Friday, 19 October 2018

Can You Dig It?

Well, I had some reservations about posting this one for a few reasons. First off, my favorite fellow collection-building blogger beat me to it with his killer collection, posted over at TZ a couple weeks back. Secondly, I think most of my source files are of slightly better quality and I have a couple he was missing but I didn't want to appear to be "one-upping" anyone, much less one I admire greatly. Thirdly, neither one of us, nor our buddy Bob had a complete rip of the righteous 1968 Live LP (which in this case is essential to the collection imo). However, it was supplied a little later by another friend over at TZ. This changed everything!!! It's not a great rip but it is one hell of a recording, and with both their blessings, allows me to assemble an accurate anthology of this incredible artist. Now, after all that hooplah, if you don't recognize the photo you probably just wanna know who the hell I'm talking about ... well friends, allow me to introduce Ural Thomas!

"If life was at all fair Ural Thomas would be a household name, his music slotted into countless sweet, seductive mixtapes between James Brown, Otis Redding, and Stevie Wonder (all of whom Thomas has performed with.) Straddling the line between hot soul shouter and velvety-smooth crooner, Thomas released a few singles in the 60’s and early 70’s; most notably “Can You Dig It”, which featured backing vocals from soul luminaries Merry Clayton, Mary Wells and Brenda Holloway. Thomas played over forty shows at the legendary Apollo Theater before turning his back on an unkind business and heading home to Portland, OR." - [from Ural's Website]

The story of course goes on to tell the tale of Ural's more recent revival and a collaboration with drummer/DJ Scott Magee that quickly snowballed into the raging soul storm that is Ural Thomas & The Pain. It's an amazing little tell of perseverance, will power and sheer love for life. The last few years have finally been fortunate to a man who proved his worth many many moons ago but never got a fair shake at the time. Despite some delectable 60s deep soul offerings, today, at 80 years of age Ural is truly in his finest form. The group are gigging up and down the west coast in November so don't miss out if you're in that area ... and, if you buy just one record this year, follow that link above and buy the years best outing yet ... Ural Thomas & The Pain's 'The Right Time'.

Can You Dig It? is partitioned into 3 folders. Part 1 is Ural's four early 45s, the "Can You Dig It...Live" LP* from 1968 and his 1970 independently issued 45. Part 2 fast forwards to 2014 and features the live sessions and early studio takes that revitalized Ural's career and put The Pain on the map as a powerhouse group. Part 3 are the group's studio releases. The self titled LP (2016), 2 digital singles (2017) and the Vibrations 45 (2018). I've omitted the new LP with hopes of encouraging you all to purchase it via Ural's website. All files chronicled, cleanly tagged and MP3 @ 320kbs*. Big thanks to soultime59, imnokid and bob for this one! Enjoy.

*Can You Dig It...Live LP @ 192kbs

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

When You Get What You Want

Be it deep soul, dirty R&B, deadly funk or down right disco dancers ... Bill Brandon delivered 'em all with unbridled conviction and all deliciously doused in that down-home southern soul sauce I adore so much. "His strong gospel baritone, at times pleading, at times compelling, has been undervalued for years."

Bill Brandon was born in Huntsville, Alabama on October 7, 1943 and was signed to Quin Ivy's production company in 1967, where he recorded southern soul classic 'Self Preservation' that Percy Sledge later covered. A second highly sought after single 'Rainbow Road', issued in 1968 was released as a one off by Tower Records. It was written about and for Arthur Alexander (You Better Move On #24 Pop, 1962) who ended up recording it four years later but Brandon's recording remains the definitive version. Brandon cut many songs at the Quinvy studios, even though only three 45s were issued. After Quin Ivy stopped issuing records Brandon recorded five high quality singles for Clinton Moon’s Moonsong label in the then thriving soul city of Birmingham, Alabama, under the production of genius Sam Dees and Frederick Knight. A brilliant one-off for the Nashville based Piedmont label followed in 1976. Brandon then signed for producers Moses Dillard and Jesse Boyce who had a licence deal with Prelude. They took Brandon back to Muscle Shoals to the Wishbone studios where he cut three 45s for the New York label and his only LP to date in 1977. By this time, southern soul production values were much smoother and more fully orchestrated: in keeping with the times Brandon’s vocals are somewhat restrained and throttled back on these releases. The album gives more than a nod to the disco scene but features some quality tracks. The last Prelude single came out in 1978 and since then no further Brandon recordings have surfaced. He left the music business behind in 1987 and took up truck driving and like Rick Nelson's 'Garden Party' with absolutely no regrets. Reports about him confirm that he is still singing for the congregation of a church in Harvest, Alabama to this day. - info c/o Sir Shambling

When You Get What You Want collects the works of Bill Brandon. A complete 45s collection including several alternate cuts and over a dozen unissued recordings, plus of course, his lone LP. All files chronicled, cleanly tagged and MP3 @ 320kbs. Thanks to original uploaders, enjoy.

Monday, 15 October 2018

What Am I Going To Do

Maurice McAliter may not necessarily be remembered as a heavy-hitting contributor in the world of soul, but perhaps he should be. Besides being the backbone behind not one, but two really good vocal groups, he penned some impressive pieces of work for artists such as Etta James and Sugar Pie DeSanto, including personal favorite; the sultry stomper, 'Soulful Dress'.

The Radiants originated in Chicago in 1960 at the Greater Harvest Baptist Church. Maurice McAlister assembled the group and sang lead; the other members were Wallace Sampson (baritone), Jerome Brooks (second tenor), Elzie Butler (Bass), and Charles Washington (first tenor). Similar to the Womack Brothers, the guys sang gospel at local churches but also worked on the R&B songs written by McCallister on the side. McLauren Green replaced Washington shortly before their first recording session. By 1961, gospel music was a memory, and they started shopping demos to record labels and received nothing but rejections. Motown, among others, turned them down, and so did Chess Records -- initially. They eventually signed with Chess and recorded under the tutelage of Billy Davis, aka Tyran Carlo, Berry Gordy's ex-songwriting partner, and former owner of Checkmate Records. Their first release, "Father Knows Best" backed by "One Day I'll Show You," in 1962, stiffed in some cities but was a hit in Cleveland. Chess followed with "Heartbreak Society," then in 1963, Chess released "Shy Guy" and "I Gotta Dance to Keep My Baby." All were hit-sounding pieces of wax that failed to sell, probably because of poor promotion. On "Shy Guy," Frank McCollum replaced McLauren Green, who got drafted. By 1964, the Radiants were tripping all over themselves. They had problems galore -- so much so that they broke up. Maurice McAlister and Wallace Sampson were the only survivors. In came Leonard Caston, Jr., the organist at Greater Harvest Church, who had just gotten out of the Army. A new Radiants group was formed, this time as a trio: McAlister, Sampson, and Caston. McAlister also wrote for other Chess/Checker artists, penning "Soulful Dress" for Sugar Pie DeSanto. "Voice Your Choice," released late in 1964, is their most popular recording. They duplicated the Impressions' three-part harmony and lead-switching style to perfection. It reached number 51 (pop) and number 16 (R&B) on Billboard. Chess followed with "Ain't No Big Thing," which slipped the pop charts, only reaching number 91, but did better on the R&B charts, reaching number 14. Again, they displayed some beautiful three-part harmonies, with McAlister and Caston switching off leads. In 1965, Caston left the group to concentrate on songwriting and producing. James Jameson replaced him and appeared on "Baby You Got It" -- but the plot thickens: McCallister left shortly after its release. This should have ended the Radiants, but it didn't. Billy Davis re-assembled the remaining members of the group with The Confessions to form a quartet once again. McAlister released a solo 45 in 1966 with Chess and then went on to record duets with former Radiant McLauren Green as Maurice & Mac. The first Maurice & Mac single surfaced around 1967 on Checker Records, a subsidiary of Chess. But "Try Me" b/w "So Much Love" went unnoticed by everyone except the parties involved with the recording. Their second release brought some acclaim, but no fame, and no fortune. "You Left the Water Running," released in 1968, and written by Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham, is one of the best Southern soul recordings, period. Yet, it never made Billboards' pop or R&B charts; Cashbox's survey listed it for three weeks, but it never rose from the bottom rungs. Recorded at the Fame Studios in Muscles Shoals, AL, the production is so tight that the vocals and the instrumentation literally explode from the compelling, shuffling track that reaches its zenith with a gut-wrenching "Lord Have Mercy" near the end. Chess did an awful job promoting the single and the guys were fuming. But they forged on with a third single, "Lay It On Me" b/w "What Am I Gonna Do," which few people knew about, much less purchased. The fourth and last Checker single, "Baby You're the One" b/w "Oh What a Time," duplicated the dismal showings of the first and third singles. One of the last-known release by Maurice & Mac surfaced on Chess Records. But the move from Checker to the parent label didn't help, as "You Can't Say I Didn't Try" b/w "Lay It On Me" failed miserably and became the final straw. They gigged sporadically but received no support from Chess Records so there were no tours. Chess is lauded for their recordings, and should be, they waxed some remarkable sides, but none of their artists enjoyed long careers, and few had album releases. Neither the Radiants nor Maurice & Mac ever had an LP release on Chess. Maurice & Mac recorded a single with the surviving Radiants for Twinight Records in 1971 and the following year, a final 45 as a duo for Brown Sugar Records. Both The Radiants and Maurice & Mac called it quits in 1972. When Maurice & Mac disbanded, McAlister washed his hands of the music business. After a promising start with the Radiants, and writing songs for a handful of others, McAlister's songwriting efforts ended at 36 titles licensed by BMI.

What Am I Going To Do by default is a Maurice & Mac discography but it is not a Radiants discography as it features only their tracks cut with Maurice McAlister. In total, eighteen singles and a handful of unissued recordings, spanning 1962 to 1972. All files chronicled, cleanly tagged and MP3 @ 320kbs. Thanks to original uploaders, enjoy.

Friday, 12 October 2018

Down In The Ghetto

It's certainly no secret by now that I have a strong preference for southern styled soul and funk. However, it's not end all, be all; there has been countless quality contributions from all over the map and while the great states of Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York are often at the forefront of our minds, why not Ohio? Ohio has offered up some incredibly talented purveyors and innovators of soul and funk over the years. One outstanding example of that is today's selection,  Cleveland's superb and sadly short-lived five-piece funk/soul/jazz fusion group ... S.O.U.L. (aka Sounds Of Unity & Love).

S.O.U.L. was a group founded in 1970 in Cleveland. Members were Lee Lovett (bass), Gus Hawkins (sax/flute), Paul Stubblefield (drums), Walter Winston (guitar) and Larry Hancock (vocals/organ). Bernard "Beloyd" Taylor (guitar) replaced Walter Winston in 1972. In 1970, the group won the first prize of $1,000 in Cleveland a battle-of-the-bands contest sponsored by the May Department Stores Company, WHK radio station and Musicor Records. They gained a recording contract with Musicor for their first single 'Down In The Ghetto' (1971), produced by the TOP POP Recording Company 223 Kingston Avenue, Brooklyn, New York City. The single did well enough for the label to invest more time and money in them. Two LPs and another seven singles came out between 1971-74 on the Musicor label. The group cut one final record for the Dynamo label (a subsidiary of Musicor records) in 1975 before going their separate ways.

Down In The Ghetto gathers both full length LPs and all but one non-album side released on 45s for or under the Musicor umbrella. All files chronicled, cleanly tagged and MP3 @ 320kbs. Thanks to original uploaders, enjoy.

25. S.O.U.L. - Rope-A-Dope (Dynamo 6004)

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

GGG Presents Deep Dish Delicacies Vol. 01 + 02

So groovers, it appears that this past weekend, we made our first official lap around the sun together. It's been a wonderful year with you all and I look forward to the following one, full of more sweet soul music, rich history, friendly exchange and a sense of community. The site quickly morphed into much more than I originally intended it to be. As it was initially launched as a vehicle for the Gusto's Groovy Gumbo compilation series, it seems most appropriate to start our new year with the launch of  a new series. Simply put, this could be called a deep soul collection but purists beware, I do use the term somewhat loosely. While the majority will easily fall into that category, this series will include a wide array R&B, vocal groups and classic soul. Does my source folder contain 2 dozen cuts each from the likes of Pickett, Sledge, Redding, Carter, Jackson, Bland, Wright and the such? You bet your ass it does! All the heavyweights are here, along side the obscure, elusive, near-lost and unheralded. With songs that blur the lines between deep and sweet soul. Songs of heartache, heartbreak, love lost, love found, love unrequited, love rejoiced, the need for leaving and the longing for return. Cathartic songs that speak to us all on a very primal level. Understood by all walks of life, from all over this world. What you won't find in this collection is funk, disco or up-tempo soul. Very few of these tracks even make the mid-tempo mark. Maybe this collection might be best described as "deeply impassioned soul balladry". So without further ado ... here's a double dose of Deep Dish Delicacies. Dig in!

GGG Presents Deep Dish Delicacies Vol. 01

01. LC Cooke - 1965 - You Send Me (Blue Rock MGB 24001)
02. Clarence Ashe - 1965 - Close To You (J & S 1476)
03. Roscoe Shelton - 1966 - Let Me Be The One (SoundStage7 Unissued)
04. O.V. Wright - 1965 - You've Been Crying (Backbeat BLP-61)
05. Tyrone Davis - 1965 - Suffer (Four Brothers 447)
06. Irma Thomas - 1964 - (I Want A) True, True Love (Imperial 66080)
07. Otis Redding - 1964 - That's What My Heart Needs (Atco SD 33-161)
08. The Ovations - 196X - Peace Of Mind (Goldwax Unissued)
09. JJ Barnes - 1961 - My Love Comes Tumbling Down (Rich 1005)
10. Percy Sledge - 1966 - It Tears Me Up (Atlantic SD 8132)
11. Bobby Bland - 1966 - I Can't Stop (Duke DLP 79)
12. Earl Gaines - 1966 - The Door Is Still Open (Hanna-Barbera HLP 8508)
13. Tony Fox - 1967 - Because (Mayfield 7715)
14. Erma Franklin - 1963 - Have You Ever Had The Blues (Epic 9594)
15. Ted Taylor - 1965 - Try Me Again (Atco 6388)
16. Eddie & Ernie - 1965 - Turn Here (Eastern 603)
17. Robert Ward - 1966 - My Love Is Strictly Reserved For  You (Groove City 201)
18. William Bell - 1966 - Soldiers Good-Bye (Stax 45-199)
19. Clarence Carter - 1968 - I Can't See Myself (Crying About You) (Atlantic SD 8192)
20. Lattimore Brown - 1967 - Please Please Please (Sound Stage 7 2598)
21. Betty Bibbs - 1968 - Everyone But Me (Kent 496)
22. Mickey Murray - 1967 - Lonely Room (SSS International MLP-102)
23. George Jackson - 196X - You're Gonna Need Me Again (Fame Unissued)
24. The Masqueraders - 1967 - Let's Face Facts (Wand 1168)
25. Bobby Angelle - 1967 - Someone Is Gonna Hurt You (Money 128)


GGG Presents Deep Dish Delicacies Vol. 02

01. Bill Coday - 1972 - Jury Of Love (8 Men 4 Women) (Crajon 48208)
02. Spencer Wiggins - 1970 - I'd Rather Go Blind (Fame 1470)
03. Eddie Houston - 1968 - That's How Much (I Love You) (Capitol 2170)
04. Little Milton - 1975 - Packed Up And Took My Hand (Stax 0252)
05. The Montgomery Express - 1973 - Steal Away (Dove LP 1000)
06. Ella Washington - 1969 - Sit Down & Cry (Sound Stage 7 SSS-15007)
07. Syl Johnson - 1970 - I'm Talkin' 'bout Freedom (Twinight LPS 1002)
08. Jimmy Lewis - 1968 - Where Is My Baby (Minit 32038)
09. Wilson Pickett - 1968 - Down By The Sea (Atlantic 8183)
10. George Jackson - 1968 - Cold Cold Love (Public! 1002)
11. Otis Redding - 1966 - Everybody Makes A Mistakes (Volt SD 413)
12. Jimmy Hughes - 1964 - Try Me (Fame 6403)
13. Willie Hightower - 1965 - Too Late (Enjoy 2019)
14. Baby Lloyd - 1965 - There's Something On Your Mind Pt 1 (Loma 2014)
15. Baby Lloyd - 1965 - There's Something On Your Mind Pt 2 (Loma 2014)
16. Donald Height - 1962 - Believe In Me [w The Hollywood Flames] (Coronet 7025)
17. Kip Anderson - 1964 - I'll Get Along (Tomorrow 5104)
18. Laura Lee - 1966 - So Will I (Ric-Tic 111)
19. Wallace Brothers - 1965 - Hold My Hurt For A While (Sims 229)
20. Sam & Dave - 1965 - Goodnight Baby (Stax 168)
21. Lee Mitchell - 1967 - Where Does Love Go (Sure-Shot 5030)
22. Bobby Bland - 1969 - Ask Me About Nothin' (But The Blues) (Duke 449)
23. Joe Haywood - 1970 - Strong Feeling (Front Page 1000)
24. Percy Sledge - 1968 - Self Preservation (Atlantic 2563)
25. The Invincibles - 1968 - Keep On Trying (Double Shot 131)


Monday, 8 October 2018

Wonders Of Love

This collection comes just the way I like the ladies ... short, deep, unique and sweet! Hailing from L.A. (sort of), The Invincibles laid down some of the most incredible ballads of vocal groups at the time, and though they experienced some minor success, this group was greatly underrated.

The Invincibles were an R&B vocal trio from Los Angeles, California. The falsetto lead in soul music was especially strong in the genre of stand-up vocal groups, and from the groups of the 60s, the Invincibles were perhaps one of the greatest practitioners of the falsetto-edged vocal harmony style. The group members were David Richardson, Lester Johnson and Clifton Knight. Richardson was originally from Louisiana and brought a background in gospel singing to the group. Johnson and Knight both came from Texas. The Invincibles’ best work was demonstrated on two superb hits, ‘Heart Full Of Love’ (#31 R&B) from 1965, and ‘Can’t Win’ (#38 R&B) from 1966, both of which went beyond mere sweetness to exhibit deep, soulful feeling. With the groups southern leanings and unique vocal approach, coupled with the slick west coast studio sound, The Invincibles prove to be apart from the pack in the best possible way. They re-recorded a couple sides as a 45 (credited to The Soul Gents) for the Stardom and Fos-Ray labels. They sadly petered out into the later 60s though and left us with only two handfuls of 45s. Some of it is standard northern soul fare, but there's some real deep gems as well.

Wonders Of Love collects the complete set of original 45s. Quality was lacking on a few of the source files so please provide an upgrade if you have it. All files chronicled, cleanly tagged and MP3 @ 320kbs. Thanks to original uploaders, enjoy.

Friday, 5 October 2018

I Don't Mess Around

On Wednesday, with my most recent Goodie Grab Bags collection I featured the pre-Dramatics cuts by L.J. Reynolds so it only seems appropriate to follow up with his sister, Jeannie Reynolds. She cut half a dozen sultry deep soul and funk 45s in the early 70s and released 2 quite decent disco/soul crossover LPs following that. Not a compliment I dole out too often!

Though 'The Fruit Song' is her signature song, her highest-charting single was the snappy 'The Phone's Been Jumping All Day' on Casablanca Records, which went to #10 R&B on Billboard in summer 1975. Her only other R&B charting single was its follow-up, 'Lay Some Lovin' On Me'. With its "fruitful" cover, the singer's LP Cherries, Bananas and Other Fine Things on Casablanca was also issued in June 1976. One single from the LP, 'The Fruit Song', written by Lawrence Payton of the Four Tops and Fred Bridges, became a huge disco hit, a post-release collectible, and a steppers standard. Another Casablanca LP, One Wish (1977), was produced by Don Davis (Johnnie Taylor, The Dramatics, Marilyn McCoo, and Billy Davis, Jr.). Tragically, Jeannie Reynolds took her two children's lives before committing suicide in 1980.

I Don't Mess Around gathers the complete and compact recordings of Jeannie Reynolds ...  her 1970 debut (as Jeany Reynolds) for Mainstream Records, her follow-up with The Re-Leets for the Washington label, a one-off side under her given name; Shirley Jean, her 1974 45 with Chess Records, her pair of singles for Casablanca and both LPs. All files chronicled, cleanly tagged and MP3 @ 320kbs. Thanks to original uploaders, enjoy.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

GGG Presents Goodie Grab Bags Volume 07

Been working at building up a couple source folders for not one, but two new compilation series'. One will be a themed anthology; similar to Gusto's Groovy Gumbo, but more specifically geared at deep and sweet soul cuts ... and the other one will be a surprise. Expect to see both within the following month, but for now, get into this Goodie Grab Bag (and there's plenty more of these in queue btw) showcasing the near complete works of Josephine Taylor and the rare, pre-Dramatics efforts from LJ Reynolds (aka Larry 'Chubby' Reynolds).

Josephine Taylor - Discography 1966-69 [13of14sides]

01. Josephine Taylor - 1966 - Good Lovin' (Mar-V-Lus 6011)
02. Josephine Taylor - 1966 - You're The Sweetest Thing (Mar-V-Lus 6011)
03. Josephine Taylor - 1966 - What Is Love (Mar-V-Lus 6013)
04. Josephine Taylor - 1966 - I Wanna Know (Do You Care) (Mar-V-Lus 6013) *Missing*
05. Josephine Taylor - 1966 - Ordinary Guy (Mar-V-Lus 6016)
06. Josephine Taylor - 1966 - Ain't Gonna Cry No More (Mar-V-Lus 6016)
07. Josephine Taylor - 196X - I'm Gone (Mar-V-Lus Unissued)
08. Josephine Taylor - 196X - Your Love Picks Me Up (Mar-V-Lus Unissued)
09. Josephine Taylor - 196X - For You My Love (Mar-V-Lus Unissued)
10. Josephine Taylor - 196X - I Want A Man (Mar-V-Lus Unissued)
11. Josephine Taylor - 1967 - Depend On Me (Palos 1208)
12. Josephine Taylor - 1967 - Smooth Groove (Palos 1208)
13. Josephine Taylor - 1969 - Is It Worth A Chance (Twinight 122)
14. Josephine Taylor - 1969 - I've Made Up My Mind (Twinight 122)

LJ Reynolds - Discography 1968-72 [15of16sides]

01. Larry Reynolds - 1968 - Please Don't Leave Me (Tri-Spin 1005)
02. Larry Reynolds - 1968 - The Bells Of My Heart (Tri-Spin 1005)
03. Larry Reynolds - 1968 - Sweet Tooth (Tri-Spin 1006)
04. Larry Reynolds - 1968 - Searchin & Looking (Tri-Spin 1006)
05. Larry Reynolds - 1969 - Take Away the Big Hurt (Tri-Spin FC-1)
06. Larry Reynolds - 1969 - Please Pretty Please (Tri-Spin FC-1) *Missing*
07. L.J. Reynolds - 1970 - Call On Me (Mainstream 717)
08. L.J. Reynolds - 1970 - Intruder (Mainstream 717)
09. L.J. Reynolds - 1970 - We're In The Middle [w The Relations] (Monique 1002)
10. L.J. Reynolds - 1970 - Stop Look Over Your Past [w The Relations] (Monique 1002)
11. L.J. Reynolds - 1971 - Let One Hurt Do [w Chocolate Syrup] (Law-Ton 1553)
12. L.J. Reynolds - 1971 - Stay With Me [inst] [w Chocolate Syrup] (Law-Ton 1553)
13. L.J. Reynolds - 1972 - What's A Matter Baby [w Chocolate Syrup] (Law-Ton 1556)
14. L.J. Reynolds - 1972 - The Penguin Breakdown [w Chocolate Syrup] (Law-Ton 1556)
15. L.J. Reynolds - 1972 - All I Need (Black Lady 033)
16. L.J. Reynolds - 1972 - Cookin With Nixon (Black Lady 033)

Monday, 1 October 2018

Thing Of The Past

Bit of a mystery man here ... minimal, inaccurate and/or conflicting information is all you will likely find online for Mr. Joe Perkins. However, undeniably, his handful of 60s contributions are absolute stunners in the deep soul department! His recording stints were both brief and sporadic.

Debuting in 1957 with 2 humdinging R&B 45s on King Records, re-surfacing in 1961 with a bluesy and booming single on Sampton Records. In the mid 60s he cut a rare 45 for Taurus Records, in 1968 one for Nugget Records, in 1970 one for Chris Records, in 1972 one for Plush Records and a final 45 for Bluff City in 1974. An albeit short list of offerings but fairly impressive nonetheless.

Thing Of The Past collects these complete recordings. All files chronicled, cleanly tagged and MP3 @ 320kbs. Thanks to original uploaders (plus Sir Shambling and Red Kelly for helping clarify release info), enjoy.

Saturday, 29 September 2018

What Can I Do Now

Though largely overlooked by audiences at the time, Jimmy Lewis was quite well regarded by his esteemed peers and those whom he formulated working relationships with. A vastly talented singer, songwriter, arranger and producer. He was a member of the Drifters, worked as a songwriter and producer with Ray Charles and wrote songs for Z. Z. Hill, among many others.

Born James Eddie Lewis in Itta Bena, Mississippi, he moved to Los Angeles, California by the late 50s. He worked with songwriter Cliff Chambers and arranger James Carmichael (later the producer with The Commodores and Lionel Richie), and released a string of singles on the Cyclone and Four-J labels, including 'Wait Until Spring' and 'What Can I Do Now' but with limited commercial success. In 1963 he joined the Drifters, replacing Bobby Hendricks as lead singer, and remained with the group for two years. Resuming his solo career, Lewis then released singles on the Minit label, including 'The Girls From Texas' / 'Let Me Know', produced by Jimmy Holiday, which later became popular on the British Northern soul scene. In 1968 some of his songs were heard by Ray Charles, who was impressed and started a long period of collaboration with Lewis. Their duet, 'If It Wasn't For Bad Luck' reached #21 on the Billboard R&B chart and #77 on the Hot 100 in 1969, and Lewis wrote and arranged every track on Charles’ album Doing His Thing, which was nominated for a Grammy Award. Lewis also wrote Charles' 1970 hit 'If You Were Mine' and recorded several singles under his own name on Charles' Tangerine record label, including 'I’ll Be Here' and 'We Can Make It'. Though critically acclaimed, his solo records continued to fail to reach the national charts. Nevertheless, he continued as a successful songwriter and producer for other musicians, including Arthur Adams (It's Private Tonight, 1973), and John Edwards, whose version of Lewis' song 'Careful Man' reached #8 on the R&B chart in 1974. In 1974, Lewis moved to the Hotlanta label, and released the album Totally Involved, described by critic Richie Unterberger as "respectable Southern-styled soul", on which he wrote and produced all the tracks. The album included the track 'Help Me Understand You' which reached number 95 on the R&B chart in 1975, his only solo chart hit. As a writer, he had further success in 1977, when Z. Z. Hill's 'Love Is So Good When You're Stealing It' reached the R&B chart. Lewis continued to write for Hill after the latter's move to Malaco Records. Lewis continued to work as a writer, producer, and occasional recording artist, through the 80s and 90s, writing and producing on two of Ray Charles' albums, Would You Believe (1990) and Strong Love Affair (1996). He also set up his own label, Miss Butch; wrote Peggy Scott-Adams' 1997 hit single, 'Bill' and produced Malaco musician Latimore. Lewis died in Los Angeles in 2004, aged 66 from unknown causes.

What Can I Do Now collects the complete classic recordings and comes in two parts. PART 1 contains his lone LP for the Hotlanta label (1974) and a complete singles collection. PART 2 contains both Kent issued compilations, featuring a majority of unissued recordings. All files chronicled, cleanly tagged and MP3 @ 320kbs. Thanks again to hwolf and original uploaders, enjoy.