Category Archives: Gospel

BROTHERS AND SISTERS-DYLAN’S GOSPEL.

BROTHERS AND SISTERS-DYLAN’S GOSPEL. For too long, backing singers have been the forgotten heroes of music. That’s been the case since the sixties. Mostly, they were largely anonymous figures. Their raison d’être was to make the stars sound good. Backing singers, like session musicians, were hired guns. Every day, the found themselves working with different …

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BARBARA MASON-TRANSITION.

BARBARA MASON-TRANSITION. When Barbara Mason signed to Buddah Records in 1973, she was already an experienced artist. Indeed, Philly born Barbara, released her debut single Trouble Child in 1964, on Crusader Records. Then in 1965, aged just eighteen, Barbara enjoyed the biggest single of her career, the classic, Yes, I’m Ready, which reached number five …

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LEO WELCH-SABOUGLA VOICES.

LEO WELCH-SABOUGLA VOICES. There aren’t many artists who release their debut album at the age of eighty-one. Leo Welch has just done that. He released Sabougla Voices on 6th January 2014, on Big Legal Mess Records. Sabougla Voices is a glorious fusion of blues and gospel. Listening to Sabougla Voices, is a bit like discovering …

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SIMBA AND MILTON GULLI-THE HEROES A TRIBUTE TO A TRIBE CALLED QUEST.

SIMBA AND MILTON GULLI-THE HEROES A TRIBUTE TO A TRIBE CALLED QUEST. In the history of hip hop, A Tribe Called Quest are one of the most innovative and influential bands ever. No ifs and no buts. The five albums they released between 1990 and 1998, featured a genre melting fusion of genres and influences. …

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BEATING THE PETRILLO BAN-THE LATE DECEMBER 1947 MODERN SESSIONS.

BEATING THE PETRILLO BAN-THE LATE DECEMBER 1947 MODERN SESSIONS. It was in 1927 when the Automatic Music Instrument Company invented the first multi-selection jukebox. For owners of juke joints and bars, the jukebox was a boon.  Not only did it attract customers, wanting to hear and dance to the latest music, but It was much …

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GOOD GOD! APOCRYPHAL HYMNS.

GOOD GOD! APOCRYPHAL HYMNS. Now I don’t mind admitting it, but I’m far from a regular when it comes to churchgoing. I’ve better things to do on a Sunday morning. Maybe things would be different if the music in churches was more like the music on Good God! Apocryphal Hymns which was recently released by …

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GWEN MCCRAE-MELODY OF LIFE.

GWEN MCCRAE-MELODY OF LIFE. By 1979, Gwen McCrae’s career and private life were going through tough times. Her marriage to George McCrae was over. As for her music career, well, it seemed a long time since her number one US R&B single Rockin’ Chair. It was only four years. A lot had happened since then. …

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ROBERTA FLACK-KILLING ME SOFTLY.

ROBERTA FLACK-KILLING ME SOFTLY. In a previous article about Donny Hathaway, I mentioned how closely he had worked with Roberta Flack during his tragically, short career. I also mentioned how the pair were recording an album of duets just before his death. Ironically, the album that preceded Killing Me Softly, which was rereleased by WEA …

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ARETHA FRANKLIN-I NEVER LOVED A MAN THE WAY I LOVED YOU.

ARETHA FRANKLIN-I NEVER LOVED A MAN THE WAY I LOVED YOU. Recently, I’ve come to the conclusion that the most overused word in the English language is the word “classic.” Nowadays, something can’t just be good, it must be a classic. It doesn’t matter if someone is talking about a book, cuisine, technology, a architecture …

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DONNY HATHAWAY-EVERYTHING IS EVERYTHING.

DONNY HATHAWAY-EVERYTHING IS EVERYTHING. Sometimes, when people discuss the great soul singers, they forget about Donny Hathaway, whose career was tragically cut short. During his career, Donny Hathaway only released three studio albums, one soundtrack album and two albums with Roberta Flack. Donny Hathaway’s debut album was 1970s Everything Is Everything, which was rereleased by …

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ROBERTA FLACK-FIRST TAKE.

ROBERTA FLACK-FIRST TAKE. Mention Roberta Flack’s name, and most people automatically think of two songs, The First Time I Saw Your Face and Killing Me Softly. The story of First Take is one where if fate hadn’t intervened, might have resulted in the album forever remaining a hidden gem. Having been released in 1969, First …

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OVERDOSE OF THE HOLY GHOST-COMPILED BY DAVID HILL.

OVERDOSE OF THE HOLY GHOST-COMPILED BY DAVID HILL Sometimes, compilations can be anodyne affairs, with record labels and compilers scared to release compilations of innovative, leftfield music. This results in labels playing it safe and releasing compilations that although not innovative, will pay the bills. Thankfully, there are some labels out their willing to release …

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CASTON AND MAJORS-CASTON AND MAJORS.

CASTON AND MAJORS-CASTON AND MAJORS. When Caston and Majors released their eponymous debut album in December 1974, it was very different from the music Motown had made their name releasing. This wasn’t the poppy soul that was referred to as The Sound Of Young America. Quite the opposite. Caston and Majors demonstrated how Motown’s music …

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BARBARA MASON-TRANSITION.

BARBARA MASON-TRANSITION. When Barbara Mason signed to Buddah Records in 1973, she was already an experienced artist. Indeed, Philly born Barbara, released her debut single Trouble Child in 1964, on Crusader Records. Then in 1965, aged just eighteen, Barbara enjoyed the biggest single of her career, the classic, Yes, I’m Ready, which reached number five …

Continue reading

LAURA NYRO-GONNA TAKE A MIRACLE.

LAURA NYRO-GONNA TAKE A MIRACLE. Recently, I’ve been reviewing albums which although not strictly Philly Soul, feature many of the musicians, songwriters, arrangers and producers who were architects of the Philly Sound. This include Ecstasy, Passion and Pain’s Ecstasy, Passion and Pain, Joe Simon’s Drowning In A Sea of Love, Dusty Springfield’s A Brand New …

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THELMA HOUSTON-THE MOWEST ALBUM.

THELMA HOUSTON-THE MOWEST ALBUM. It’s somewhat ironic that Thelma Houston’s most successful single was a disco version of Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes’ Don’t Leave Me This Way. It reached number one in the US Billboard 100, US R&B Charts and US Dance Charts. After all, Thelma Houston started her career as soul singer, …

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HOLY SPIRIT-SPIRITUAL SOUL AND GOSPEL FUNK.

HOLY SPIRIT-SPIRITUAL SOUL AND GOSPEL FUNK. In an increasingly overcrowded compilation market, certain labels can be relied upon to release quality compilations. Three labels spring to mind, BBE Music, Strut and Harmless Records. Whilst other labels, including major labels continue to recycle the same collections of familiar and sometimes tired songs, albeit using different titles. …

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THE STAPLE SINGERS-THE STAPLE SINGERS.

THE STAPLE SINGERS-THE STAPLE SINGERS. By the early eighties, The Staple Singers had spent over thirty years performing and  recording. Their career started in 1948, with the group singing in churches in the Chicago area. Four years later in 1952, they signed their first record contract, releasing their debut album Uncloudy Day in 1959. Since …

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ROBERTA FLACK-FIRST TAKE.

ROBERTA FLACK-FIRST TAKE. Mention Roberta Flack‘s name, and most people automatically think of two songs, The First Time I Saw Your Face and Killing Me Softly. The story of First Take is one where if fate hadn’t intervened, might have resulted in the album forever remaining a hidden gem. Having been released in 1969, First Take …

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