Sunday, 4 November 2012

Q#86 – October – November 2012

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Q’s Compilations
Volume #86 – October – November 2012

Greetings! This is my Soul mix, a sort-of companion to the funk mix of Q#76, it is not meant as a “best of” or any kind of definitive selection, but is a rough guide to the genre and a nice contrast of established greats and obscurity. Regardless, it does contain some of my very favourites and while there are some obvious omissions, I think it’s an excellent compilation. I write these notes in the aftermath of hurricane sandy, feeling fortunate and grateful that I didn’t lose power or worse, as so many have.

01) Otis Redding - I Can't Turn You Loose (live): Otis was one of the greats and of course, should need no introduction. My favourite of his releases is the In Person at the Whisky A Go Go live album, recorded in 1966 on the sunset strip in LA (released in 68). The record is a whirlwhind experience, this is the first track on the record and Redding already sounds like he’s poured an incredible amount of energy into it. I love all the false endings too.

02) The Flirtations - Nothing but a Heartache: I have used this on a previous Q-Comp (#74), but it is probably my favourite song of all time and had to make another appearance for the purpose of this mix. There’s some great bass work going on here that is often missed.

03) Ann Peebles - What You Laid On Me: Along with Otis Redding’s In Person at the Whisky A Go Go, Peeble’s 1972 album Straight From the Heart is my favourite soul album. I’ve used a couple of cuts on previous comps, of course. The only blemish on an otherwise flawless record is the insistence to fade all the tracks out during the outro, it wouldn’t have hurt to let some songs end a bit more naturally! Again, check out the bass work on this track, beautiful.

04) Betty Harris - Mean Man: Harris made an appearance on my funk mix thanks to the delightful Break in the Road, which featured The Meters, but for the most part her recorded output is straight-up soul. This is probably her best song.

05) The O'Jays - For the Love of Money: Another band that featured on the funk mix, The O’Jays straddled both soul and funk as well as anyone, and I couldn’t completely leave funk unrepresented on a soul mix. This is on the Ship Ahoy (1973) record.

06) The Temptations - Psychedelic Shack: Another funky number, The Temptations are best known for their early period hits like the timeless My Girl, but after frontman David Ruffin left and was replaced by Dennis Edwards, they went through a style change from R&B motown numbers to a harder and trippy sound. This is an extended version of the song which was previously unreleased until the Psychedelic Soul compilation, an essential 2-CD collection if you like this. 

07) Lee Dorsey – Roverboat: Backed by The Meters, Dorsey’s 1970 Yes We Can album is an effortlessly varied record. Riverboat features a psychedelic groove which just flows over the whole song, sadly it’s over before you know it.

08) Black Merda - For You: This band were a rather shocking omission from the funk mix, so I had to make sure they made an appearance on this one. Considered to be the first all-black rock band, this track shows their soulful side, which opens their second album, Long Burn the Fire, originally released in 1972.

09) Curtis Mayfield - Keep On Keeping On: Another artist that needs no introduction, most people reach for the outstanding self-titled debut or Superfly, but Roots, released in 1971 (snuggled nicely between the debut and Superfly…) is up there with anything he released.

10) Sam Dees - Child of the Streets: Ask anyone who loves soul about Sam Dees and it’s likely they will wax lyrical about 1975’s The Show Must Go On, but he remains an obscurity to everyone else, mustering a depressing 5000 listeners on last,fm. I used Claim Jumpin’ on a previous mix, the album is hard to find so you’ll probably have to make do with a download, it really deserves a proper re-issue.

11) Johnson, Hawkins, Tatum, & Durr - You're All I Need to Make It: Led by Virgil Johnson’s distinctive vocal, this group sadly recorded very little, a paltry two 7” records on the capsoul label in 1971/72. This will divide fans who prefer their soul more gritty, but it really is a gorgeous song.

12) Irma Thomas - Turn My World Around: The queen of New Orleans soul, I’ve already featured two other songs from the resplendent 1973 release, In Between Tears, on previous mixes. Once again, pay attention to the bass!

13) The Four Mints - Row My Boat: Another forgotten gem in the soul world is The Four Mints’ Gently Down Your Stream album (another from 1973), which had no less than four strong candidates for this mix. Those who don’t really “do” smoother-soul would do well to give this a fair crack of the whip, there is a lot going on and it really gets under your skin.

14) The Charmels - As Long As I've Got You: The other track on this mix that I have used before (Q#79), I just love it too much to have left it off, and a bit like The Flirtations, there isn’t a song by the group that is near as good to have used instead. Another group who recorded a handful of songs then disappeared, this song was released on Stax in 1967 but has since garnered a cult following thanks to the Wu-Tang Clan, who sampled it.

15) Al Green - Tired of Being Alone: Another big hitter but I figure most casual listeners probably only know Let’s Stay Together thanks to Pulp Fiction (although, granted, this song did make #293 in Rolling Stone’s top 500 songs of all time). I’m not a huge Green listener, it gets a bit too smooth after a while but in small doses he’s as good as anyone and this 1971 single can’t help but induce an embarrassing sway from this particular listener.

16) Little Anthony and the Imperials - Goin' Out of My Head: Forming in the 50s, the group had a hit with their first release, Tears On My Pillow, after a few lineup changes, including Little Anthony pursuing a solo career, the group got back together and released this track in 1964. You’ll probably recognise the song, given that it’s been covered by a staggering number of artists (just find the wiki entry for this song).

17) The Web - The Same Old Me: Compilation and re-issue specialist label Numero released Cult Cargo: Belize City Boil Up in 2005, a wonderful mix of releases from Belize between 1960 and 1980. The compilation leans more towards reggae but includes this absolute gem of a tune, although perhaps part of the reason this song sits apart from the rest is that The Web moved away from Belize to the US.

18) Baby Huey - Listen to Me: Baby Huey is one of those “almost was…” stories, great voice, tight backing band, signed to Curtis Mayfield’s label, he should have been huge. He was huge, of course, physically, plagued with a glandular problem that kept his weight around the 400 pound mark, which contributed (as well as substance abuse) to his death in 1970 after a heart attack. The album was released after his death and is a bit of a patchwork attempt to fill some gaps to make an albums worth of material, which ends up giving the album a very uneven feel. We’ll never know what might have been released had he been healthy. Taken in isolation though, this song is more than worthy of being on the mix.

19) Eddie Finley And Cincinatti Show Band - Treat Me Right: Information about this group is hard to come by, but they are featured on the recently released Loving on the Flipside on Nowagain records, which I was going to buy, but the next time I went into Other Music they had sold all their copies, will try to get it later. The bass and guitar interplay on this song, coupled with Eddie’s gut-wrenching vocal is an absolute winner.

20) Charles Bradley - The World (Is Going Up in Flames): Part of Daptone’s revivalist label, you could be forgiven for thinking this is from the 70s, but is in fact a single release from 2007 (and featured on his debut album released in 2011, No Time for Dreaming).

21) Black Nasty - It's Not the World: Ending the mix with another relatively obscure but wonderful band, Talking to the People was released on Stax in 1973, but yielded little success, the fine mix of funk, soul and rock should have been a winning formula.

I hope this compilation has been of use, particularly for those that don’t generally listen to the genre. It was a lot of fun to put together, and I needed to put a compilation together a little earlier in the month than normal as I’m heading back home for a few weeks and didn’t want to have to worry about hitting my deadline.

Until next time
Peace and love - Q