Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Bring Back Peace to the World

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Here's an amazing 45 I bought a few months back, The Spencer Jackson Family's "Bring Back Peace to the World" on Scarab Records. Supporting the Spencer Jackson Family on this record are The Pharoahs, whose 45 on the same label I featured last year. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find any information on The Spencer Jackson Family via the internet (you would think most records would have some information in a corner of the web somewhere....). That being said, I am not sure how I am going to be able to describe the intensity of this performance.....

Opening with mellow, gospel-like* vocal harmonies, the voices give way to a female voice that pierces the tune, and a chunky groove comes in. From here on, layers of vocals are created by several groups each singing their own lines, until they reach the chorus when they come back together. I originally thought the vocals were split into male and female groups, but there are more than two groups of vocals present. It is a dense and powerful web they are weaving. The music behind the singing is spot on, and aside from the when the groove is initially laid down, it stays in the background, supporting the vocal group. Great, great record. I love the deep male vocals, "If I had my way, I would stop the hate".

*I gotta be honest and say my exposure to gospel is very limited. It's just what comes to mind when I hear the opening lines.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I Can't Go On

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Except for an hour at a local flea market, I spent nearly all of last weekend painting the baby's room. Good thing I went to the flea market, as I purchased a few soul 45s out of the back of a truck. One 45 has really captured me, Deon Jackson's "I Can't Go On", released on Ollie McLaughlin's Carla record label in 1968. This record is great. Nothing fancy to it, just a solid mid- to up-tempo dancer. Deon is backed by female vocals and - for the most part - a stripped down backing band, just drums, bass and guitar. Horns come in only for dramatic effect, an organ sometimes helps make the transition from verse to chorus. Really, the show is all Deon's. And his smooth vocals and relaxed delivery are spot on.

You can hear this tune over at Soul Club. I highly recommend giving it a listen if you're unfamiliar with the tune.

There's a great article on Ollie McLaughlin over at Hitsville Soul Club.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

(It's Got To Be) Now Or Never

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It's been over a week since my last post, much longer than I expected to be away from the blog, but with 11 weeks to go until my wife's due date, all the things that are required to be done before that date are jockeying for my attention.

Tonight, a tune from Little Dooley, "It's Got To Be (Now Or Never)", which I am assuming was released in 1972 (the flip side of the label has radio station call letters and the date of 11/27/72 written on it). Like the Boby Franklin 45 featured a short while back, I first heard this record on the Saucy 70s cassette (if I recall correctly - I still haven't been able to find the cassette - and I would really like to). Anyway, I bought this 45 today, and it's been on repeat. It's a very nice mid-tempo soul tune built on a simple groove. Strings and horns move through the background, never overpowering the rhythm. Little Dooley's vocals are so smooth and so soulful, and very restrained for the topic he's singing about. Such a well-constructed and executed tune. Perfect for a late night when the lights are down low.

You can listen to this tune at Soulclub.