Monday, December 30, 2013

Freddie King - Is A Blues Master & My Feeling For The Blues

Here is a continuation of my chronological Freddie King posts - 'Freddy' has now become 'Freddie' and he is with a more contemporary and hipper crowd than with his previous musical partners at King/Federal...for which his real fame is mostly based  - Signed to the Atlantic/Cotillion label, his 2 albums for this revered company contain some of the greats of the day .

On 'Freddie King Is A Blues Master' (1969) we have :
Billy Butler-gtr, Joe Newman, Melvin Lastie & Martin Banks-tpt, KIng Curtis, David Newman & Willie Bridges-sax, James Booker & Gary Illingworth-keys, Jerry Jemmott-bs, Norman Pride-drms.

On 'My Feeling For The Blues' (1970) we have :
George Coleman, Frank Wess, KIng Curtis, Trevor Lawrence & Willie Bridges-sax, Ernie Royal & Martin Banks-tpt, George Stubbs-pno, Cornell Dupree-gtr, Jerry Jemmott-bs, Kenneth Rice-drms, Hugh McCracken-hmca.

2 great electric blues albums where Freddie includes some fine covers, some updated classics and some new compositions.
I have played these  albums many, many times and still love everything about them ...It's your lucky day are both recordings with full scans ...Enjoy

And...Happy new year to y'all ! ...Cheers

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Overdose Of The Holy Ghost

Gospel music has often followed the prominent trends in secular music, probably in the hope of widening its audience by giving the subject matter a sprinkling of cool. In the 60s it happened with R&B and then funk-flavoured gospel, the 70s brought sweet-soul crossovers, and by 1975 the sounds of early disco had started to permeate the genre. This compilation brings together overlooked gospel gems that have their production rooted in disco and boogie, the sound of the early 80s that followed in disco’s wake. It’s only recently that this music has begun to be appreciated by fans outside of its original target market, and I’m glad to help it finally reach a wider audience.” David Hill

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Relatives - The Electric Word (2013)

As this posts I am actually on my way to the airport and yet here is your second to last Gospel morning for 2013. Enjoy your holidays dear brothers and sisters.

" Are you ready for the resurrection? In the 1970s the West brothers of Dallas formed the Relatives, a Staple Singers-style gospel-funk group who enjoyed modest success before their 1980 dissolution. The few singles they cut became cult items and led to their reformation and this surprising album. Produced by Spoon's Jim Eno, its 37 minutes crackle with conviction, mixing gospel vocals with tough funk rhythms and psych-rock guitar. Bad Trip and Let Your Light Shine recall Ball of Confusion-era Temptations, while the slow Speak to Me (What's Wrong With America?) still resonates after 40 years' hibernation. A welcome time warp."

Parliment Funkadelic meets The Soul Stirrers! 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Garnet Mimms & The Enchanters - Cry Baby

It seemed like there was some interest in my bringing this early post back to the front.

"Mimms grew up in Philadelphia, where he sang in gospel music groups such as the Evening Stars, the Harmonizing Four, and the group with which he would record his first record in 1953, the Norfolk Four. He returned to Philadelphia after serving in the military and formed doo-wop group, the Gainors in 1958.

In 1961, Mimms and Sam Bell from the Gainors left to form a new group, Garnet Mimms and the Enchanters, with Zola Pearnell and Charles Boyer. The group moved to New York and began to work with the songwriter and record producer, Bert Berns. Berns signed them to the United Artists label and wrote the hit, "Cry Baby" for them with songwriting partner, Jerry Ragovoy. The song topped the R&B chart and went to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1963. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.

Mimms and the group had a follow-up double sided hit, "For Your Precious Love" and "Baby Don't You Weep", both tracks entering the Billboard Top 30, before he went solo in 1964. In 1966, Berns and Ragavoy produced another big hit for Mimms, "I'll Take Good Care Of You", which climbed to #15 in the R&B chart and #30 in the Hot 100. He worked with Jimi Hendrix in the UK the following year. He did some recording on the MGM and Verve labels. In 1969, Led Zeppelin performed an extended version of Mimms' "As Long As I have You" at various stops on their U.S tour.

In the 1970s, he released a few funk songs as Garnet Mimms and the Truckin' Co. He had his only hit in the United Kingdom at this time, when "What It Is" reached number 44 for one week on the UK Singles Chart in June 1977.

Mimms was given a Pioneer Award in 1999 by the Rhythm and Blues Foundation.

In the 1980s, Garnet found his calling ministering to lost souls in prison, but in 2007, returned to recording and a year later, released a new gospel album Is Anybody Out There? on the Evidence label, produced and (primarily) written by Jon Tiven."

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Ain't Gonna Settle Down; The Pioneering Blues of Mary Stafford & Edith Wilson

"Ain't Gonna Settle Down" features all 14 recordings made by the obscure but remarkable cabaret star Mary Stafford in 1921 and 1926 and 32 selections by Louisville-born Edith Wilson, covering her entire released repertoire from 1921 to 1930. A handsomely illustrated 32-page booklet with notes by blues scholar Steve Tracy accompanies the two CDs. As usual, remastering and design come from Grammy-winning production team of Richard Martin and Meagan Hennessey. These records have never sounded better, and for the first time they are presented with the care they deserve."
(read more)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Get On Board Little Children

Our Sunday Gospel moment - sorry to have missed church last week. KC

1.  Smith Jubilee Singers / Just A Little Talk With Jesus (2:10)
2. Rev. Louis Narcisse / Why Should I Worry (2:48)
3. Lillian Holmes & Madam Wesley Mae Walker / Jesus Said If You Go (2:38)
4. Four Star Quartet / In My Savior's Care (2:44)
5. Prof. James Earle Hines & His Goodwill Singers / Heavenly Highway (2:59)
6. Echoes Of Zion / Those Chiming Bells (2:33)
7. Swanee River Quartet / The Sun Will Never Go Down (2:57)
8. Smith Jubilee Singers , Dig A Little Deeper
9. Echoes Of Zion , I Took My Masters Hand
10. Prof. James Earle Hines & His Goodwill Singers , God Rode In The Windstorm
11. Swanee River Quartet , Take Your Burdens To The Lord
12. The Harmonizers , I John Saw
13. Echoes Of Zion , King Jesus Is Listening
14. Madam Ira Mae Littlejohn , I Wanna See Jesus
15. Prof. James Earle Hines & His Goodwill Singers , Daniel
16. Echoes Of Zion , I'll Rest After Awhile
17. Smith Jubilee Singers , Lord Remember Me
18. Swanee River Quartet , On The Battlefield For The Lord
19. Rev. G. W. Killens , Father, I Stretch My Arms To Thee
20. Rev. C. C. Chapman & The Faith Temple Choir - On My Way (Part 1)
21. Rev. C. C. Chapman & The Faith Temple Choir - On My Way (Part 2)
22. James Earle & His Goodwill Singers , Get On Board Little Children
23. Echoes Of Zion , Climbing Jacob's Ladder
24. Madam Ira Mae Littlejohn , Go Devil Go
25. The Harmonizers , Satisfied
26. Four Star Quartet , Steal Away To Jesus
27. Swanee River Quartet , Brother Noah
28. Echoes Of Zion , A Charge To Keep I Have

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Take Me To The River

 This is for those who enjoy compilations - if you've been hanging out here you have the majority of this material already - that said it is REALLY well well selected and makes for a very enjoyable listen.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Clarence Carter - The Fame Singles, Volume 2 1970-73

 Have you ever seen a self professed 'fat old white guy' with a big grey beard look like a 5 year old on Christmas? That was Cliff when Kent finally came up with volume 2 of the Clarence Carter singles. I had listened to tales of Carter's version of Sixty Minute Man more than once in the previous year and it was guaranteed to be on this set (it is). Not every volume 2 is worthy as we all know, but this one stands up to the high standards established by volume 1. "The second volume of Clarence Carter’s Fame singles opens with his biggest worldwide hit. A cover of a Chairman Of The Board album track, ‘Patches’ is a song that could be considered a corny attempt to capture the heartstrings. In fact Clarence initially refused to record it. He regarded a song about rural poverty as a slight upon his people, while producer Rick Hall thought it could apply equally to black and white Americans. Hall won, and the record climbed into the Top 10 of the pop charts on both sides of the Atlantic.

The first part of this compilation sees the search for another hit of similar magnitude lead Clarence further away from his black southern audience. Over the previous four years he had progressed from a promising newcomer with gritty masterpieces such as ‘Tell Daddy’ and ‘Looking For A Fox’ to a million-selling hit-maker with ‘Slip Away’ and ‘Too Weak To Fight’, all cut for Fame and released on Atlantic Records. A string of Top 10 R&B hits made him one ofAtlantic’s most successful soul artists.

After ‘Patches’, his next couple of singles looked to replicate the story-telling framework. ‘It’s All In Your Mind’ and ‘The Court Room’ were nothing short of excellent, but the public didn’t take to them. With Fame’s relationship with Atlantic not as warm as it had been, Clarence’s singles started to under-perform, to the point where his duet with his wife Candi Staton didn’t even chart. His records were subsequently released on Fame via their new deal with United Artists and began to reappear in the higher reaches of the R&B chart.

This CD features the A and B-sides of the 11 singles scheduled for release by Clarence until the end of 1973, including many tracks that have never been reissued on CD before. It is a fantastic selection of classic southern soul, highlighting one of the greatest talents and biggest stars to have recorded for Rick Hall’s venerated Fame label."

By Dean Rudland

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Garnet Mimms - Is Anybody Out There?

At 75, Garnet Mimms is singing better than ever. The proof is all over Is Anybody Out There?, produced and arranged by Nashville's Jon Tiven. Tiven wrote or co-wrote 13 of the album's 15 tunes. He recorded the set in his home studio with wife Sally Tiven on bass, pianist Mark Jordan, and a host of drummers, including Chester Thompson. For his part, Tiven played guitar, saxophones, sitar, and harmonica. Jonell Mosser, Wayne Jackson, choirmaster Shake Anderson, Greg Morrow, Billy Block, Patti Russo, Felix Cavaliere, Buddy Miller, Little Milton Campbell, and P.F. Sloan all guest. But the real story is Mimms. The material is all retro soul-gospel and leaves his previous solo gospel outing in the dust. His calling these days is one of a preacher who counsels prisoners, and in the grain of his beautiful voice is the world-weariness of a man who has traveled many of life's roads but whose hope is unvanquished; in fact, it's firmly intact. Tiven is clearly not interested in having Mimms sound like a museum piece. He goes to great lengths to place his voice in songs that are deeply rooted in Southern soul, blues, and gospel. That said, sometimes it feels like his production goes to extremes. While there are no samplers or drum loops, playing near baroque sitar on some of the album's best songs -- like "Let Your Love Rain" -- can initially be a jarring experience, where it feels as if an alien presence has invaded the recording. Thankfully, Mimms' voice brings the listener right back and shows that everything is basically where it should be.

This doesn't feel like a retro record because Tiven's ideas about how to make soul records have changed substantially since he worked with the late Wilson Pickett. There are times when he feels as if he's channeling T Bone Burnett and Jeff Lynne simultaneously, but there is enough grit in his studio sound to shake any perceived excesses. Mimms responds, and that's all that matters. Listen to his voice on "Sweet Silence," where he hits every note, accentuating the drama in its narrative, and reflects on what is essential in gospel music: the sense of joy and gratitude, of worship that is rooted in the soil and dust but aspires to the glory of heaven. Check the scorching funky blues riffing in the title track and the way Mimms scales the wall of noise to express the tension in the narrative. This is a modern psalm in a time of trouble, and Mimms is the modern day David whose heart is heavy but holding close to the rock of his faith. In "On Top of This Mountain," Mimms gets into a wildly expressive upper register atop a veritable wall of backing voices and reverbed guitars and percussion. It's a hymn but it's also a proclamation of strength, grace, and devotion that knows the very heart of what he's singing about. The funky horns in "Love Is the Reason," which follows it, portrays Mimms effortlessly reaching deep into his belly to let that aforementioned joy become a question, one that only each individual listener can answer. With Is Anybody Out There?, Reverend Mimms, aided by Tiven and his coconspirators, has offered up one of the great surprises of 2008, an album so skillfully wrought and deeply expressive that it cannot help to inspire nearly otherworldly emotions in the listener.
Thom Jurek

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

VOLUME 2!!! The Sound Of The City: A Musical Narrative

Art Neville - The Specialty Recordings

As a founding member of the Meters and Neville Brothers, New Orleans vocalist and keyboardist Art Neville helped immeasurably to shape the contemporary New Orleans funk sound. Neville's first band, the Hawketts, tasted local success in 1954 with the carnival perennial "Mardi Gras Mambo" on Chess. He cut some nice solo singles for Specialty during the late '50s, notably "Cha Dooky-Doo," as well as contributing two choruses of storming piano to Jerry Byrne's 1958 classic "Lights Out." "All These Things," a gentle ballad, also did well locally in 1962 on the Instant logo. He assembled the Meters in the mid-'60s and the instrumental quartet proved the Crescent City's answer to the MG's until their 1977 breakup. That's when Art and his siblings formed the Neville Brothers, who went on to reign as the leading musical export from New Orleans.

Remembering Willie Tee 3 - Anticipation and Brothers for Life

Anticipation (1976) was the album Willie considered his masterwork, the full LP at United Artists that was sure to hit, it didn't. With the Gaturs supplemented by fabulous musicians like David T Walker, Lee Ritenour and Julis Farmer just to name a few, and Skip Drinkwater production, the project was clearly targeted to be mainstream. I think it is a pretty strong album, but it just never caught the public ear.

The second album here is a jazz project with brother Earl Turbinton from 1988. Willie plays some really serious piano on this date. Astral Project's Jim Singleton is on bass. 

"Alto saxophonist Earl Turbinton and keyboardist Willie Tee moved into more adventurous territory than usual on this 1988 date. While each was an experienced blues and R&B stylist, they had also maintained active jazz ties since the '50s, although they'd only shown it in New Orleans clubs. They cut loose often here, notably on the rousing "Neferdoris" and first-rate cover of Thelonious Monk's "Think of One." Turbinton's sassy, fiery alto and Tee's lowdown, wide-ranging, expressive piano solos are the highlight, while bassist James Singleton, drummer David Lee, Jr., and percussionist Curtis Pierre add vital support and color, as does guest pianist Wess Anderson on "Think of One" and "Neferdoris." ~ Ron Wynn, All Music Guide

I guess we will have to assume that Mr. Wynn can't tell the difference between a soprano sax and an alto.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Clarence Carter - The Early Fame Singles 1966-70

Now you may ask yourself 'why is he re-posting this?' - Well for two reasons: A) This one is in FLAC with cover scans (finally got around to it) and B) It is a prelude because my friends Volume 2 has finally been released! Oooo Yeah!

"Born in Montgomery, Alabama on January 14, 1936, Carter attended the Alabama School for the Blind in Talladega, Alabama, and Alabama State College in Montgomery, graduating in August 1960 with a Bachelor of Science degree in music. His professional music career began with friend Calvin Scott, signing to the Fairlane Records label to release "I Wanna Dance But I Don't Know How" the following year. After the 1962 release of "I Don't Know (School Girl)," Carter and Scott left Fairlane Records for Duke Records, renaming themselves the CL Boys for their label debut, Hey. In all, the duo cut four Duke singles, none of them generating more than a shrug at radio.

In 1965, they traveled to Rick Hall's FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals to record "Step by Step" and its flip side, "Rooster Knees and Rice." Atlantic Records took notice and released "Step by Step" on its Atco Records subsidiary, but it flopped. Carter continued as a solo act, signing to the Fame Records label for 1967's Tell Daddy. Several more solid singles followed, until Carter released "Slip Away," which hit number 6 on the Pop Charts. "Too Weak to Fight" hit number 13. Several more soul singles followed, like "Snatching It Back," "Making Love (At the Dark End of the Street)", "The Feeling Is Right," "Doing Our Thing" and "Patches." "Patches" (first recorded by Chairmen of the Board) was a UK number 2 and a U.S. number 4 in 1970, and won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Song in 1971. This disc sold over one million copies, and received a gold disc awarded by the R.I.A.A. in September 1970, just two months after its release. Following "Slip Away" and "Too Weak to Fight", it was Carter's third million-seller.

With the advent of disco in the mid 1970s, Carter's career suffered, before he found a new audience with songs such as "Strokin'" and "Dr. C.C." in the 1980s and 1990s, which appealed (and still appeal) to a primarily African-American working-class audience that was also interested in contemporary blues and soul artists such as Denise LaSalle, Bobby Rush, Marvin Sease and Sir Charles Jones. "Strokin'" was given great acclaim when it was used in the Eddie Murphy film The Nutty Professor. Carter's strong soul sound also found an audience within the then-nascent hip-hop community. Most notably, the horn break from Carter's song "Back Door Santa", is sampled in the Run-D.M.C. Christmas song "Christmas in Hollis"

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Remembering Willie Tee, Part II - The Gaturs Meet The Wild Magnolias

Bo Dollis
Either the Gaturs started out as The New Orleans Project or they were also known under that name, I've never been sure which. In 1971 the band hooked up with Big Chief Bo Dollis' Wild Magnolias to craft a new music together; a stunning blend of New Orleans funk and Mardi Gras Indian music that had never before been heard (remember that this is 5 years before the Meters/Nevilles team up with the Wild Tchapitoulas). Not only do these albums precede the Tchapitoulas album, they are, IMO, FAR superior. As much as I adore the Meters, this was a deeper, greasier funk groove than even my boys could manage; I think primarily due to the wonderful sax of brother Earl Turbinton, the twin miracles of Snooks Eaglin on guitar and Ervin Charles on bass (a man even George Porter looked up to) and of course the phenomenal vocals of Big Chief Bo Dollis. I swear there were nights when Bo would holler his "Heee Yaaaa!" to begin Hand Wanda and he would peel the last of the paint off the walls of the old Donna's on Rampart street.

It was Jazz Fest's Quint Davis who was at least partly responsible for this marriage and the beginnings of moving the Wild Magnolias from being just another tribe to being a professional music act. For me these two records are in my desert island picks, I just could not imagine being without them. The second album (1974) has my favorite Mardi Gras tune ever to this day, the Willie Tee penned 'New Suit'. The tendency is to focus on the powerhouse vocals and the whole 'different' nature of what is going on here, but you shouldn't lose site of the fact that they are inventing a genre that we take for granted now, 40 years down the road - the truth is even today it has never been done better.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Gospel Truth - The Gospel Soul And Funk Of Stax Records

A stellar batch of smoldering gospel soul and good word funk – long under-appreciated material released in the early-to-mid 70s on the Truth & Gospel Truth labels, imprints of the mighty Stax Records! The sound is often early 70s Memphis soul & funk to the bone – a few strings bring some soaring moments, but the groove is nice and gritty – with the gospel coming from the heart & soul of the singers. The set features a couple of numbers from The Staple Singers released on Stax proper back in the day, plus lesser known and equally great numbers from Clarence Smith, The Marion Gaines Singers, The Rance Allen Group, The Sons Of Truth, Joshie Jo Armstead, Louise McCord and many more released on Truth & Gospel Truth in the first half of the 70s. Titles include "Son Of The Deacon" by The Sons Of Truth, "Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child" by Clarence Smith, "(There's Gonna Be A) Showdown" by Rance Allen Group, "You Can't Stop Me Now" by The Marion Gaines Singers, "it Will Soon Be Over" by The Marion Gaines Singers, "Stumbling Blocks, Steppin' Stones (What Took Me So Long)" by Joshie Jo Armstead, "Brand New Day" and "Name The Missing Word" by The Staple Singers and more.

Diunna Greenleaf - Crazy But Live in Houston

Well, what do you know?   My Nigerian server was showing unusual speed this morning.  So I tried to upload one of the albums to Zippyshare that I have been trying to post recently...finally with success!

Given the level of enthusiasm about Marva Wright here at Chitlins, I had the idea for a series of posts on other powerhouse blues divas who are still with us and active.   I would like to start with Diunna Greenleaf,  an amazingly powerful singer from Houston, Texas.

Diunna Greenleaf is still in her 40s, making her somewhat of a youngster among old school blues/soul singers.  As you will hear, however, Ms. Greenleaf embodies blues/gospel sensibilities that would make you think that she is from an older generation.   She is also a scholar of the blues who is acutely aware of the history of the music.  She even served for a while as the President of the Houston Blues Society.  

I heard Diunna for the first time live a few years ago.  I was blown away and amazed that I could have been unaware of her up until that time.   I bought this self-produced and released CD from her at the concert.  At that time, it was still her only recording.  She has since released two other records.  I would say that none of her recordings yet capture just how good Diunna can be live.  In fact, there are a few posts from her concerts on Youtube that may be the definitive record of her art so far.  But this is nevertheless an excellent recording, and, in my opinion, still far and away her best record.    It is also the most difficult of her records to track down.   So it certainly deserves a post here. 
Diunna has a very good band, Blue Mercy, that features Albert King Award winning guitarist John Richardson.  Richardson fills out this record with a barrage of tasteful licks.   As opposed to Diunna's studio recordings, there are few original compositions on this album.  But there are some complete re-workings of blues/soul classics that are as every bit as refreshing as would be good original songs.  Together with a few blues chestnuts are some songs not commonly covered on the Circuit.  I guarantee you that this is the bluesiest version of Sly Stone's If you Want Me to Stay that you will ever hear. 

All in all, this is quite a satisfying record.   Most importantly, make sure not to miss Diunna when she comes to your town.  Her live shows can be nothing less than transcendent.  This album only hints at what she is capable of.  The best on wax is yet to come.