Sunday, July 31, 2016

Z,Z, Hill - Love Is So Good When You're Stealin' It [Columbia 1978-79]

Bill Dahl

"Much of Hill's 1978-79 output for Columbia was laced with disco rhythms, but there were also plenty of soulful throwbacks to the sort of intense testifying that Hill did best: the surging mid-tempo "That's All That's Left," and a string-enriched "This Time They Told the Truth," an insistent "Need You By My Side," and the smoldering title tale of cheating in the wee hours that hit big for him. Ichiban has cobbled together both of Hill's Columbia LPs, the first being infinitely superior to the brutally formulaic disco-dominated encore.

The Heavenly Tones - New York Grass Roots Gospel

worth a second post: Rare Gospel from Cliff's tape archives.

The transfers came out sounding quite good. These were all from the Library of Congress recommendations of the time and we have quite a few of these rarities.

The Heavenly Tones were all Southern transplants to Brooklyn, and schooled in the older Quartet tradition. All accapella  and less emphasis on pyrotechnics than the hard gospel groups, but still very moving.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Golden Jubilees & The Gospel Christian Singers

More digging back into the tape vault posts.

We are once again deep into Unky Cliff's Gospel tape stash with a double offering. First up are the wonderful Golden Jubilees and their glorious bass singer Joshua Hankinson. This tape series has really opened my ears to the Jubilee Quartet tradition that preceded the 'Hard Gospel' Quartets like the Soul Stirrers. One thing that seems to be true in this singing tradition as opposed to hard gospel is that it is not so hard on the singers physically and so they seem to enjoy greater longevity.  The second offering today is a perfect example of that, I don't think that any member of the Gospel Christian Singers is younger than 75 years old and yet their harmonies are still sweet.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Z.Z. Hill - The U.A. albums

By 1972 Hill had managed to hook on with the United Artists  label for 4 years and 3 albums that came right in the dawn of the disco/funk era. The material is a cut above much of what was coming down the pipe in the time, but it is clear that the goal was to break ZZ into the mainstream. The results are a bit spotty and even a bit ridiculous in places. I would have to say it isn't my favorite period of his career, but it is worth hearing. I'm listening to the first of these as I prepare the post and I'm noticing that Hill is steadily developing into an even stronger singer with a more personal sound of his own. By the second album he is making some solid Southern Soul and the final album reflects the inescapable disco/funk influences taking over the industry at the time. Thanks to my partner in crime Dr. Hepcat and the original uploaders who made this possible to assemble.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Eric Bibb in 50 Songs

While I think that Bibb is one of the most impressive of the modern bluesmen, I have never been particularly interested in acquiring all of his recordings. Cliff found this unusual Japanese set that fits nicely into my desire to have more, but not all of his recordings.

Big Maybelle - The Complete King, Okeh & Savoy Releases 1947-61

Cliff strikes again! A fine 2 disc release that may well enable you dispense with some other discs in your files. Better remastering too.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Larry Garner - You Need To Live A Little

Larry Garner (born July 8, 1952, New Orleans, Louisiana, United States) is an American Louisiana blues musician best known for his 1994 
album Too Blues.
Garner grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his first inspiration being the guitar-playing preacher Reverend Utah Smith. Garner made 
acquaintance with local musicians such as Lonesome Sundown, Silas Hogan, Guitar Kelley and Tabby Thomas. His musical influences include 
Hogan, Clarence Edwards, Jimi Hendrix, and Henry Gray. He was taught to play guitar by his uncle and two other elders. Garner completed 
military service in Korea and returned to Baton Rouge, working part-time in music and full-time at a Dow Chemical plant.

Garner won the International Blues Challenge in 1988, and his first two albums, Double Dues and Too Blues, were released by the British JSP 
label. The latter album's title was in reply to a label executive who judged Garner's original demo to be "too blues". Thomas' nightclub, Tabby's Blues Box, provided Garner with a playing base in the 1980s and gave him the subject matter for the strongest song on Double Dues, "No Free Rides".

You Need to Live a Little (1994) was followed by Standing Room Only (1998), Baton Rouge (1999) and 2000's Once Upon the Blues. Baton Rouge''s 1999 track, "Go To Baton Rouge," offered a tourist's guide to Louisiana music spots.

In 2008, Garner was treated for a serious illness that was the inspiration for his 2008 album, Here Today Gone Tomorrow.(Wiki)

Back in the mid 90's Larry spent some time in the UK and we got to hang out occassionally ...I've bought him a few pints of Guinness !
It was enjoyable because I had peviously purchased some of his CD's and liked his original compositions, based on his own life experiences .
He came to the Earl Green 'Feel The Fire' CD launch party at the 100 Club, London, in 1996, where we both played, and he borrowed my Strat (which was nice!). OK... there's nothing outstandingly original about him, but he has a unique personality and style, he's a nice player and doesn't rely on covering old standards. He's added to the Blues Canon.
This album was his first on a major label and I really enjoyed it...Give it a listen and judge for yourself...

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Z.Z. Hill - Early Years

The 3 links here will get you thru the 60's output and into the early 70's if memory serves - I'll post another album of material from his brother's  Hill label, but that is from his later stint on his brother's imprint. There is surprisingly little overlap here and I've added some stray pieces that Dr Hepcat supplied as singles - to tell the truth, I no longer recall which of these pieces were from me and which the good Dr had, but together with Preslives post, I believe these cover all the early, pre UA material.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Rev. Maceo Woods and the Christian Tabernacle Choir - lp rip

Sorry for the crappy cover, but I haven't been up to going thru the whole rigamarole to scan and stitch the covers.

The tiny Gospel Truth label will never be known for the quality of their vinyl or their recording engineers either, but that doesn't take away from the dynamic power of this recording - just turn it up!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Rosco Gordon - Just A Little Bit

Rosco Gordon (April 10, 1928 – July 11, 2002) was an American, Memphis blues and rhythm & blues, singer and songwriter. He is best known for his 1952, number 1, rhythm & blues hit single, "Booted", and two number 2 singles, "No More Doggin'" (1952 RPM 350) and "Just a Little Bit" (1960 Vee-Jay 332).
Born on Florida Street, in Memphis, Tennessee, Gordon was one of the "Beale Streeters", a group of musicians in 1949 that also featured Johnny Ace, B.B. King, and Bobby "Blue" Bland a.o., who helped to develop the style known as Memphis Blues. Gordon used a style of piano playing known as 'The Rosco Rhythm', he placed the accent on the off beats, and although other influential rhythm & blues pianists such as Professor Longhair (on "Willie Mae" among other songs) recorded in the same off beat style before him, through his influence on the Jamaican pianist, Theophilus Beckford ("Easy Snappin'"), Gordon was cited as the foundation of Jamaican ska, bluebeat and reggae music.
Rosco Gordon made a number of his early recordings for Sam Phillips at Sun Records.
"Booted" (1952) gave his career a sound start, and was followed by "No More Doggin'" the same year. Sam Phillips later sold the master tape of "Booted" to two competing record labels, Chess and RPM, both of whom released it as a single as he had done with some early Howlin' Wolf songs. The RPM release reached #1 on the Billboard R&B record chart. Chess and the Bihari Brothers later settled the conflict with the Biharis getting exclusive rights to Gordon and Chess signing Wolf to an exclusive contract.
In 1960, Gordon released his last charting single "Just a Little Bit", which was both an R&B and pop hit. However there were no further hits despite Gordon's youth, talent and exuberant and oddball personality. In 1962, he gave up the music industry and moved to Queens, New York with his new wife where he purchased a partnership in a laundry business. Following his wife's death in 1984, he returned to performing in the New York area.
In 2002, he was invited by filmmaker Richard Pearce to be featured as part of a documentary film about several blues musicians returning to Memphis for a special tribute to Sam Phillips in conjunction with the May 2002 W. C. Handy Awards. Called The Road To Memphis, the documentary aired on PBS television. Six weeks after filming finished, Gordon died of a heart attack at his apartment in Rego Park, Queens. He was 74 years old. He was interred in the Rosedale Cemetery in Linden, New Jersey.

Z.Z. Hill - The Brand New Z.Z. Hill

Arzell "Z. Z." Hill (September 30, 1935 – April 27, 1984) was an American blues singer, in the soul blues tradition, known for his 1970s and 1980s recordings for Malaco. His 1982 album, Down Home, stayed on the Billboard soul album chart for nearly two years. The track "Down Home Blues" has been called the best-known blues song of the 1980s. This track plus the songs "Taxi", "Someone Else Is Steppin' In", and "Open House" have become R&B/Southern soul standards.

Born in Naples, Texas, United States, Hill began his singing career in the late 1950s as part of a gospel group called The Spiritual Five, touring Texas. Around 1960, he started collecting records by B. B. King, Freddie King, Sam Cooke, Bobby "Blue" Bland and Wilson Pickett and began singing and writing songs influenced by these styles.

In 1964, Hill moved to California and recorded "You Were Wrong" on his brother's M.H. record label. The single charted and Hill released several more singles for Kent, but none of them charted. He moved labels several times, including signing with Phil Walden's Macon, Georgia based Capricorn label, but Hill refused to record for Walden, and his recording contract was bought by Jerry "Swamp Dogg" Williams' Mankind label, where Hill finally fulfilled his end of the deal.

In 1971, Williams recorded Hill in Muscle Shoals, Alabama and they had hits including "Faithful & True" (Cash Box Top 100) and "Chokin' Kind" (Cash Box R&B #50). With his brother's help, Hill then signed to United Artists, where he released several successful singles. During the United Artist period in the mid 1970s, he was aided by arrangements and compositions by established R&B talents like Lamont Dozier and Allen Toussaint.

One of Hill's biggest selling hits came while signed to Columbia, "Love Is So Good When You're Stealing It," which spent 18 weeks on the Billboard R&B chart in the summer of 1977. Signed to Malaco Records in 1979, Hill's next hit single was "I'm Gonna Stop You From Givin' Me The Blues," in 1980. Hill's recording of songwriter George Jackson's "Cheatin' In The Next Room," was released in early 1982 and broke into the top 20 nationally, spending a total of 20 weeks on the charts. He had a number of best-selling albums on Malaco, the biggest one being Down Home Blues, which sold in excess of one million copies.[citation needed] Other Malaco sides that received airplay in the early 1980s were "Someone Else Is Steppin' In", "Bump And Grind", "Shade Tree Mechanic", and "Get You Some Business". George Jackson also wrote Hill's signature tune, "Down Home Blues", which label-mate Denise LaSalle later recorded.

Hill's song, "That Ain't the Way You Make Love", was sampled by Madvillain in their track, "Fancy Clown".

In 1984, Hill died in Dallas at the age of 48 from a heart attack after a road accident

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Four Eagles and The Gospel Harmonettes of Demopolis, Alabama

 We have a two part service from Alabama this morning. Another pair of rare gems from Cliff's tape vault (actually it is a case, but...).

First up are The Four Eagles of Birmingham, Alabama. The group was formed in 1938 and still sings in old quartet tradition. Beautiful close harmonies with only small hints of the pyrotechnics of the hard gospel quartets. The Four Eagle Gospel Singers (started in 1938 at the U.S. Steel Plant in Fairfield, Alabama). Joe Watson has been the lead singer of The Four Eagle Gospel Singers since 1946.
Reviewed by Tony May
You want the rawest of red meat? The dynamic harmonizing of these four ladies is all you could ever need in authentic, down home gospel quartet singing. Originally named in tribute to Dorothy Love Coates' vocal backing group, these ladies originally came together in 1974 to perform mainly in their own area, where black gospel music has a rich tradition. This tape was recorded at a live church concert, where their deceptively casual-sounding style displays years of honing their now devastating technique. The 12 songs include some that display slowly simmering emotion, powerful though always controlled. There are none of the sometimes disturbing excesses associated with the genre. Other tracks step out with aggression: "Jesus On The Mainline", the Ry Cooder classic, gives a good example of the GHs in full flow. Red-hot stuff from seasoned practitioners, that brings the joy of genuine gospel singing back home again.