Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tell It Like It Is

Tonight's 45 is a record by S.O.U.L. (Sounds of Unity and Love) outta Cleveland, Ohio. S.O.U.L. released 10 45s and 2 LPs on the Musicor label in the early 70s, and their LPs are particularly sought after, as well as at least one of their 45s (who's got a copy of 'Burning Spear' for me?). I wish I could say that I'm always buying their 45s when I come across them, but unfortunately, it's not very often that I see them at shops or shows.

This tune is a solid groover that has plenty of changes throughout. The vocals are sung by a number of the members of the group, which gives the tune a "show band" sound to me. The vocals and thewah-wah of the guitar are up in the mix, bass and organ in a support role underneath. There's a couple breakdowns where everything falls away except the drums, bongos andwah-wah of guitar behind the vocals, the second breakdown features a separating of the voices before going into a piano-led outro. I dig that falsetto. Would have liked to heard more of that, but nothing to complain about here.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I Can't Believe You Love Me

I've been meaning to feature this great 45 by the Ambassadors that I bought last year, somehow misfiled, and only recently had the opportunity to really sit down and listen to. Like the Helene Smith 45 featured a while back, this was another record I pulled from a box ofunsleeved 45s at my local flea market (looking at unsleeved 45s being a practice I only really took to last year). Anyway, enough talk of my collecting habits, and, instead, let's talk about this fantastic slice of soul by The Ambassadors released on Arctic in 1969.

Opening with a steady beat, a lovely bit of jangly guitar, and ace harmonies, the song settles into it's groove and then when the lead vocalist comes in, the song really takes off. His vocals are spectacularly soulful. He consistently brings his vocals up out of the tune, and in the choruses, he works with, or juxtaposes against the backing vocals, sometimes finishing their lines to very nice effect. Lines like "When I speak your name in the sweetest tone, It's just as though I'm all alone" just knock me out. The production is quality, a rich sound of horns, piano, bass and drums grounding the vocals (especially like the bass sound of the horns as the vocals soar).

The more I hear on this label, the more I am impressed. Quality stuff.