Saturday, March 25, 2006

In Dangerous Rhythm Playlist March 2006

Just thought I'd pull March's posts together with a playlist of 20 sides which reflect my soul diary over the last month. The diary is mostly inspired by the music I am listening to or the people I have talked to or the news I have heard.

Here's the 20 for the month in no particular order:

1. Darrow Fletcher Now Is The Time For Love Pts 1 & 2 Genna

A mesmirising and shimmering piece of early 70's Chicago magic which makes you wish there was a 12" version. Read post

2. Nicole Willis Feeling Free Timmion CD

The opening bars played on violin similar to Betty Lavette's Calla classic "Let Me Down Easy" had me hooked from the beginning. Then the band power in with a driving beat full of wah wah and tom toms before Nicole seduces us with her voice. Just get on the dance floor and feel free!! Read post

3. Darondo Sure Know How To Love Me Luv N' Haight CD

Raw and delicate at the same time with a lovely backing singers over an early 70's Al Green type groove but Darondo is his own man. Just hear how he squeals "Baby" - this man show knows how to love. Read post

4. Mark Murphy Why Don't You Do Right? Riverside

This has seems to have uplifted me more than most tracks this month in which the weather has certainly made it a long cold one. Read post

5. Sterling Magee Oh She Was Pretty Tangerine 45

I'm still reading the book about his time as Satan - the simplicity of this song is so infectious and wow does the beat stay there! Read post

6. Lonnie Hewitt Ya Ya Cha Cha Wee Luv N' Haight CD

Infectious rhythms from Lonnie which was a new track for me off the Gilles Peterson Brownswood USA Luv N' Haight CD. Read post

7. King Floyd I'm Missing You Chimneyville 45

The one I keep coming back to because it is so beautiful. Read post

8. Spencer Wiggins Lonely Man Goldwax 45

This uptempo song will be out shortly on the Ace Records collection called "The Goldwax Years". Read post

9. Ronnie Forte That Was Whiskey Talking Tarx 45

My whiskey drinking days might be over but this piece of pounding soul is well locked in to the memories inside my skull. Read post

10. Andrew Brown For Liz Four Brothers 45

I always stick this driving instrumental on the turntable when I am feeling down and want to blast the blues away - this is what I would play if I could play the guitar well!!! Read post

11. Precisions Baby You're Mine Inferno EP

As it turns out this is not the Precisions - they didn't know who it was and neither did Lou Ragland the writer - as they told people who went to the recent Prestatyn Weekender in the UK. Never mind it is great track. Read post

12. Persuaders I Don't Think So It's Soul Time CD

Looking forward to meeting the guys in NJ this April and harmonies don't come better than on this CD - so hard to pick a favourite! Read post

13. Larry Vann Happiness Is Just Around The Bend Rusty Key CD

I really enjoyed talking to Larry on the phone and I will be writing up the story behind this CD in the near future. I always loved this Brian Auger song and this is done with such bravado! Read post

14. Ted Ford Real Soul Budd 45

This piece of funk just gets under my skin! Read post

15. Freddie Hughes Ready To Live Bridge CD

I had missed this track with Freddie on vocals which is an early 70's beater. Don't forget to drop by the Freddie Hughes blog. Read post

16. Randolph Walker Everybody's Trying To Get Over RW CD

Watch out for my interview with Randolph in a future post over on Dark End Of The Street. This song was originally intended for Sam Dees and his version is included on a new CD by Ace Records called "Holding The Losing Hand: Hotlanta 3". Read post

17. Mighty Hannibal Ain't Nobody Perfect Miracle 45

Hannibal told me so much in our chats such as Kim Tolliver is on backing vocals with Delia Gartrell on this track from the late 70's. I will be featuring Hannibal in NSoul in the Summer edition and posting other material over on the Dark End Of The Street blog. Read post

18. Hermon Hitson Why Is It Taking So Long Soul-Tay-Shus CD

A killer which remained in the can from the 60's with the soul wrenching vocals of Hermon tearing our hearts out. Read post

19. Freddie Terrell We're Gonna Make It Jazzman CD

A surprising discovery on one of the world's rarest funk album - a wistful ballad which is beautiful delicate lead - Raymond Smith - and harmonies from the guys on backing. Read post

20. The Heart Don't Let Me Down Ace CD

This is mock Motown 1970 track was new to me and very catchy with some gritty lead from Cynthia Fox and originally released on Zells. Read post

They are just a selection of the music featured over the last month on the blog. Thanks to everyone who has dropped by via the blog, e-mail and the phone.

Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators Keep Reachin' Up Timmion

Inside cover of Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators Keep Reachin' Up

I am bit late with this one but since I picked it up I haven't had it out of the player. I had grooved to the 45 "If This Ain't Love" since I first heard last year at the one of the Orwell nights in Wigan UK. However, when I heard the CD played on Richard Searling's Soul Sauce show on Smooth FM UK, I just fell in love with those retro grooves. The whole album sounds fresh and exciting and as Timmion's site says "independent record labels make good music".

I appreciate that this music is derivative but in comparison to some of the garbage masquerading as soul music these days then I prefer to go back to the roots with albums such as the Soul Investigators have produced.

If you want to hear tracks from the album then drop by Timmion Records. There are also fine photos on the site of Nicole gigging with the Soul Investigators

You can find out more about Nicole on her website.

Nicole and the gang are doing a short tour of the UK as follows:-

Wed 26th April - Maida Vale Session (BBC Radio 1) for Gilles Peterson
Thur 27th April - Glenfiddich Independent Mix (Cargo, London)
Fri 28th April - Trinity Hall, Bristol
Sat 29th April - Soul Cellar, Southampton
Sun 30th April - Newcastle TBA

Let's hope more dates are announced but seeing that this is one of the best albums of the year so far, and is going to be hard to be bettered, then they will be back in the UK soon I bet!!!

Joseph Henry Who's The King? Daptone

Joseph Henry sadly died in early December last year. Daptone Records have re-released this 45 that first came out just a few years back on the now-defunct NYC-based Desco label, a record label that was seminal in kick-starting interest in new funk for the new millennium with the likes of Lee Fields, Sugarmen 3 and Naomi Davis.

This is probably the best funk 45 to have come out the resurgence of interest in recording retro funk and it is a lasting testament to Joseph Henry.

Daptone have a tribute to Joseph Henry on their webpages.

Tramp Records

Tramp Records are one of many small labels which have grown up to feed the demand for obscure funk reissues and new product.

This heavy bass piece of 70's Miami funk is a killer and was originally issued on Willie Clarke's Green Gold label. This is one of several Florida funk releases from Tramp Records others being The Oceanliners and Funky Nassau. This is a legal reissue from Henry Stone and according to him the group were one of the weirdest he worked with. The band included Charlie Smith on guitar, Reed Roberts on bass, Vernon 'Piggy' Teague on saxophone, Clifford Hawkins on drums, and King Edwards on Hammond B3. The group cook up a real treat for us which was apparently done in one take with party shouts and screams on Part 1 before real tripping out on Part 2 with a lovely cooking Hammond B3 taking the fore.

Tramp boss,Tobias Kirmayer has to be applauded for another great legal reissue with his ever-present attention to sound quality and authentic looking label similar to the original.

Clarence Reid who wrote this side is a huge resevoir of memories on all the people he worked with and I'll have to ask him about this group. Watch out for other 45's from Tramp Records by David Robinson, The Rhythm Machine, 1984, Tee N Cee & The Ltd's, Gary Morris & Band and the The Blenders.

Lou Pride The Suemi Sessions Jazzman Records

Following on from the last post, the people over Jazzman Records have released this very tasty 3 45s box set which includes 6 tracks from the Suemi catalogue. The tracks have been available before when Lou came over to the UK a few years ago with a CD which included several unissued tracks. These tracks were then reissued by Severn Records, Lou's current label. However, this package is such a lovely piece to have with the picture of Lou in the El Paso studio where he recorded the tracks. Kym Fuller and Gerald Short have also written an extensive set of notes to accompany the box set.

One of the tracks is the storming Northern Soul classic "I'm Coming Home In The Morning" which will forever be part of my soul and which I will be referring to in my River of Soul blog on my life with soul music.

Lou has always been one of my heroes and meeting him a couple of years in Holland and seeing him perform will always stick in my memory. He is a very tight performer who gives his all and anyone who saw him with Mo'Indigo on his 2004 UK tour will testify to that! You will be able to read about meeting him over on my Dark End Of The Street blog in the near future.

The Cavaliers Unlimited The Nasty Cali-Tex

There are so many funk 45 reissues at present it is hard to keep up! The best site to buy them from and hear soundbites is Jazzman Records.

The Cavaliers Unlimited tracks are 2 burning deep funk sides from Josh Davis's Cali-Tex label who issued a JC Davis mini album a few years back. Get out and buy this solid crunching funk sound which has an evocative pic sleeve as a plus.

Chuck Womack & The Sweet Souls Ham Hock & Beans

This was originally discovered as an acetate in a flea market by Justin Torres, Bay Area afficinado extraordinaire who's working on a Bay Area soul history and and who has worked on the Luv N' Haight Bay Area Funk compilations.

It is a incedibly funky piece which would appear to have never been issued from around 1971. Justin Torres actually hunted down Chuck Womack and discovered further unissued material.

Dis-Joint / Re-Joint Records was founded by Vinnie Esparza and Chris Veltri during the summer of 2000 in San Francisco, California. The idea behind the label is to release music that they are passionate about, mainly funk, hip hop, roots & dub, jazz, Afro-Cuban, Brazilian and all things soulful. Dis-Joint Records features newly or recently created music, whereas Re-Joint Records spotlights re-issues and includes another 45 by Deloris Ealy.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Mavis Staples Interview

Cover of 1994 HDH CD Mavis Staples

The Italian website La Pellenera has interesting an interview with Mavis Staples in which she discusses a wide range of topics.

I picked her 1994 CD for Brian and Eddie Holland to illustrate the post, which seemed to slip out with little publicity and was not that easy to find. It is a collection of recordings made in the early 80's. My favourite track of the album is "Love Gone Bad" which was originally a 45 issused in 1983.

You can find an interview on Miss Funky Flyy's site in which Mavis talks about working with the Holland brothers. Check out Miss Funky Flyy's site for the rest of the interview with Mavis. Miss Funky Flyy was one the first people on the Net to build up a collection of interviews with artists most of which are still available on her site. It is shame that she still doesn't conduct interviews because I used to enjoy them.

Dennis Coffey Website

Lonette McKee Back Cover Shot taken from her 1974 Sussex album.

Dennis Coffey, the Detroit guitar genius has a new website which is well worth dropping by. Dennis has been a regular contributor to Soulful Detroit forum over the last couple of years and has shared many of his stories with members and answered plenty of their questions.

Dennis also wrote a book about his life in music entitled "Guitars, Bars & Motown Superstars" which was published by Bee Cool in the UK in 2002.

I picked out the Lonette McKee album which was produced and arranged by Dennis to illustrate the post. There are 2 tracks which I love off this album - "Do To Me" which is a light airy floater and the sublime "The Way I Want To Touch You" which reminds me of the later songs Dee Dee Warwicke recorded. Dennis brought a host of major players to the album including James Gadson, Ollie Brown, Reginald Burke, David T. Walker, Larry Carlton, Ray Parker, James Jamerson.

Lonette McKee is a highly talented actress, film director and executive producer. She performed in one of my favourite music movies the French director Bertrand Tavenier's 'Round Midnight with Dexter Gordon in 1986.

Jimmy Norman Update

I haven't forgotten about the updates on Johnny Brantley productions sometimes these thingss take more time than you think. I need to collate what Hannibal, Hermon Hitson and Freddie have told me plus other information which has come to hand.

I have been holding back on posting anything on Jimmy Norman who worked with Johnny in the 60's because I wanted to interview him but he continues to suffer ill health. I wish him well on his recovery from a by-pass operation. Elsewhere on the blog, someone who worked with Jimmy in the 70's and 80's, Mike Chavers dropped by and updated me on Jimmy's health. I hope at some stage to speak to Mike Chavers and find out more about his work with Jimmy.

In the meantime, I have been listening to Jimmy's last CD "Little Pieces" which showcases his writing talents and though he had to finish it in his apartment due to ill health it is a fresh and vibrant CD. Check out Jimmy's website which has some of the stories behind the songs and a short bio of the man. This was one of my favourite CDs of 2004 because it was simple and honest and unaffected. Drop by Jimmy's website to listen to samples.

Gilles Peterson Digs America

I picked this up CD from Ubiquity/Luv N'Haight mainly for the track by Lonnie Hewitt on Wee called "Ya Ya Cha Cha" which is an instrumental with a chant heavily influenced by his time with Cal Tjader.

However, there are some other goodies on there by Moses Dillard "Tribute To Wes", a guitar led sparse instrumental; Marva Josie "He Does It Better", a beautiful and seductive piece of music which I immediately fell in love with; an ultra rare piece from Jon Lucien "Search For The Inner Self" which has already become one of my favourites by the man plus there are some other interesting tracks.

Gilles also provides an enlightening set of notes but what I really love is seeing the inside of his record room in "Brownswood USA" named after the street he lives in down in the "Smoke".

Monday, March 20, 2006

Darondo Let My People Go Luv N' Haight CD

A totally refreshing aural experience from the Bay Area specialists Luv N' Haight and a revelation on this grey day. This CD hasn't been getting hammered by me since it arrived.

To see what I mean checkout the Luv N'Haight site for a review, samples and some video of Darondo.

You can also find full reviews of the CD at In The Mix and SFGate plus there is a very interesting post on Darondo on the Soul Sides blog about how the CD came to be released with some live samples from Darondo made during an interview by Justin Torres.

Stop Press Just checking links and see that it is out of stock with Luv N' Haight - sure it will be back soon but great news that it is selling so well!!!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Sterling Magee Oh She Was Pretty Tangerine

I dug this 45 out following my last post on Satan and Adam. Sterling recorded 2 45's for Tangerine - this one backed with "Get In My Arms Little Girl" and TRC 975 "I Still Believe In You"/ "Tighten Up". The only other 45 I know by him is Sylvia 45 "Keep On" backed by the original version of "Get In My Arms Little Girl".

There are an excellent set of notes on Sterling Magee in the Ace Records The Arock & Sylvia Soul Story by Ady Croasdell. They tell the story of the above 45's which were all recorded in New York at the Al Sear's studio in the mid-60's and also provide some brief autobiographical details on Sterling as well as telling the story of his transformation into Satan. The Tangerine tracks were leased to them because of Al Sear's involvement in A&R in LA at the time.

"Oh She Was So Pretty" is a primitive sounding R&B style number with cracking vocals from Sterling Magee written by him and Jesse Stone. Sterling's rough bluesey vocals tell us the story of the pretty woman he desires who is just out of reach but though she is pretty she intriguely has "ugly ways" which we never discover! Apparently the muted horns were added in LA to beef up the primitive production.

The Ace CD not only contains the driving "Keep On", which was popular sound on the early Northern Soul scene in the UK, but the unissued "You're Supreme" which is another R&B beater.

You can find some pictures of Sterling here and a feature on him in the St Petersburg Neighbourhood Times .

Adam Gussow Mister Satan's Apprentice: A Blues Memoir

I have recently been re-reading this book by Adam Gussow based on his adventures with Sterling Magee playing blues on the streets of Harlem and eventually around the world.

Satan and Adam as Sterling and Gussow were known recorded several CDs and toured but in the late 90's disappeared off the map not long after the memoir was published in 1998.

While re-reading the book I did a quick Google and found out that Adam Gussow had updated his webpages last year. Sterling and Adam had both suffered ill health but back late last year were planning on working together again. Checkout the webpages. There are some photos at the book's publishers website.

Try and get a copy of Mister Satan's Apprentice because it is a wonderfully evocative read. I also found on my search another book which I will be hunting down - Seems Like Murder Here. This book is about the violence in the lyrics of blues. You can find an interview with Gussow here on the book.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Neil Kimble Update

Since my previous post on Neil Kimble, I have received some feedback from Barry Fowden from Soul Cellar. He has had mails on Neil from Ernie Shelby and Dave Blumberg who both worked at Venture Records. Unforunately, they couldn't throw much light on Neil except Ernie Shelby said Neil was close to the late Clarence Paul who was one of the main producers at Venture.

However, during my conversations with Mighty Hannibal, I asked him whether he knew Neil Kimble during the time he worked at Venture and Maverick Records - his response was "Do you mean Bobby Kimble?" It appears that the Neil and Bobby Kimble are the same person as suggested in the Kent CD notes for LA Happening as mentioned in the previous post.

Hannibal went on to describe Neil as one hell of a singer and he told me that he thought the best thing ever did was a version of the Brenda Holloway classic "Every Little Bit Hurts" which remains unissued somewhere! Apparently, Neil was a nice guy who everyone got on well with and who Hannibal used to hang out with when Neil was down in LA or if Hannibal went up to San Francisco where Neil used to live. Hannibal told me that he had some good times with Neil, Vernon Garrett, Filmore Slim and some of the Venture crowd hanging out in LA at the back end of the 60's. One further thing that Hannibal told me was that Neil had a speech impediment though it didn't prevent singing his heart out. Hannibal didn't know what happened to Neil and has long since lost touch with him.

The side I picked to illustrate this post is Neil's Maverick recording which is a beautiful Jimmy Holiday song done in the style of the writer and one my favourite Maverick recordings.

King Floyd Obituary in Clarion Ledger

Check out a King Floyd obituary in Clarion Ledger.

I have been playing his records in memory of the man over the last couple of days.

6 to remember him by:-

Learning To Forget You

His only release on Dial from 1974 and one of his best 45's. A gorgeous understated sad song about getting over a love affair. The song slowly builds up the beat with some terrific instrumentation including horns and an eerie organ and synth before breaking into slow sequences as King Floyd mourns his loss and tries to convince himself that someone else will come along.

Don't Leave Me Lonely

Taken from his 1st Cotillion album a self-penned mournful ballad with country influences and a fuller production than most early Malaco productions. He really lets rip at the end of this song which demonstrates he had real fire in his voice which he seldom let go!

I'm Gonna Fall In Love With You

A 1975 track from the Chimneyville album "Well Done". A light effortless song with reggae overtones which picks up and drops tempo as it moves a long and is so catchy.

If I Lie To You

Another track from the same album which let's him show off his unique, delicate, falsetto voice to great effect as he weaves over Jewel Bass's and Dorothy Moore's backing vocals - simple and beautiful.

So Much Confusion

This is where Malaco meets Curtis Mayfield with King Floyd on a social conscious themed song with the kinda of choppy rhythm laid down at the Curtom studios in Chicago. This would be well suited to a Blaxploitation film and is very effective.

I Wanna Slow Dance Wit'Cha

I lovely slowie 45 from 1978 written by Frederick Knight with a rap in the middle from King Floyd saying that he is not a great dancer but a slow dance is more his style.

You can also read 2 recent entries on the man at Red Kelly's B Sides blog

Freddie Hughes Blog

I recently set up a blog dedicated to the Bay Area singer Freddie Hughes.

Please drop by because I will be posting up new material including photos over the next week.

Spencer Wiggins Goldwax Years CD

Please drop over to my Keeping Soul Alive blog for a short review of the new Spencer Wiggins CD Collection The Goldwax Years from Kent Records in the UK.

Carl Carlton & Darrow Fletcher On The Same Bill in UK

Just to let everyone know that Carl Carlton will be joining Darrow Fletcher at the 6Ts Weekender in Cleethorpes UK in June.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Ronnie Forte That Was Whiskey Talkin'

I was digging through my archives when I came upon an old book I used to keep back in 1977 to record playlists of 45s I heard every week. These entries included 45s I heard at various clubs including the Wigan Casino, the fabled home of Northern Soul in the UK.

The memories came flooding back to me as I looked through the book. Most of the memories centred around sitting or standing in the record bar of the Casino which was located in the drinks bar of the club at the far end of the hall from the stage.

The 45 which I have featured from the book is Ronnie Forte's "That Was Whiskey Talkin'". This record caught my imagination from the word go not only because of the driving beat but also because of the lyrics. The lyrics would always haunt me in the months and years after because of my own drunken ramblings whenever I succumbed to the effects of the whiskey bottle.

The first time I heard the record was in February 1977 on a cold, miserable night after the Northern Soul Oldies Allnighter held on the first Friday night of each month.The Casino was always quiet the night after an Oldies Allnighter and this night was no exception with just a few 100 in which made the place seem very empty and cavernous and the music would resound around the room much more than if was soaked up by 1000's of bodies.

I was sitting in the record bar with my then girlfriend Christine and some other friends including John Clement, Guy Hennigan and his girlfriend Margaret and Dave Withers. As usual we would be chewing the fat about the scene, records and people. Next minute the drums rolled and "Whiskey Talkin'" was pounding out of the speakers and the unknown sound lifted me off my feet - what was this record? A rush of "speed" fuelled adrenaline propelled me to the door of the bar and I looked out onto a deserted dance floor as the unknown sound cleared the floor. This was not an unknown event for a new sound before it became more familiar to the dancers. I was hooked over the 2 minutes as the sound sank in to the back of my skull to remain there for ever more. The sound was back announced as Benny Harper "Whiskey Talkin'" which I later discovered to be a cover-up to prevent the true identity of the record being discovered.

The words were written by Ronnie McCain who recorded for Triode. I have decided to transpose the lyrics for the first time for this post to expunge the demons:-

I can see by the sad, sad look in your eyes
That means that I must have said something to make you cry
You should have known deep in your heart
That I never wanted to see us part
So let me tell you before you start

That was whiskey talkin' (Chorus)
That's right baby that was whiskey talkin'

I'm sorry for everything that I've said
Because the drinks that I've had have gone straight to my head
I hope that you'll understand that I mighty proud to be your man
And anything on the other hand was whiskey talkin'

That was whiskey talkin' (Chorus)
That's right baby that was whiskey talkin'

Don't go and leave me like a child that has lost it's way
Because every fool is entitled to admit one mistake
I need one more chance to change my wrong to right
And never will we cuss and fight
I'm gonna find myself some magic potion
So if I get a drinking notion
You can bet it will be from the ocean

That's right baby it was whiskey talkin'

The song ends with a plaintive cry as Ronnie's words seem to fall on the closed ears of his lover and like Ronnie my drinking notion ended more than one love affair.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

King Floyd RIP

There had been rumours last week that he had died but I waited until something official was posted before announcing it on the blog.

He died on March 6, 2006 aged 61 from a stroke and complications from diabetes in a hospital in California.

He is best remembered for "Groove Me" which was the epitome of the Malaco sound in the 70's and which was a huge hit for him. Check out an interview with Malaco producers Wolf Stephenson and Tommy Couch talking about the Malaco sound and King Floyd.

I have picked out my favourite side by him "I'm Missing You" which is a ballad in the style of Clarence Reid or Swamp Dogg. It is a haunting self-penned side telling of his lost love and a fine testament to another lost soul brother.

If you wish to read more about King Floyd then Jeff Hannusch's "I Hear You Knockin'" book is a still a good source even though it was published in 1985. You should be able to pick a copy up from Amazon.

My friend Curt Obeda worked with King Floyd back in 1997 and you can read a review of King Floyd with the Butanes here.

Check out another reminiscence on King Floyd from Phillip Raul .

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Freddie, Hannibal & Hermon

Freddie Terrell, Atlanta March 2006; Courtesy of Freddie

Just to let people know that you will be able to read features on Freddie Terrell, Mighty Hannibal and Hermon Hitson in my column Dark End Of The Street in the summer edition of NSoul.

Hannibal laughed when he heard that the 3 of them would be "back together" after all these years.

I will also be posting extra material on all 3 in my Dark End Of The Street blog as well.

Precisions Limited Edition UK EP

This rather tasty 4 track EP by the Precisions has been issued by Inferno Records in the UK to coincide with the group's appearance at the Prestatyn Weekender.

The EP contains 3 tracks "If This Is Love", "Such Misery" and "Sugar Ain't Sweet" which have all been popular over the years on the UK Northern Soul scene. "Sugar Ain't Sweet is extremely rare having been withdrawn following mastering problems. The bonus on the EP is the Lou Ragland penned "Baby You're Mine" which is a very good beater with some great breaks and singing from the guys.

The EP comes in a picture sleeve or a limited edition demo copy. They are available from Neil Rushton but be quick! Contact Neil on

Monday, March 13, 2006

Andrew Brown For Liz Four Brothers

I like my guitar with plenty of reverb and you certainly get it with this crunching piece of music partly influenced by Johnny Guitar Watson. This guitar led instrumental is further enhanced by the strong Chicago production from Jack Daniels.

One of those sides that I find so uplifting that blow the snow from the paths of your mind on this late winter's day. Perhaps I am also influenced by the fact I was mad about a girl called Liz in the 70's!

We will shortly be treated to a box set of Andrew Brown's sides from the Dutch company Black Magic which I eagerly look forward to seeing.

Gordon Parks 1912-2006

A trio from the Duke Ellington Band 1943

The photographer and film maker Gordon Parks died last week. He is best remembered for his film Shaft but he was also an excellent photographer as seen in his Harlem photos of the 40's.

You can find a resource on his photographs here.

Sink Club Back At Magnet in Liverpool 15/4/06

Here's one on my home turf!

Check out the Magnet for more details.

Ted Ford Update

An old friend Paul Mooney contacted me after he dropped by In Dangerous Rhythm following my Ted Ford post.

Paul runs a successful copyright company Millbrand as well as working for Grapevine Records one of the leading UK reissue specialists.

Millbrand has the publishing on Ted's songs (at least his share of the songs) but last year they also accquired the other co-writer and publisher shares from the estate of Charles Spears. Millbrand also control the masters including the tracks on Budd and the Budd masters which were leased to SS7 via John Richbourg.

Ted's "Disco Music" was Paul's first venture into the music business with Ardent Records.

Paul told me that "Real Soul" and "I Can't Give You Up" were recorded at Fame Studios in late 1966 (along with other unissued masters) and the tracks which were issued on SS7 were recorded at American Sound in Memphis in '67. Ted also cut some tracks at Willie Mitchell's studio in Memphis but Paul has never heard them.

Living Blues 182 New Orleans Special

The January/February 2006 issue of Living Blues is devoted to artists from Mississippi and New Orleans telling their stories of surviving Hurricane Katrina. Irma Thomas, Rockie Charles, George Porter, Clarence "Frogman" Henry, and ten others recount how Katrina changed their lives.

If you want to listen to some good NO music this AM then drop by Mr Fine Wine's Mardi Gras special on WFMU.

Also please drop by my latest posts in Dark End Of The Street which tell of my visit to New Orleans last year to attend the Ponderosa Stomp which includes photographs of artists who performed.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Heavy Soul In Manchester From 7/4/06

A mix of 60 & 70's Soul and Funk to Ska/Reggae & Acid Jazz played for the dance floor with no pretence!

Aqua is a brand new retro style club venue which is currently neigh on completion. Those familiar with Manchester will be aware of the extensive rejuvenation of the Deansgate Locks area. Heavy Soul will be celebrating its launch and residency in the Bubble Bar in Bar Aqua. Those not familiar with the area, Deansgate Locks are located behind the G-Mex and Hacienda, a 5 minute walk from Deansgate Station. The bar has a great late license which means the night can run through until 5am!

For more information see which should hopefully be updated with all the latest info very soon.

Alternatively contact Steve Cato on 07752084878 or

Persuaders Made To Be Loved It's Soul Time Records

The Persuaders were one of the best vocal groups of the 70's with their Atco and Calla releases creating one of the finest group soul records of all time in "Thin Line Between Love And Hate".

The good news is that their new CD recalls those golden days of the 70's even though the group has been through a variety of personnel changes. The group currently consists of Alexander Brown, Richard Pointdexter, Tony Riley and David Turner.

UK soulster Andy Lothian set up It's Soul Time Records back in 2004 and he initially issued a 45 on the Persuaders "Hypnotised"/"Mama" which are featured on the CD.

The CD is a 13 tracker and though there is programming put that to one side because the harmonies are top notch and the original songs from the pen of Richard Pointdexter are class.

Let me take you through the CD:

A Woman Was Made To Be Loved

A strong opening number with Tony Riley taking lead with some beautiful harmonies from the rest of the guys. This song just sways from side to side on the groove laid down and the harmonies make this such a memorable number in celebration of the ladies of the world!

Never Stop Loving You

A midtempo slice of sultry soul harmony with David Turner on lead who delivers a sweet slice of singing with the guys beautifully backing him up as he tells his lady that he will always love her.

Don't Think I Won't Leave You

A slow atmospheric number with acoustic guitar and thunder sounds opening before Tony comes back reminding me of Randy Brown in his style of singing. This is such a strong side about a tale of love where if his woman doesn't stay faithful to him he is off.

What About You

David Turner talks over the intro telling us about his woman before breaking into a wonderful sweet performance again with strong harmonies.

All Up In Your Love

The guys chop it up with this slightly funky number with Richard taking lead over a mellow groove.


David Turner sings with passion about the passing of his mother and how we should never take our mothers for granted.

As One

Another mellow groover with David on lead.

The Wedding Song

This could have been corny but it is such a beautiful song that you cannot fail to fall for it! The soulful sounds of David backed the guys are what make it so beautiful. There is a bit in the middle where they break down into a Dramatics type bag which is marvellous and Maurice Watts lends his voice on the wedding vows.

You're The Best Thing

Tony Riley's baritone lead is strong on this remake of "Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me" reminding me of the Dells and The Dramatics.

This Time Next Year

A beaty stepper which effortlessly floats along with repeated harmonic refrains from the guys.

She's Mine

Alexander Brown provides the falsetto on a song that has you tapping a long as the mellow groove just gets to you.

I Don't Think So

This has a more modern feel with it choppy rhythm and programming but the singing from Tony is pure Teddy Pendergast meets Randy Brown. This track is one of my favourites on the CD because of the strong singing and the groove created which had me clicking my fingers and bopping around.

A House Is Not A Home

Richard Pointdexter steps up on this remake of the classic Bacharach classic and does it to death again in a style which recalls the Dells. It is hard to believe that in 2oo6, people are still creating such wonderful harmonies.


Richard sings another classic that he wrote for Linda Jones and from the roll of the drum machine at the beginning you know that this is going to be a killer side. It is always hard to follow certain versions but Richard's interpretation of his own song is truly uplifting and when he lets go towards the end it is spine chilling.

All The People

This sees original group member Willie B. Holland joining the guys on a social message on the behalf of the people. We are back with the social consciousness songs of the early 70's which are still needed today in a society which never listens to itself and lets itself be destroyed.

All I can say is get out there and buy this CD because it has the In Dangerous Rhythm seal of approval!

You can get it from Soul Brother Records in the UK.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Skullsnaps Podcast

Ten12 records have been working with the original members of the Skullsnaps.

Ten 12 will be releasing a CD of the Skullsnaps music in the near future but they currently have a 12" out called "Snapped"which is a mix of some of their GSF tracks including "It's A New Day" and "I'm Your Pimp" plus some material suppied by Sam Culley of the Skullsnaps from that period and mixed down by Audio Doctor.

If you go to the Ten 12 site you can also listen to a podcast of the Skullsnaps in a three-hour interview at Ten12's HQ in 2005 before their reunion performance at NYC's Knitting Factory.

This podcast makes a nice audio counterpart to the recent article on the Skullsnaps in the February edition of Wax Poetics magazine and which I featured in a previous post.

The Skullsnaps did record after GSF and "Al's Razor Blade" is psych guitar led number which reminds me of some of the grooves Johnny Hammond laid down as it breaks into organ runs. The other side is a very good version of the Luther Ingram number"Ain't That Loving You" with an old fashined doo-woop feel. If you dig back into the Kent CD The Diplomats, a former manifestation of the Skullsnaps, you will find some excellent 60's music.

I recently found out that Billy Lamont also had a release on the Grill label as Billy The Baron & His Smokin' Challengers called "Communication Is Where It's At".

Baby Washington & The Hearts

Ace Records keep pumping out fine music and this collection of Baby Washington and the Hearts is yet another fine release.

Baby Washington is one of the guests invited to the Soul Trip USA 2006 and I am looking forward to meeting her.

I have also been in touch with a former Heart - Lezli Valentine so please watch out for post on Lezli.

Brian Auger Happiness Is Just Around The Bend

Brian Auger and Julie Driscoll in the 60's

After listening to Larry Vann's version of Happiness Is Just Around The Bend I dug out an excellent box set which was compiled by Mojo magazine's Lois Wison called Get Auger-nized! to listen again to the original.

I have a soft spot for Auger's music because of how it influenced my life or to be more accurate how I was affected by his song "Season Of The Witch" sung by Julie Driscoll which was used by a BBC Play For Today in the 60's - drop into my blog River of Soul for the story.

Larry Vann The Rhythm & Roots Rusty Key

I posted up that I had been in touch with Larry last week and since then his CD The Rhythm and Roots of Larry Vann has dropped through the door.

I will be telling Larry's story on the blog in later posts but in the meantime here is a review of the CD

Larry is a percussionist and drummer but he also adds his vocals. He has gathered a selection of some heavyweight friends to help with the CD including Marvin Holmes, Merle Saunders, Elvin Bishop and Brian Auger with whom Larry has worked with in his long career.

Larry wrote most of the songs on the CD with friends such as Tony Saunders with a couple of cover versions thrown in.

Here's A Little Groove For You

This is a lovely little groover in a late 70's jazz funk vein with Charles McNeal laying down some meandering sax over Larry's percussion. Vickie Saunders and Larry repeat the refrain "Here's A Little Groove For You" which makes the song so catchy. Marvin Holmes plays guitar on this tune and the whole song just gets under your skin!!!

Party Til The Morning Light

This has a more choppy beat with nagging guitar from Tim Landis throughout. Larry lays down the main vocal before a timbale led break from him. The backing singers then take the song into a party mood.

Summertime In The Big City

This piano led chugger with interlaced chants from Larry and "The Kids" featuring Larry's wife Yolanda is an atmospheric piece of music which recalls hanging out around the Bay. The killer is the trumpet solo from John Turk another veteran Bay Area player.

Saxy Soul

The groove slows right down with this sensous jazzy number which opens with some lovely alto sax from Charles McNeal. Vickie Saunders's sultry vocal interplay with Charles's sax make this a number for getting hot with your lover!

First Time

We get to hear Larry's full vocals on this mid-tempo song as he tells the tender tale of falling love for the first time. Carl Lockett lays down some nifty guitar runs as the song builds to the fade.

Hero's Blues

This is a complete change of mood from the jazzy tinged first 5 tracks as Larry goes into a bluesy bag with the tale of Hero which features Elvin Bishop on guitar and Merle Saunders on organ. I love this tale from Larry which has really grown on me after a few plays.

Happiness Is Just Around The Bend

I must be honest and say that I had forgotten that Brian Auger wrote this song having long been familiar with the Main Ingredient's version from the early 70's. Brian Auger is featured on this version playing a Fender Rhodes solo. The song is propelled along at a fast pace with plenty of strong percussion and bass before Auger's break. This song probably best demonstrates Larry's drumming style which has seen him work with people from the Whispers through to Merle Saunders.


This quiet song has some strong vocals as Larry lets himself go over Carl Lockett's acoustic guitar. It also has a fine organ break from Ira Walker who co-wrote the song with Larry. There's also some effective double tracking of vocals towards the end.

Look Over Yonder

This is straight blues with Carl Lockett laying down some fine rhythm guitar blues runs and Larry beats those skins! Larry tells a story of a fight at Sweet Jimmies Club in Oakland - I'll have to ask whether it is true!!!

Sitting In Limbo

This is the second cover with Larry doing a fine version of the Jimmy Cliff song. An acoustic song with Larry opening by telling us; "that sometimes we find ourselves in positions and be prayerful and stay focused and that our day will come". This reminds me of Paul Kelly's Bullseye album.

The CD finishes with remixes of "Summertime In The Big City" and "Here's A Little Groove For You"

This CD is a breath of fresh air and if you want to obtain a copy check out Rusty Key Records

Stoke Allnighters 2006

I didn't make the last one but the main hall of this still recalls the halycon days of Northern Soul in the 70's. I have helped a few students in recent times with dissertations on Northern Soul and I always point them in the direction of Stoke to feel the atmosphere of a nighter.

Jackie Ross & Syl Johnson In UK

This should be a top night with Jackie & Syl backed by the excellent Snake Davis & The Suspicions.

Birmingham Soul Weekender 26-28 May 2006

I had a ball at the last Birmingham one of these in 2004 when Bobby Womack and Impromtu starred. This time UK soulster Kenny Thomas and former D-Train leader James Williams will be headlining.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Bay Area Funk Volume 2

I have just found out that the West Coast label Love N'Haight are to issue their 50th album in April which will be Bay Area Funk Volume 2. It looks another goodie and will sit nicely along side Volume 1 which was issued in 2003.

Bay Area funk expert Justin Torres has once again written the sleevenotes which if they are anything like Volume 1 then we are in for a treat with information based on interviews with the artists and archive photos.

You can check out the full tracklisting at Ubiquity Records.

One of the 45's included on the compilation is the Relatives "Lenient With My Love" on Archway. This is a 45 I picked up from a Norfolk dealer back in the 70's and have always loved. The offbeat groove always captured my attention with its heavy bass runs. Hopefully, we will now be able to find something out about the group.

Check out more of Justin's Bay Area picks at Soul Strut

Cognac Blues Passion 26-30 July 2006

One of the best European blues festivals is the French Cognac Blues Festival which will be held this year from 26 to 30 July.

The full line-up has yet to be announced but Frederic Adrian, one of my French friends from the Dark End Of The Street discussion group, tells me that Terry Evans, Bettye LaVette, the Nevilles, Irma Thomas and Otis Clay are already scheduled!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Soul Express Magazine Goes On Line

Soul Express, one of the best non-UK soul magazines, will cease to be printed from the next issue. The good news is that the magazine will be going on-line from their website in future.

Heikki Suosalo who writes for the magazine tells me that the Soul Express site has been getting more than 10,000 hits a month so it makes better sense to go on-line to a bigger audience.

Soul Express has been a wonderful magazine over the years especially Heikki's in-depth interviews with The Dells, The Dramatics, The Spinners, Luther Ingram and many more plus his thorough reviews of new deep and Southern releases. The magazine also features all aspects of quality soul. Most of the back copies are still available from their site and are highly recommended to In Dangerous Rhythm readers!

Drop by Soul Express and have a good read!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

JJ Caillier Maison De Soul

The other side of this 45 "I Got A Groove" has garnered interest on the UK funk scene and has been released on Kent's CD Louisiana Funk.

However, though I like the swamp infested offbeat funk of "I Got A Groove" and I originally picked this up in the early 80's for the sing along other side "Been Such A Long Time" which has Dalton Francis & The Flaming Arrows laying down a real cool groove to bop a long to!

Maison De Soul was out of the Ville Platte area north of Layfette, Louisiana. I do have a few other sides on this label - Frank Turner and Irma Thomas spring to mind.

I don't know much about JJ Caillier though I do have another 45 by him called "Pusherman" on Jay Cee which is Lafayette label. I love this tune which is anti-drugs plea from the early 70's and it sits nicely alongside Prince George's "Wrong Crowd" on DPG. Both these 45's were played on the UK rare soul scene in the late 70's.

There is an artist called JJ Caillier who is a zydeco singer around to this day but I don't know whether it is the same person as recorded for Maison De Soul and Jay Cee. I wonder whether there are any other 45's out there by him?

Darrow Fletcher To Hit UK In June 2006

Last year, Darrow Fletcher dropped into the Soul Source forum to say hello and I am pleased to report that Ady Croasdell has signed him up for this year's Cleethorpes Weekender in June.

You can find more details at 6T's site of Darrow's appearance on 10th June.

I have recently been in touch with Darrow and hopefully I will post some information on him here in the near future.

In the meantime, I have been playing his 45's and my favourite from his early sounds is "My Young Misery". This driving uptempo 45 is Darrow's story that love can cause you misery whatever age you are and we are exposed to his passionate singing for such a young person. I love the impassioned pleas at the end of the song by Darrow for us to help him!

Johnny Brantley & Alan Freed

In my search to find out more about Johnny, I have discovered that he worked for the infamous DJ Alan Freed who was involved in a payola scandal in the early 60's relating to his activities in the 50's.

The above picture is from the Alan Freed archives surrounding the court case.

One of the most interesting aspects of this archive are hand written documents relating to the trial on evidence given by Johnny. I will need to sit down and decipher the information because it relates to his role in the Alan Freed empire and provides information on the early part of Johnny's career. This all adds to the information already gleaned from Hermon Hitson and Freddie Terrell plus the information documented by Dan Kochakian in his article for Blues & Rhythm on Billy Lamont.

Ted Ford Real Soul Budd

My first introduction to Ted Ford's music was on the dance floor of the UK Northern Soul scene in the mid 70's when I first heard his thumping "You Gonna Need Me". The guitar riff which opens up this 45 was a prelude to jumping out of my seat and shooting on to the floor for a 2 min 50 sec fix. Even today 30 years on when I hear the 45 it is still hard to stay still though my sciatica brings me down to earth!

Ted managed to have 2 45's issued in the UK as brand new releases back in the late 70's which is a real achievement for such an obscure artist. The first in 1977 for the Barak label "I Wanna Be Near You" sounds so strong now. Ted's second UK release in 1979 "Disco Music" was on Paul Mooney's Ardent label and one of Paul's first forays into music. Forget the title because this is a catchy real instrument beater with some synths which still sounds fresh today.

The side featured above is a side I think I picked up off Paul when he used to sell 45s in the early 80's because I enjoyed Ted's vocals. Over the years, I always played ""I Can't Give You Up" which is a terrific very midtempo side with some a strong melody and memorable horn lines and guitar riffs with some swirling organ flourishes thrown in here and there.

In recent times, I have been playing the other side "Real Soul" which I had seen mentioned on a funk DJ playlists. I have always enjoyed the funky side of things having firstly grown up in the clubs of Liverpool which unlike other Northern UK cities didn't have strong Northern Soul roots; and the fact that I spent 3 years in Brighton UK surrounded by a funk scene in the local discos which impacted on my listening tastes.

"Real Soul" starts with Ted asking us are we ready before several rolls of the drums and some tricky bass riffs and then the 45 blasts off in a JB meets the Meters type bag. Ted says it doesn't matter with it is black or blue-eyed soul as long as its real soul!

For some reason the scan looks a bit fuzzy but if you click on it then its OK!!!

Welcome To The Newsroom

While doing a search on the Net for information on Lonnie Hewitt, I came across this CD on a Frisco label called 7 Bridges Recordings. The CD came out in 2002 and features 13 previously unissued tracks by Electric Church, Flight and Paul Tillman Smith. The first 2 were unknown to me but I am familiar with Paul Tillman Smith for his work with Vitamin E, Bridge and Park Place.

The CD features a host of Bay Area musicians including Lonnie Hewitt, Ray Obiedo and others. However, the killer for me is that 2 tracks "Back Here Again" and "Ready To Live" have Freddie Hughes on lead vocals. I knew that Freddie has worked with Paul Tillman Smith on countless projects since the early 70's and I knew that some of these recordings had remained unissued. "Back Here Again" was recorded in 1974 at the Fantasy Studios in Berkeley and "Ready To Live" was recorded in San Francisco in 1975 at Funky Features Studios. There is also a futher bonus in Freddie's former partner in the Casanova 2, Wylie Trass providing a vocal on a track "This Morning, Your Sorrow".

You can still get the CD from 7 Bridges - mine arrived within a week.

I will try and get the low down from Freddie on the tracks now I know they exist and post it up on my Freddie Hughes blog

Paul Tillman Smith did have a website for his Park Place band but sadly I can no longer find it on the web. One of the problems with the web is information can come and go and this was before I started saving web pages! Unlike, most other formats you cannot find it once it has been deleted!!

Neil Kimble & The Venture Label

Neil Kimble is one of soul music's mystery men and though I and others have tracked down many of our heroes this guy remains elusive. The other strange thing is that people such as Vernon Garrett, Mighty Hannibal and Darryl Carter who worked with him or knew him couldn't throw much light on him either when I spoke to them about Neil. Ace Records didn't turn up any information on the man either when they issued the CD LA Happening which contains his Fat Fish recordings.

What we are left with then is the vinyl; 2 45's for Fat Fish, 2 on Venture and 1 each on Maverick and Creative Producers. I was turned onto Neil in the late 70's when I picked up a wants list from a Japanese collector and saw his name. At that stage, I had not heard of his music or of the man. When I looked at the other artists on the wants list such as Johnny Adams, George Jackson etc then I thought he was worthy of investigation and I was proved right.

The 45 featured here is "You Sure Got A Funny Way" written by Venture staff writers Dick Cooper, Ernie Shelby and Darryl Carter. This B-side is a tough side to find because most copies of the 45 are double A-sided demos of "I Consider Myself Lucky" which is a class ballad. I picked up "You Sure Got A Funny A Way" in the early 80's from the UK's Soul Bowl and it has remained a perennial favourite of mine. The 45 sounds like an after hours club jam session with a slow organ and bass backdrop with guys and girls shouting out and clapping encouragement to Neil as he does his stuff. The killer is the chorus with some strong singing from the girls allowing Neil to really let go. Unusually, it has a piano led break which picks up from the organ to lead to the end. They sure sound as though they are having a good time and I cannot recall another 45 like this one. Somewhere, I did start noting down party sounds 45's but at present on this dull wet morning my brain is yet to kick into gear and I cannot find the references!

My friend, Barry Fowden with the help of several people has compiled a discography and feature on the Venture label and there was also a article in In The Basement Issue 40 by Greg Burgess.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Billy Lamont Update

Cover of Blues & Rhythm magazine featuring Billy Lamont in the main photo.

I have to thank Dave Porter of Vivid Sounds UK for telling me about an excellent article on Billy Lamont in Blues & Rhythm magazine Issue 157 March 2001 after reading my blog.

The article is written by Dan Kochakian and is based on an interview with Billy which confirms he is the same artist who recorded for Savoy, Okeh, King etc as well as working with Johnny Brantley in the 60's.

The article turns up a few missing pieces on Johnny which I will build into an update on him after I finishing transcribing what Freddie Terrell and Hermon Hitson recollected about the guy.
You can get a copy from Blues & Rhythm

Check my previous posts on Billy Lamont and Billy Lamont Update