Sunday, 17 October 2021

Outside Your World

If you've been paying attention, then it should come as no surprise that when it comes to 70s group soul, I have an ooey gooey soft spot for Sylvia Robinson's All Platinum / Stang Records stable (and the production stylings of George Kerr in particular). 
Having already shared a near handful of their featured and staple artists, today's collection of Baltimore's sweet soulers First Class, should find itself in good company. Now there's not a whole lot of concrete information floating around out there about these lads but lucky for us, our like-minded friends, Nikos (@funkymysoul) and Mr Moo (@whatdafunk) have got us covered. 

Hailing from Baltimore, Maryland and originally known as The Mandells, the group consisted of Fred M. Brown, Sylvester Redditt, with Harold Bell III and Tony Yarborough trading off lead vocals. The lads became known for their outrageous antics which included wearing skin-tight super hero costumes while on stage. Their debut 45, 'What Is Life?', released in 1973, and follow-up 'What About Me?' for Thereway and Today Records respectively, are both beautiful heartbreak ballads. These were followed by a revival of The Unifics 'The Beginning Of The End' for Ebony Sounds Records in 1974, which reached no. 62 in the charts. The more orthodox slowie, 'You Don't Know What You're Doing' also for Ebony Sounds, sadly didn't fare as well. A contract with Sylvia Robinson's All Platinum label saw the quartet re-locating to New Jersey to record their debut album. Going First Class was released in 1976 and features some of the more up-tempo styles of the time -- filled with warm clubby touches and long, lavish mixes -- the album was written and produced by Tommy Keith, who also lays down some tasty guitar licks. Orchestrations from Sammy Lowe and Mike Terry, album highlights include 'Let's Make Love', 'Filled With Desire' and the full-length version of the sublime stepper, 'Me And My Gemini'. The group's second and final full-length album was released the following year. It's a self-titled affair that flew completely under the radar. While very much in the same vein as the prior outing, I'm preferable to this one in particular. Tommy Keith takes more of a back seat to feature Donnie Elbert and (more prominently) George Kerr on production. There's deep grooves as well as pensive ballads, stellar harmonies, rich instrumentation, and all with a really great balance between the steppers and slowies. Album highlights include 'Give Me, Lend Me', 'Coming Back To You', 'I Wasn't There' and 'Hypnotize'. In 1979 George Kerr recorded both First Class and The Softones for his own Park-Way International label and packed most of the disco-fied tracks together onto a split LP that sadly flopped, as did the subsequent single releases. In 1980 Robinson re-issued the groups second album on her budding Sugar Hill subsidiary. As far as I can tell, First Class never released another recording.

Outside Your World collects both of First Class' full-length albums, beautifully remastered, alongside a complete singles / rarities, featuring all the quartet's Park-Way International recordings. All files chronicled, cleanly tagged and mp3 @ 320kbs. Thanks to original uploaders, @Mr Moo and @Trakbuv (by way of @Nikos) for the bulk of the bio. Enjoy.

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

GGG Presents Diamonds From The Rough Vol. 02

More deeply committed for this second installment of Diamonds From The Rough -- I've dug up some real delights -- from the sizzlin' hot-stepper by T.U.M.E., to the robust and rousing ballad by Dutch Robinson, from the wonderful mid-tempo dancer by the witty Swamp Dogg, to the latin tinged infectious posi-power anthem by Ebony Silhouette, and plenty others ... this one's fire!!!

01. The Futures ‎- 1978 - I Wanna Know, Is It Over (P.I.R. LP JZ-35458)
02. Randy Brown - 1978 - Too Little In Common (Parachute LP RRLP-9005)
03. Band Of Thieves - 1976 - Love Me Or Leave Me (Ovation LP OV-1727)
04. T.U.M.E. - 1975 - I Got Everything I Need (MGM LP M3G-4985)
05. The Dells ‎- 1979 - Love Me (ABC LP AA-1113)
06. Bobby Powell - 1980 - A Fool For You (Hep' Me 151)
07. Dutch Robinson - 1977 - I Ain't Got Nothin' (United Artists LP UA-LA783-G)
08. Jesse James - 197? - Visiting Rights (Unissued)
09. Heaven & Earth - 1978 - How Do You Think You're Gonna Find Love (Mercury 74041)
10. Dottie Pearson - 1978 - I Don't Want Nobody (Avanti LP AV-12011)
11. Swamp Dogg - 1977 - Slow, Slow Disco (Musicor LP MUS-2504)
12. Poison - 1976 - How I Wish For Yesterday (Roulette LP SR-3017)
13. Smokey Robinson - 1979 - The Hurt's On You (Tamla LP T7-366R1)
14. The Impressions - 1981 - You're Mine (Chi Sound, 20th Century Fox LP T-624)
15. Ebony Silhouette - 1979 - Sunshine Day (51 West LP Q-16034)
16. Syndicate - 1977 - Gimme Your Love (Independent LP Pressing)

Friday, 8 October 2021

Just You And Me

Quite possibly, the longest running group, that you've never heard of. Originating in the midst of the 60s, The Notations -- in one form or another -- have never really gone away. They worked the grind through to the following decade, endured the rise and fall of disco, electro-boogie and even nu-soul, as a performance-based outfit. They released a fairly "true-to-form" album in the 90s, subsequently re-issued classic recordings and are still currently under contract.

The original members were Clifford Curry, Lasalle Matthews and James Stroud. Curry and Matthews had found each other in grade school, during the mid 50s, and quickly formed a kin-like friendship. The inseperable pair found their love for singing early on and honed their skills through the halls south Chicago's, Parker High School. In 1964 the pair met Stroud; a slightly older guy and already a seasoned songwriter. Developing their three-part harmonies whenever they could and working their contacts around Chicago, led the lads to local outfit Tad Records in 1969. Despite a delightful debut with "Trying My Best To Find Her", the label didn't really promote it and subsequently, the boys were left to push the pressings themselves wherever and whenever they would perform. Fortunately, they performed quite a bit locally and within the year they caught the attention of Twinight Records' big shot, Syl Johnson. Under Johnson's tutelage, the trio recorded three fantastic singles for Twinight, before the label shut it's doors in 1972. The following year The Notations recorded for Gene Cash, releasing a pair of singles on Cash and C.R.A. Records, respectively. In 1974, James Stroud left the group, while Bobby Thomas and Walter Jones joined. A deal with Curtis Mayfield's Curtom subsidiary, Gemigo Records, led to the group's self-titled debut album. Their single "Superpeople" faired well over-seas but went virtually unnoticed in the US. The album didn't sell all that well either and Gemigo closed up shop come 1976. In 1977 the group's manager, Emmmett Garnder took the group to Mercury Records with a song entitled "Judy Blue Eyes". They stayed with the label for one year and released only the one single. Though this was the final recording for close to twenty years, The Notations performed hundreds of shows through the remainder of the 70s and the most part of the 80s. Come the mid 90s, Cliff Curry and Bobby Thomas re-formed The Notations and recorded their second full-length album. In some form or another, they have been recording and performing since and still going strong.

Just You And Me is focused strictly on the classic recordings of The Notations and features only their early output from 1969 to 1977. This includes all the singles, their self-titled album and a few unissued cuts. All files chronicled, cleanly tagged and mp3 @ 320kbs. Thanks to original uploaders, enjoy.

Sunday, 3 October 2021

GGG Presents O-O-O-O-Oh Yeah!!! Vol. 23

01. Joe Dossett - 1969 - Plastic Saddle (Mercury 72941_a)
02. Joe Dossett - 1969 - You've Been Leading Me On (Mercury 72941_b)
03. Willie Diggs - 1970 - They're Trying To Get To You (Mon'ca 1778_a)
04. Willie Diggs - 1970 - Good News (Mon'ca 1778_b)
05. Charles Smith - 1966 - Tell Him That You're Mine (Trend 1001_a)
06. Charles Smith - 1966 - You Need Education (Trend 1001_b)
07. Soul Majestics - 1968 - Missing You (Chicago Music Bag B-001_a)
08. Soul Majestics - 1968 - I Done Told You Baby (Chicago Music Bag B-001_b)
09. Uptights - 1970 - Free At Last (Skye 4525_a)
10. Uptights - 1970 - You Git's None Of This (Skye 4525_b)
11. Ice-Cold-Love - 1973 - Sheer Magic (Tammy 1037_a)
12. Ice-Cold-Love - 1973 - Wonderful To Be Loved (Tammy 1037_b)
13. Kansas City Express - 1975 - This Is The Place [voc] (American Artists AAS-1136-45_a)
14. Kansas City Express - 1975 - This Is The Place [inst] (American Artists AAS-1136-45_b)
15. Ronnie Keaton - 1974 - Going Down For The Last Time [Part 1] (Konduko 11582_a)
16. Ronnie Keaton - 1974 - Going Down For The Last Time [Part 2] (Konduko 11582_b)
17. Soul Primers - 197? - Can't Resist [Part 1] (Honeycombs 347_a)
18. Soul Primers - 197? - Can't Resist [Part 2] (Honeycombs 347_b)
19. Mark V Unlimited - 1969 - Gone! (Sagport 203_a)
20. Mark V Unlimited - 1969 - Funny Changes (Sagport 203_b)
21. George Hobson - 1968 - Let It Be Real (Sound City 1001_a)
22. George Hobson - 1968 - Place In Your Heart (Sound City 1001_b)
23. Ocapello's - 1966 - The Stars (Checker 1144_a)
24. Ocapello's - 1966 - Anytime (Checker 1144_b)
25. Loretta Williams - 1965 - Baby Cakes (Jotis 471_a)
26. Loretta Williams - 1965 - I'm Missing You (Jotis 471_b)

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Won't You Forgive Me

Now generally I would just refurbish the original posting with new links, a re-vamped and expanded bio, and some notes regarding the specific upgrades ... however, I never really provided a decent bio to begin with and this REDUX more than doubles the size of the original -- for the largest collection here yet. The broad strokes in the story of Ike & Tina Turner are fairly common knowledge and the recent film, 'Tina', sheds light on a lot more. I'm no fan of Ike but there's no denying his talents and the explosive dynamic their duo -- and then Revue -- delivered night after night, album after album. In less than two decades they produced two dozen albums, not including Tina's late 70s solo efforts, Ike's side and solo projects, or their swathe of live recordings. I'll use the comments section below to provide a detailed list of contents and the upgrade notes so we can dispense with that stuff for now, and dig right into this!

Forming in 1954, by 1956 Ike Turner & His Kings Of Rhythm had become one of the most popular live attractions in the St. Louis and neighboring East St. Louis club scene. Around this time, Ann Bullock had moved to St. Louis from Brownsville, Tennessee. She began attending a predominantly African American nightclub, Manhattan Club, where she saw the band for the first time. She later recalled that she "almost went into a trance" watching Turner play. Bullock eventually got to know Turner and his band. She began dating his saxophonist Raymond Hill, with whom she had her first child, Raymond Craig Hill (later renamed Craig Raymond Turner) born in 1958. In 1957, Bullock, who had tried to convince Turner to let her perform onstage with him, was given a microphone from the band's drummer Eugene Washington. Washington was the boyfriend of Bullock's sister Alline Bullock, who was a bartender at the club. Turner was playing B.B. King's "You Know I Love You" on the organ when Bullock chimed in. He was taken aback by her strong voice which was in contrast to her skinny frame. He asked her if she knew more songs, and by the end of the night she had joined The Kings Of Rhythm. Still in high school, Bullock performed with Turner on weekends at all of the local clubs. She was one of many other vocalists, mostly male, who would front the band at times. In 1958, Bullock sang on her first record, the Ike Turner tune "Boxtop", under the name "Little Ann". The single was released on the St. Louis label, Tune Town Records. Bullock later moved into Turner's home in East St. Louis where she was trained by him on vocal control and performance. They developed a close friendship, and acted more like "brother and sister". However, their friendship eventually turned into a romantic relationship and she became pregnant in January 1960. In March 1960, Ike scheduled his band to record a song he wrote titled, "A Fool In Love," for singer Art Lassiter. Lassiter failed to show up for the recording session at Technisonic Studios in St. Louis. Having already booked the studio time, Ike allowed Bullock to record the song as a demo with Lassiter's backing vocalists, the Artettes: Robbie Montgomery, Frances Hodges, and Sandra Harding. During a gig at the Manhattan Club in East St. Louis, Ike played the record which caught the attention of local disc jockey Dave Dixon from the radio station KATZ. Dixon asked Ike to let him send the record to Juggy Murray, the president of Sue Records in New York. Murray was impressed by Bullock's vocal delivery and bought the rights to the song. Murray offered Ike a $20,000 advance, convincing him to keep Bullock's vocals on the record and suggested that he "make her the star" of his show. This prompted Ike to rename her Tina Turner, however, family and friends still called her Ann. He then trademarked the name for protection, so that if she left he could hire another female artist and have her perform under the moniker "Tina Turner". He chose the name Tina because it rhymed with Sheena, his favorite character, Sheena, Queen of the Jungle. At first they were going to use "Ike Turner and Tina" on the record, but Murray suggested that "Ike and Tina Turner" sounded better. Tina had reservations about continuing her relationship with Ike. According to Tina, after she expressed her concern, Ike responded by hitting her in the head with a wooden shoe stretcher. "A Fool In Love" became an immediate hit after its release in July 1960, reaching No. 2 on the Billboard Hot R&B Sides on August 15th. Following the success of the single, Ike formed the Ike & Tina Turner Revue, which included The Kings Of Rhythm, male vocalist Jimmy Thomas, and a trio of female vocalist called the Ikettes, but with a new group of backup singers: Delores Johnson, Eloise Hester, and Jo Armstead. Montgomery was pregnant and unable to tour. As the single climbed the pop chart they went from playing in clubs to theaters such as the Apollo Theater in Harlem. On October 3, they made their first national television debut on American Bandstand when Tina was over eight months pregnant. "A Fool In Love" peaked at No. 27 on the Hot 100 on October 17, eventually selling a million copies. Journalist Kurt Loder described the song as "the blackest record to creep into the white pop charts since Ray Charles's gospel-styled 'What'd I Say' the previous summer." On October 27, Tina gave birth to their son Ronald Renelle Turner. The success of the single was followed with another hit, "I Idolize You" and the release of their debut album The Soul of Ike & Tina Turner in February 1961. That same month, before a gig at Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C., Tina decided to have her hair bleached, but a miscue resulted in her hair falling out. To cover up the incident Ike bought Tina a wig, which became incorporated into her stage appearance. Later that year, the duo released their next hit, "It's Gonna Work Out Fine". Juggy Murray is credited as the sole producer, but the R&B duo Mickey & Sylvia also contributed to the song. It became their second million-seller, and later earned them their first Grammy nomination for Best Rock and Roll Recording at the 4th Annual Grammy Awards. The Ikettes recorded "I'm Blue (The Gong-Gong Song)" November 1961. Produced by Ike and leased to Atco Records, the single reached No. 3 on the Billboard R&B chart and No. 19 on the Hot 100. Montgomery rejoined the revue shortly after having her baby and was teamed with Jessie Smith (recruited from a group named Benny Sharp and the Zorros of Rhythm) and Venetta Fields (a gospel singer from Buffalo, New York) to form the first official incarnation of The Ikettes. The Ike & Tina Turner Revue toured a grueling series of one-nighters throughout the United States on the Chitlin' Circuit, breaking racial barriers by performing in front of integrated audiences in the Deep South. Occasionally they'd play at major venues such as the Apollo Theater in New York, Howard Theater in Washington, D.C., and Uptown Theater in Philadelphia. In 1962, Ike switched The Ikettes to his Teena record label for two singles: "Crazy In Love" (credited as Robbie Montgomery & The Ikettes) and "Prisoner In Love." Soon after its release, the title of "Prisoner In Love" was changed to "No Bail In This Jail" in order to avoid confusion with "Prisoner Of Love" by James Brown. During this period Bonnie Bramlett was briefly an Ikette, becoming the first white Ikette. According to Bramlett, Smith briefly quit the Ikettes after Turner fired her boyfriend Sam Rhodes, who was the bass player in the Kings of Rhythm. Bramlett recalled that she was an Ikette for three days when she was 17. She put on a dark wig to cover her blonde hair and used Man Tan to darken her skin. Ike & Tina's follow-up Top 10 R&B hits in 1962 include "Poor Fool" and "Tra La La La La". Thanks to the addition of singers Stacy Johnson and Vernon Guy, Tina and the Ikettes who at this point composed of Robbie Montgomery, Venetta Fields, and Jessie Smith, began incorporating dance routines into the act. During this period, the revue built a reputation as one of the most explosive R&B ensembles. Their live performances were a musical spectacle comparable to the style of James Brown & The Famous Flames. Late in 1962, Ike and Tina married in Tijuana, Mexico, and moved their entire band to Los Angeles. In November 1962, Ike and Tina filed a $330,000 joint lawsuit with Placid Music Corporation against Sue Records, Saturn Music, and Juggy Murray for "failing and refusing to give an accounting and pay certain royalties." They also charged that Sue "withheld and concealed over $100,000" of their earnings from them. Their last studio albums on Sue, Don't Play Me Cheap and It's Gonna Work Out Fine were released in 1963. That year Ike purchased a home in View Park with an advance given by Murray for a renewed contract which they didn't sign. Instead, the duo signed to Kent Records; severing ties with Murray who had been their manager during their Sue tenure. When that deal failed to produce any significant hits, they signed to Loma Records and hired Bob Krasnow as their manager. 

To make sure he always had a record out while on tour, Ike formed various labels such as Teena, Innis, Sony, Sonja Records. He released singles from vocalists within the revue and other groups as well. While Ike constantly recorded the revue, they performed 300 days out of the year to make up for lack of hit records. In 1964, Ike and Tina had modest R&B hits with "You Can't Miss Nothing That You Never Had" and "A Fool For A Fool". They released their first live album, Ike & Tina Turner Revue Live, on Kent in November 1964. It was their first album to chart, reaching No. 90 on the Cash Box Top 100. Their first Billboard charting album, Live! The Ike & Tina Turner Show, was released in January 1965 on Loma's parent label, Warner Bros. Records. It reached No. 126 on Billboard Top LP's and No. 8 on Hot R&B LP's in February 1965. From 1964 through 1966, The Ikettes released eight singles, most of which were issued by Modern Records. When "Peaches & Cream" became rapidly popular, Ike sent a different set of Ikettes -- Janice Singleton (Hughes), Diane Rutherford and Marquentta Tinsley -- on the road with "The Dick Clark Caravan Of Stars" and kept Montgomery, Smith, and Fields on tour with his revue. In the meantime, Turner hired new Ikettes after Montgomery, Fields and Smith left to form The Mirettes late that year. The first set included Pat Arnold {aka P.P. Arnold}, Gloria Scott, and Maxine Smith. In 1965, Ike & Tina had two Top 40 Billboard R&B hits with "Tell Her I'm Not Home" and "Goodbye, So Long". Later that year, they re-signed to Sue and released the single "Two Is A Couple," which peaked at No. 15 on the Cash Box R&B chart. Throughout 1965, the Ike & Tina Turner Revue performed on several teen rock and roll television shows including Shindig!, Hollywood A Go-Go, and American Bandstand. Phil Spector had seen them perform at a club on the Sunset Strip and invited them to appear in the concert film The Big T.N.T. Show which was filmed on November 29, 1965. Eager to produce Tina, Phil Spector negotiated a deal with Ike and Tina's manager Bob Krasnow, who was head of Loma Records. Spector offered $20,000 to release them from their contract and for creative control over his sessions with Tina. After their release from Loma, they signed to Spector's Philles Records label. On March 7, 1966, Tina began recording the Phil Spector/Ellie Greenwich/Jeff Barry composition "River Deep – Mountain High" at Gold Star Studios in Hollywood. Instead of The Ikettes, The Blossoms provided backing vocals for Tina Turner on the Spector-produced record. Meanwhile, the first album by The Ikettes, 'Soul The Hits', was released on Modern Records that summer. "River Deep – Mountain High" failed to chart successfully in the United States, reaching only No. 88 on the Hot 100. The disappointing chart performance caused the album, River Deep – Mountain High, to be shelved in America where it wasn't officially released until 1969. However, in Britain, the song became a hit, reaching No. 3 on the UK charts. It also reached No. 1 on Los 40 Principales in Spain. Due to popular demand, Spector released the album in the UK on London Records in September 1966 with liner notes written by Decca's promotion man Tony Hall. Hall included a quote from Spector stating, "We can only assume that England is more appreciative of talent and exciting music than the US". Following their chart success in Britain, they toured with The Rolling Stones as an opening act on their 1966 UK Tour. The successful 12-date tour began at the Royal Albert Hall on September 23 and concluded on October 9 at the Gaumont Theatre. After the tour, the Turners performed at California Ballroom and toured Britain's club circuit to receptive crowds at Tiles, Ricky-Tick and the Mojo Club. When they returned to the US, they were involved in a serious bus accident while on the road in Wichita, Kansas. A few band members were hospitalized, so Turner recruited members from St. Louis to continue the tour. Other Ikettes during this period include Pat Powdrill, Paulette Parker (later of Maxayn), Jean Brown, and Juanita Hixson. By 1967, the revue started to book bigger venues in the United States. They performed a series of "exclusive deals" during this period, to help Ike increase their finances. As their careers were rising, their personal relationship was deteriorating and Tina attempted suicide before a show in 1968. That year, Pompeii Records issued the album "So Fine", credited to Ike & Tina Turner & The Ikettes, it charted at No. 50 on the R&B chart. By Summer 1968, a revised lineup of The Ikettes was formed with Edna Richardson, Claudia Lennear, and Esther Jones. Also in 1968, Bob Krasnow founded Blue Thumb Records, and Ike gave him enough masters for two albums. The first album, Outta Season, was released in March 1969. It peaked at No. 43 on the Billboard R&B LP's chart. Outta Season produced the duo's cover of Otis Redding's "I've Been Loving You Too Long," which peaked at No. 23 on the R&B singles chart. In May 1969, Ike and the Kings of Rhythm released the album A Black Man's Soul on Pompeii Records. The album earned Ike his first solo Grammy nomination for Best R&B Instrumental Performance at the 12th Annual Grammy Awards. In August 1969, the duo headlined at International Hotel's Casino Theatre in Las Vegas. It was in Vegas that Ike, who up to that point had lived a drug and alcohol free life, began using cocaine. He later recalled that he was introduced to the drug by "two famous Las Vegas headliners". 

In September 1969, A&M Records reissued the album River Deep – Mountain High, and for the first time it was issued in the US. It was successful, reaching No. 28 on the R&B albums chart. The next month The Hunter was released on Blue Thumb, one of their more blues-oriented albums which features electric blues guitarist Albert Collins. The title track, "The Hunter," an Albert King cover, reached No. 37 in the R&B singles chart. The album peaked at No. 47 on the R&B albums chart, and earned Tina her first solo Grammy nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female at the 12th Annual Grammy Awards. Minit Records and its parent label Liberty Records issued singles credited to The Ikettes (with Ike & Tina Turner) in 1969 and 1970 respectively, resulting in the hits "Come Together" by The Beatles and Sly & The Family Stone's "I Want To Take You Higher." As the 1960s came to an end, Ike & Tina began performing at rock festivals. In 1969 they performed at the Newport Pop Festival in Northridge and the Gold Rush Festival at Lake Amador. In October, they headlined the Soul Bowl at Tulane University's Sugar Bowl Stadium; a concert to raise money for disadvantaged minority students. In November, Ike & Tina reportedly upstaged The Rolling Stones as the opening act on their 1969 US Tour. Their erotic performance of "I've Been Loving You Too Long", filmed during a concert at Madison Square Garden, is featured in The Rolling Stones' 1970 documentary Gimme Shelter. The Ikettes on that tour were Claudia Lennear, Esther Jones and Pat Powdrill. In January 1970, Ike and Tina performed on The Ed Sullivan Show. Their performance of "Bold Soul Sister" propelled the single to No. 22 on the R&B chart. In March, their single "Come Together" peaked at No. 21 on the R&B chart. Due to the success of their singles, they were signed to Minit's parent label Liberty Records. Their first album on Liberty, 'Come Together', was released May 1970, and reached No. 13 on the R&B albums chart. The revue's performance fee increased from $1,000 a night to $5,000 a night following their successful run. In July, they headlined the Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island and the Schaefer Music Festival at New York's Central Park. That Summer, they were featured in the Isley Brothers concert film It's Your Thing and they filmed Milos Forman's Taking Off (released 1971). Later that year, they made their first trip to Asia to perform in Siam, China, Japan, and the Philippines. Ike and Tina began performing "Proud Mary" by Creedence Clearwater Revival during their shows in 1969. Ike wasn't fond of the original song, but he liked the cover version by Checkmates, Ltd.  Ike and Tina released their version on the album 'Workin' Together' in December 1970. Set at first to a slow acoustic rendition sung softly by both Ike & Tina, the song then transformed into a frenetic rock and soul dervish led by Tina & The Ikettes. The single was released in January 1971, reaching No. 4 on the Hot 100 and No. 5 on the R&B chart. It sold more than a million copies, becoming the duo's best-selling single to date and won them a Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Group at the 14th Annual Grammy Awards. Workin' Together became their most successful studio album, peaking at No. 25 on the Billboard 200 and No. 3 on the R&B chart. It includes the duo's social conscious title track, "Workin' Together," "Funkier Than A Mosquita's Tweeter" penned by Tina's sister Alline Bullock, and notable covers such as "Get Back" and "Let It Be" by the Beatles. In January 1971, Ike and Tina embarked on a European tour which included dates at Midem in Cannes, the Palais d'Hiver in Lyon, and the Olympia in Paris. Their performances received rave reviews. The conservative Le Monde described Ike and Tina as "the voice of desire". Their concert at the Olympia was recorded and released as the album Live In Paris. While in Paris the Turners received the French Jazz Academy Soul award. Ike and Tina participated in the concert celebrating Ghana's 14th Independence Day on March 6, 1971. The concert was filmed and released as Soul To Soul in theaters in August 1971. The following month the soundtrack Soul To Soul was released which featured the Turners. The album peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard Soul LP's chart. Earlier in the year Liberty Records was absorbed into United Artists Records, where Ike & Tina would remain as a duo. Their first release for the label was the live album, What You Hear Is What You Get, recorded during their concert at Carnegie Hall in April 1971. It peaked at No. 25 on the Billboard 200 and No. 7 on the R&B chart. The album was certified Gold by the RIAA in 1972. Also in 1971, they had a top 40 R&B hits with "Ooh Poo Pah Doo" and "I'm Yours (Use Me Anyway You Wanna)". The Ikettes released their first single "Got What It Takes (To Get What I Want)," on United Artists later that year. In 1972, "Two Timin', Double Dealin'" was released. 

In March 1972, the Turners opened their own recording studio, Bolic Sound. The facilities had already been in use for Turner productions since 1970. A few months later they released the album Feel Good. Nine out of the ten tracks on the album were written by Tina. In August, they performed at Nassau County's first major rock festival, Festival of Hope Rockfest, at Roosevelt Raceway to benefit crippled children. In October, they performed "It's Gonna Work Out Fine" on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, which was included on the album Here's Johnny: Magic Moments From the Tonight Show. The duo had moderate R&B chart success with the Tina penned "Up in Heah" in 1972 and a cover of Little Richard's "Early One Morning" in 1973. In August 1973, they released their hit record "Nutbush City Limits" which as written by Tina. It peaked at No. 22 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 11 on the R&B chart. The single was even more successful in Europe, reaching No. 4 in the UK and No. 1 in Austria. It was also a top 5 hit in several other countries. The Ikettes had a few lineup changes in 1973 with the absence of Esther Jones and Enda Richardson. Jones temporarily left after she was fined for being late onstage. The Ikettes weren't paid much and were often fined by the Turners for "inexcusables" such as tardiness, no-shows at rehearsals, miscues onstage, sloppy appearance, and disruptive behavior. Jones was the "longest-lasting Ikette" and was referred to as "Motha" Ikette. She was the group's trainer and came up with most of the choreography. In February 1973, the Ikettes, consisting of Linda Sims, Linda-Shuford Williams and Alesia Butler, performed on The Midnight Special. The Ikettes performed on The Midnight Special again in November 1973; Linda Sims was joined by Edna Richardson and Charlotte Lewis. The next month Linda Sims, Charlotte Lewis and Debbie Wilson performed on the music program Hits à Gogo in Switzerland. Sims and Wilson along with Tina Turner provided backing vocals on Frank Zappa's albums Over-Nite Sensation (1973) and Apostrophe (') (1974), recorded at the Turners' Bolic Sound studio. The last album by the Ikettes, (G)Old & New, was released on United Artists in January 1974. In March, Edna Richardson, Stonye Figueroa and Linda Sims appeared on Don Krishner's Rock Concert, though Esther Jones, Yolanda Goodwin and Marcy Thomas soon replaced them for most of the year. In 1974, the Turners received the Golden European Record Award, the first ever given, for selling more than one million records of "Nutbush City Limits" in Europe. Their follow-up singles "Sweet Rhode Island Red" and "Sexy Ida" also did well on the R&B chart and in Europe. In April 1974, Ike and Tina released the album The Gospel According to Ike & Tina Turner. A few months later in August, Tina released her first solo album titled Tina Turns the Country On!. Both albums received Grammy nominations at the 17th Annual Grammy Awards. Their gospel album was nominated for Best Soul Gospel Performance. Ike also earned a solo nomination for his single "Father Alone". Tina was nominated for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female for her solo album. In early 1975, Gerhard Augustin, co-founder of Beat-Club and former head of A&R at United Artists in Munich, became Ike and Tina's manager. He had previously co-produced a few of their singles and the album Feel Good (1972). 

In 1975, Tina starred as the Acid Queen in the rock opera film Tommy. To capitalize off her publicity surrounding the film, a solo album by Tina was released titled Acid Queen. The lead single "Baby, Get It On" became the duo's last charting single together, peaking at No. 31 on the R&B chart. It was a hit in Europe where the Turners had a strong following, reaching No. 20 in Belgium and No. 9 in the Netherlands. Richardson, Goodwin and Jones became the final lineup of The Ikettes for the Ike & Tina Turner Revue by late 1975. They performed on Don Krishner's Rock Concert in March 1976, before the Ike & Tina Turner Revue disbanded later that year. By 1976, Ike's cocaine addiction had caused a hole in his nasal septum, leading to nosebleeds from which he would relieve himself by using more of the drug. In March 1976, Ike and Tina headlined at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. They also signed a deal with CBS-TV for nine television shows revolving around the Ike & Tina Turner Revue with the possibility of it becoming a regular series. Ike was planning for them to leave United Artists for a new record company, Cream Records, for a reported annual amount of $150,000. The contract had a key person clause, meaning they would have to sign it in four days, keeping Tina contractually tied to Ike for five more years. On July 1, 1976, the Ike & Tina Turner Revue flew to Dallas, Texas where they had a gig at the Dallas Statler Hilton. While en route to the hotel, the Turners got into a physical altercation in the car. Soon after their arrival, Tina fled to the nearby Ramada Inn and later hid at several friends' homes. On July 27, 1976, Tina filed for divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. Years later in her 1986 autobiography I, Tina: My Life Story, she alleged that Ike had abused her throughout their marriage. Their divorce was finalized on March 29, 1978. In the settlement, Tina gave Ike her share of their Bolic Sound recording studio, publishing companies, real estate, and he kept his four cars. Tina retained her songwriter royalties from songs she had written, but Ike received the publishing royalties for his compositions and hers. She also kept her two Jaguars, furs and jewelry along with her stage name. Tina took responsibility for the debts incurred from their missed concert dates as well as an IRS lien. United Artists responded to the abrupt split by finishing albums from their last recording sessions, releasing Delilah's Power (1977) and Airwaves (1978). In 1980, Ike released the single "Party Vibes"/"Shame, Shame, Shame" taken from The Edge (1980). The single peaked at No. 27 on the Billboard Disco Top 100 chart. 

Through the late 70s, Tina earned income by appearing on TV shows such as The Hollywood Squares, Donny & Marie, The Sonny & Cher Show, and The Brady Bunch Hour. As lawsuits were mounting for cancelled Ike & Tina Turner gigs, Turner resumed touring to pay off her debts with finances given to her by United Artists executive Mike Stewart. In 1977, Turner re-emerged with a sexier image and costumes created by Bob Mackie. She headlined a series of cabaret shows at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and then took her act to smaller venues in the United States. Later that year, she embarked on her first solo concert tour in Australia. In 1978, Turner released her third solo album, Rough, on United Artists with distribution in North America and Europe on EMI. That album, along with its 1979 follow-up, Love Explosion, which included a brief diversion to disco music, failed to chart, so United Artists Records and Turner parted ways. Without the premise of a hit record, she continued performing and headlined her second tour. In 1979, Roger Davies agreed to manage Turner's career after seeing her perform at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. During the spring of 1979, Turner worked in Italy as a regular performer on the Rete 1 TV series Luna Park, hosted by Pippo Baudo and Heather Parisi. Later that year, Turner controversially embarked on a 5-week tour of South Africa during the apartheid regime. She later regretted the decision, stating that she was "naive about the politics in South Africa" at the time. In October 1981, Rod Stewart attended Turner's show at The Ritz in New York City and invited her to perform "Hot Legs" with him on Saturday Night Live. In November, Turner opened for The Rolling Stones during their 1981 American Tour. Turner's recording of The Temptations' "Ball Of Confusion" for the UK production team BEF became a hit in European dance clubs in 1982. She filmed a music video for "Ball Of Confusion" that aired on then-fledgling music video channel MTV; this made her one of the first Black American artists to gain airtime on the channel. 

Until 1983, Turner was considered a nostalgia act, performing mostly at hotel ballrooms and clubs in the United States. During her second stint at The Ritz, she signed with Capitol Records in 1983. In November 1983, she released her cover of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" which was produced by B.E.F. The record became a hit, reaching several European charts, including No. 6 in the UK. In the US, the song peaked at No. 26 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 1 on the Hot Dance Club Songs, and No. 3 Hot Black Singles. Following the single's surprise success, Capitol Records green-lighted a studio album. Turner had two weeks to record her Private Dancer album, which was released in May 1984. It became an outstanding commercial success, peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and No. 2 in the United Kingdom. Private Dancer was certified 5× Platinum in the United States, and sold 10 million copies worldwide, becoming her most successful album. Also in May 1984, Capitol issued the album's second single, "What's Love Got To Do With It"; the song had previously been recorded by the pop group Bucks Fizz. Following the album's release, Turner joined Lionel Richie as the opening act on his tour. On September 1, 1984, Turner achieved her first and only No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with "What's Love Got To Do With It". The follow-up singles "Better Be Good To Me" and "Private Dancer" were both U.S. Top 10 hits. Turner culminated her comeback when she won three Grammys at the 27th Annual Grammy Awards, including the Grammy Award for Record of the Year for "What's Love Got To Do With It". In February 1985, she embarked on her second world tour to support the Private Dancer album. One show, filmed at Birmingham, England's NEC Arena, was later released on home video. During this time, she also contributed vocals to the USA for Africa benefit song "We Are the World". Turner's success continued when she traveled to Australia to star opposite Mel Gibson in the 1985 post-apocalyptic film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. The movie provided her with her first acting role in ten years; she portrayed the glamorous Aunty Entity, the ruler of Bartertown. Upon release, critical response to her performance was generally positive. The film was a global success, grossing more than $36 million in the United States. Turner later received the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress for her role in the film. She recorded two songs for the film, "We Don't Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)" and "One Of The Living"; both became hits with the latter winning her a Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. In July 1985, Turner performed at Live Aid alongside Mick Jagger. Turner released a duet, "It's Only Love", with Bryan Adams. It was nominated for a Grammy Award, and the music video won an MTV Video Music Award for Best Stage Performance. 

Following Tina's success in the mid 80s, a number of Ike & Tina compilations (Get Back, Golden Empire, Etc.) surfaced -- featuring previously unreleased and alternate recordings -- with many more unearthed since. Tina received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1986 and released her sixth solo album, Break Every Rule, which reached No. 1 in four countries and sold over five million copies worldwide within its first year of release. The album sold more than a million copies in the United States and Germany alone. The album featured the singles "Typical Male", "Two People", "What You Get Is What You See ", and the Grammy-winning "Back Where You Started". Prior to the album's release, Turner published her autobiography I, Tina, which became a bestseller. Her Break Every Rule World Tour, which began in March 1987 in Munich, Germany, was the third highest-grossing tour by a female artist in North America that year. In January 1988, Turner performed in front of approximately 180,000 at Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, setting a Guinness World Record at the time for the largest paying concert attendance for a solo artist. Turner released the Tina Live in Europe album in April 1988, which won a Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. After taking time off following the end of the tour, she emerged with the Foreign Affair album in 1989. It reached No. 1 in eight countries, including in the UK (5× Platinum), her first number one album there. The album sold over six million copies worldwide and included the international hit single "The Best". In 1990, Turner embarked on her Foreign Affair European Tour, which drew in nearly four million spectators—breaking the record for a European tour that was previously set by the Rolling Stones. In 1991, Ike & Tina Turner were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Ike was incarcerated at the time and Tina did not attend, stating through her publicist that she was taking a leave of absence following her tour and she felt "emotionally unequipped to return to the US and respond to the night of celebration in the manner she would want." Phil Spector accepted the award on their behalf. In 1993, the semi-autobiographical film What's Love Got To Do With It was released. The film starred Angela Bassett as Tina Turner and Laurence Fishburne as Ike Turner; they received Best Actress and Best Actor Oscar nominations for their roles. While she was not heavily involved in the film, Turner contributed to the soundtrack, re-recording old songs and providing several new songs. The single "I Don't Wanna Fight" from the soundtrack was a Top 10 hit in the US and UK. Tina's career carries on much like this for two more decades but outside a few awards and inductions, this is where Ike & Tina's shared history comes to a halt, so I'll stick a pin in this and bring it to a close. 

Won't You Forgive Me collects pretty close to the complete Ike & Tina package, plus much much more. That said, please note that all of Ike's early recordings, prior to their official pairing have been omitted. This includes their first actual recording together. However, this REDUX is in no way lacking; boasting over 50 albums, a 300+ song singles/rarities collection, tonnes of extra material, and surprisingly little over-lap. As mentioned above, check the comments for a more detailed breakdown of the contents. All files chronicled, cleanly tagged and mp3 @ 320kbs {unless otherwise noted}. Thanks to original uploaders, enjoy!

Friday, 24 September 2021

GGG Presents Deep Dish Delicacies Vol. 42

Okay, so I know I've been teasing this big ol' REDUX collection for several weeks now, and between us, I thought it'd be ready by now. Almost there folks -- next posting -- I promise. The subject of said project is also featured here, on the 42nd installment of Deep Dish Delicacies. So, for now, chew on these 25 chunks of mid-60s soul balladry my friends! Enjoy.

01. Deanie Parker - 1964 - Each Step I Take (Volt 115)
02. Jackie Lee - 1966 - A Man Ain't Nothin' (Mirwood Unissued) [stereo]
03. The Dells - 1965 - Let's Do It Over (Vee Jay VJLPS 1141) [stereo]
04. Sam & Bill - 1965 - For Your Love (JoDa J-100)
05. The Zircons - 1963 - Where There's A Will (There Must Be A Way) (Heigh Ho 606)
06. Music City Soul Brothers - 1964 - Something In My Eye (Music City 855)
07. Ike & Tina Turner - 1963 - The Real Me (Sue LP 2005)
08. Jimmy Gresham & The Gibson Kings - 1962 - Take Me Too (Kitty 1008)
09. Eddie Floyd - 1964 - Never Get Enough Of Your Love (Safice 334)
10. Kelly Brothers - 1966 - Make Me Glad (Sims 281)
11. Roy Lee Johnson - 1966 - Slowly I'm Falling In Love With You (Columbia 43674) [stereo]
12. Arthur Conley - 1967 - I'll Take The Blame (Atco LP SD 33-220) [stereo]
13. Wendy Rene - 196? - He Hasn't Failed Me Yet (Unissued Stax)
14. David Porter - 1965 - Can't See You When I Want To (Stax 163)
15. Mickey Murray - 1967 - Lonely Room (SSS International LP S-71102) [stereo]
16. The Swordsmen - 1968 - Seems I'm Never Tired Of Lovin' You (Ninandy 1014)
17. Otis Redding - 1966 - You're Still My Baby (Volt LP SD 415)
18. Chuck Jackson & Maxine Brown - 1965 - I Need You So (Wand 198)
19. Bobby King - 1965 - Let Me Come On Home (Sound Plus 2120)
20. Flint Emeralds - 196? - Steal Away (Gatewood AR-849)
21. Leroy Taylor - 196? - If I (Unissued)
22. Wilson Pickett - 1963 - I'm Down To My Last Heartbreak (Double-L 724)
23. Grover Mitchell - 1966 - Sweeter As The Days Go By (Josie 961)
24. Barbara & The Browns - 1964 - Big Party (Stax 150)
25. Jimmy Norman - 1965 - Talking 'Bout The Times (Polo 230)

Monday, 20 September 2021

GGG Presents Goodie Grab Bags Volume 58

Today's posting features a lovely pair of Northern Soul sisters -- schoolteacher by day, songstress at night -- Chi-town's Candace Love with Motor-City mainstay, Carol Anderson. Enjoy.

Candace Love - Discography 1967-71 [14sides]
01. Amanda Love - 1967 - You Keep Calling Me By Her Name (Starville 1203) (Chess 2003)
02. Amanda Love - 1967 - I Don't Mind (Starville 1203) (Chess 2003)
03. Candace Love - 1969 - Uh! Uh! Boy, That's A No No (Aquarius 4010)
04. Candace Love - 1969 - Wonderful Night (Aquarius 4010)
05. Candace Love - 1970 - Never In A Million Years (Aquarius 4012)
06. Candace Love - 1970 - I Want To Get Back (Aquarius 4012)
07. Woman - 1970 - That's How It Is (Shock 1010)
08. Woman - 1970 - I Want To Get Back (Shock 1010)
09. Candace Love - 1971 - Something Gonna Happen (Aquarius 4050)
10. Candace Love - 1971 - Peace Lovin' Man (Aquarius 4050)
11. Candace Love - 1971 - Heaven And Hell (Aquarius 4051)
12. Candace Love - 1971 - I Want To Get Back [alt version] (Aquarius 4051)
13. Candace Love - 1971 - Love Transplant (Aquarius 4052)
14. Candace Love - 1971 - What In The World (Aquarius 4052)

Carol Anderson - Discography 1968-83 [17sides]
01. Carol Anderson - 1968 - Taking My Mind Off Love (Whip 347)
02. Carol Anderson - 1968 - I'm Not Worried (Whip 347)
03. Carol Anderson - 1971 - It Shouldn't Happen To A Dog (Mid-Town 270)
04. Carol Anderson - 1971 - Holding On (Mid-Town 270) (Mid-Town 271) (Big Tree 135)
05. Carol Anderson - 1972 - You Boy (Mid-Town 271) (Big Tree 135)
06. Carol Anderson - 197? - Master Plan (I Love You I Do) (Explosion EX-273) +
07. Carol Anderson - 1973 - Tomorrow Is Not A Promise (Soul 'O' Sonic 500) (Soul 'O' Sonic 501)
08. Carol Anderson - 1973 - One Man's Woman (Soul 'O' Sonic 500) (Soul 'O' Sonic 501)
09. Carol Anderson - 1973 - We've Got Enough (Soul 'O' Sonic 501 alt press)
10. Carol Anderson - 1979 - Sad Girl (Fee Detroit FE-101) (Coup CR-LP2008)
11. Carol Anderson - 1979 - I'll Get Off At The Next Stop (Fee Detroit FE-101) (Coup CR-LP2008)
12. Carol Anderson - 1980 - Party People (Come To Life) (Morning Glory 101) (Coup CR-LP2008)
13. Carol Anderson - 1980 - You've Got It Coming (Morning Glory 101) (Coup CR-LP2008)
14. Carol Anderson - 1982 - Come On Over Tonight (Cherie CR-2008) (Coup CR-LP2008)
15. Carol Anderson - 1983 - Ain't Giving Up (Coup CR-LP2008)
16. Carol Anderson - 1983 - I Found Love (Coup CR-LP2008)
17. Carol Anderson - 1983 - You Want It (Coup CR-LP2008)

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

One More Chance

Two parts blues, two parts soul, and a splash of funk. Shaken or stirred, it's a simple recipe that only a surprising few can blend to perfection. Albert Washington was definitely one of those few. Forged from a deep gospel background, Washington's yearning plea was soothing and sincere at times -- reeling and down right infectious at others. Relatively unknown on a national scale unfortunately, the majority of Washington's career was spent playing the local clubs in hometown Cincinnati, Ohio and later on, near his home in Long Island, New York.

One of four children to Jerry and Helen Washington, Albert's love of blues and gospel made itself known at a very early age. Washington remembers wanting to play his uncle's guitar at age five. At seven, he made his own guitar out of a gasoline can using rubber bands as strings. After losing his father at age nine, Washington got a job washing dishes after school to help his mother with the bills. After moving to Newport, Kentucky with his family while in his teens, Washington was encouraged by his mother to continue his gospel singing, but not his blues singing. At 16, he joined the Gospelaires, then recording for Don Robey's Duke and Peacock labels out of Houston. A few years later, he formed his own gospel group, the Washington Singers. In his late teens, Washington would sneak into blues clubs in nearby Cincinnati every chance he had, and there he was first exposed to the music of artists like Sam Cooke, Big Maybelle, Charles Brown, and Amos Milburn. Washington cited B.B. King as most influential on his style of singing and guitar playing, which was heavily sprinkled with his gospel singing roots. Shortly after his mother died, Washington began singing blues as often as he could at the Vet's Inn in Cincinnati, where he worked with a house band for 16 years. In 1962, he recorded his first single for the Finch label in Cincinnati, and it was later released on the VLM and Bluestown labels. His 1964 single for the VLM label, including a song he wrote called "Haven't Got A Friend", got him noticed in England, and this in turn led to a deal with Harry Carlson's Cincinnati-based Fraternity Records in 1966. Lonnie Mack joined Washington on several singles for Fraternity recorded in 1969. In 1970, he recorded two singles for the Jewel label before finally releasing his first LP for the Detroit-based Eastbound Records in 1973. The album was recorded at Steve Cropper's TMI Studio in Memphis Tennessee, backed by the red hot Memphis Horns, and finds Washington in wonderful form. Sadly, because of complications from diabetes, Washington lost his sight, and his career fell into a trough from the mid-'70s to the early '90s. But despite the crippling effects of diabetes and the tragedies that befell him over the course of his life, Washington remained an upbeat, positive figure. In January, 1993, Long Island-based Iris Records released his first recording in nearly two decades, Step It Up And Go. He began touring regionally again, and frequented clubs in Long Island. His 1994 follow-up album, A Brighter Day, was named one of the top three blues recordings of 1994 by France's Academie Du Jazz. Washington continued to perform in blues clubs around Long Island prior to dying of complications from diabetes on October 23, 1998. ~ (mostly c/o) Richard Skelly [allmusic]

One More Chance collects the complete secular works of Albert Washington from 1963 to 1975. All files chronicled, cleanly tagged and mp3 @ 320kbs. Thanks to original uploaders, enjoy.

Thursday, 9 September 2021

GGG Presents Darling Dear Vol. 11

Not a REDUX but i did recently re-up The Meters collection, now with the rare (Live) At Rozy's album added. I have been working on an enormous REDUX collection that I'll soon have ready for the site. For now though, enjoy the latest installment to the Darling Dear series ... or don't.

01. The Fascinators - 1959 - Who Do You Think You Are? (Capitol F4137)
02. The Miracles - 1960 - Who's Lovin' You? (Tamla 54034)
03. Ted Taylor - 1958 - Wrapped Up In A Dream (Ebb 151)
04. The Dells - 1958 - I'm Calling (Vee Jay 292)
05. The Innocents - 1962 - Pledging My Love (Unissued Reprise) [stereo]
06. Larry Williams - 1959 - Teardrops (Specialty 677)
07. Paliya & Alvin - 1957 - Darling Be Mine (Jody 11)
08. Otis Williams & His Charms - 1956 - Pardon Me (DeLuxe 6105)
09. The Cadillacs - 1956 - Betty My Love (Josie 798)
10. The Joytones - 1956 - My Foolish Heart (Rama 215)
11. The Jesters - 1957 - Love No One But You (Winley 218)
12. Bobby Starr -1959 - Please Give Me A Chance (Radio 120-45)
13. Roscoe Shelton - 1958 - Something's Wrong (Excello 2146)
14. Bunny Sigler - 1961 - Come On Home (Craig 501)
15. The Impressions - 1961 - As Long As You Love Me (ABC-Paramount 10241) [stereo]
16. The Searchers - 1960 - Yvonne (Mac 351)
17. The Shondells - 1962 - Wonderful One (King 5656)
18. Ann Cole - 1962 - Have Fun (Roulette 4452)
19. The Senders - 1961 - Spinning (Entra YM 711)
20. Eddie Holland - 1958 - You (You You You You) (Mercury 71290)
21. Etta & Harvey - 1960 - If I Can't Have You (Chess 1760)
22. The Rainers - 195? - Where You Been So Long? (Unissued Flip) [stereo]
23. King Curtis & His Royal Men - 1958 - Jest Smoochin' (Atco 6114)
24. The Four Kings - 1960 - Walking Alone (Stomper Time 1163)
25. The Shirelles - 1958 - My Love Is A Charm (Decca 9-30669)

Sunday, 5 September 2021

I Prefer You

Once considered one of the most overlooked R&B musicians in the industry; Etta James was nothing short of iconic! Unapologetically human and deeply tortured, her life (in and out of the limelight) was rife with challenge, abuse and dependencies. Her resurgence in the late 80s and momentum into the new millennium was more than just a career comeback -- it was a triumph of the spirit, truly. Recognized in these more recent decades for her wealth of recordings from the mid-50s through to the late-70s, which run the gamut from rhythm n blues, doo wop, soul, funk, jazz, pop, rock n roll to the blues. James' commanding contralto vocal range though, was certainly best suited for the harder-edged styles and sultry floor-stompers. An impassioned performer whose live appearances and recordings from any period, are rightfully revered. 

Born Jamesetta Hawkins on January 25, 1938 in Los Angeles, California. Jamesetta's mother, Dorothy Hawkins, was only 14 when she gave birth and her father was believed to be Rudolf "Minnesota Fats" Wanderone but that has never been confirmed. Her mother was frequently absent from their apartment in Watts, often referring to her mother as "the Mystery Lady", Jamesetta lived with a series of foster parents, most notably "Sarge" and "Mama" Lu. Receiving her first professional vocal training at the age of five from James Earle Hines, musical director of the Echoes of Eden choir at the St. Paul Baptist Church, in South-Central Los Angeles. Under his tutelage, she suffered physical abuse during her formative years, with her instructor often punching her in the chest while she sang to force her voice to come from her gut. As a consequence, she developed an unusually strong voice for a child her age. Sarge, like the musical director for the choir, was also abusive. During drunken poker games at home, he would awaken James in the early morning hours and force her with beatings to sing for his friends. The trauma of her foster father forcing her to sing under these humiliating circumstances caused her, among other issues, to have difficulties with singing on demand throughout her career. In 1950, Mama Lu died, and Jamessetta's biological mother took her to the Fillmore district of San Francisco. Within a couple of years, she began listening to doo-wop and was inspired to form a girl group, The Creolettes (so named for the members' light-skinned complexions). At the age of 14, she met musician Johnny Otis who took the group under his wing, helping them sign to Modern Records and changing their name from The Creolettes to The Peaches. He also gave the singer her stage name, transposing Jamesetta into Etta James. James then recorded the version, for which she was given credit as co-author, in 1954, and the record was released in early 1955 as "The Wallflower". The original title of the song was "Roll With Me, Henry", but it was changed to avoid censorship due to the off-color title ('Roll' implying sexual activity). In February of that year, the song reached #1 on the Hot Rhythm & Blues Tracks chart. Its success gave the group an opening spot on Little Richard's national tour. While on tour with Richard, pop singer Georgia Gibbs recorded a version of James's song, which was released under the title "Dance With Me, Henry" and became a crossover hit, reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, which angered James. After leaving the Peaches, James had another R&B hit with "Good Rockin' Daddy" but struggled with follow-ups. While 15 year-old Etta was touring her hit single along the so-called "Chitlin Circuit", she and an aspiring singer, the 19-year-old Elvis Presley, then recording for Sun Studios, shared a bill in a large club just outside Memphis. The following year James was going stady with the mighty B.B. King and has speculated that his hit single "Sweet Sixteen" was in fact about her. When James' contract with Modern came up for renewal in 1960, she signed a contract with Chess Records instead. Shortly afterward she was involved in a relationship with the singer Harvey Fuqua, the founder of the doo-wop group the Moonglows. Dueting with Harvey Fuqua, James recorded for Argo Records (later renamed Cadet Records), a label established by Chess. Her first hit singles with Fuqua were "If I Can't Have You" and "Spoonful". Her first solo hit was the doo-wop–styled rhythm-and-blues song "All I Could Do Was Cry", which was a #2 R&B hit. Chess Records co-founder Leonard Chess envisioned James as a classic ballad stylist who had potential to cross over to the pop charts and soon surrounded the singer with violins and other string instruments. The first string-laden ballad James recorded was "My Dearest Darling" in May 1960, which peaked in the top 5 of the R&B chart. Her debut album, At Last!, was released in late 1960 and was noted for its varied selection of music, from jazz standards to blues to doo-wop and rhythm n blues. The album included the future classics "I Just Want To Make Love To You" and "A Sunday Kind Of Love". In early 1961, James released what was to become her signature song, "At Last", which reached #2 on the R&B chart and #47 on the Billboard Hot 100. Though the record was not as successful as expected, her rendition has become the best-known version of the song. Later that same year, James released a second studio album, The Second Time Around. The album took the same direction as her first, covering jazz and pop standards and with strings on many of the songs. It produced two hit singles, "Fool That I Am" and "Don't Cry Baby". James started adding gospel elements in her music the following year, releasing "Something's Got A Hold On Me", which peaked at #4 on the R&B chart and was a Top 40 pop hit. That success was quickly followed by "Stop The Wedding", which reached #6 on the R&B chart and also had gospel elements. In 1963, she had another major hit with "Pushover" and released the live album Etta James Rocks the House, recorded at the New Era Club in Nashville, Tennessee. After a couple of years of minor hits, James's career started to suffer after 1965. By this time, James was addicted to heroin. She bounced checks, forged prescriptions and stole from her friends to finance her addiction. James was arrested in 1966 for writing bad checks. She was placed on probation and ordered to pay a $500 fine. After a period of isolation, she returned to recording in 1967 and reemerged with more gutsy R&B numbers thanks to her recording at the legendary FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. These sessions yielded her comeback hit "Tell Mama", co-written by Clarence Carter, which reached #10 R&B and #23 Pop. An album of the same name was also released that year and included her take on Otis Redding's "Security". The B-side of "Tell Mama" was "I'd Rather Go Blind", which became a blues classic and has been recorded by many other artists. In her autobiography, Rage to Survive, she wrote that she heard the song outlined by her friend Ellington "Fugi" Jordan when she visited him in prison. According to her account, she wrote the rest of the song with Jordan, but for tax reasons gave her songwriting credit to her partner at the time, Billy Foster. Following this success, James became an in-demand concert performer though she never again reached the heyday of her early to mid-60s success. James was married to Artis Mills in 1969, but the death of Leonard Chess the same year, devastated James, succumbing once again to her heroin addiction. Though her records continued to chart in the R&B Top 40 through the early 70s, with singles such as "Losers Weepers" (1970) and "I Found A Love" (1972), James encountered a string of legal problems during the early 70s due to her addiction. She was continuously in and out of rehabilitation centers, including the Tarzana Treatment Centers, in Los Angeles, California. Her husband Artis Mills accepted responsibility when they were both arrested for heroin possession and served a 10-year prison sentence. James ventured into rock and funk with the release of her self-titled album in 1973, with production from the famed rock producer Gabriel Mekler, who had worked with Steppenwolf and Janis Joplin, who had admired James and had covered "Tell Mama" in concert. The album, known for its mixture of musical styles, was nominated for a Grammy Award. The album did not produce any major hits; neither did the follow-up, Come A Little Closer (1974) though, like the album before it, was also critically acclaimed. In late 1973, James was arrested for possession of heroin. In 1974, James was sentenced to drug treatment instead of serving time in prison. During this period, she became addicted to methadone and would mix her doses with heroin. She was in the Tarzana Psychiatric Hospital for 17 months, at the age of 36, and went through a great struggle at the start of treatment. After leaving treatment, however, her substance abuse continued after she developed a relationship with a man who was also using drugs. James continued to record for Chess (now owned by All Platinum Records), releasing one more album in 1976, Etta Is Betta Than Evvah! Her 1978 album Deep in the Night, produced by Jerry Wexler for Warner Bros. Records, incorporated more rock-based music in her repertoire. That same year, James was the opening act for The Rolling Stones and performed (for the second time) at the now-famed Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Recording efforts from this point on got fairly sparce as James' struggles with addiction and alcoholism festered further. James continued to perform on occasion in the early 80s, including two guest appearances at Grateful Dead concerts in December 1982 and she was a guest on John Mayall's Blues Breakers 1982 reunion show in New Jersey. In 1984, she contacted David Wolper and asked to perform in the opening ceremony of the 1984 Summer Olympics, at which she sang "When The Saints Go Marching In". 

In 1988, at the age of 50, James entered the Betty Ford Center, in Rancho Mirage, California, for treatment. The following year, she signed with Island Records and released the albums Seven Year Itch and Stickin' To My Guns, both of which were produced by Barry Beckett and recorded at FAME Studios. Also in 1989 James was filmed in a concert at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles with Joe Walsh and Albert Collins for the film Jazzvisions: Jump the Blues Away. Many of the backing musicians were top-flight players from Los Angeles: Rick Rosas (bass), Michael Huey (drums), Ed Sanford (Hammond B3 organ), Kip Noble (piano) and Josh Sklair, her longtime guitar player. James participated with the rap singer Def Jef on the song "Droppin' Rhymes on Drums", which mixed James's jazz vocals with hip-hop. In 1992, she recorded the album The Right Time, produced by Jerry Wexler for Elektra Records. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. James signed with Private Music Records in 1993 and recorded a Billie Holiday tribute album, Mystery Lady: Songs of Billie Holiday. The album set a trend of incorporating more jazz elements in James's music. The album won James her first Grammy Award, for Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Female, in 1994. In 1995, her autobiography, A Rage to Survive, co-written with David Ritz, was published. Also in 1995, she recorded the album Time After Time. A Christmas album, Etta James Christmas, was released in 1998. By the mid-1990s, James's earlier classic music was being used in commercials, including "I Just Wanna Make Love to You". After an excerpt of the song was featured in a Diet Coke advertising campaign in the UK, it reached the Top 10 on the UK charts in 1996. By 1998, with the release of Life, Love & the Blues, she had added as backing musicians her sons, Donto and Sametto, on drums and bass, respectively. They continued as part of her touring band. She went on recording for Private Music, which released the blues album Matriarch of the Blues in 2000, on which she returned to her R&B roots; Rolling Stone hailed it as a "solid return to roots", further stating that with this album she was "reclaiming her throne—and defying anyone to knock her off it". In 2001, she was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, the latter for her contributions to the developments of both rock and roll and rockabilly. In 2003, she received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. On her 2004 release, Blue Gardenia, she returned to a jazz style. Her final album for Private Music, Let's Roll, released in 2005, won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked her number 62 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. In 2008, James was portrayed by Beyoncé Knowles in the film Cadillac Records, a fictional account of Chess Records, James's label for 18 years, and how label founder and producer Leonard Chess helped the careers of James and others. In April 2009, at the age of 71, James made her final television appearance, performing "At Last" on the program Dancing with the Stars. In May 2009, she received the Soul/Blues Female Artist of the Year award from the Blues Foundation, the ninth time she won the award. She carried on touring but by 2010 had to cancel concert dates because of her gradually failing health, after it was revealed that she was suffering from dementia and leukemia. In November 2011, James released her final album, The Dreamer, which was critically acclaimed upon its release. She announced that this would be her final album. The illness became terminal, and her husband Artis Mills was appointed sole conservator of the James estate and to oversee her medical care. She died on January 20, 2012, five days before her 74th birthday, at Riverside Community Hospital in Riverside, California. Her funeral was presided over by Reverend Al Sharpton and took place in Gardena, California eight days after her death. Stevie Wonder, Beyoncé, and Christina Aguilera each gave a musical tribute. She was buried at Inglewood Park Cemetery in Los Angeles County, California. 

I Prefer You collects the complete classic Etta James output (1955-1982) with a couple additional performances. More than 15 studio albums (professionally and/or personally remastered), several live concert recordings (some officially released, some bootlegged) and a corresponding Singles/Rarities collection culled (for the best quality) from over 50 different compilation releases. All files chronicled, cleanly tagged and mp3 @ 320kbs. Thanks to original uploaders and Chris @ Blues Blues Blues for several of the sources. Enjoy.