Sunday, October 30, 2005

Never Learned To Dance

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Here's one I bought a few years back for the flip side, "Dynamite", but a few months back I received a CD with "Never Learned To Dance" on it, and I was immediately hooked. I'm not sure how I missed it when I purchased the 45. This tune is getting spins on the northern soul scene from what I've been told.

"Never Learned to Dance" is an uptempo soul tune with latin overtones. Plenty of percussion, plenty of horns, a nice and dense sound. I especially like how you can here the piano player pounding those keys. This tune just starts off full throttle and never lets up. You can check it out on soulclub. Scroll down to the page until you see Harvey Averne Dozen in the left column, then click on the song title.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Lucretia the Cat

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As stated last night, I've been broke lately and, consequently, rummaging through the boxes lately, playing things that somehow fell off my radar in the hunt for other records. Tonight, one from Ray Barretto on the legendary Fania label, "Lucretia the Cat", a 45 that's working quite well on a Friday night.

An especially percussive-heavy tune, "Lucretia the Cat" features three things that get me: the flute over the top of the tune, the horns, and the breakdown late in the tune. The tune is actually sounds quite slick, with it's quality production and the tightness of the group. It is showcased in a relaxed mid-tempo groove complemented by intense crescendos throughout.

A great record that I don't hear mentioned too often when people are discussing Ray Barretto's 45 output. Unfortunately, I'm not able to find any soundfiles on the web.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Money's Gettin' Cheaper

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I've been wanting to listen to something different lately, so I have been turning to some of the blues 45s I have, as well as some of the latin 45s. Tonight, one of those blues 45s, Jimmy Witherspoon's "Money's Gettin' Cheaper", a 1963 release on Prestige. OK, while not a straight blues tune, "Money's Gettin' Cheaper" has a nice beat and features plenty of organ. There's also a tasty saxophone solo in the middle. It's amazing what the organ and saxophone adds - without them this tune is a stripped down, small combo tune. Jimmy has some great lines lamenting how far his money is going, culminating in the following:

I can't afford to live, I guess I'll have to try,
Undertakers got a union and it costs to much to die.

This 45 was one of a host of great Prestige tunes on the 1st CD in the Mod Jazz series released by Kent. The first CD of the series is especially recommended.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Peace Begin Withins

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This is a 45 I turn to again and again, Bobby Powell's "Peace Begins Within" on Whit. It has brilliant socially conscious lyrics over a solid mid-tempo groove. Very topical in some respects, as he mentions Vietnam, but his message still has merit. And it's delivered with so much soul, especially great lines like "I want to go to Heaven, but I don't want to die". Overall, it's a funky soul tune with plenty of flourishes thanks to the guitar player and a (electronic?) piano. The guitar playing is very nice, sharp and well-placed. About 3/4 of the way through a female chimes in over a breakdown and supports Bobby's message. And then he takes it on home.....

I highly recommend you have a listen here. What an amazing tune.

Monday, October 24, 2005

99 44/100 Pure Love

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Here's one I haven't had out of the record box in a while, but it's still a favorite: Al Reed's "99 44/100 Pure Love" on Axe (great label design, no?). A gritty, mid-tempo r'n'b funk track, 99 44/100 doesn't disappoint. The groove is nice and steady, slowly building behind the guitar player's lines which he plays hypnotically. The horns come in and increase the pressure until the tune spills over on itself, the horns nearly drowning out everone. Then everything settles back down into the original rhythm before picking up steam and taking it to the end. There's a lovely chorus of girls that help with the chorus. Hypnotic is a pretty good word for it.

You can hear the tune here care of Yoni's great site. Go down to nearly the bottom of the page, and click on one of the arrows. Check his opening lines..."Would you believe I call my baby Ivory?". Classic.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Baby Hold On

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Flipping through one of the record boxes today, I decided to throw on the other 45 by the Mohawks that was released in the States, "Baby Hold On, Part 1 / Part 2" (the other being the more desirable "The Champ" single). I actually found this 45 right after I bought "The Champ" off e-bay for the going rate at the time. Thankfully, "Baby Hold On" was much cheaper, a dollar, if I remember correctly.

Over a funky backdrop, there's a chorus of woman singing the title, and of course, that signature organ work courtesy of Alan Hawkshaw, which is the focus of The Mohawks' sound. There are plenty of horns to boot. Between the organ and the horns, the tune ebbs and flows, the horns having their parts, the organ with it's spotlight, and then everything coming in together. The whole thing taken together is a very swinging affair, with the group obviously not heeding the chorus' message.

I'd forgotten how much fun this record was. I guess it's not such a bad thing to be broke sometimes.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Kill The Pain

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Recently I stumbled across a second copy of this 45, and, as it usually happens, this record went back into the rotation of 45s gracing the turntable. Sometimes you need to find something again to reawaken your appreciation of it.

How to describe "Kill The Pain"? It's a heavy mid-tempo funk number that picks up the pace for the chorus, and then gets back into it's groove. The singer is amazingly soulful, at his wit's end, and the band seems to mimic his spiral down, and then lifts him up when he breaks out of it to plead through the chorus. A few things really get me: a) those horns, especially when they seem to pierce the sky in the chorus b) the jangly guitar playing - it's quality c)the organ that seems to bubble up every now and again. Let's not forget where the singer pleads for help and the saxophone seems to work him through it. And then he sets the band up for another go at it, and takes it home. Nice.

You can hear some of this 45 here.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Sweeter Than The Other Side

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Unfortunately, I've somehow managed to lose everything I had written. Apologies if something doesn't make sense. I'm quite tired.

Tonight, I'm spinning some records that I haven't played in a while. Tonight's selection is a record from Las Vegas, Soul Patrol's "Sweeter Than The Other Side" on Discovery. It's always nice to find a quality tune in your box when you have no money to spend on new records.

"Sweeter Than The Other Side" is a stripped-down organ-led mover, just organ over bass, guitar, and drums. An occassional bit of tambourine as well. And the group just plays at a frantic pace, changing the tempo to take a breath, and then diving right back in. Everything is loose, yet the group stays together. Quality.

Have a listen to some of this 45 here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


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Here is an interesting 45 by the Ray Rivera Orchestra on MGM, "Guava". It is an organ-led tune that has a solid drum beat with some nice conga playing over it. There is also plenty of bass and a guitar that occassionally throws out real nice wah-wah. Definite late 60s sound and a quality tune.

This is the kind of sound I like from the 60s: an intermingling of sounds that leads me to believe that mixing styles can be a good thing, when done right.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Two By Two

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"Two By Two" is an excellent jazz funk 45 by the guitarist Eddie Fisher, who did a much sought after LP on Chess (and I believe both of the tunes on this 45 were on the LP, but not sure if they used the same recordings - anyone?). This is a local release on Oliver Sain's Vanessa label.

The guitar playing is straight-forward, staying right on the groove. Nothing over the top. The organ gets some time after the guitar takes a break, and he keeps it going nicely. There are some interesting sounds in the background, particualrly something very metallic, but certainly not the cymbals. The organs hits some high notes, too, higher than I've ever heard. But it all adds up to a tough jazz mover, the type of stuff I really like.

You can hear some of this tune here thanks to

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Don't Let This Happen To Us

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Here's a great funky soul 45 by Fred Hughes on the Brunswick label, "Dont Let This Happen to Us", released in 1971. I found this a little while back at a thrift shop, and my local thrift shops almost never have any soul 45s in them.

What I really like about this tune is that it starts with some heavy horns that leads into a solid, layered groove. I'm talking about a big drum beat, some fuzz guitar, additional percussion, and those horns returning for the chorus. Interestingly enough, when the chorus comes in the song nearly sounds like a straight up soul tune (I thinkng it's the volume of the horns nearly smothering the drums). But then the song gets back in that groove. In the middle is a nice piano-led break. Now I'm not particularly crazy about breaks, but I really like the sound they're getting on the drums, so it's nice to (nearly) get to hear them on their own.

Nice one from Mr. Hughes.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Just Say When

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One more from the ladies tonight, a great soul 45 that won't cost you more than a tenner, Jo Ann Garrett's "Just Say When" on Chess. The drum and bass are up in the mix, and throw down a bit of a groove. There are strings all over the song, seeming to ebb and flo as Jo Ann's delivery does. And speaking of Jo Ann, her voice is strong and steady, taking full control of the tune. The vibraphone that is occassionally underneath is a nice touch, along with the bit of jangly guitar (that is pretty much drowned out by the tambourine).

Really nice. You can hear the entire song at soulclub. You'll have to scroll down until you find Jo Ann's name in the right column.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I'll Be There

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I thought I would continue with 45s by the ladies, and so, tonight, I bring you Franciene Thomas' "I'll Be There" on Tragar. Perhaps a bit more polished than the Big Ella 45 featured last night, this 45 is still a storming, soulful funk track. The drums are, again, non-stop, and, along with the bass, get plenty of the spotlight. The horns are just phenomenal, tight and spot on. And Franciene's vocals never seem rushed even though the drummer is keeping that frenetic pace. She just makes her promise to her man.

Have a listen here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Too Hot To Hold

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OK, this is my tune right now, Big Ella' "Too Hot To Hold" on Salem. Start to finish it just knocks me out, and it is certainly the best 45 I've stumbled across recently. The label looks a bit beat up in the scan above, but the record (thankfully) plays great.

After the misleading, bluesy guitar line that starts this song off, everything is full throttle. The horns come right in with the drums (and then drop away for a few seconds - just listen to that drumming), and they warm it up for Ella. She comes in and keeps up the pace, her throaty vocal putting it all out there, as she says "no brags, just facts". Check those guitar lines behind her vocals, too. Nice. Man, she really belts it out.

Enough talk. You gotta have a listen to some of this - check it out here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

How Can You Mistreat The One You Love

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I bought this one about a month ago now (seems just like yesterday), and for some reason it hasn't yet been featured. And "How Can You Mistreat The One You Love" by Jean & the Darlings is a funky soul number that has been under my skin.

Starting off with a bit of horns, guitar and a vibraphone, some tasty funky drumming then kicks in along with the group vocals and it's off. Along with these elements, handclapping is everpresent throughout. A solid base for the vocals to do their thing. The backing vocals come in for the chorus, join in singing the title of the song, drop off to let the lead singer finish the statement, and then respond. Very nice. About half way through, everything drops away except a flute over the drums. Only a quick taste and then back to all the players.

Quality tune. Always nice when a blind purchase pays off.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Gladys - Love

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Here's a great soul record I bought this weekend, Gladys' "Love" on O-Gee Records out of New York. It seems to be one of the few soul records that actually mentions the date it was released, 1967. From what I have been able to gather via the internet, Gladys was actually Gay Jamison.

"Love" is a solid mid-tempo soul tune with some nice touches behind it, courtesy of a xylophone, a smokey saxophone sound, and the occassional piano line. The music is up in the mix, but never overpowers the vocals, which are really nice and smooth. In fact, there's a real soothing quality to the whole affair, even when the song gathers a bit more intensity in the middle. A quality tune.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Blues for Bunny

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One more jazz 45 that I recently purchased, Illinois Jacquet's "Blues for Bunny" on Argo. A record I really like, and also one that proves that there are still quality 45s out there that can be bought for a dollar.

"Blues for Bunny" is a horn-led mover with a heavy latin feel. Plenty of percussion, great bass lines, piano, a real dense sound. The tempo continues under a nice saxophone solo, and then there is the great conga solo where everything drops away and someone shouts out something indecipherable right before the tune fades out.

If you have any interest in jazz 45s, I recommend seeking this one out.

Friday, October 07, 2005


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Here's another 'jazz' 45 I found recently, The Village Crusaders' "Akiwawa". OK, it's not really jazz, but that's the box I found it in at the record shop I bought it from. I really like the graphic on the label. It's quite a cool logo of the States.

It's an interesting tune, starting off with an afro-funk fell and then getting into some solid drumming. Hard drumming, too. Something the breaks collectors would enjoy. Then it settles into a real nice, almost laid back, flute-led, organ-filled groove. The flute gives way to a saxophone for a bit, and then the group takes it up a notch & the organ gets the lead. The tasty drum break returns, and then the flute, saxophone and the organ come in over the groove to take it on home. A vibraphone evens much a small appearance.

It's a real quirky one, that's for sure. And actually one that didn't do much for me on the first spin. It has certainly grown on me, though. And it is sounding more jazz-oriented on each rotation.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Modern Jive

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I've been away for a few days, taking a few days off in the lovely city of Montreal. My wife and I had a thoroughly enjoyable time, even though we seemed to run ourselves ragged trying to see as much as possible in 4 days. A highly recommended destination from this record-obsessed blogger (although I didn't buy any records in the city).

One of the records I found (yes, I did make a stop along the way), was this nice cheapie by Mr. Bernard "Pretty" Purdie, "Modern Jive", which I bought with a number of other jazz 45s. The first time I actually heard this tune was on Sugarman Three's "Pure Cane Sugar" LP (which I highly, highly recommend and featured Mr. Bernard Purdie himself).

Kicking off with a mellow guitar-led, horn-laden theme, the song erupts into a monster bit of drumming where everything else falls away. Eventually, the mellow theme continues over the big, big drum sound, which presents an interesting sound: relaxing, yet intense. Some real quirky stuff. But I really dig it.