more soul that has been missed...
Cerrone - The Golden Touch / Michael Cooper - Just What I Like
Two albums that are 11 years apart and by two very diverse artists.
Cerrone's album came out in 1978 on Malligator Records, distributed by CBS. As with the Passion album reviewed below, this set is a four tracker. I must admit that when I bought this album, a few years ago, the shop assistant gave me a funny look. I guess he thought I was buying a Bay City Rollers album, judging by the cover! Well, for three of the tracks on show here, I might as well have been. Cerrone was a kind of Giorgio Moroder type figure of the seventies, laying down electronic melodies over European disco beats. The saving grace of this set is the mid tempo 'Music Of Life'. I don't know if Cerrone had an accident, in making this track here, but if he did, it was a very happy accident. An excellent track.
I have been a big fan of Michael Coopers since the days of Con Funk Shun and his decision to go solo, in the late Eighties, seems to have paid off handsomely. His track 'Dinner For Two' (from his first outing) was in my top 10 of 1987. This Reprise album followed on two years later and showcased Michaels developing maturity as a singer and producer. There are several fine tracks here including the title track and 'My Baby's House' with Michaels distinctive vocal stylings to the fore. The track that I kept returning to is the lush ballad 'Over & Over'. There are some very fine key changes within this track that has really stood the test of time. Michael is best remembered, probably, for the track 'Gotta Get You Undressed' (Real Audio on that one on Michael's page at this site), however, this album should not be ignored.
Passage - Passage / Passion - Passion
Two albums from the 'P' section here and both self titled sets.
Passage were the brainchild of the Brothers Johnson. To my knowledge they only made one album and a fine album it is too. Essentially, this is a gospel set, that I remember, back in the day, was being picked up for the excellent dancer 'Power'. Robbie Vincent used to play that tune on his Radio London show, on this sets release, on A & M Records, back in 1981 (is it really 20 years ago?). Passage comprised of Louis Johnson, his wife Valerie Johnson and Richard Heath. The tracks 'I See The Light', 'Have You Heard The Word?' and 'You Can't Be Livin' are fine examples of early Eighties soul music. Apart from the Brothers Johnson, there are fine pieces of artistic input from the likes of David 'Hawk' Wolinski, Nolen & Crossley, Rene Moore and Ricky Lawson. A really uplifting and optimistic album that I can highly recommend to any soul fan. Great stuff.
Passion's set is a totally different 'kettle of poisson'! Strange album this one which is typical of many releases of it's time. Out on Prelude Records in 1979, there are only 4 tracks on display here, three of which would sit nicely on Studio 54's New York dancefloors. I remember not being too much of a fan of the tackier side of disco. By that I don't mean the likes of Philadelphia International's or Salsoul's releases of the time. More the likes of 'I Love The Nightlife' or that dreadful disco record that the Beach Boys had out then. Hell, even Dolly Parton got on the bandwagon! Well, why am I taking time reviewing this set? For one good reason. Tucked away on the end of side one is the track 'Midnight Lovers'. This track is set to a similar tempo to that of the late Keith Barrow's 'You Know You Want To Be Loved' and is ably sung by Richard Noriega Jnr and Dara Norman and is a fine slice of two step soul music. This set reminds me of the Brainstorm release 'Funky Entertainment', which was full of 'disco' tunes of 10 minutes plus and could be easily passed by. That set contained one of my favourite soul tunes 'You Put A Charge In My Life'. I guess the moral of the story is to never pass by any set from this period. You never know what gem may be inset into it's musical walls. This group should not be confused with the studio group of the same name that featured Dr York.
Invisible Man's Band - Invisible Man's Band / Really Wanna See You - Invisible Man's Band
I have no problem in relating to you, the visitor, that the two artists that have made the biggest impact on this soul punter, over the last 25 years, are Lamont Dozier and Keni Burke. Both of these artists, to me, I have no problem in describing with the word genius. Keni's 1981 album 'You're The Best' is, probably, my favourite all time album. Keni and his brothers have an almost 'biblical' history. What I mean by that is, well, look at their historical progress. The Five Stairsteps and Cubie begat The Five Stairsteps begat The Stairsteps begat, this lot, The Invisible Man's Band. In this format, Keni, and his brothers, Clarence, Dennis and James, released two albums. The first in 1980 and the second the following year. The former release is, mostly known, for the R & B hit 'All Night Thing', which is pretty catchy, but does divert the attention from some of the other gems within. 'Nine Times Out Of Ten' is a great tune. Summery and full of optimism and I guess it is this facet of their recording nature that hits home for this reviewer. The real high point has to be the fine dancer 'Love Can't Come / Love Has Come' which would grace any dancefloor. The 'Really Wanna See You' set came out on Boardwalk a year later and is best known for the title track, however, soul punters have drifted toward the samba stylings of 'Along The Way'. The Burke Brothers at their finest. Rumour has it that the Invisible Man's Band were so named due to the fact they were contractually obliged not to have a photo of themselves on their album sleeves. Who cares? I can't recommend these sets more highly. A fine family of soul singers.
Al Johnson - Peaceful / Wornell Jones - Wornell Jones
Following on from the Phil Flowers single (reviewed below), I thought I ought to dig out this set from the great Al Johnson (who produced Phil's excellent twelve). Most people, when you mention Al's name, will point to his 1980 release, 'Back For More'. 'Back For More' is a great album, however, this 1978 set is just as good and is almost totally ignored. Released on U.S. Marina Records this album contained the original version of 'I've Got My Second Wind', which later appeared on the 'Back For More' outing. This album is wall to wall quality. 'I'll Do Anything For You' really is soul music at it's proudest and 'Since You Walked Out Of My Life' would grace any steppers dancefloor. This album is one of favourite sets from the last 25 years, so I guess......you should buy this set on site!
Wornell Jones' album came out on Paradise Records a year after Al's album and has become highly collectable. Although parts of this set may be slightly 'rocky' for some purists, there is no denying the soulful 'Something Good Is Gonna Happen To You' (Co-written with Leon Russell) and the tender 'You Are My Happiness'. Wornell is an excellent vocalist and bass player, talents that really shine on the albums killer cut, 'Must Have Been Love' with Wornell duetting with a female vocalist, namely, Maxayn Lewis Moriguchi. Set over a gentle latin rhythm, this really is a melody of the highest quality. Highly recommended.
Phil Flowers - Stay A While
Every true soul fan has, either on their computer, in their head or scribbled on a piece of paper (that they can't locate anywhere in the house) a 'wants list'. Me? I am no exception. Used to be Lamont Dozier's 'Working On You' album, before that it was Keni Burke's first album on Dark Horse Records. I sincerely believe that, if you have a track that you are searching for, you WILL eventually find a copy and this is the case with this gem of a release. We, sadly, lost Phil in January to 'the big C', as John Wayne described it. Phil Flowers was a real star, in my eyes. I know that the Fingerpoppin' Soul site (check the links page) did a good feature on the man, but, by and large, he has been ignored by the masses. This 12" has been on my No.1 'wants listings' for over the last 12 years. It isn't the fact that this is a real hard to come by tune, that it is, more that it is a great tune. Produced by Phil along with the soul greats, Chuck Brown and Al Johnson, hints at the quality that rests within these grooves. If you haven't got Real Player, well, this is set halfway between Johnny Bristol at his finest, and the Blackbyrds 'Soft & Easy'. What more can I say? Real soul excellence from a man who deserved far more recognition than he received in this life. If you've got Real Player, then I am only too pleased to share this with you. This was out, in small quantities on Future Records from 1986. Nuff said and all that.
Nikki Giovanni - The Way I Feel / Deniece Williams - Niecy
As the last few 'been missed's' have all been male, I figured it was about time that the women had a look in on this page!
Nikki Giovanni is an artist that I knew little of prior to some fascinating information sent to me by Tim Easton in the U.S. Not only did Tim get me the lowdown on Nikki, he went out, tracked down the album, bought it and air mailed it to me! What can I say? We have some great site visitors. Thanks Tim. Well, what about the album? Nikki Giovanni is a very highly respected poet. She has had several books published and has won countless awards for her efforts. On this album she is accompanied by musicians, who include in their numbers, Steve Gadd, Richard Tee and the late Paul Griffin. Nikki's dialogue is quietly delivered in a manner, not too dis-similar to that of Me'Shell Ndegeocello. The overall feel is fresh and vibrant and would be a welcome addition to any soul punters collection. Well recommended. The album is on Atlantic, from 1975, and includes sleeve notes from Roberta Flack, no less.
Deniece Williams just has to be one of my favourite female vocalists. She has worked with many other artists ranging from Johnny Mathis to Stevie Wonder. This album, on CBS from 1982, is one that gets overlooked far too easily. On this set she combined forces with the late Thom Bell on production chores and the resulting set has some of her finest output. 'Waiting' is pure Thom Bell. Deniece's vocal stylings complimenting the beautiful arrangements as they do on the mellow ballad, 'A Part Of Love'. My favourite cut here has to be her excellent rendition of the late Laura Nyro's 'Gonna Take A Miracle' (lot of 'late's here methinks!). To this day, I have not heard a better version of this classic. If you see this LP in your local second hand store, pick it up. You will not be dissapointed.
Gene Van Buren - What's Your Pleasure / General Crook - General Crook
Two albums, one from the early Eighties, the other from the early Seventies, and fine one's they both are, too.
Gene Van Buren's set arrived here, on import, back in 1982. It was released on Gordy Records in the U.S. and has been missed by many over the years. Gene...how do you describe his singing? Well, if you went for the Chuck Cissel / Rockie Robbins sound al la 'You & Me', from a couple of years earlier than this release, then this set is for you. That applies to Gene's vocal delivery as well, by the way. This album is full of some of the best mid-tempo materal of their day. 'You Got Me Where I Want You', 'I Love You More (Than I Hate What You Do)' and 'One' are excellent pieces of music. My favourite cut has to be 'It's My Turn', a song that Chapter 8 would have paid big money to be the first to record. Essential listening.
General Crooks album came out on Wand Records in 1974. Why Crook only recorded one album is a crying shame. This album has some of the finest moments in soul music, in my humble opinion. The General wrote, produced and arranged this minor masterpiece, which really has stood the test of time. Finest moments? Well get your earholes around 'The Best Years Of My Life' or 'I'm Satisfied'. Fine stuff. My choice here is the opening track 'Tell Me What'cha Gonna Do'. Listen and weep...as they say. I must congratulate the General on the photo on the rear of the sleeve of him, without his pants, his naked woman, both sat on the General's bike, with his geranium's in the travel basket! Wonder what they were smoking when they came up with that idea! Fine album, General......aten-shun!
J.R. Bailey - Just Me 'N You / Jerry Bell - Winter Love Affair
J.R. Bailey, a long time ago, was part of The Cadillacs, who you can check out on the Artists page, here at this site. 'Just Me 'N You' is an extremely well kept secret. It doesn't even make the listings on the All Music Guide. The album arrived on these shores way back in 1974 and was released on MAM / London Records. Two years after 'What's Going On' came J.R.'s masterpiece. The reason I mention the great Marvin album is that this outing has a similar feel throughout. In fact, if I had to describe this album to someone who has never heard it, I would say that it is a fusion of the sound of Marvin and Donny Hathaway. High praise indeed. The album deserves it. Starting off with 'After Hours leading into the very 'Save THe Children', 'Heaven On Earth'. Then the album takes off into the excellent title track, which was covered by Eramus Hall on his 'Your Love Is My Desire' set. J.R.'s version of his self penned 'Love, Love, Love' is my favourite version of this tune. If you see this anywhere, just buy it blind, whatever the cost. This did get a release on CD in Japan. Good hunting. The absolute real deal.
How do you follow that? Well, Jerry Bell's 1981 MCA album is a very different proposition. Good in many ways, although the set is, mainly, sought after for the dancer 'Tell Me You'll Stay', which is cut, almost, in a samba style. The whole album is written and produced by the vastly underrated Michael Wycoff. Michael also weighs in on keyboard chores. Nice album.
Lew Kirton - Just Arrived / Art Madison - Into The A.M.
Two albums with 13 years between them. Both fine albums they are too.
The Lew Kirton set arrived way back in 1980, on the Alston Record label, out of Florida. Quite why Lew has not been utilised by Record Companies more is a mystery to me. Two albums and a soul monster in 'Heaven In The Afternoon'. This album was produced by the legendary Clarence Reid, who turned out, in this case, a soul masterpiece. Lew's vocals perfectly compliment Clarence's production and are so drenched in soul I had to get my waders out!! 'Something Special' moves along nicely at around mid pace and is a fine soul tune, whilst 'NYC' is just about as deep as it gets. A great album.
Art Madison's set was released on JVK Records in 1993 (blimey is it nearly a decade ago?). Art is heavily influenced by the likes of Marvin Gaye and Leon Ware which shows in the excellent music on show here. 'Blowin' My Mind' was a single off this album and that was a fine track whilst 'Too Cool' is so close to being Marvin it is scary. However, don't think that this set is simply an act of plagurism. Art seems to add enough of his own soul persona to make this a 'must have' set from the Nineties. Personal favourite? Has to be 'In This World (We're Livin'). A great soul dancer.
MCB - MCB/ Prince Phillip Mitchell - Make It Good
The MCB album came out on Epic Records in 1983, whilst Prince Phillip Mitchell was putting the finishing touches to his album 5 years earlier.
The MCB album has become a highly sought after set since it's conception. A U.K. based record company released a rare groove compilation titled after one of the tracks contained within this set. The track in question is 'Time Is Right' which is funky and has an infectious guitar lick running throughout. Back in the day, the radio stations picked up on 'I'm The One, You're The One', which in turn was added to one of the UK based 'Street Sounds' compilations. Great stuff. 'Bring Back The Music' has a real Magic Lady feel to it. A fine stepper. Quite why Aaron Mills and Jeryl Bright never worked together again as MCB, is a mystery to me. Great album.
Atlantic Records pulled out all the stops for Prince Phillip Mitchells outing, with the artistic input featuring no less than the likes of Lee Ritenour, Ernie Watts, Jack Ashford, Paulinho Da Costa, James Gadson, John Barnes, Wah Wah Watson......all topped of with a large slice of The Jones Girls! The album was arranged by the excellent Paul Riser and McKinley Jackson, with Mitchell lending a hand. This LP is just great. Phillip sets the whole set off with a seven minute version of 'Star In The Ghetto', which features him on a piece of 'ghetto' dialogue at the outset. This version of this tune is my favourite version, flowing along nicely at a mid-tempo pace. Of the rest, 'You're All I Got In The World' is a beautiful ballad as are 'Falling From Heaven' and 'Only Smoke Remains' all featuring the fine backing vocals of Brenda, Shirley and Valorie Jones. A really great seventies album.
Esther Phillips - All About Esther Phillips / Asha Puthli - The Devil Is Loose
The world lost a great singer in Esther Phillips back in 1984. Esther cut several albums that were, by and large, totally overlooked. It is only recently that these albums are being re-discovered and 'All About Esther Phillips' is one such album. Released back in 1978 on Mercury, there are several tracks worth buying this set for. Esther performs a fine version of Oyssey's 'Native New Yorker' and Bobby Lyle pitches in with his self penned 'You Think Of Him (You Think Of Her)'. She also cuts a version of the late, great, David Olivers 'MS', however, I am going to choose 'Pie In The Sky' as a fine slab of soul music from the great lady. The album features musical input from Bobby Lyle, Victor Feldman, Roland Bautista, Jim Gilstrap, Nathaniel Phillips, Harvey Mason, Augie Johnson, Ernie Watts with the album's production chores falling onto Wayne Hendersons shoulders! Highly recommended.
Asha Puthli's album came out on German CBS way back in 1976. This is such a strange album mainly penned by Asha along with Dieter Zimmerman and Dave Virgin King. This set is considered highly collectable for the rare groover 'Space Talk'. Asha's vocals are almost whispered over a very funky groove, which has featured on a compilation entitled 'Soul Souveniers' from a few years back. I noticed from the sleevenotes that Asha is backed, vocally, by our own Madeline Bell, who, in turn, was releasing some quality product from around the same time. Weird and wonderful.
Shirley Brown - For The Real Feeling / Intimate Storm
I was prompted by Leo Hallin in Sweden to include Shirley Brown's 'Intimate Storm' album on this page, so I thought why not go for a double!
'For The Real Feeling' comes from 1979 on Stax. The great thing about Shirley Brown's records are their consistency. Always something good on any of them. I would go for 'After A Night Like This' on this set. A finer example of soul music would be hard to find. 'Intimate Storm' arrived five years later on Sound Town Records. This album has five or six good reasons to part with your money. The track I am going to go for here is 'Use To Be Your House', effortlessly delivered by one of the finest voices in soul music.
Ike White - Changin' Times / Rufus - Street Player
Two very different albums here. One that I picked up a couple of years ago and one that I picked up a couple of decades ago and never really gave it the attention it deserved.
Ike White's LP is unusual in as much as it would appear that Ike was serving time at the California Department of Corrections in the Tehachapi State Prison at the time of recording! On L.A. International Records from 1976, this set has a real rare groove feel running throughout. Very much a live feel here with Ike's vocal chords not sounding to dis-similar to those of the excellent Bobby Caldwell. The track I am going to steer you towards is the fine 9 minute title track, which builds nicely from a slowish beginning to a mid tempo groove that compliments Ike's excellent vocal skills. Big thank you to Superintendant Jerry Enomoto for letting Ike out to record this gem. By the way, none other than Stevie Wonder wrote the sleeve notes on the cover.
Rufus's album is on ABC and was released back in 1978, which propbably accounts for the fact that it was, probably, overshadowed by John Travolta and his cronies! Chaka Khan has one of the finest voices in soul and jazz music and this album showcases her talents beautifully. The tracks that highlight here include the fine 'Stranger To Love' and 'Best Of Your Heart'. I am going to plump for 'Destiny', which was played on George Reid's excellent Fresh Air programme toward the end of last year, out of Scotland. A real 'feel good' dancer.......I am sure I can see Geri Halliwell in the background on the cover!! Nurse!!!!
Jeff Majors - Sacred 2000 / Be Be & Ce Ce Winans - Lord Lift Us Up
Two gospel outings here. Jeff Majors album is an odd one to add to a 'Been Missed' page, as the set only came out in March this year! You can guarantee that it will disappear without trace in the sea of 'robotic new R & B' that invades all of our households every day. This is an odd CD in as much as Jeff has managed to get MFSB out of mothballs and into the recording studio, ably assisted by producer, the legendary, Dexter Wansel. Now I am not going to kid you that I like all of this CD. I find some of the arrangements of some of the traditional material a bit difficult to digest, however, tucked away on this album is a 'tricky' self penned instrumental tune entitled 'Sonny's Prayer', that really does creep into your head. I recommend you take a listen here. It is just great to hear those strings again.
On the other hand, Be Be & Ce Ce Winans album (which may be their first recording, though I am not totally sure) hails from way back in 1984. I remember Richard Searling having this on one of his 'hard to find' lists and I bought my copy back then. This album came out on PTL Records and has the whole Winans clan pitching in. The musicians involved include Justo Almario, Abraham Laboriel and Alex Acuna, with the whole set arranged by the great Charles Veal. Track I am going to go for here is the flowing 'Worth The While', which, to these ears ranks as one of the duo's finest recordings. Great stuff.
Nu Soul Habits - Meant To Be / Thelma Jones - Thelma Jones
One from the late seventies and one from the mid nineties and both destined for obscurity. Nu Soul Habits CD came out on Motown in 1994 to an underwhelming reception. It did obtain a UK release, however, Motowns promotion team stalled at that point. This album is full of slow to mid tempo tunes sung ably by Tonye Hilmon and Eddie Towns Jnr, who don't fight the tunes but allow their voices to cruise effortlessly over the mellow backgrounds. Check out the beautiful 'Bring Your Loving Home' or the tender 'Where Could You Be?'. This reviewers favourite cut is the excellent 'Cross Your Heart' that is 4 minutes 46 seconds of pure soul bliss.
Thelma Jones album hit the streets in 1978. On Columbia, this album is sought after for the rare groove tune 'How Long' and also contains the preceding single 'Salty Tears'. Recorded in Mediasound Studio's in New York, the album boasted background vocals from the late Gwen Guthrie. Tucked away as the last track on side one is a real gem. Penned by the great Leon Ware 'I Can Dream' is a soul classic right out of the top drawer. What Thelma is up to these days is a mystery. By the way, the albums sleeve notes are written by journalist David Nathan, who's retail website links to Soulwalking.
Ron Banks - Truly Bad / O'Bryan - Doin' Alright
Two albums from the early eighties here. Ron Banks's album came out on CBS Records in 1983. Ron took an 'awayday' from his recording chores with the Dramatics to cut, what is now considered to be, a rare groove album. There are many reasons for searching this album down. Ron's version of 'Make It Easy On Yourself' is excellent, the dancer 'She's So Good To Me' is really well constructed, whilst I am going to go for 'This Love Is For Real' with its infectious chorus. Fine album.
O'Bryan was a real Eighties soul star. He cut four albums for Capitol Records between 1982 - 1986, before disappearing from recording to this date. This album, from 1982 on Capitol Records, is his first of the quartet and is highly sought after for the title track. O'Bryan Burnette II (to give him his full title) really pulled out all the stops here with his excellent version of the Four Tops's 'Still Water (Love)' as well as the fine moody title track. If you dig a little deeper into this set there lies a real hidden gem in the shape of 'It's Over'. A beautiful melody with a masterful piece of sax work by, The Crusaders, Wilton Felder. Worth looking out for, too, is his follow up set 'You & I', also on Capitol. That is full of quality, too. Where this artist is now and what he is doing is a mystery.
Deco - Fresh Idea / Otis & Shugg - Journey
The common denominator between these two records is that the albums were never officially released. Let me explain.
Firstly, the Deco album was recorded and completed, through to it's final packaging, and then withdrawn leaving a few cut-outs circulating at the time. The time was 1983 and Deco were Zane Giles and Phillip Ingram. The album was due for release on Quincy Jones's Qwest label and was produced by the great man additionally. The artistic input included the 'dynamic duo' of Patrice Rushen and Sheree Brown. Of the tracks that were on offer here, 'I'm So Glad I Met You' was popular amongst soul fans, however, I was busy hunting the set out for the excellent offering 'Delicious'. Really summery sound from a fine album that never saw the official light of day. Shame.
The Otis & Shugg story is equally as strange. This CD single, 'Journey', arrived on import in early 1998. The credits show that the guys were kind of 'protogees' of Tony Toni Tone. The single was produced by the excellent Raphael Saadiq and the cover promised an album entitled 'We Can Do Whatever' on Interscope Records No: INTD/C-90063. Well, you guessed it, the plug was pulled at the last moment on this one too, by Interscope. Why, I don't know, however, some taped copies of this excellent album did cross the water and I was lucky enough to have one sent to me by Expansion Records Ralph Tee.
Chuck Cissel - Just For You / If I Had The Chance
As with the previous 'been missed's' here are two albums by the same artist. The singer in question is Chuck Cissel, who, to the best of my knowledge, only cut these two Arista albums.
'Just For You' I bought on import when it arrived on these shores in 1979. The preceeding 12 inch single, 'Cisselin' Hot', was the 'bee's knees' on the dancefloor back in those days. A real stomper that sounds dated these days. What made this album such a great release was the production involvement of Skip Scarborough and Dave Crawford. They really gave this outing a feeling of 'freshness' that is epitomised by the dancer 'Don't Tell Me You're Sorry'. A great tune. The real cream cut for this punter has to be 'Do You Believe', which is set around mid-tempo and is part written by Art Wilson (check the audio on him at this site, excellent stuff). It is one of 'those' timeless pieces of soul music. Great album.
Three years down the line, and still with Arista, came 'If I Had The Chance'.....came and went that is! I guess that that 82 was a vinatge soul music year that certain albums just didn't cut it. This LP has it's moments but is not a patch on his first release, however, it would be folly to miss the excellent 'Love Is Missing From Our Lives'. A great piece of soul music that would have sat happily alongside any tune from the first album. Where Chuck is thesedays is a mystery. Shame.
G.C. Cameron - G.C. Cameron / You're What's Missing In My Life
Here are two albums (suggested by Leo Hallin in Sweden....thanks Leo) by the ex Motown Spinners vocalist, that hail from the mid seventies. 'G.C. Cameron' was issued on Motown in 1976. 'You're What's Missing In My Life' was released on the same label in 1977.
G.C. Cameron's album cover has an uncanny similarity to Marvin Gaye's 'I Want You'. I guess that, with the success of Marvin's set, Motown decided to repeat the formula. They even utilised the talents of T-Boy Ross (Diana's brother), as they did with Marvin's set, along with the songwriting skills of Leon Ware. This is a strong album that boasts input from the likes of Gwen Gordy, Leon Ware and Deniece Williams. Best track for me is G.C.'s self penned 'Strong Love'.
'You're What's Missing In My Life' followed the next year and is much sought after, for the title track, by soul punters. I must confess that it is this track that I would single out as a standout, however, ignore the rest of this set at your peril. 'Let's Run Away Together' is a fine soul dancer. 'I'll Be Your Servant' is a really nice stepper, sounding not too dissimilar to the Detroit Spinners and 'Nothing Sweeter Than Love' is a fine mover too. I can highly recommend these albums to any soul fan. G.C. has a fine soul voice.
GG - Garry Glenn / Smooth Sailing - Prince Gideon
The two things that each of these albums have in common is, sadly, that neither of these artists are with us anymore.
Garry Glenn was, perhaps, most fondly remembered for penning 'Caught Up In The Rapture' for Anita Baker. He released an album, 'Feels Good To Feel Good', on Motown a year later. This album is one that not many people are aware exists. On PPL from 1980, this set is, in this writers humble opinion, one classic album. There are many fine cuts that make this record highly collectable. Most people, who are searching for this LP, are after 'Got You On My Mind'. Real fine dancer it is, too, however, I am going to go for the excellent mid tempo 'Heaven Kind Of Love'. Really great tune. If you come across this LP, do buy it. Garry Glenn passed away from kidney failure on, 18th Sepetember 1991, after a long illness.
Prince Gideon's past history took him from the heart of the Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose to becoming 'Your Royal Majesty Prince Gideon'!. If you loved the Cornelius Brothers tunes from back in the day, you will go for this set. On Hangar 18 Records from 1990, the title track did get some airplay on the better soul stations and it is this track that I am going to go for here. Set at mid tempo, this is a really great summery sound and, if you can get your hands on a copy, you won't be dissapointed. Apparently, Prince Gideon was working on a comeback song to return to the pop field when he died on 7th November 1991.
Midnight Desire - Randy Brown / I Love You More And More - Tom Brock
Two albums by two great soul singers, here. Randy Brown's album came out on Chocolate City Records in 1980 and contains some of Randy's finest musical moments. Those who listened to Robbie Vincents Radio London soul shows, from back in the day, will remember the tour-de-force 'The Next Best Thing To Being There'. The album also contains 'We Ought To Be Doin' It'. Really well worth seeking out. I believe Randy died in 1993...any of you knowlegeable people have any more information regarding this sad event?
Tom Brocks album was produced by Barry White and it is the title track here that makes this album one to seek out. Would love to hear Marvin do a version of this track. Unfortunately, this has been lifted from the racks and hung on the walls in most of the second hand record stores. Consequently, that has a bearing on cost. Still worth the money though. A nice soul album. The album came out on 20th Century Records in 1974. Tom Brock, incidentally, wrote Gloria Scott's 'A Case Of Too Much Love Making'.
Karen Pree - Karen Pree / The Chi-Lites - Me & You
I picked up the Karen Pree album a few years ago and, I must confess, shelved it until recently. Happens sometimes, I guess. Very under-estimated vocalist is Karen. This set came out in 1977 on MCA. There are a few cover versions of tunes like Julie London's 'Cry Me A River' and the Gibb Brothers 'You Stepped Into My Life'. The track that does it for me here is the Clay McMurray penned 'I Just Enjoy Loving You'. Fine soul music.
The Chi-lites set is from 1982 and came out on their own Chi-Sound label. Always one of my favourite bands who have cut some 'classic' soul music and this set is up there with their best. You get a re-do of 'Oh Girl' here along with 'Me & You', 'Hot On A Thing Called Love' and the fabulous 'Try My Side Of Love'. The latter being just about my favourite track from the guys. There was a 12" remix of that track that came out at the time and was very tastefully constructed without losing the original tracks appeal.
Eloise Laws - Eloise Laws / Tommy Stewart - Tommy Stewart
Two albums here that are both 'self-titled'.
The Eloise Laws set hails from 1980 and is her second collaboration with the late Linda Creed. It came out on Liberty Records. Both of the Linda Creed produced albums are worth seeking out. The track I go for on this set is the excellent 'I'm Just Warming Up' with it's Detroit Spinners overtones. Eloise has a new CD out entitled 'The Key'. Excellent stuff it is, too.
Tommy Stewarts LP, you should know for the excellent 'Bump & Hustle Music'. Worth a pretty penny these days, however, the track is now appearing on some compilations, so it shouldn't be too hard to track down. Now where is my handbag.......!!!
Park Avenue Sound - Gloria Gaynor / Lawrence Hilton Jacobs - Lawrence Hilton Jacobs
Both sets hail from 1978 and represent some fine soul from that period.
What is strange about Gloria Gaynor's LP is that it was released at the height of 'DISCO'. Now most people, when they are asked 'who is the Queen Of Disco?' might say...Gloria Gaynor. 'I Will Survive' must go down as one of the worst records ever made. This album testifies that Gloria has a real soul side. Just listen to the track 'This Love Affair' and you will see exactly what I am talking about. Great track.
Lawrence Hilton Jacobs set came out on ABC and was produced by my favourite soul man, Lamont Dozier. Lawrence's voice is, actually, not too dis-similar to the great man. A strong set all the way through with Lamont on writing chores. I am going to go for the fine 'When We Can'. Great stuff.