE” KING-GET LOOSE. Imagine your a seventeen year singer, who has just released your debut album, and suddenly, your world is turned upside down when it sells over 500,00 copies. The album reaches number fourteen in the US Billboard 200 and number eight in the US R&B Charts. As a result, you receive your …

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ASHFORD AND SIMPSON-STREET OPERA.

ASHFORD AND SIMPSON-STREET OPERA. Back in 1963, when Nikolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson met, they probably never envisaged that their musical partnership would last six decades, and see them write  songs for some of music’s biggest names and record four albums that were certified gold. Husband and wife duo Ashford and Simpson had met in …

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GLORIA GAYNOR-NEVER CAN SAY GODBYE.

GLORIA GAYNOR-NEVER CAN SAY GODBYE. The story of Gloria Gaynor is a fascinating one, how Gloria Fowles, born in New Jersey, in 1948, was transformed into a disco diva who recorded some of the biggest disco hits of the seventies and eighties. Probably, the two best known of her singles were 1974s’ Never Can Say …

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TEDDY PENDERGRASS-LIFE IS A SONG WORTH SINGING.

TEDDY PENDERGRASS-LIFE IS A SONG WORTH SINGING. In a previous article I reviewed Teddy Pendergrass’ debut solo album, entitled Teddy Pendergrass. This was his first album since leaving Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes, where he’d been the lead singer. His debut solo album, Teddy Pendergrass was released in June 1977, reaching number seventeen in …

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DORIS DUKE-I’M A LOSER.

DORIS DUKE-I’M A LOSER. Mention Doris Duke’s 1970 album I’m A Loser, and many lovers of soul music will nod approvingly. Since its release, I’m A Loser has become regarded as one of the greatest Deep Soul albums ever released. However, who was Doris Duke, and how did she go from voice for hire to …

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JON LUCIEN-PREMONITION.

JON LUCIEN-PREMONITION. Recently I wrote a review of Jon Lucien’s first album for Columbia, Song For My Lady. This was the first of two albums he recorded for Columbia after leaving RCA, for whom he recorded three album. These three albums I Am Now in 1970, Rashida in 1973 and Mind’s Eye in 1974, were …

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MEL AND TIM-MEL AND TIM.

MEL AND TIM-MEL AND TIM. Every artist dreams about having a hugely successful hit single, selling so many copies that they get a gold disc to hang on their wall. This happened twice to cousins Mel Hardin and Tim McPherson. Recording as Mel and Tim, their demo tape had so impressed soul singer, Gene Chandler …

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LOLEATTA HOLLOWAY-THE AWARE YEARS: LOLEATTA AND CRY TO ME.

LOLEATTA HOLLOWAY-THE AWARE YEARS: LOLEATTA AND CRY TO ME. Although one of the most recognizable voices in music is Loleatta Holloway, many people are unaware of the two legendary soul albums she recorded for Michael Thevis Aware Records in the seventies. These were Loleatta in 1973 and Cry To Me in 1975. Instead, many people …

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JOHN GARY WILLIAMS-JOHN GARY WILLIAMS.

JOHN GARY WILLIAMS-JOHN GARY WILLIAMS. Sometimes, an otherwise good album is released at just the wrong time, and as a result, the album fails to do as well commercially, as it should’ve done. This was the case with John Gary Williams self-titled debut album John Gary Williams. His album was released just as Stax was …

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THE STAPLE SINGERS-BE ALTITUDE: RESPECT YOURSELF.

THE STAPLE SINGERS-BE ALTITUDE: RESPECT YOURSELF. One of the most important moments in The Staple Singers career was when the Reverend Jesse Jackson advised Al Bell to produce the group’s music himself. Before this, Steve Cropper Booker T and The MG’s guitarist and producer, had been in charge of producing the groups two previous albums. …

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