Monday, January 28, 2008

Keep Your Chin Up

Here's a fantastic soul side by Jackie Ross on the Brunswick label, "Keep Your Chin Up". Jackie had a number of 45s released on the Chess label in the mid-60s before she moved to Brunswick for 2 45s, this one from '67, and one more in '68. This tune has had some plays on the northern soul scene, and really got under my skin when I participated in a CD swap last year. I knew I had to find this record, and my opportunity came last week when a copy was sitting in the cheap bins of a local shop.

Right off the bat, "Keep Your Chin Up" gets me with the interplay of Jackie's high voice and the falsetto of the backing male vocals. From the opening guitar lines, the production really seems to do what is the song is all about, uplifting the spirits of someone who is helplessly in love. The drums, bass, bongos, even a vibraphone are there to propel the tune (there's a real lightness to the song when it's just these 4 instruments, never overpowering Jackie's vocals) to the chorus, where the strings and horns take the tune to a crescendo. And then guitar comes back in, everyone resets and we're off again. Brilliant stuff.

You can hear this tune over at Soul Club.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Pussyfoot

Here's a tasty 45 I bought last November at the WFMU show in NYC. Somehow, it got misplaced, and I just recently dug it out an gave it a proper cleaning and listen. And it's really striking a chord with me, especially since I've taken a break from the jazzier side of 45 collecting for the last half year.....

This 45 by Quincy Jones is backed with "For Love of Ivy", which is the same name
of a movie released in 1968. From what I have been able to find out, "The Pussyfoot" did not make it onto the soundtrack LP. A shame, really, as this track is real nice.

"The Pussyfoot" has a real swinging groove, led by the piano and bass. The piano is perhaps the real driving force, though, so percussive and direct. Underneath this,
an organ bubbles up and around the main theme, playful, yet giving it a soulful feel, too. The tambourine jangles fleshes things out, and the drums - when they're in the tune - are truly in a support role: the piano is the real percussion here.

This is what I love about jazz and jazzier side of things on 45, the directness. Forget all that soloing and give me a groove I can nod, or even dance, to.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Time to re-open the record box

I haven't forgotten about this place. Things have been hectic, real hectic, and time has just gotten away from me. My daughter is 14 months today, and very mobile. Absolutely amazing how a child can nearly master walking in a month.
Anyway, I have some quality 45s that have been added to the record box, and it's time to sit down and get back to the music. Look for an update soon!