Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Dixie Hummingbirds - Jesus Has Traveled This Road Before 1939-52

More from Cliff's Gospel Friend series gift.

Interestingly enough, even though I have an alleged 'complete' 1939-47 set of the Birds, there seems to be quite a bit here that I didn't have.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

This May Be My Last Time Singing, discs 1-3

This May Be My Last Time Singing,

"Despite provenance and proliferation on par with other vintage genres, gospel just doesn’t seem to garner the same degree of crate-digging diligence that other types of music foster in collectors. The disparity might have something to do with the one-note topicality of sacred songs: it’s only possible to praise God and Jesus verbally in finite different ways, and many revered gospel artists weren’t prone to experimentation outside of time-tested forms. There’s also the ambivalence or aversion of certain secular ears to such religious sentiments voiced in song. What’s harder to dismiss or refute is the passion and power that so often suffuses a gospel performance by artists wholly invested in the means of expression, whether in person or on record. These vessels of faith through song carry conviction that is both undeniable and largely indefinable on secular grounds. As my brother, an ordained Baptist minister, puts it, “you need not believe what they believe, but you best believe their belief in it.”

A companion compilation to Tompkins Square’s Fire in My Bones, This May Be My Last Time Singing both builds on and diverges from the parameters of its predecessor. Curator Mike McGonigal once again mined deep into his respective collections of records and associated ephemera, but switched gears a bit to focus on a narrower time frame with pieces culled from 45 RPM sides within a quarter-century time frame. In order to maximize the variety of content, he also set a rule to feature each artist or group just once in a track list that runs 72 deep. It’s a rule he bends only slightly in a single instance.

As with the small galaxy of labels excavated by The Numero Group within the realms of soul and funk, the outfits under McGonigal’s scrutiny were nearly all operations of mom and pop-scale. Larger established entities like Specialty, Nashboro and Chalice (Stax’s gospel subsidiary) signed popular national acts and garnered large market shares, while companies like Booker, Bible Days, Sterling Chapel and dozens of others worked the regional fringes. Local focus and financing meant latitude to record the commercially suspect, and the set’s selections bear this out in glorious profusion. Local churches or the artists themselves bankrolled many of the cuts with commercial aspirations secondary, if manifest at all.

Highlights are too numerous to recount at length, but the diversity of tracks goes a long way toward combating the aforementioned redundancy in lyrical content that can sometimes undermine gospel song craft. Electric guitar work by turns gorgeous and bracing abounds, beginning with the delicate preface to Sam Williams & the Harris Singers, “He Will Fix It.” Little more than a fragment, “Jesus Been Good” by The Fantastic Angels hitches a cherub-voiced choir to a bluesy groove laid out by crisp guitar and sparse syncopated drums. R. Jenkins and the Dayton Harmonaires sing praises over a wah-wah-juiced, boogaloo backbeat on “Put Your Hand in the Hand.” The Exciting Traveling Four traffic in the can’t-miss combination of oscillating rink organ and barber shop harmonies on its 1982 opus, “Oh Lord I Have No Friend.” Stacking tracks against each other makes for striking contrasts. Sounds of Soul opt for a percolating drum machine backdrop to its 1970 ode to the savior, “Perfect Like Angels,” while Jessie Lee Harris relies solely on piano and her sweetly serene voice to convey confidence in her savior’s care.

Numerous cuts reflect their age and the effects of avid use of previous owners. Recorded in 1980, Rev. George Oliver’s “I Got to Move to a Better Home” is in worse shape than a Son House Paramount 78, but made all the more affecting because of the washed out, crackle-laden fidelity. Similarly, Elder Robert McMurray’s gravel-voiced sermon, “Walk with God” repeatedly pushes back against an undulating wall of obfuscating sonic sludge.

It’s remarkable how many pieces echo potential counterparts in the blues, soul and doo-wop idioms. Rev. R. Henderson’s spare and repetitive guitar riff on “Stop Living on Me” could easily be the work of some grizzled Fat Possum resident of the past decade. Similarly, The Dedicators’ “So Many Have Fallen By the Wayside” and Brother Smith & His Stars of Harmony’s “God Don’t Take No Vacation” wouldn’t be out of place in rotation on a Southside Chicago soda shop jukebox. The quietly awesome sacred steel & washboard of the set’s penultimate track, Rev. Lonnie Farris’ “Jesus is Living Today,” travels yet another tributary.

The music speaks vociferously for itself, but McGonigal also includes a small fortune of edifying context through track-by-track annotations and photographs. There are even facsimiles of a handful of Sunday School pins from his personal collection. Say what you will about Greil Marcus and his dog-eared catch-phrase “Old Weird America,” but the appellation works just as well in encapsulating the odd and vibrant splendor of many of these sides, as well as the multiplicity of faith-rooted personalities behind them." By Derek Taylor

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Freddie King - Larger Than Life (1975)

This was a Freddie King release in 1975 by RSO Records incorporating some studio tracks, not included on the previous album 'Burglar' - posted earlier here - and some tasty live cuts ( featuring some fine sax blowing from David 'Fathead' Newman ).
As it was originally released on a UK label , produced by Mike Vernon, it may have been overlooked in the USA and elsewhere (as was 'Burglar' it seems). So I offer it here to the Chitlins crowd as I know Freddie is a favourite and a Blues legend...Enjoy.
Tracks  : 01 It's Better To Have ( And Don't Need )  02 You Can Run, But You Can't Hide 03 Woke Up This Morning 04 It's Your Move 05 Boogie Bump 06 Meet Me In The Morning 07 The Things I Used To Do 08 Ain't That I Don't Love You 09 Have You Ever Loved A Woman

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Ella Washington - He Called Me Baby

A repost by request: This originally came from PresLives and all thanks go to him.

The famous Nashville DJ John Richbourg (John R) had an exceptional ear for blues and R&B.  When he created his own Sound Stage 7 label, he brought a number of first rate singers to Muscle Shoals for the production of some classic Southern Soul.   With the exception of Joe Simon, none of these singers had much commercial success, which would appear to be due to the lack of promotion that Sound Stage 7 received outside of the local market.   An earlier post here was devoted to the unique Geater Davis.  We have here a CD collection from Soulscape Records that gathers together virtually all of the Sound Stage 7 recordings of the great soul diva, Ella Washington.  Ella was probably John R's single favorite artist at Sound Stage 7.  She sang at the latter's funeral in 1986.

Ella Washington was born and raised in Miami, Florida.  Her talents first came to the attention of local R&B artists Paul Kelly and Clarence Reid, who helped launch her recording career in the mid-1960s and secured her a few local hits.   She came to the attention of John R in 1967, who recorded her for Sound Stage 7 from 1967-1971.  "He Called Me Baby" brought her the greatest commercial success, making #38 on the National R&B chart and #77 on Billboard.   As you can hear from this collection, however, there are plenty of tracks here that could have been big hits if they had received the proper promotion.

In 1973, Ella Washington retired from secular music and became a gospel singer.   Since that time, she has released only one album, the quite good and obscure "If You Can Take It, You Can Make It."

Ella Washington has just about everything that you could want in a soul diva: a full and powerful voice, impeccable pitch, an ability to move from soft sexy croon to sanctified roar, and the taste to subordinate all of that to the
effective delivery of a song.   She also has a lisp that, in my opinion, actually adds a endearing personal quality to her singing.   Thank God that John R had the sense to take her to the Southern Soul heaven of Muscle Shoals to make this timeless music.  

Monday, June 15, 2015

Buddy Johnson At The Savoy Ballroom 1945 - 46

A fantastic radio broadcast ripped at 24/48 and transferred to FLAC.  Interesting... Dupree Bolton is in the band.  Enjoy!!!

Alto-Sax – Joe O'Laughton
Baritone-Sax – Teddy Conyers
Bass – Leon Spann
Drums – Teddy Stewart
Guitar – Jerome Darr
Piano – Buddy Johnson
Tenor-Sax – Dave van Dyke, Jimmy Stamford
Trombone – Bernard Archer, Gordon Thomas, Leonard Briggs
Trumpet – Dupree Bolton, Frank Brown, John Wilson, Willis Nelson
Vocals – Arthur Prysock
Vovals – Ella Johnson

A1 (Theme) Wlak'em - Opus #2
A2 Since I Fell For You
A3 St. Louis Blues
A4 Waitin' For The Train To Come In
A5 Night Shift
A6 Jodi
B1 One O'Clock Boogie
B2 The Other Side Of The Rainbow
B3 Exactly Like You
B4 One For A Nickel
B5 Gee, It's Good To Hold You
B6 In There
B7 Traffic Jam
B8 (Theme) If You Never Return

Jazz Archives JA-25

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Clara Ward and the Ward Singers - I Feel the Holy Spirit

Good Morning my dear friends and welcome to another Sunday Morning Gospel hour brought to you by the Reverend  Clifford, with your host, Deacon KC. This morning we have a particularly special service from the great Clara Ward and the Ward Singers. 
(this is the third of the Gospel Friend series distributed by Bear Family.)

"Clara Ward (April 21, 1924 – January 16, 1973) was an American gospel artist who achieved great artistic and commercial success in the 1940s and 1950s, as leader of The Famous Ward Singers.

A gifted singer and arranger, Ward adopted the lead-switching style, previously used primarily by male gospel quartets, creating opportunities for spontaneous improvisation and vamping by each member of the group, while giving virtuoso singers such as Marion Williams the opportunity to perform the lead vocal in songs such as "Surely, God Is Able" (among the first million-selling gospel hits), "How I Got Over" (composed by Williams, and one of the most famous songs in the Black gospel repertoire), and "Packin' Up"."

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Walter Wolfman Washington - Leader Of The Pack

I was searching a Russian torrent site the other night and came upon this rareity by accident. To tell you the truth, I don't recall this album at all and Walter has been a friend for a long time! All the previous Hep-Me material that I've heard came from the singles collected on that "Best of New Orleans R&B" series with the really bright covers. This album packages the first 8 of those 11 tracks into a miraculously more cohesive whole than I ever recall that CD being. I know that I have that disc - gonna have to revisit it.

In the mean time I have already loaded this up even tho I now realize that I already had it differently packaged. Walter's guitar is killin' and the horns are terrific. Hell yeah!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Tony Owens - I Got Soul

A repost by request: I first heard of Tony Owens in a book on New Orleans R&B by Jeff Hannusch. Hannusch had mentioned that Owens was now a carriage driver over by Jackson Square, but the picture used in the book was so bad it was impossible to tell what he looked like. Eventually, I found the 45 that is in my jukebox post and I took down to the square to see if I could meet him. It took several tries but eventually I did meet him and in the course of chatting he told me about this disc. It was a bitch to find and of course there was no cheap copy anywhere, but eventually I managed to find one within reason. One of these days I'll get Tony to autograph it.

"Tony Owens has been singing professionally for over 35 years. He started singing as a child in a little Baptist church in an old New Orleans neighborhood called Zion City.

Tony recorded a smash hit song in the 1970s titled "Confessing a Feeling" that skyrocketed in the national R&B charts. He now has a CD on the market on the London-based Grapevine record label, titled I Got Soul. (Now out of print) Commenting on his singing style, Tony says, "If I can touch someone's heart in some way, if I could bring back a pleasant memory, if I could make someone smile, if I could open someone's eyes with a song, then I believe God would smile upon me, and that is how I measure my personal success! I want people to say 'When you hear Tony sing, you don't just hear him, you feel him.'"

Motel Lover 4 - Drama and Sitations

There has been some pressure to create a Volume 4 to this series inspired by the original CD, and so, with considerable assistance from Uncle Clifford, here it is. The theme for this one is Drama & Situations. No slick studio-created voices here, no matter what the other production short comings may be, THESE ARE SINGERS! Here is at least one answer to the question where are the great singers these days.

 Once again you may wish to exercise some caution in where and for whom you play this. 

 Artists include: Stan Mosley, OB Buchana, Karen Wolfe, Nellie 'Tiger' Travis, Toni Green, Sheeba PottsWright, Mr. Sam, Vic Allen, Bobbye 'Doll' Johnson and Omar Cunningham.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Aretha Franklin - One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism

Here's a nice treat for a blessed Sunday at Chitlins.  I found this double LP in near mint condition at a local thrift - for a buck!!  I knew right away that it would be destined for this place.

Overall it's an excellent album but let's establish something... this record is a straight up church service.  Anybody lookin for an Aretha studio album should probably move on.  Her voice is certainly a large presence on here, but it's one of a few including Mavis Staples, her sister Erma & the good Rev. Jesse Jackson.  There is a longer list of characters infact, should you choose to listen.

It plays like a service would - preaching with song in between.  Jesse Jackson is given a full 10 minutes on side three, opening and getting things moving.  There are no boring or slow moments and the music is all fantastic.  I want to point out that the song "Higher Ground" begins at the end of side 3, and finishes at the end of side 4.  I blended them together as best I could and tagged them as one track.  You will hear a brief fade out and in during the song.  Aside from that, this transfer turned out really nicely at 24/48 FLAC... enjoy!!!
Fifteen years after Amazing Grace, her groundbreaking gospel record, Aretha Franklin returned to the church yet again, and though the results couldn't top the wall-to-wall power and spirit found on her first, the double-album One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, it's still a worthy document of what the church meant to her. The roster of invited guests was enough to get gospel fans excited, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Jasper Williams, and Rev. C.L. Franklin (her brother, who delivered the invocation), plus Mavis Staples, Joe Ligon (from the Mighty Clouds of Joy), and her sisters, Carol and Erma. Slotted next to sanctified standards like "Surely God Is Able" and "The Lord's Prayer," were several great selections from the pop repertoire, including a scorching version of "Higher Ground."Staples stops by for an ebullient run through the latter-day standard "Oh Happy Day," and the performance closes with a touching finale, "Packing Up, Getting Ready to Go," featuring Staples and Ligon, plus Carol and Erma Franklin. - John Bush / AMG
Arista ‎– AL-8497
Recorded at the New Bethel Baptist Church, 8430C 1 Franklin Blvd., Detroit, Michigan
July 27, 28, 30, 1987

A1 Walk In The Light 4:00
A2 Prayer Invocation By Rev. Cecil Franklin 5:44
A3 Introduction Of Aretha And The Franklin Sisters By Rev. Jesse Jackson 0:37
A4 Jesus Hears Every Prayer 5:16
A5 Surely God Is Able 6:01
B1 The Lord's Prayer 5:05
B2 Introduction Of Aretha And Mavis Staples By Rev. Jesse Jackson 3:22

B3 Oh Happy Day 6:09
B4 We Need Power 6:30
C1 Speech By Rev. Jesse Jackson 9:57
C2 Ave Maria 6:48
C3 Introduction To Higher Ground By Rev. Jaspar Williams 4:10
C4 Higher Ground 1:07
D1 Higher Ground (Continued) 2:04
D2 Prayer Invocation By Rev. Donald Parsons 7:29
D3 I've Been In The Storm Too Long 7:55
D4 Packing Up, Getting Ready To Go 5:34

Arranged By [Music And Choir] – Minister Thomas A. Whitfield
Bass – Lanar Brantley (tracks: A1, A4, A5, B1, B3, B4, C4, D3, D4)
Conductor [Choir] – Michael E. Fletcher
Guitar – Michael Wright (tracks: A1, A4, A5, B1, B3, B4, C4, D3, D4)
Organ – Earl J. Wright, Jr. (tracks: A1, A3, A4, B1, B3, B4, D3, D4)
Percussion – Dana Davis (tracks: A1, A4, A5, B1, B3, B4, C4, D3, D4)
Piano – Nick Johnson (tracks: A4, A5, B3, B4, C4,, D4, D5), Thomas A. Whitfield (tracks: A1, C2, C3)
Producer, Vocals – Aretha Franklin

J. Earle Hines - Jesus Steps Right In

Part 2 of 10 in the Gospel Friend Series.

"...gospel historian Anthony Heilbut once labeled Prof Hines the first bona fide gospel superstar. In the liner notes to the various artists album 'The Great Gospel Men' Heilbut wrote of the singer and choir director, "When he performed, audiences could not contain themselves. Men and women ran into each other, people fell out of balconies. Ambulances were summoned; overwrought ecstatics collapsed. Male quartets began scuffling, trying to get similar responses. After such frenetic showmen as Hines or Brother Joe May, it became clear that gospel involved more than singing. If you didn't move the people out of their seats, into the aisles and - ideally - leave them flat on their backs, you had not scored."... more

Friday, June 5, 2015

Mel Waiters Memorial, Part 2

 Having seen him twice in the past year or so, I must say that I'll miss Mel's yearly visit to New Orleans, he was a fine showman and had many enthusiastic fans here in the Crescent City. Cliff even saw him at a private party here and, of course, got to meet him and chat for a bit. A gracious and witty gentleman by Cliff's report.

Rest in Peace Brother Mel.

Classic Chitlin Circuit Soul

Monday, June 1, 2015

Reverend James Cleveland - Hallelujah: Hob Recordings

Following up on KCs great recent and other posts of the music of Rev. James Cleveland, I decided to share this one.  KC has shared some great recordings, but I don't believe that these yet include the sides that the Reverend made for Hob records in 1959-1960.  So here is something like a greatest hits collection from that ball of wax.  I don't believe that much else, if anything, from Cleveland on Hob made it to CD, at least outside of Japan. 

The subtitle of this CD is "A Collection of His Finest Recordings."   While Music Club likes to use that moniker for all of their CDs :), this time there may be something to the claim.  Cleveland made so many great classic recordings that it is difficult to argue that one particular set is the finest.   But I tend to think that these Hob recordings are at least among the finest.  Cleveland is in brilliant vocal form, the songs and good, and so is the production.   So there is nothing to complain about here, except maybe the sound quality, which is not as good as KCs most recent post of the 70s Savoy material.  So you might not want to crank up your stereo quite as high when you listen to this one. :)


Mel Waiters Memorial pt 1

 Soul and rhythm and blues singer Mel Waiters has died at the age of 58.

A longtime performer on the famed Mississippi recording label Malaco Records, Waiters died early Thursday after a short battle with cancer, his booking agent's office confirmed.

Waiters was popular for years on the blues festival and touring circuit across the south, thanks in part to his soulful party songs like "Hole In The Wall" and "The Smaller The Club".

Waiters was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, where he honed is voice in both the church choir and in nightclubs beginning in the early 1970s. Before his recording career, he worked as a radio DJ and as an entertainer on military bases.

He is survived by his wife, Portia, and a daughter, Brittney.

Waiters joined southern soul blues artists such as Marvin Sease, Denise LaSalle and Willie Clayton on the Jackson based Malaco recording label. The quartet often performed often on blues cruises, on package tours and at festivals together.

He performed many times on the Mississippi Gulf Coast as part of the Gulf Coast Blues Festival as well at other events nearby including The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, The Big Easy Blues Fest and the Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival delighting the crowd with other fan favorites such as "Hit It and Quit It" and "Got My Whiskey." His most recent album was February's "True Love," on his own Brittney Records label.

He is survived by his wife, Portia, and a daughter, Brittney.