Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Hi Records Presents Bobby McClure & Willie Clayton

So when you think Hi Records, the names Al Green, Ann Peebles and maybe Willie Mitchell are the best known. Those who dug a little deeper know Syl Johnson, Otis Clay and, of course, the great O.V. Wright. Ya gotta dig even deeper to come to these two guys, but the work is worth it. No hits here but there surely could have been, the music is plenty good enough.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Rare & Unreleased Recordings From The Golden Reign Of The Queen Of Soul

Okay my friends, we are talking Aretha in her prime here so when they say Rare & Unreleased Recordings From The Golden Reign Of The Queen Of Soul I'm on board!

These two discs are exactly as Rhino advertised; a wonderful look into demos and outtakes and forgotten B sides that is an amazing intimate window into the 'sweet spot' of Queen Aretha's mighty career. The first disc opens with some charming solo demos and it just gets better from there!

There are outtakes very different from the releases that are really fascinating, alternate takes, B sides, different mixes...for a fan it is an amazing look into Aretha during the 60's and 70's.

This is the last post using Embedupload, they are causing too many people problems; I'll use zippy and  Mega for now.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Andrew Brown - Big Brown's Blues

Andrew Brown


"Harvey, Illinois is a quiet Chicago suburb, with modest homes and tree-lined streets. It’s a far cry from the battered urban landscape of the South and West Side ghettos, and it seems an unlikely place for the raw sound of the blues to be popular. But Andrew Brown rocked roadhouses, clubs and V.F.W. halls around Harvey and Chicago’s other southern suburbs from the late 1950s until his death in 1985. His big, robust voice and fluid guitar lines reflected the styles of the blues and soul men who were popular when he was first playing around the city—the Kings, Bobby Bland, Little Milton and Tyrone Davis. But Andrew absorbed, not copied, their styles. With his son Spurling on bass and Otis Webster on second guitar, Andrew belted out the blues with the best of them.

Andrew was a journeyman musician, and his repertoire extended into jazz, ballads, gospel and soul. His versatility allowed him to take gigs playing organ and alto sax, as well as guitar. A weekend might have found him working in a jazz organ trio in a cocktail lounge on Friday, squeezed into a tuxedo singing soul ballads at a formal black social club dance in a hotel ballroom on Saturday, and pumping out rocking guitar blues in a basement bar on Sunday.

Born in Jackson, Mississippi on February 25, 1937, Andrew discovered he had talent as a guitarist when he was very young. Before leaving Jackson, he had jammed with Joe Dyson’s popular big band, and even played with Charlie Parker! Coming to Chicago, he fell in with his contemporaries Magic Sam and Freddie King, playing West Side taverns. But he also backed soul singer Denise LaSalle and worked in Baby Face Willette’s organ combo.

As with his friend Magic Sam, the Army snatched up Andrew just as he was really beginning to come into his own musically. He returned home in 1962, a more sober and serious man. He got a job in a steel mill, bought a home in Harvey, and settled down to suburban respectability. His only vice was a penchant for street drag racing, which ended when he flipped an Edsel across a lawn and ended up upside down in the car in someone’s living room.

His musical career continued sporadically. He recorded his first single, the classic “You Better Stop” for the U.A. label in 1962, and later 45s for the Four Brothers label, including the outstanding “You Ought To Be Ashamed.” But nothing really happened with his records, and, although he cut as a sideman with Jimmy Johnson and Denise LaSalle, Andrew didn’t get back into the studio until 1973. Then he had to finance the session himself. In half an hour (all the studio time he could afford), Andrew cut four sides, including a superb version of James Davis’ “Blue Monday” which was later released on Brave. As with his earlier singles, the music was aggressive but the record promotion wasn’t, and Andrew resigned himself to a career in the steel mills.

During the ‘70s, Andrew paid more than his share of dues. First, he suffered a heart attack. Later, he permanently injured his back working as a lifter at the mill, and lay in traction for months. It took years to reach a financial settlement, while the mill had to hire two men to replace him! As a result of his inability to work at heavy labor, Andrew returned to his music with more determination. He gigged in East Chicago, Indiana, in Markham, Illinois, and at South Side jazz clubs like El Panama and All That Jazz. “Big Brown” (as he was known) made his North Side debut at a benefit concert at The Wise Fools Pub. Here, fans were amazed to discover a major blues talent who had been living in obscurity only thirty miles to the south.

Andrew recorded his first album tracks for Alligator’s Living Chicago Blues series in 1979. The exposure won him a following in Europe, and he went on to record two albums for European labels, Big Brown’s Chicago Blues on Black Magic Records and On The Case on Double Trouble Records, both produced by long-time friend and fan Dick Shurman. Andrew died of cancer in 1985, just as he was beginning to receive recognition as a major blues artist." Alligator Records

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Lou Pride - The Memphis / El Paso Sessions 1970-73

Lou Pride (May 24, 1944 - June 5, 2012)
He was born George Louis Pride, in Chicago, Illinois, United States. Pride grew up on Chicago's north side and attended the First Baptist Church, where the pastor was Nat King Cole's father.

After service in the United States Army, Pride met and married a female singer and they settled in El Paso, Texas. They performed as a singing duo before, after seeing B.B. King perform live, Pride concentrated his singing future around the blues and soul music genres. Pride recorded his first two singles in the early 1970s. These were "I'm Com'un Home In The Morn'un" (1972) and "Your Love Is Fading," the latter released by Suemi Records. After relocating to New Mexico, he recorded sporadically whilst constantly performing in blues clubs and at festivals on the chitlin' circuit. Other tracks of his that were released over this period included "Look Out on Love," "We're Only Fooling Ourselves," "You've Got to Work for Love," and "Been Such a Long Time." Pride's debut album was entitled, Very Special (1979), which was released by Black Gold Entertainment. Several singles were issued before Gone Bad for a Very Special Reason (1988) was released, which had an almost an identical playlist to his debut effort.

Returning to Chicago, he became acquainted with Curtis Mayfield, which saw Gone Bad Again (1990) being issued. However, Pride's recordings remained second place to performing live. The WMB Records release, Love at Last (1995), contained re-recordings of several of Pride's earlier cuts. His 1997 Ichiban release was Twisting the Knife, followed by I Won't Give Up (2000). Pride signed a recording contract with Severn Records in 2002, which preceded his first release for them, Words of Caution. His early 1970s recordings were collected on the compilation album, The Memphis/El Paso Sessions 1970-1973, which Severn issued in June 2003. Allmusic noted that the collection "remains a treasure trove of previously obscure soul music that spotlights one of the many great singers almost lost to history."

In 2004, Pride undertook a brief tour in the UK. Alongside Darrell Nulisch, Pride was also the headline act at the Severn Records Soul and Blues Revue, in Chicago, in 2006. Snippets of his composition, "Bringin' Me Back Home," were used in the 2007 film, Feast of Love. Pride's appearance at the Severn Soul Review in 2010 was a significant comeback. He had been booked to appear in 2004, but he had had a heart attack before he could perform.

Following a period of ill health, Pride died in Chicago in June 2012 of natural causes. He was aged 68. (wikipedia)

Betty Harris - Soul Perfection Plus - Complete Jubilee - Sansu - 555 International Masters 1963-1969

 I'm not sure how it took me so long to get to this! Sometimes the obvious escapes your attention.Thanks to Cliff for this nice Westside edition which sounds far better than my old Charley version.

"Betty Harris (born 1939, in Orlando, Florida) is an American Soul Singer. Her recording career in the 1960s produced three hit records that made the Billboard R&B and pop charts: "Cry to Me" (1963), "His Kiss" (1964) and "Nearer to You" (1967). However, her reputation among soul music connoisseurs far exceeds her commercial success of the 1960s, and her recordings for the Jubilee and Sansu record labels are highly sought after in the 2000s by fans of Northern Soul and Deep Soul.

In 1963, after being in the music business for a few years, Betty Harris recorded a slowed down version of Solomon Burke's hit of the year before, "Cry to me", produced by the original record's producer, Bert Berns, and released on the Jubilee record label. Taken at a slower pace, Betty's rendition turned the song into a Billboard pop# 23 hit and Deep Soul Classic. A total of 8 songs further singles were released on Jubilee, also produced by Bert Berns, with "His Kiss" released 1/04/64, another Deep Soul ballad, making the lower part of Billboard#89 Pop and R&B charts.

In 1964, Betty Harris switched record labels to Sansu, a New Orleans label, where she was produced by legendary New Orleans producer Allen Toussaint. Her Recording with Sansu produced 20 singles. Of those, only "Nearer to You" Billboard # 85, an atmospheric, dramatic soul ballad, now considered one of the milestones of Deep Soul, achieved U.S. national chart success. However, practically all of her recordings for Sansu, uptempo tunes and ballads alike, featuring Allen Toussaint's raw yet sophisticated Southern Soul arrangements behind with Betty's rich, distinctive vocal, are considered prime specimens of the classic soul era; some notable recordings were "I'm Evil Tonight", a beat ballad favored among Northern Soul circles; "I Don't Want To Hear It", "Show it" and "Twelve Red Roses", stirring uptempo tracks; "Can't Last Much Longer" and "What'd I Do Wrong", emotive Deep Soul ballads.

All of the Sansu recordings were compiled into an album released in the U.K. (but not the U.S.), in 1969, called "Soul Perfection", an album which, in its vinyl format, although not extremely rare, commands relatively high prices of $200 to $300 in 2007.

A comprehensive CD compilation of Betty Harris recordings was released in 1999 by UK rerelease label, West Side.

In 2004, Betty Harris returned to the music business after a long departure.

She has made several public appearances in the U.S. and Europe, including the 2007 Porretta Soul Festival in Italy, and has recorded a new album, Intuition.