Monday, 30 March 2020

GGG Presents Darling Dear Vol. 04

I certainly hope you all enjoyed this month's master class collections, without becoming accustomed to the breadth and scope of the presentation of course. On that note, I'll be avoiding really big collections for the foreseeable future as bandwith is limited given our current state of affairs. Please note, that applies to all re-ups also. Smaller collections suit next month's Southern Soul theme just fine anyhow. But before any of that, dig into the latest edition of Darling Dear.

01. The Five Keys - 1955 - Close Your Eyes (Capitol F3032)
02. Rhythm Masters - 1956 - Baby We Two (Flip 314)
03. The Joytones - 1956 - All My Love Belongs To You (Rama 191)
04. The Impressors - 1957 - Is It Too Late (Onyx 514)
05. The Skyliners - 1958 - Since I Don't Have You (Calico 103)
06. The Jesters - 1957 - So Strange (Winley 218)
07. The Charts - 1957 - You're The Reason (Everlast 5006)
08. Steve Gibson & The Original Red Caps - 1959 - Where Are You (Hunt 330)
09. The Avalons - 1958 - Heart's Desire (Unart 2007)
10. The Vocaleers - 1960 - Love And Devotion (Old Town 1089)
11. Hannibal & The Angels - 1960 - Please Take A Chance On Me (Pan World 517)
12. The Fabulous Pearls - 1959 - My Heart's Desire (Dooto 448)
13. Kathy Young & The Innocents - 1961 - Magic Is The Night (Indigo 125)
14. Dino & The Diplomats - 1961 - I Can't Believe (Laurie 3103)
15. Obrey Wilson - 1962 - Say It Again (Liberty 55483)
16. The Cruisers - 1960 - Cryin' Over You (V-Tone 213)
17. The Solitaires - 1959 - Helpless (Old Town 1071)
18. Hollywood Flames - 1959 - Just For You (Ebb 153)
19. The Chanters - 1958 - I Need Your Tenderness (DeLuxe 6162)
20. The Kool Gents - 1956 - This Is The Night (Vee Jay 173)
21. The Duponts - 1956 - You (Winley 212)
22. The Valentines - 1957 - Don't Say Goodnight (Rama 228)
23. The Penguins - 1958 - Lover Or Fool (Dooto EP 241)
24. The Lockettes - 1958 - You Don't Want Me (Flip 334)
25. The Impressions - 1959 - Lovely One [alt] (Unissued Abner)

Friday, 27 March 2020

Can't You Just See Me

While the one true king of soul can still be debatable to this day, there's definitely no question as to who was queen. Soulstress supreme, Aretha Franklin was already being referred to as soul music royalty while Cooke was still breaking through to the mainstream and Redding was still wet behind the ears. Her incredibly consistent, successful and influential career span over five decades, inspired millions of listeners and musicians alike, and earned our highness enough honors, awards, accolades and achievements to fill a deluxe-sized tour bus, or two. Her talent was immense and diversity limitless -- gospel, rhythm n blues, hard bop, jazz, blues, pop, northern soul, southern soul and just about everything else under the sun. Furthermore, Franklin recorded 112 charted singles on Billboard, including 77 Hot 100 entries, 17 top-ten pop singles, 100 R&B entries, and 20 number-one R&B singles. She is the most charted female artist in history. Franklin received numerous honors throughout her career. She was awarded the National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1987, she became the first female performer to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. R-E-S-P-E-C-T !!!

Aretha Louise Franklin was born on March 25, 1942, to Barbara and Clarence LaVaughn "C. L." Franklin. She was delivered at her family's home located at 406 Lucy Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. Her father was a Baptist minister and circuit preacher originally from Shelby, Mississippi, while her mother was an accomplished piano player and vocalist. Both Mr. and Mrs. Franklin had children from prior relationships in addition to the four children they had together. When Aretha was two, the family relocated to Buffalo, New York. By the time Aretha turned five, C. L. Franklin had permanently relocated the family to Detroit, where he took over the pastorship of the New Bethel Baptist Church. The Franklins had a troubled marriage due to Mr. Franklin's infidelities, and they separated in 1948. At that time, Barbara Franklin returned to Buffalo with Aretha's half brother, Vaughn. After the separation, Aretha recalled seeing her mother in Buffalo during the summer, and Barbara Franklin frequently visited her children in Detroit. Aretha's mother died of a heart attack on March 7, 1952, before Aretha's tenth birthday. Several women, including Aretha's grandmother, Rachel, and Mahalia Jackson, took turns helping with the children at the Franklin home. During this time, Aretha learned how to play piano by ear. She also attended public school in Detroit, going through her freshman year at Northern High School, but dropping out during her sophomore year. Aretha's father's emotionally driven sermons resulted in his being known as the man with the "million-dollar voice". He earned thousands of dollars for sermons in various churches across the country. His celebrity status led to his home being visited by various celebrities. Among the visitors were gospel musicians Clara Ward, James Cleveland, and early Caravans members Albertina Walker and Inez Andrews. Martin Luther King Jr., Jackie Wilson and Sam Cooke all became friends of C. L. Franklin, as well. Ward was romantically involved with Aretha's father from around 1949 to Ward's death in 1973, though Aretha "preferred to view them strictly as friends". Ward also served as a role model to the young Aretha. Just after her mother's death, Franklin began singing solos at New Bethel, debuting with the hymn "Jesus, Be A Fence Around Me". When Franklin was 12, her father began managing her; he would bring her on the road with him during his so-called "gospel caravan" tours for her to perform in various churches. He also helped her sign her first recording deal with J.V.B. Records. Recording equipment was installed inside New Bethel Baptist Church and nine tracks were recorded. Franklin was featured on vocals and piano. In 1956, J.V.B. released Franklin's first single, "Never Grow Old", backed with "You Grow Closer". "Precious Lord (Part One)" backed with "Precious Lord (Part Two)" followed in 1959. These four tracks, with the addition of "There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood", were released on side one of the 1956 album, Spirituals. This was reissued by Battle Records in 1962 under the same title. In 1965, Checker Records released Songs of Faith, featuring the five tracks from the 1956 Spirituals album, with the addition of four previously unreleased recordings. During this time, Franklin would occasionally travel with The Soul Stirrers. As a young gospel singer, Franklin spent summers on the gospel circuit in Chicago and stayed with Mavis Staples' family. According to music producer Quincy Jones, while Franklin was still young, Dinah Washington let him know, "Aretha was the next one". In 1958, Franklin and her father traveled to California, where she met singer Sam Cooke. At the age of 16, Franklin went on tour with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and she would ultimately sing at his funeral in 1968. After turning 18, Franklin confided to her father that she aspired to follow Sam Cooke in recording pop music, and moved to New York. Serving as her manager, C. L. Franklin agreed to the move and helped to produce a two-song demo that soon was brought to the attention of Columbia Records, who agreed to sign her in 1960. Franklin was signed as a "five-percent artist". During this period, Franklin would be coached by choreographer Cholly Atkins to prepare for her pop performances. Before signing with Columbia, Sam Cooke tried to persuade Franklin's father to sign her with his label, RCA, but his request was denied. Record label owner Berry Gordy was also looking to sign Franklin and her elder sister Erma to his Tamla label. However, C.L. Franklin felt the label was not yet established enough, and he turned Gordy down. Franklin's first Columbia single, "Today I Sing The Blues", was issued in September 1960 and later reached the top 10 of the Hot Rhythm & Blues Sellers chart.

In January 1961, Columbia issued Franklin's first secular album, Aretha: With The Ray Bryant Combo. The album featured her first single to chart the Billboard Hot 100, "Won't Be Long", which also peaked at #7 on the R&B chart. Mostly produced by Clyde Otis, Franklin's Columbia recordings saw her performing in diverse genres such as standards, vocal jazz, blues, doo-wop and rhythm and blues. Before the year was out, Franklin scored her first hit single with her rendition of the standard "Rock-a-Bye Your Baby With A Dixie Melody".  "Rock-a-Bye" became her first international hit, reaching the top 40 in Australia and Canada. By the end of 1961, Franklin was named as a "new-star female vocalist" in DownBeat magazine. In 1962, Columbia issued two more albums, The Electrifying Aretha Franklin and The Tender, The Moving, The Swinging Aretha Franklin, the latter of which reached #69 on the Billboard chart. In the 1960s, during a performance at the Regal Theater, WVON radio personality Pervis Spann announced that Franklin should be crowned "the Queen of Soul". Spann ceremonially placed a crown on her head. By 1964, Franklin began recording more pop music, reaching the top 10 on the R&B chart with the ballad "Runnin' Out of Fools" in early 1965. She had two R&B charted singles in 1965 and 1966 with the songs "One Step Ahead" and "Cry Like a Baby", while also reaching the Easy Listening charts with the ballads "You Made Me Love You" and "(No, No) I'm Losing You". By the mid-1960s, Franklin was making $100,000 per year from countless performances in nightclubs and theaters. Also during that period, she appeared on rock-and-roll shows such as Hollywood A Go-Go and Shindig!. However, she struggled with commercial success while at Columbia. Label executive John H. Hammond later said he felt Columbia did not understand Franklin's early gospel background and failed to bring that aspect out further during her period there.

In November 1966, Franklin's Columbia recording contract expired and she chose to move to Atlantic Records. In January 1967, she traveled to Muscle Shoals, Alabama, to record at FAME Studios and recorded the song "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)", backed by the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. Franklin only spent one day recording at FAME, as an altercation broke out between her manager and husband Ted White, studio owner Rick Hall, and a horn player, and sessions were abandoned. The song was released the following month and reached number one on the R&B chart, while also peaking at number nine on the Billboard Hot 100, giving Franklin her first top-ten pop single. The song's b-side, "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man", reached the R&B top 40, peaking at #37. In April, Atlantic issued her frenetic version of Otis Redding's "Respect", which reached number one on both the R&B and pop charts. "Respect" became her signature song and was later hailed as a civil rights and feminist anthem. Franklin's debut Atlantic album, I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, also became commercially successful, later going gold. Franklin scored two more top-ten singles in 1967, including "Baby I Love You" and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman". Her rapport with producer Jerry Wexler helped in the creation of the majority of Franklin's peak recordings with Atlantic. In 1968, she issued the top-selling albums Lady Soul and Aretha Now, which included some of her most popular hit singles, including "Chain of Fools", "Ain't No Way", "Think" and "I Say a Little Prayer". That February, Franklin earned the first two of her Grammys, including the debut category for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. On February 16, Franklin was honored with a day named for her and was greeted by longtime friend Martin Luther King Jr., who gave her the SCLC Drum Beat Award for Musicians two months before his death. Franklin toured outside the US for the first time in May, including an appearance at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, where she played to a near hysterical audience who covered the stage with flower petals. She appeared on the cover of Time magazine in June. Franklin's success expanded during the early 1970s, during which she recorded the multi-week R&B #1 hit, "Don't Play That Song (You Lied)", as well as the top-ten singles "Spanish Harlem", "Rock Steady" and "Day Dreaming". Some of these releases were from the acclaimed albums Spirit in the Dark and Young, Gifted and Black. In 1971, Franklin became the first R&B performer to headline Fillmore West, later that year releasing the live album Aretha Live at Fillmore West. She returned to Gospel music in a two-night, live-church recording, with the album, Amazing Grace, in which she reinterpreted standards such as Mahalia Jackson's "How I Got Over". Amazing Grace sold more than two million copies. The live performances were filmed for the purpose of a concert film directed by Sydney Pollack, but due to synching problems and Franklin's own attempts to prevent the film's distribution, its release was only realized by producer Alan Elliott in November 2018. Franklin's career began to experience problems while recording the album, Hey Now Hey, which featured production from Quincy Jones. Despite the success of the single "Angel", the album bombed upon its release in 1973. Franklin continued having R&B success with songs such as "Until You Come Back to Me" and "I'm in Love", but by 1975 her albums and songs were no longer top sellers. After Jerry Wexler left Atlantic for Warner Bros. Records in 1976, Franklin worked on the soundtrack to the film Sparkle with Curtis Mayfield. The album yielded Franklin's final top 40 hit of the decade, "Something He Can Feel", which also peaked at number one on the R&B chart. Franklin's follow-up albums for Atlantic, including Sweet Passion (1977), Almighty Fire (1978) and La Diva (1979), all bombed on the charts, and in 1979 Franklin left the Atlantic Recording company.

In 1980, after leaving Atlantic Records, Franklin signed with Clive Davis's Arista Records and that same year gave a command performance at London's Royal Albert Hall in front of Queen Elizabeth. Franklin also had an acclaimed guest role as a soul food restaurant proprietor and wife of Matt "Guitar" Murphy in the 1980 comedy musical The Blues Brothers. Franklin's first Arista album, Aretha (1980), featured the No. 3 R&B hit "United Together" and her Grammy-nominated cover of Redding's "I Can't Turn You Loose". The follow-up, 1981's Love All the Hurt Away, included her famed duet of the title track with George Benson, while the album also included her Grammy-winning cover of Sam & Dave's "Hold On, I'm Comin'". Franklin achieved a gold record—for the first time in seven years—with the 1982 album Jump to It. The album's title track was her first top-40 single on the pop charts in six years. The following year, she released "Get It Right", produced by Luther Vandross. In 1985, inspired by a desire to have a "younger sound" in her music, Who's Zoomin' Who? became her first Arista album to be certified platinum. The album sold well over a million copies thanks to the hits "Freeway of Love", the title track, and "Another Night". The next year's Aretha album nearly matched this success with the hit singles "Jumpin' Jack Flash", "Jimmy Lee" and "I Knew You Were Waiting for Me", her international number-one duet with George Michael. During that period, Franklin provided vocals to the theme songs of the TV shows A Different World and Together. In 1987, she issued her third gospel album, One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, which was recorded at her late father's New Bethel church, followed by Through the Storm in 1989. The same year, Franklin performed "America the Beautiful" at WWE's Wrestlemania III, the company's third annual "entertainment spectacular", in her home state of Michigan. Franklin's 1991 album, What You See is What You Sweat, flopped on the charts. She returned to the charts in 1993 with the dance song "A Deeper Love" and returned to the top 40 with the song "Willing to Forgive" in 1994. In 1995, she was selected to play Aunt Em in the Apollo Theater revival of The Wiz. Franklin's final top 40 single was 1998's "A Rose Is Still a Rose". The album of the same name was released after the single. It sold in excess of 500,000 copies; earning a gold album. That same year, Franklin received global praise after her 1998 Grammy Awards performance. She had initially been asked to come and perform in honor of the 1980 The Blues Brothers film in which she appeared with Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi. That evening after the show had already begun, Luciano Pavarotti himself contacted show producers and said he was too ill to perform the opera aria "Nessun dorma" as planned. The show's producers were desperate to fill the time slot, and approached Franklin with their dilemma. She was a friend of Pavarotti, and had sung the selection two nights prior at the annual MusiCares event. She asked to hear Pavarotti's rehearsal recording, and after listening, agreed that she could sing it in the tenor range that the orchestra was prepared to play in. Over one billion people worldwide saw the performance, and she received an immediate standing ovation. She would go on to record the selection, and perform it live several more times in the years to come. Her final Arista album, So Damn Happy, was released in 2003 and featured the Grammy-winning song "Wonderful". In 2004, Franklin announced that she was leaving Arista after more than 20 years with the label. To complete her Arista obligations, Franklin issued the duets compilation album "Jewels in the Crown: All-Star Duets With The Queen" in 2007. The following year, she issued the holiday album This Christmas, Aretha, on DMI Records. On January 20, 2009, Franklin made international headlines for performing "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" at President Barack Obama's inaugural ceremony with her church hat becoming a popular topic online. In 2010, Franklin accepted an honorary degree from Yale University. In 2010, Franklin canceled a number of concerts to have surgery for an undisclosed tumor. Discussing the surgery in 2011, she quoted her doctor as saying that it would "add 15 to 20 years" to her life. She denied that the ailment had anything to do with pancreatic cancer, as had been reported. On May 19, 2011, Franklin had her comeback show at the Chicago Theatre. Also in 2011, under her own label, Aretha's Records, she issued the album Aretha: A Woman Falling Out of Love. Again due to undisclosed medical issues, Franklin cancelled a string of concert dates in 2013. She later returned to live performing, including a 2013 Christmas concert at Detroit's MotorCity Casino Hotel. She launched a multi-city tour in mid-2014, starting with a performance on June 14 in New York at Radio City Music Hall. The following month Franklin was signed under RCA Records, controller of the Arista catalog and a sister label to Columbia via Sony Music Entertainment, and worked with Clive Davis. An album was planned with producers Babyface and Danger Mouse. On September 29, 2014, Franklin performed to a standing ovation, with Cissy Houston as backup, a compilation of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" on the Late Show with David Letterman. Franklin's cover of "Rolling in the Deep" was featured among nine other songs in her first RCA release, Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics, released in October 2014. In doing so, she became the first woman to have 100 songs on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart with the success of her cover of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep", which debuted at #47 on the chart.

In December 2015, Franklin gave an acclaimed performance of "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors during the section for honoree Carole King, who co-wrote the song. During the bridge of the song, Franklin dropped her fur coat to the stage, for which the audience rewarded her with a mid-performance standing ovation. She returned to Detroit's Ford Field on Thanksgiving Day 2016 to once again perform the national anthem before the game between the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions. Seated behind the piano, wearing a black fur coat and Lions stocking cap, Franklin gave a rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" that lasted more than four minutes and featured a host of improvisations. In February 2017, Franklin announced that 2017 would be her final year touring. At the Ravinia Festival on September 3, 2017, she gave her last full concert. Franklin's final performance was at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City during Elton John's 25th anniversary gala for the Elton John AIDS Foundation on November 7, 2017. That same month Franklin released the album "A Brand New Me"  with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, which uses archived recordings from Franklin. It peaked at #5 on the Billboard Top Classical Albums chart before her death and rose to #2 after her death. On August 13, 2018, Franklin was reported to be gravely ill at her home in Riverfront Towers, Detroit. She was under hospice care and surrounded by friends and family. Stevie Wonder, Jesse Jackson and ex-husband Glynn Turman visited her on her deathbed. Franklin died at her home on August 16, 2018, aged 76, without a will. Numerous celebrities in the entertainment industry and politicians paid tribute to Franklin, including former U.S. president Barack Obama who said she "helped define the American experience". Civil rights activist and minister Al Sharpton called her a "civil rights and humanitarian icon". A memorial service was held at New Bethel Baptist Church on August 19. Thousands then paid their respects during the public lying-in-repose at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. The August 31 Homegoing Service held at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, included multiple tributes by celebrities, politicians, friends and family members and was streamed by some news agencies such as Fox News, CNN, The Word Network, BET and MSNBC. Among those who paid tribute to Aretha at the service were Ariana Grande, Bill Clinton, Rev. Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan, Faith Hill, Fantasia, The Clark Sisters, Ronald Isley, Chaka Khan, Jennifer Holliday, Loretta Devine, Jennifer Hudson, Queen Latifah, Shirley Caesar, Stevie Wonder, Eric Holder, Gladys Knight, Cedric the Entertainer, Tyler Perry, Smokey Robinson, and Yolanda Adams. At her request she was eulogized by Rev. Jasper Williams Jr. of Salem Baptist Church in Atlanta, as Williams had eulogized her father as well as speaking at other family memorials. Williams's eulogy was criticized for being "a political address that described children being in a home without a father as 'abortion after birth' and said black lives do not matter unless blacks stop killing each other". Franklin's nephew Vaughan complained of Williams: "He spoke for 50 minutes and at no time did he properly eulogize her". Following a telecast procession up Seven Mile Road, Franklin was interred at Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit.

Franklin received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1979, had her voice declared a Michigan "natural resource" in 1985, and became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences awarded her a Grammy Legend Award in 1991, then the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994. Franklin was a Kennedy Center Honoree in 1994, recipient of the National Medal of Arts in 1999, and was bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005. She was inducted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. She was the 2008 MusiCares Person of the Year, performing at the Grammys days later. In 2010 Franklin was ranked first on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Singers of All Time" and ninth on their list of "100 Greatest Artists of All Time". Following news of Franklin's surgery and recovery in February 2011, the Grammys ceremony paid tribute to the singer with a medley of her classics performed by Christina Aguilera, Florence Welch, Jennifer Hudson, Martina McBride, and Yolanda Adams. That same year she was ranked 19th among the Billboard Hot 100 All-Time top artists. When Rolling Stone listed the "Women in Rock: 50 Essential Albums" in 2002 and again 2012, it listed Franklin's 1967, "I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You", number one. Inducted to the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2012, Franklin was described as "the voice of the civil rights movement, the voice of black America" and a "symbol of black equality". Asteroid 249516 Aretha was named in her honor in 2014. On June 8, 2017, the City of Detroit honored Franklin's legacy by renaming a portion of Madison Street, between Brush and Witherell Streets, "Aretha Franklin Way". On January 29, 2018, Gary Graff confirmed that Jennifer Hudson will play Franklin in an upcoming biopic. In 2018, Franklin was inducted in to the Memphis Music Hall of Fame. In 2019 she was awarded a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation "for her indelible contribution to American music and culture for more than five decades." Franklin was the first individual woman to receive a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation. On February 10, 2019, it was announced that the subject of the third season of the American National Geographic anthology television series Genius would be Franklin, in the "first-ever, definitive scripted miniseries on the life of the universally acclaimed Queen of Soul". Filming is set to commence in mid-2019, for a potential early-2020 release. The major motion picture, "Respect" is due in a few months and looks quite promising.

The Queen of Soul released quite an array of incredible music in the first two decades of her career. Here's the bulk of it ...

Can't You Just See Me (LPs 1961-79) collects the complete Columbia and Atlantic albums in the three links below. 35 total. Almost all are remastered stereo recordings with the exception of the first three Atlantic albums (mono) and the last four Atlantic albums (original vinyl). The live albums are interspersed here and are all sourced from remastered and/or extended releases.
(LPs 1961-67)  //  (LPs 1967-71)  //  (LPs 1972-79)

Can't You Just See Me (45s 1957-79) collects the complete US 45 output between both labels with a blend of both stereo and mono mixes.

Can't You Just See Me (Rarities 1961-79) is basically all the bonus material from both re-issued box sets. Alternate recordings, mixes, outtakes, demos, unissued cuts and the sorts

Can't You Just See Me (VID 1968 Amsterdam) is the famed performance for an adorning Dutch audience, captured Sunday April 28, 1968 at Concertgebouw Amsterdam.

Can't You Just See Me (VID 1972 Amazing Grace) is A documentary presenting the live recording of Aretha Franklin's album Amazing Grace with James Cleveland and The Southern California Community Choir at The New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Watts, Los Angeles January 1972.

All audio files chronicled, cleanly tagged and mp3 @ 320kbs. Video files are mp4. Thanks to original uploaders, enjoy.

Monday, 23 March 2020

GGG Presents Deep Dish Delicacies Vol. 32

An important message for our visitors ...
many of the recent retrospective posts here have had the links removed and I don't think it's a technical issue with the hosting site. I suspect this is the handy work of the same turd that's been tearing apart similar blogs, in similar fashion -- 'funkmysoul' being a recent victim of this BS. Well, if you really wanna spend your days creating a disturbance that can be rectified with a few clicks and a 'copy/paste', knock yourself out pal. Your grand gesture is a brief annoyance at best, you must be so proud. I don't even track my links, it was brought to my attention via various requests which leads me to important part of the message ... while the heavy lifting has been done and I'm happy to re-up here and there, I'm not gonna jump on each and every request with a sense of urgency. I may etch out a monthly or bi-weekly day for re-ups moving forward but if this "attack" persists, my best advice to visitors is to be diligent. I post quite consistently -- subscribe, follow, check in frequently and get the links before they're gone. Please keep in mind, this is not a web service of infinite resource, just a passion project I'd like to see continue. And on that note, enough chit chat! Here's another bad-ass installment of impassioned soul balladry!

01. Lucille Mathis - 1968 - Am I Asking Too Much (A-Bet 9427)
02. Donald Height - 1968 - Good To Me (Shout 223)
03. L.H. & The Memphis Sounds - 1967 - House Full Of Rooms (Hollywood 1112)
04. Tony Ashley & The Delicates - 1967 - I'll Never Be Satisfied (Forte 1106) (Decca 32240)
05. J.J. Wallace - 1966 - True Love Was Never Meant For Me (Booker 500)
06. Bobby Moore & The Rhythm Aces - 1966 - How Can You Do It, Baby (Checker LPS 3000)
07. Judy Stokes - 1968 - Kiss Our Love Goodbye (Soul Power 10)
08. Sam Baker - 1965 - Sometimes You Have To Cry (Sound Stage 7 2550)
09. Reggie Taylor - 1964 - I Wanna Love You (Red Fire 6402)
10. Leo Wright & The El-Jays - 1964 - Is It I (CB 5008) (Red Fox 103)
11. Winfield Parker - 1963 - My Love For You (Ru-Jac 07-08)
12. The Impressions - 1963 - Sad, Sad Girl And Boy (ABC-Paramount 10431)
13. Bobby Marchan - 196? - Too Late For Our Love (Unissued Volt)
14. Barbara Stephens - 1962 - That's The Way It Is With Me (Stax 120)
15. J.B. Troy - 1966 - I'm Really Thankful (Musicor 1210)
16. Joe Hinton - 1965 - Everything (Backbeat BLP 60)
17. Roy Lee Johnson - 1965 - My Best Just Ain't Good Enough (Columbia 43286)
18. Otis Redding - 1965 - That's How Strong My Love Is (Volt LP 411)
19. Rudolph Taylor - 1967 - Doorsteps To Sorrow (Roman 311) (Mainstream 669)
20. Sandy Gaye - 1969 - Talk Is Cheap (Tragar 6915) (Moonshot 69001)
21. Betty Johnson - 19?? - No Good Man (Unissued)
22. Doris Allen - 1969 - A Shell Of A Woman (Minaret 149)
23. Clarence Murray - 1968 - One More Chance (SSS Int. 730)
24. Ted Taylor - 1968 - Without A Woman (Ronn 25)
25. Wilson Pickett - 1968 - Bring It On Home To Me (Atlantic 8175)


Friday, 20 March 2020

Just One More Day

Upon Sam's tragic passing, the heir to the throne was pretty apparent. Already making a name for himself on the Chitlin' Circuit was the Big O ~ Otis Redding! Now, I suspect a great number of people might have seen/see James Brown in this role, however, I've always felt "the Godfather of soul/funk" was a more fitting moniker for Brown. Let's face it, in both how he carried and conducted himself, that man was gangster AF! Back to the Big O and the big shoes he not only filled, but wore a few holes of his own in. Heavily influenced by Cooke and the mighty Little Richard (as Redding's early recordings greatly reflect), and using their same simple blueprint he produced some of the most emotive recordings under the sun. Otis had a strong sense of rhythm and was able to work out unique and somewhat complicated horn charts in his head. Coupled with the skilled musicianship and southern stylings of Stax records house band and their ability to collaborate, they created the sound the world over now refers to as "deep soul". Furthermore, Redding was instrumental in bringing the 'gritty side' of soul to the world stage. He was a devoted family man remembered for his warmth, philanthropic nature and entrepreneurial genius.

Redding was born in Dawson, Georgia, the fourth of six children, and the first son of Otis Redding Sr. and Fannie Roseman. Redding senior was a sharecropper and then worked at Robins Air Force Base, near Macon. Occasionally he preached in local churches. When Otis was three the family moved to Tindall Heights, a predominantly African-American public housing project in Macon. At an early age, Redding sang in the Vineville Baptist Church choir and learned guitar and piano. From age 10, he took drum and singing lessons. At Ballard-Hudson High School, he sang in the school band. Every Sunday he earned $6 by performing gospel songs for Macon radio station WIBB, and he won the $5 prize in a local teen talent show for 15 consecutive weeks, until he was asked to stop competing. His passion was singing, and he often cited Little Richard and Sam Cooke as influences. Redding said that he "would not be here" without Little Richard and that he "entered the music business because of Richard – he is my inspiration. I used to sing like Little Richard, his Rock 'n' Roll stuff... My present music has a lot of him in it." By age 15, Redding left school to help financially support his family; his father had contracted tuberculosis and was often hospitalized, leaving his mother as the family's primary income earner. He worked as a well digger, as a gasoline station attendant and occasionally as a musician. Pianist Gladys Williams, a locally well-known musician in Macon and another who inspired Redding, often performed at the Hillview Springs Social Club, and Redding sometimes played piano with her band there. Williams hosted Sunday talent shows, which Redding attended with two friends, singers Little Willie Jones and Eddie Ross. Redding's breakthrough came in 1958 on disc jockey Hamp Swain's "The Teenage Party," a talent contest at the local Roxy and Douglass Theatres. Johnny Jenkins, a locally prominent guitarist, was in the audience and finding Redding's backing band lacking in musical skills, offered to accompany him. Jenkins later worked as lead guitarist and played with Redding during several gigs. Redding was soon invited to replace Willie Jones as frontman of Pat T. Cake and the Mighty Panthers, featuring Johnny Jenkins. Redding was then hired by the Upsetters when Little Richard abandoned rock and roll in favor of gospel music. Redding was well paid, making about $25 per gig but did not stay long.  In mid-1960, Otis moved to Los Angeles with his sister Deborah, while his fiance Zelma and their children stayed in Macon. In Los Angeles Redding recorded his first songs, including "Tuff Enuff" written by James McEachin, "She's All Right," written with McEachin, and two Redding wrote alone, called "I'm Gettin' Hip" and "Gamma Lamma". As a member of Pat T. Cake and the Mighty Panthers, Redding toured the Southern United States on the Chitlin' Circuit (a string of venues that were hospitable to African-American entertainers during the era of racial segregation, which lasted into the early 1960s). In 1961 Johnny Jenkins left the band to become the featured artist with the Pinetoppers. Around this time, Redding met Phil Walden, the future founder of the recording company Phil Walden and Associates, and later Bobby Smith, who ran the small label Confederate Records. After marrying Zelma in August, he signed with Confederate and recorded his next single, "Shout Bamalama" (a rewrite of "Gamma Lamma") and "Fat Girl". When Walden started to look for a record label for Jenkins, Atlantic Records representative Joe Galkin showed interest and around 1962 sent him to the Stax studio in Memphis. Redding drove Jenkins to the session, as the latter did not have a driver's license. The session with Jenkins, backed by Booker T. & the M.G.'s, was unproductive and ended early; Redding was allowed to perform two songs with the remaining time. The first was "Hey Hey Baby", which studio chief Jim Stewart thought sounded too much like Little Richard. The second was "These Arms of Mine", featuring Jenkins on guitar and Steve Cropper on piano. Stewart later praised Redding's performance, saying, "Everybody was fixin' to go home, but Joe Galkin insisted we give Otis a listen. There was something different about [the ballad]. He really poured his soul into it". Stewart signed Redding and released "These Arms of Mine", with "Hey Hey Baby" on the B-side. The single was released by Volt in October 1962 and charted in March the following year. It became one of his most successful songs, selling more than 800,000 copies. "These Arms of Mine" and other songs from the 1962–1963 sessions at Stax  were included on Redding's debut album, Pain in My Heart. "That's What My Heart Needs" and "Mary's Little Lamb" were recorded in June 1963. The latter is the only Redding track with both background singing and brass -- it became his worst selling single. The title track, recorded in September 1963, sparked copyright issues, as it sounded akin to Irma Thomas's "Ruler of My Heart". Despite this, Pain in My Heart was released on March 1964 and peaked at #20 on the R&B chart and at #85 on the Billboard Hot 100. In November 1963, Redding, accompanied by his brother Rodger and former boxer Sylvester Huckaby (a childhood friend of Redding's), traveled to New York to perform at the Apollo Theater for the recording of a live album for Atlantic Records. Redding and his band were paid $400 per week but had to pay $450 for sheet music for the house band, led by King Curtis, which left them in financial difficulty. The trio asked Walden for money. Ben E. King, who was the headliner at the Apollo when Redding performed there, gave him $100 when he learned about Redding's financial situation. The resulting album featured King, the Coasters, Doris Troy, Rufus Thomas, the Falcons and Redding. Around this time Walden and Rodgers were drafted by the army; Walden's younger brother Alan joined Redding on tour, while Earl "Speedo" Simms replaced Rodgers as Redding's road manager.

Most of Redding's songs after "Security", from his first album, had a slow tempo. Disc jockey A. C. Moohah Williams accordingly labeled him "Mr. Pitiful", and subsequently, Cropper and Redding wrote the eponymous song. That and top 100 singles " Chained And Bound", "Come To Me" and "That's How Strong My Love Is" were included on Redding's second studio album, The Great Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads, released in March 1965. Jenkins began working independently from the group out of fear Galkin, Walden and Cropper would plagiarize his playing style, and so Cropper became Redding's leading guitarist. Around 1965, Redding co-wrote "I've Been Loving You Too Long" with Jerry Butler, the former lead singer of the Impressions. That summer, Redding and the studio crew arranged new songs for his next album. Ten of the eleven songs were written in a 24-hour period on July 9 and 10 in Memphis. Two songs, "Ole Man Trouble" and "Respect", had been finished earlier, during the Otis Blue session. "Respect" and "I've Been Loving You" were later recut in stereo. The album, entitled Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul, was released in September 1965. Redding also released his much-loved cover of "A Change Is Gonna Come" in 1965. Redding's success allowed him to buy a 300-acre ranch in Georgia, which he called the "Big O Ranch". Stax was also doing well. Walden signed more musicians, including Percy Sledge, Johnnie Taylor, Clarence Carter and Eddie Floyd, and together with Redding, they founded two production companies. "Jotis Records" (derived from Joe Galkin and Otis) released four recordings, two by Arthur Conley and one by Billy Young and Loretta Williams. The other was named Redwal Music (derived from Redding and Walden), which was shut down shortly after its creation. Since Afro-Americans still formed the majority of fans, Redding chose to perform at Whisky a Go Go on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. Redding was one of the first soul artists to perform for rock audiences in the western United States. His performance received critical acclaim, including positive press in the Los Angeles Times, and he penetrated mainstream popular culture. Bob Dylan attended the performance and offered Redding an altered version of one of his songs, "Just Like A Woman". The spring of 1966 marked the first time that Stax booked concerts for its artists. The majority of the group arrived in London on March 13, but Redding had flown in days earlier for interviews, such as at "The Eamonn Andrews Show". When the crew arrived in London, the Beatles sent a limousine to pick them up. Booking agent Bill Graham proposed that Redding play at the Fillmore Auditorium in late 1966. The gig was commercially and critically successful, paying Redding around $800 to $1000 a night. It prompted Graham to remark afterward, "That was the best gig I ever put on in my entire life." Redding began touring Europe six months later. In late 1966, Redding returned to the Stax studio and recorded several tracks, including "Try A Little Tenderness", written by Jimmy Campbell, Reg Connelly and Harry M. Woods in 1932. This song had previously been covered by Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, and the publishers unsuccessfully tried to stop Redding from recording the song from a "negro perspective". Today often considered his signature song, Jim Stewart reckoned, "If there's one song, one performance that really sort of sums up Otis and what he's about, it's 'Try a Little Tenderness'. That one performance is so special and so unique that it expresses who he is." On this version Redding was backed by Booker T. & the M.G.'s, while staff producer Isaac Hayes worked on the arrangement. "Try A Little Tenderness" was included on his next album, Complete & Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul. The song and the album were critically and commercially successful—the former peaked at #25 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and at #4 on the R&B chart. In his early career Redding mostly covered songs from popular artists, such as Richard, Cooke and Solomon Burke. Around the mid-1960s he began writing his own songs—always taking along his cheap red acoustic guitar—and sometimes asked for Stax members' opinion of his lyrics. He often worked on lyrics with other musicians, such as Simms, Rodgers, Huckaby, Phil Walden, and Cropper. During his recovery from his throat operation, Redding wrote about 30 songs in two weeks. Redding also authored his (sometimes difficult) recordings' horn arrangements, humming to show the players what he had in mind. The recording of "Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song)" captures his habit of humming with the horn section. Redding favored short and simple lyrics; when asked whether he intended to cover Dylan's "Just Like a Woman", he responded that the lyrics contained "too much text". Furthermore, he stated in an interview, "Basically, I like any music that remains simple and I feel this is the formula that makes "soul music" successful. When any music form becomes cluttered and/or complicated you lose the average listener's ear. There is nothing more beautiful than a simple blues tune. There is beauty in simplicity whether you are talking about architecture, art or music". In March 1967, Stax released King & Queen, an album of duets between Redding and Carla Thomas, which became a certified gold record. It was Jim Stewart's idea to produce a duet album, as he expected that "[Redding's] rawness and [Thomas's] sophistication would work". The album was recorded in January 1967, while Thomas was earning her M.A. in English at Howard University. Six out of ten songs were cut during their joint session; the rest were overdubbed by Redding in the days following, because of his concert obligations. Three singles were lifted from the album: "Tramp" was released in April, followed by "Knock on Wood" and "Lovey Dovey". All three reached at least the top 60 on both the R&B and Pop charts. The album charted at #5 and #36 on the Billboard Pop and R&B charts, respectively. Redding returned to Europe to perform at the Paris Olympia. The live album Otis Redding: Live in Europe was released three months later, featuring this and other live performances in London and Stockholm, Sweden. His decision to take his protege Conley (whom Redding and Walden had contracted directly to Atco/Atlantic Records rather than to Stax/Volt) on the tour, instead of more established Stax/Volt artists such as Rufus Thomas and William Bell, produced negative reactions. In 1967, Redding performed at the influential Monterey Pop Festival as the closing act on Saturday night, the second day of the festival. He was invited through the efforts of promoter Jerry Wexler. Until that point, Redding was still performing mainly for black audiences. At the time, he "had not been considered a commercially viable player in the mainstream white American market." But after delivering one of the most electric performances of the night, and having been the act to most involve the audience, "his performance at Monterey Pop was therefore a natural progression from local to national acclaim ... the decisive turning-point in Otis Redding's career". His act included his own song "Respect" and a version of the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction". Redding and his backing band (Booker T. & the M.G.'s with the Mar-Keys horn section) opened with Cooke's "Shake", after which he delivered an impulsive speech, asking the audience if they were the "love crowd" and looking for a big response. The ballad "I've Been Loving You" followed. The last song was "Try a Little Tenderness", including an additional chorus. "I got to go, y'all, I don't wanna go", said Redding and left the stage of his last major concert. According to Booker T. Jones, "I think we did one of our best shows, Otis and the MG's. That we were included in that was also something of a phenomenon. That we were there? With those people? They were accepting us and that was one of the things that really moved Otis. He was happy to be included and it brought him a new audience. It was greatly expanded in Monterey". According to Sweet Soul Music, musicians such as Brian Jones and Jimi Hendrix were captivated by his performance; Robert Christgau wrote in Esquire, "The Love Crowd screamed one's mind to the heavens". Before Monterey, Redding wanted to record with Conley, but Stax was against the idea. The two moved from Memphis to Macon to continue writing. The result was "Sweet Soul Music" (based on Cooke's "Yeah Man"), which peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. By that time Redding had developed polyps on his larynx, which he tried to treat with tea and lemon or honey. He was hospitalized in September 1967 at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York to undergo surgery.

As the owner of Otis Redding Enterprises, his performances, music publishing ventures and royalties from record sales earned him more than a million dollars in 1967 alone. That year, one columnist said, "he sold more records than Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin combined". After the release of Otis Blue, Redding became a "catalogue" artist, meaning his albums were not immediate blockbusters, but rather sold steadily over time. In early December 1967, Redding again recorded at Stax. One new song was "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay", which was written with Cropper while they were staying with their friend, Earl "Speedo" Simms, on a houseboat in Sausalito. Redding was inspired by the Beatles album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and tried to create a similar sound, against the label's wishes. His wife Zelma disliked its atypical melody. The Stax crew were also dissatisfied with the new sound; Stewart thought that it was not R&B, while bassist Donald "Duck" Dunn feared it would damage Stax's reputation. However, Redding wanted to expand his musical style and thought it was his best song, correctly believing it would top the charts. He whistled at the end, either forgetting Cropper's "fadeout rap" or paraphrasing it intentionally. By 1967, the band was traveling to performances in Redding's Beechcraft H18 airplane. On December 9, 1967, they appeared on ABC's 'Upbeat' television show produced in Cleveland. They played three concerts in two nights at a club called Leo's Casino. After a phone call with his wife and children, Redding's next stop was Madison, Wisconsin; the next day, Sunday, December 10, they were to play at the Factory nightclub, near the University of Wisconsin. Although the weather was poor, with heavy rain and fog, and despite warnings, the plane took off. Four miles (6.4 km) from their destination at Truax Field in Madison, the pilot radioed for permission to land. Shortly thereafter, the plane crashed into Lake Monona. Bar-Kays member Ben Cauley, the accident's only survivor, was sleeping shortly before the accident. He woke just before impact to see bandmate Phalon Jones look out a window and exclaim, "Oh, no!" Cauley said the last thing he remembered before the crash was unbuckling his seat belt. He then found himself in frigid water, grasping a seat cushion to keep afloat. As a non-swimmer, he was unable to rescue the others. The cause of the crash was never determined. James Brown claimed in his autobiography The Godfather of Soul that he had warned Redding not to fly in the plane. The other victims of the crash were four members of the Bar-Kays—guitarist Jimmy King, tenor saxophonist Phalon Jones, organist Ronnie Caldwell, and drummer Carl Cunningham; their valet, Matthew Kelly; and the pilot, Richard Fraser. Redding's body was recovered the next day when the lake was searched. The family postponed the funeral from December 15 to 18 so that more could attend. The family postponed the funeral from December 15 to 18 so that more could attend. The service took place at the City Auditorium in Macon. More than 4,500 people came to the funeral, overflowing the 3,000-seat hall. Johnny Jenkins and Isaac Hayes did not attend, fearing their reaction would be worse than Zelma Redding's. Redding was entombed at his ranch in Round Oak, about 20 miles (32 km) north of Macon. Jerry Wexler delivered the eulogy. Redding was survived by Zelma and four children, Otis III, Dexter, Demetria, and Karla. "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" was released in January 1968. It became Redding's only single to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the first posthumous #1 single in U.S. chart history. It sold approximately four million copies worldwide and received more than eight million airplays. The album The Dock of the Bay was the first posthumous album to reach the top spot on the UK Albums Chart. Redding had at least two television appearances booked for 1968; one on The Ed Sullivan Show and the other on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. Shortly after Redding's death, Atlantic Records, distributor of the Stax/Volt releases, was purchased by Warner Bros. Stax was required to renegotiate its distribution deal and was surprised to learn that Atlantic actually owned the entire Stax/Volt catalog. Stax was unable to regain the rights to its recordings and severed its Atlantic relationship. Atlantic also held the rights to all unreleased Otis Redding masters. It had enough material for three studio albums—The Immortal Otis Redding (1968), Love Man (1969), and Tell the Truth (1970)—all issued on its Atco Records label. A number of successful singles emerged from these LPs, among them "Amen" (1968), "Hard to Handle" (1968), "I've Got Dreams to Remember" (1968), "Love Man" (1969), and "Look at That Girl" (1969). Singles were also lifted from two live Atlantic-issued Redding albums, In Person at the Whisky a Go Go, recorded in 1966 and issued in 1968 on Atco, and Monterey International Pop Festival, a Reprise Records release featuring some of the live performances at the festival by the Jimi Hendrix Experience on side one and Redding on side two. Redding posthumously won two Grammy Awards for "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" at the 11th Annual Grammy Awards in 1969. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted Redding in 1989, declaring his name to be "synonymous with the term soul music that arose out of the black experience in America through the transmutation of gospel and rhythm and blues into a form of funky, secular testifying". The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame included three Redding recordings, "Shake", "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay", and "Try a Little Tenderness", on its list of 'The 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll'. American music magazine Rolling Stone ranked Redding at #21 on their list of the '100 Greatest Artists of All Time' and 8th on their list of the '100 Greatest Singers of All Time'. Q Magazine ranked Redding 4th among "100 Greatest Singers", after only Sinatra, Franklin and Presley. In 2002, the city of Macon honored its native son by unveiling a memorial statue in the city's Gateway Park. The park is next to the Otis Redding Memorial Bridge, which crosses the Ocmulgee River. On August 17, 2013, in Cleveland, Ohio, the city where he did his last show at Leo's Casino, Redding was inducted into the inaugural class of the Rhythm & Blues Music Hall of Fame at Cleveland State University.

The Big O left us with a big bounty, I've broken down into the five following sections...

Just One More Day (The Albums) collects the complete studio releases (including the 4 posthumous records) with stunning remastered re-issues.

Just One More Day (The Singles + Rarities) collects Redding's complete US 45 output, including early cuts with The Shooters and Pinetoppers, entirely with remastered mono mixes. This batch also contains 'It's Not Sentimental' (a compilation of unissued material), 'Dock Of The Bay Sessions' (includes alternate cuts), plus a makeshift 20+ track compilation of additional rare, live, alternate and/or unissued material.

Just One More Day (The Live Recordings) collects pretty much everything except the Monterey Pop Festival LP. The Live In Europe and In Person At The Whiskey A Go Go LP's are from the same remastered set as the studio albums. I've added the Whiskey A Go Go companion release (1993), Live In London & Paris 2disc set (2008), Live On The Sunset Strip 2disc set (2010), The Complete Whiskey A Go Go Recordings [all 7 sets] (2016) and Ready Steady Otis (2019) which gathers his recordings for a 1966 TV special, a set recorded for Swedish radio and a few of Otis's final live performances.

Just One More Day (Video: Dreams To Remember) Dreams To Remember: The Legacy of Otis Redding features 16 complete performances filmed throughout America and Europe showcasing why Otis is considered one of the greatest soul singers of all time. Interspersed between the songs are 40 minutes of interviews filmed exclusively for this DVD with Steve Cropper (Booker T. & The MGs), Jim Stewart (founder of Stax Records), Wayne Jackson (Memphis Horns), and Otis Redding's wife Zelma. *NOTE: the only version I could find has a foreign (to me) language dubbed over the interview parts so I hardcoded english subtitles into the file. All video and performance parts are as per intended presentation (no foreign language, no subs).

Just One More Day (Videos: Otis @ Monterey + Soul Ambassador) pairs the Big O's iconic game-changing set from the Monterey Pop Festival of 1967 with the BBC's 'Otis Redding: Soul Ambassador', the first-ever TV documentary about the legendary soul singer. Through unseen home movies, the film reveals how Otis's 1967 tour of Britain dramatically changed his life and music. Includes rare and unseen performances, intimate interviews with Otis's wife and daughter, and with original band members Steve Cropper and Booker T Jones.

All audio files are chronicled, cleanly tagged and mp3 @ 320kbs (nearly entirely sourced from FLAC) and all video files are in mp4 format. Thanks kindly to original uploaders, enjoy.

Monday, 16 March 2020

GGG Presents Goodie Grab Bags Volume 45

Slid this little pairing in to serve as a 'sort-of' companion piece to the Mayfield/Impressions posting. The Impressions began with the Brooks Brothers so here's their sporadic discography after leaving the group, and it of course kicks off with that omitted Swirl 45 from Friday's heaping helping. Also, don't sleep on The Dontells included in this grab bag, they're quite good imo.

Brooks Brothers [of The Impressions] - Discography 1961-78 [13of14sides]

01. The Impressions - 1961 - Don't Leave Me (Swirl 107)
02. The Impressions - 1961 - I Need Your Love (Swirl 107)
03. Brooks Bros. - 196? - Looking For A Woman (Tay 501)
04. Brooks Bros. - 196? - Two Great Lovers (Tay 501)
05. The Brooks Brothers - 1966 - You Got Something Baby (Thomas 306)
06. The Brooks Brothers - 1966 - Come See [inst] (Thomas 306)
07. Brothers, Sisters & Cousins - 1973 - Sinner (Have You Been There) (Nasco 029)
08. Brothers, Sisters & Cousins - 1973 - Smoke Stream (Nasco 029)
09. Bits And Pieces - 1973 - Did I Scare You (Nasco 031)
10. Bits And Pieces - 1973 - Smoke Stream (Nasco 031)
11. Bits'N Pieces - 1974 - Keep On Running Away (Nasco 033)
12. Bits'N Pieces - 1974 - Sinner (Have You Been There) (Nasco 033) **missing**
13. Old (M) Pressions - 1978 - Let Me Know (Brooks Brothers 9270)
14. Old (M) Pressions - 1978 - Right On (Brooks Brothers 9270)

The Dontells - Discography 1963-71 [15of16sides+]

01. The Dontells - 1963 - Make A Change (Beltone 2040)
02. The Dontells - 1963 - A Lovers Reunion (Beltone 2040)
03. The Don-Tels - 1963 - I Found A Love (Witch 119)
04. The Don-Tels - 1963 - People Gonna Talk (Witch 119)
05. The Don-Tels - 1963 - The Old Man (Witch 121)
06. The Don-Tels - 1963 - Lonely Boy (Witch 121)
07. The Dontells - 1965 - In Your Heart (You Know I'm Right) (Vee-Jay 666)
08. The Dontells - 1965 - Nothing But Nothing (Vee-Jay 666)
09. The Dontells - 1965 - I'm Gonna Tell The World (Vee-Jay 697)
10. The Dontells - 1965 - Ain't Cha My Baby (Vee-Jay 697)
11. The Dontells - 196? - Move On Down The Line (Vee-Jay Unissued)
12. The Dontells - 196? - There Goes A Fool (Vee-Jay Unissued)
13. The Dontels - 196? - Moaning And Crying (Donte 100)
14. The Dontels - 196? - Soul Nitty Gritty (Donte 100)
15. The Dontells - 1971 - I Can't Wait (Ambassador A3KM 3346)
16. The Dontells - 1971 - Gimme Some (Ambassador A3KM 3346)

17. The Turks - 197? - You Turn Me On (DJO J-0111)
18. The Turks - 197? - Generation Gap (DJO J-0111)
19. The Turks - 197? - Let It Flame (DJO J-0113) **missing**
20. The Turks - 197? - The Bad Brought The Good (DJO J-0113)


Friday, 13 March 2020

The Other Side Of Town

Perhaps not credited with the same master class "status" as Sam Cooke or some of the other aforementioned greats -- as he lacked the the distinctive chops and didn't obtain the same degree of early career stardom -- but when you take the totality of his contributions with The Impressions and as a solo artist into account, Curtis Mayfield most certainly earned the attribute.

A many of fine vocal groups have emerged from or by way of Chicago but for my money, none more mighty than The Impressions ... specifically, Mayfield-era Impressions. From 1958 to 1970 the appropriately named group released an impressively wide-ranging repitoire of doo-wop, rhythm n blues, gospel, soul and funk music. The Impressions recorded some of the most distinctive vocal-group R&B of the 1960s under Curtis Mayfield's guidance. Their style was marked by airy, feather-light harmonies and Mayfield's influentially sparse guitar work, plus, at times, understated Latin rhythms. If their sound was sweet and lilting, it remained richly soulful thanks to the group's firm grounding in gospel tradition; they popularized the three-part vocal trade-offs common in gospel but rare in R&B at the time, and recorded their fair share of songs with spiritual themes, both subtle and overt. Furthermore, Mayfield's interest in the civil rights movement led to some of the first socially conscious R&B songs ever recorded, and his messages grew more explicit as the 60s wore on, culminating in the streak of brilliance that was his early 70s solo work. The Impressions carried on without Mayfield, but only matched their earlier achievements in isolated instances, and finally disbanded in the early 80s. Mayfield on the other hand flourished in the realms of funk and electro-boogie come the 80s.

Their story starts in Chattanooga, Tennessee when Richard Brooks joined his older brother Arthur's group, The Four Roosters And A Chick. Their line up being Arthur Brooks, Fred Cash, Sam Gooden, Emanuel Thompson and Emanuel's sister, Catherine Thompson. Both Brooks Brothers soon came to the conclusion that they stood a greater chance of success if they moved north to Chicago but the only member of the group to accompany them was Sam Gooden, with the rest of the group choosing to remain in Chattanooga. Upon their arrival in the Windy City Richard, Arthur and Sam enrolled at the Washburn High School where they first met Jerry Butler and Curtis Mayfield, who had met each other while singing in the same Chicago church choir. The five young men formed a group known simply as The Roosters. Following the group successfully winning first prize in a local talent show they were approached by Violet Muszyinski (later of Bandera Records) and Eddie Thomas a local Chicago promotions man who then became their manager. In 1957 The Roosters who under Thomas’s advice changed their name to the (perceived) hipper sounding 'Jerry Butler & The Impressions' and scored a major hit in 1958 with the classic ballad "For Your Precious Love" (penned by Richard Brooks), which hit the pop Top 20 and the R&B Top Five. Butler's gospel-inflected lead vocal was a departure from the norm, and the fact that the single billed him in front of the rest of the group foreshadowed his quick exit for a solo career, after just one more single. With new vocalist (former Rooster), Fred Cash in tow, the group then reverted to the name of just The Impressions. In 1959 following the release of "Lonely One/Senorita I Love You", Vee-Jay decided to drop The Impressions from their artist roster, although they continued to release their material. In the same year The Impressions signed to another Chicago independent label, Bandera records, where they recorded a solitary release "Listen/Shorty Got To Go" with Sam Gooden singing lead. A further solitary Impressions release although recorded in 1960, "Don’t Leave Me/I Need Your Love" later appeared on the New York based Swirl label in 1961. The line up on this release consisted of Richard Brooks (who sang lead vocals), Arthur Brooks, Fred Cash and Sam Gooden. Curtis Mayfield at that time was touring as lead guitarist for Jerry Butler.

Mayfield's success as a songwriter encouraged him to form his own publishing company. With the money he earned by working with Butler, he reconvened The Impressions and brought them to New York to record for ABC-Paramount in 1961. Their first single, the Latin-inflected "Gypsy Woman" was a #2 R&B smash, also reaching the pop Top 20. Several follow-ups failed to duplicate its chart success, and the Brooks brothers left the group in 1962. Now down to a trio, The Impressions returned to Chicago and began recording with arranger Johnny Pate, whose horn and string embellishments added a bit more heft to their sound. They struck gold in 1963 with "It's All Right", whose gospel-style lead-swapping helped make it not only their first R&B #1 hit, but their biggest pop hit as well, with a peak of #4. The same year, they issued their eponymous first LP, which many critics still consider one of their finest. 1964 brought the hit single "Keep On Pushing", the first of Mayfield's numerous black pride anthems (though at this stage, his sentiments were much less explicit than they would later become). The album of the same name also featured a marching-beat cover of the gospel standard "Amen", inspired by the song's inclusion in the Sidney Poitier film 'Lilies Of The Field'. Gospel also informed what became perhaps the best-known Impressions hit, 1965's "People Get Ready"; if its lyrics weren't overtly political, Mayfield's intent was clear, as the song became an anthem of transcendence for the civil rights movement and an oft-covered soul standard. The mid 60s saw Mayfield trying to keep pace with the Motown hit factory by incorporating elements of its style into his own writing. The group recorded prolifically in 1965, but their commercial fortunes dropped off over the next couple of years. When The Impressions returned to the upper reaches of the R&B charts, it was with 1968's "We're A Winner", the most straightforward celebration of black pride Mayfield had yet composed. That summer, the group left ABC to record for Mayfield's newly formed Curtom imprint, which allowed them greater freedom in terms of the lyrical content Mayfield wanted to pursue. More aggressive message tracks like "This Is My Country", "Choice Of Colors" and "Check Out Your Mind" followed over the next couple of years, as did some of the group's most consistent albums, particularly The Young Mods' Forgotten Story (1969). 1970's Check Out Your Mind was Mayfield's final album with The Impressions, but the group remained on Curtom after his departure, and he continued to write and produce some of their material.

Mayfield was replaced on lead vocals by Leroy Hutson, who debuted on LP with 1972's 'Times Have Changed'. At this point, The Impressions were still overshadowed by their ex-leader, who was riding high with revered works like Superfly. But Mayfield's solo momentum cooled down a bit, and after Hutson departed in 1973, new singers Ralph Johnson and Reggie Torian joined Cash and Gooden for the R&B chart-topper "Finally Got Myself Together (I'm A Changed Man)", cut with ex-Motown producer Ed Townsend in 1974. Townsend continued to work with the group for the next couple of years with some success, but in 1976 Johnson left to join the unsuccessful Mystique. Around that point, the Impressions parted ways with Curtom; Nate Evans replaced Johnson, and the group recorded for Cotillion and 20th Century/Chi-Sound with little chart success. Evans eventually departed, leaving the group a trio again. They recorded their final album, 'Fan The Fire', in 1981.

Mayfield's first solo album, Curtis, was released in 1970, and hit the top 20, as well as being a critical success. It pre-dated Marvin Gaye's album, What's Going On, to which it has been compared in addressing social change. The commercial and critical peak of his solo career came with Super Fly, the soundtrack to the blaxploitation Super Fly film, which sold over 12 million copies. Unlike the soundtracks to other blaxploitation films (most notably Isaac Hayes' score for Shaft), which glorified the ghetto excesses of the characters, Mayfield's lyrics consisted of hard-hitting commentary on the state of affairs in black, urban ghettos at the time, as well as direct criticisms of several characters in the film. Bob Donat wrote in Rolling Stone magazine in 1972 that while the film's message "was diluted by schizoid cross-purposes" because it "glamorizes machismo-cocaine consciousness... the anti-drug message on [Mayfield's soundtrack] is far stronger and more definite than in the film". Because of the tendency of these blaxploitation films to glorify the criminal life of dealers and pimps to target a mostly black lower class audience, Mayfield's album set this movie apart. With songs like "Freddie's Dead", a song that focuses on the demise of Freddie, a junkie that was forced into "pushin' dope for the man" because of a debt that he owed to his dealer, and "Pusherman", a song that reveals how many people in the ghetto fell victim to drug abuse, and therefore became dependent upon their dealers, Mayfield illuminated a darker side of life in the ghetto that these blaxploitation films often failed to criticize. However, although Mayfield's soundtrack criticized the glorification of dealers and pimps, he in no way denied that this glorification was occurring. When asked about the subject matter of these films he was quoted stating "I don’t see why people are complaining about the subject of these films”, and “The way you clean up the films is by cleaning up the streets". Along with What's Going On and Stevie Wonder's Innervisions, this album ushered in a new socially conscious, funky style of popular soul music. He was dubbed 'The Gentle Genius'. The single releases "Freddie's Dead" and "Super Fly" each sold over one million copies, and were awarded gold discs by the R.I.A.A. Super Fly brought success that resulted in Mayfield being tapped for additional soundtracks, some of which he wrote and produced while having others perform the vocals. Gladys Knight & the Pips recorded Mayfield's soundtrack for Claudine in 1974, while Aretha Franklin recorded the soundtrack for Sparkle in 1976. Mayfield also worked with The Staples Singers on the soundtrack for the 1975 film Let's Do It Again, and teamed up with Mavis Staples exclusively on the 1977 film soundtrack A Piece of the Action (both movies were part of a trilogy of films that featured the acting and comedic exploits of Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier and were directed by Poitier). In 1973 Mayfield released the anti-war album Back to the World, a concept album that dealt with the social aftermath of the Vietnam War and criticized the United States' involvement in wars across the planet. One of Mayfield's most successful funk-disco meldings was the 1977 hit "Do Do Wap is Strong in Here" from his soundtrack to the Robert M. Young film of Miguel PiƱero's play Short Eyes. In his 2003 biography of Curtis Mayfield, People Never Give Up, author Peter Burns noted that Mayfield has 140 songs in the Curtom vaults. Burns indicated that the songs were maybe already completed or in the stages of completion, so that they could then be released commercially. These recordings include "The Great Escape", "In The News", "Turn up the Radio", "What's The Situation?" and one recording labelled "Curtis at Montreux Jazz Festival 87." Two other albums featuring Curtis Mayfield present in the Curtom vaults and as yet unissued are a 1982/83 live recording titled "25th Silver Anniversary" (which features performances by Mayfield, the Impressions and Jerry Butler) and a live performance, recorded in September 1966 by the Impressions titled Live at the Club Chicago. In 1980, Mayfield decided to move to Atlanta with his family, closing down his recording operation in Chicago. The label had gradually reduced in size in its final two years or so with releases on the main RSO imprint and Curtom credited as the production company. Mayfield continued to record, keeping the Curtom name alive for a few more years, and to tour worldwide. Sam Gooden and Fred Cash occasionally reunited with Curtis Mayfield (and sometimes Jerry Butler) for occasional touring commitments. Mayfield's song "(Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below, We're All Going to Go" has been included as an entrance song on every episode of the drama series The Deuce. The Deuce tells of the germination of the sex-trade industry in the heart of New York's Times Square during the 1970/80s. In later years, Mayfield's music was included in the movies I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, Hollywood Shuffle, Friday (though not on the soundtrack album), Bend It Like Beckham, The Hangover Part II and Short Eyes, where he had a cameo role as a prisoner. On August 13, 1990, Mayfield became paralyzed from the neck down, after stage lighting equipment fell on him at an outdoor concert at Wingate Field in Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York. Afterwards, though he was unable to play guitar, he continued to compose and sing. He also directed the recording of his last album, New World Order (1996). Mayfield's vocals were recorded, usually line-by-line, while he was lying on his back. Mayfield died from complications of type 2 diabetes on December 26, 1999, at the North Fulton Regional Hospital in Roswell, Georgia. He was survived by his wife Altheida Mayfield, his mother Mariam Jackson; 10 children; two sisters, Carolyn Falls and Judy Mayfield; a brother, Kenneth Mayfield; and seven grandchildren.

Mayfield taught himself how to play music and went on to become the creative force behind (arguably) the most influential secular vocal group in America. He blatantly embraced the civil rights movement through his music, in a microscopic fashion that had previously never been done. He built successful business' and relationships based within, and bolstering his own community. Into the 70s, he was a definitive figure in the funk revolution and brought his messages of social awareness and change to the forefront of popular culture on a global scale.

Mayfield-era Impressions:

I'm So Proud (Albums) collects all 13 LPs churned out during Mayfield's tenure with the group.

I'm So Proud (Singles) collects the complete 45 output during Mayfield's tenure with the group, with the exception of  the previously mentioned Swirl 45. Also included is the ABC Rarities CD.

Curtis Mayfield (Solo):

The Other Side Of Town (Albums) collects all 14 LPs Mayfield released on his own Curtom imprint between 1970 and 1978. Also included is Gladys Knight's 'Claudine' OST and both LPs with The Staple Singers, all three of which, he produced and preforms on.

The Other Side Of Town (Singles) collects the complete 45 output from the same period as above. The majority of which are not just shorter versions than on LPs, but rather alternate mixes all together. Also included is the Keep On Keepin' On CD, featuring additional live and rare cuts.

All files chronicled, cleanly tagged and mp3 @ 320kbs (sourced mostly from remastered FLAC files). As always, thanks to original uploaders, enjoy.

Monday, 9 March 2020

GGG Presents Darling Dear Vol. 03

01. The V-Eights - 1960 - My Heart (Vibro 4005)
02. The Guytones - 1958 - Your Heart's Bigger Than Mine (DeLuxe 6169)
03. The Duponts - 1957 - Somebody (Royal Roost 627)
04. Marv Johnson - 1959 - River Of Tears (United Artists 175 + LP UAS 6118)
05. Hollywood Flames - 1958 - Let's Talk It Over (Ebb 146)
06. Rosie & The Originals - 1960 - Angel Baby (Highland 1011)
07. The Four Kings [Memphis] - 1960 - Walkin' Alone (Stomper Time 1163)
08. The Passions - 1959 - Just To Be With You (Audicon 102)
09. The Vocaleers w. Herman Dunham - 1959 - I Need Your Love So Bad (Paradise 113)
10. The Fabulous Terrifics - 195? - What's The Matter (Unissued)
11. The Capris - 1959 - There's A Moon Out Tonight (Planet 1010)
12. Jimmie Smith & The Lockettes - 1959 - I Cry And Cry Every Night (Flip 347)
13. Shirley & Lee - 1956 - Do You Mean To Hurt Me So (Aladdin 3325)
14. The Dells - 1956 - Oh What A Nite (Vee Jay 204)
15. The Penguins - 1958 - Want Me (Dooto EP 244)
16. Earl Nelson & The Pelicans - 1957 - I Bow To You (Class 209)
17. The Tibbs Brothers - 195? - I'm Going Crazy (Atco 674)
18. The Gainors - 1961 - Tell Him (Talley-Ho 105)
19. Sam Cooke - 1960 - I Fall In Love Every Day (RCA Victor 47-7783)
20. Beverly Ann Gibson - 1959 - Call On Me (King 5244)
21. Mary Wells - 1961 - I'm So Sorry (Motown 1003)
22. The Pentagons - 1960 - To Be Loved (Fleet International 100) (Donna 1337)
23. The Carthays - 1961 - So Bad (Tag 446)
24. Little Jerry - 1962 - I'm So Mad (Aldo 502)
25. The Crusaders - 1962 - I Found Someone (Dooto 472)


Friday, 6 March 2020

Somebody's Gonna Miss Me

Kicked off the year with a third installment of 'Willie Week' and featured vocal groups for the remainder of January, February's focus was on female soul singers, now moving into March I'm shifting gears towards a new theme ... this month is a master class! Like it sounds, we're gonna explore a small handful of the undeniable greats. Now, we've already seen plenty here that could possibly fit that bill ... Wilson Pickett, Bobby Womack, Bobby Bland, Mary Wells, James Brown, Joe Tex, Ike & Tina, Ted Taylor, Little Milton and Bettye LaVette, just to name a few. However, I've managed to make it years now without digging into some of the most notable names in soul music. Where soul originated certainly can be a matter of conjecture but who established it's foothold in popular culture is not. I'm fairly certain that the state of soul music as we know it would never have been without it's first king -- the wonderfully intoxicating Sam Cooke. Let's start there.

Sam Cooke was the most important soul singer in history, its primary inventor, and its most popular and beloved performer in both the black and white communities. Equally important, he was among the first black performers and composers to attend to the business side of the music business, founding both a record label and a publishing company as an extension of his careers as a singer and composer. Still, business interests never prevented him from engaging in topical issues, including the struggle over civil rights. The pitch and intensity of that battle followed an arc which paralleled Cooke's emergence as a star; his career bridged gaps between black and white audiences that few had tried to surmount, much less succeeded at doing. Much like Chuck Berry or Little Richard bringin black and white teenagers together, James Brown selling records to white teenagers and black listeners of all ages, and Muddy Waters getting young white folkies and older black transplants from the South onto the same page, Cooke appealed to all of the above, and the parents of those white teenagers as well -- yet he never lost his credibility with his core black audience. In a sense, his appeal anticipated that of the Beatles, in breadth and depth. He was born Sam Cook in Clarksdale, Mississippi, on January 22, 1931, one of eight children of a Baptist minister and his wife. Even as a young boy, he showed an extraordinary voice and frequently sang in the choir in his father's church. During the middle of the decade, the Cook family moved to Chicago's South Side, where the Reverend Charles Cook quickly established himself as a major figure in the religious community. Sam and three of his siblings also formed a group of their own, the Singing Children, in the 1930s. Although his own singing was confined to gospel music, he was aware and appreciative of the popular music of the period, particularly the melodious, harmony-based sounds of the Ink Spots, whose influence was later heard in songs such as "You Send Me" and "For Sentimental Reasons." As a teenager, he was a member of the Teen Highway QCs, a gospel group that performed in churches and at religious gatherings. His membership in that group led to his introduction to the Soul Stirrers, one of the top gospel groups in the country, and in 1950 he joined them. If Cooke had never recorded a note of music on his own, he would still be remembered today in gospel circles for his work with the Soul Stirrers. Over the next six years, his role within the group and his prominence in the black community rose to the point where he became a star, possessing his own fiercely admiring and devoted audience, through his performances on "Touch the Hem of His Garment," "Nearer to Thee," and "That's Heaven to Me." The group was one of the top acts on Art Rupe's Specialty Records label, and he might have gone on for years as their most popular singer, but Cooke's goal was to reach audiences beyond the religious community, and beyond the black population, with his voice. This was a tall order at the time, as the mere act of recording a popular song could alienate the gospel listenership in an instant. Singing for God was regarded in those circles as a gift and a responsibility, while popular music, rock & roll, and R&B were to be abhorred, at least coming from the mouth of a gospel singer. (The gap was so great that when blues singer Blind Gary Davis became "sanctified" -- that is, found religion -- as the Rev. Gary Davis, he had to devise new words for his old blues melodies, and never sang the blues words again.) He tested the waters of popular music in 1956 with the single "Lovable," produced by Bumps Blackwell and credited under the name Dale Cooke so as not to attract too much attention from his existing audience. It was enough, however, to get Cooke dropped by the Soul Stirrers and their record label. Granted, that freed him to record under his real name. The result was one of the biggest selling singles of the 1950s, a Cooke original entitled "You Send Me," which sold over two million copies on the tiny Keen Records label and hit number one on both the pop and R&B charts. Although it seems like a tame record today, "You Send Me" was a pioneering soul record in its time, melding elements of R&B, gospel, and pop into a sound that was new and still coalescing at the time. Cooke was with Keen for the next two years, a period in which he delivered some of the prettiest romantic ballads and teen pop singles of the era, including "For Sentimental Reasons," "Everybody Loves to Cha Cha Cha," "Only Sixteen," and "(What A) Wonderful World." These were extraordinarily beautiful records, and in between the singles came some early album efforts, most notably Tribute to the Lady, his album of songs associated with Billie Holiday. He was unhappy, however, with both the business arrangement that he had with Keen and the limitations inherent with recording for a small label. Equally to the point, major labels were knocking on Cooke's door, including Atlantic and RCA Records. Atlantic was the top R&B-oriented label in the country, and Cooke could have signed there and found a happy home, except they wanted his publishing, and Cooke was well aware of the importance of owning his copyrights. Thus, he signed with RCA Records, then one of the three biggest labels in the world (the others being Columbia and Decca), even as he organized his own publishing company (Kags Music) and a record label (SAR), through which he would produce other artists' records. Among those signed to SAR were the Soul Stirrers, Bobby Womack (late of the Valentinos, who were also signed to the label), former Soul Stirrers member Johnny Taylor, Billy Preston, Johnnie Morisette, and the Simms Twins. Cooke's RCA sides were a schizophrenic body of work, at least for the first two years. He broke new ground in pop and soul with the single "Chain Gang," a mix of sweet melodies and gritty, sweaty sensibilities that also introduced something of a social conscience to his work. A number two hit on both the pop and R&B charts, it was his biggest hit since "You Send Me" and heralded a bolder phase in his career. Singles like the bluesy, romantic "Sad Mood"; the idyllic romantic soul of "Cupid"; the straight-ahead dance tune "Twistin' the Night Away" (a pop Top Ten and a number one R&B hit); and "Bring It on Home to Me" all lived up to this promise, and also sold in huge numbers. But the first two albums that RCA had him do, Hits of the Fifties and Cooke's Tour, were among the lamest LPs ever recorded by any soul or R&B singer, comprised of washed-out pop tunes in arrangements that showed almost none of Cooke's gifts to their advantage. In 1962, Cooke issued Twistin' the Night Away, a somewhat belated "twist" album that became one of his biggest-selling LPs. He didn't really hit his stride as an LP artist, however, until 1963 with the release of Night Beat, a beautifully self-contained, dark, moody assembly of blues-oriented songs that were among the best and most challenging numbers that Cooke had recorded up to that time. By the time of its release, he was mostly identified through his singles, which were among the best work of their era, and had developed two separate audiences, among white teen and post-teen listeners and black audiences of all ages. It was Cooke's hope to cross over to the white audience more thoroughly, and open up doors for black performers that, up to that time, had mostly been closed. He had tried playing the Copa in New York as early as 1957 and failed at the time, mostly owing to his inexperience, but in 1964 he returned to the club in triumph, an event that also yielded one of the most finely recorded live performances of its period. The problem with the Copa performance was that it didn't really represent what Sam Cooke was about in full; it was Cooke at his most genial and non-confrontational, doing his safest repertory for a largely middle-aged, middle-class white audience. They responded enthusiastically, to be sure, but only to Cooke's tamest persona. In mid-1963, however, Cooke had done a show at the Harlem Square Club in Miami that had been recorded. Working in front of a black audience and doing his real show, he delivered a sweaty, spellbinding performance built on the same elements found in his singles and his best album tracks, combining achingly beautiful melodies and gritty soul sensibilities. The two live albums sum up the split in Cooke's career and the sheer range of his talent, the rewards of which he'd finally begun to realize more fully in 1963 and 1964. The drowning death of his infant son in mid-1963 had made it impossible for Cooke to work in the studio until the end of that year. During that time, however, with Allen Klein now managing his business affairs, Cooke did achieve the financial and creative independence that he'd wanted, including more money than any black performer had ever been advanced before, and the eventual ownership of his recordings beginning in November of 1963; he had achieved creative control of his recordings as well, and seemed poised for a breakthrough. It came when he resumed making records, amid the musical ferment of the early '60s. Cooke was keenly aware of the music around him, and was particularly entranced by Bob Dylan's song "Blowin' In The Wind," its treatment of the plight of black Americans and other politically oppressed minorities, and its success in the hands of Peter, Paul & Mary. All of these factors convinced him that the time was right for songs that dealt with more than twisting the night away. The result was "A Change Is Gonna Come," perhaps the greatest song to come out of the civil rights struggle, and one that seemed to close and seal the gap between the two directions of Cooke's career, from gospel to pop. Arguably his greatest and his most important song, it was an artistic apotheosis for Cooke. During this same period, he had also devised a newer, more advanced dance-oriented soul sound in the form of the song "Shake." These two recordings heralded a new era for Cooke and a new phase of his career, with seemingly the whole world open to him. None of it was to be. Early in the day on December 11, 1964, while in Los Angeles, Cooke became involved in an altercation at a motel, with a female guest and the motel's night manager, and he was shot to death while allegedly trying to attack the manager. The case is still shrouded in doubt and mystery, and was never investigated the way the murder of a star of his stature would be today. Cooke's death shocked the black community and reverberated far beyond; his single "Shake" was a posthumous Top Ten hit, as were "A Change Is Gonna Come" and the At the Copa album, released in 1965. Otis Redding, Al Green, and Solomon Burke, among others, picked up key parts of Cooke's repertory, as did white performers including the Animals and the Rolling Stones. Even the Supremes recorded a memorial album of his songs, which later became one of the most sought-after of their original recordings. His reputation survived, at least among those who were smart enough to look behind the songs, to hear Redding's performance of "Shake" at the Monterey Pop Festival, for example, and see where it came from. Cooke's own records were a little tougher to appreciate, however. Listeners who heard those first two RCA albums, Hits of the Fifties and Cooke's Tour, could only wonder what the big deal was about, and several of the albums that followed were uneven enough to give potential fans pause. Meanwhile, the contractual situation surrounding Cooke's recordings greatly complicated the reissue of his work. Cooke's business manager, Allen Klein, exerted a good deal of control, especially over the songs cut during that last year of the singer's life. By the 1970s, there were some fairly poor, mostly budget-priced compilations available, consisting of the hits up through early 1963, and for a time there was even a television compilation, but that was it. The movie National Lampoon's Animal House made use of a pair of Cooke songs, "(What A) Wonderful World" and "Twistin' the Night Away," which greatly raised his profile among college students and younger baby-boomers, and Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes made almost a mini-career out of reviving Cooke's songs (most notably "Having a Party," and even part of "A Change Is Gonna Come") in concert. In 1986, The Man and His Music went some way to correcting the absence of all but the early hits in a career-spanning compilation, but during the mid-'90s, Cooke's final year's worth of releases were separated from the earlier RCA and Keen material, and was in the hands of Klein's ABKCO label. Finally, in the late '90s and beyond, RCA, ABKCO, and even Specialty (which still owns Cooke's gospel sides with the Soul Stirrers) issued combined and comprehensive collections of their portions of Cooke's catalog. ~ Bruce Eder [allmusic]

- 1986, Cooke was inducted as a charter member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
- 1987, Cooke was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
- 1994, Cooke received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
- 1999, Cooke received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
- 2004, Rolling Stone ranked Cooke 16th on its list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time".
- 2008, Cooke was named the fourth "Greatest Singer of All Time" by Rolling Stone.
- 2008, Cooke received the first plaque on the Clarksdale Walk of Fame at the New Roxy theater.
- 2009, Cooke was honored with a marker on the Mississippi Blues Trail in Clarksdale.
- 2011, Chicago renamed a portion of East 36th Street "Sam Cooke Way".
- 2013, Cooke was inducted into the National Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame.

Before we dig into this extensive discography, here's a documentary film entitled 'ReMastered: The Two Killings of Sam Cooke', released early last year. It's interesting, entertaining and well rounded but doesn't dive deep into any particular aspect of Sam's life or tragic death.

This is a monstrous collection of music, broken down into the following sections ...

Somebody's Gonna Miss Me collects the complete albums ... the first five for Keen Records are beautifully remastered mono recordings re-issued quite recently and the following RCA albums are beautifully remastered stereo recordings re-issued in 2011, with the exception of his two posthumous albums 'Shake' and 'Try A Little Love', which I've lovingly re-constructed.

Somebody Ease My Troublin' Mind collects the complete singles from 1957 to 1966 with the exception of one posthumous flip-side. This portion also features Cooke's split-LP tracks plus more than 20 alternate and/or unissued cuts. Roughly 80% of this portion is also sourced from remastered re-issues.

Looking Back collects the complete recordings of Sam Cooke with The Soul Stirrers via the 3 disc set issued in 2002. I've also included The Soul Stirrers SAR collection, remastered and re-issued in 2014. Cooke produced a large portion of the recordings included. Additionally, I've thrown in the SAR Records Story 2 disc collection, featuring a wealth of material written and/or produced by Cooke, and it comes with an 80+ page booklet.

All files a chronicled, cleanly tagged and mp3 @320 (mostly sourced from FLAC). Thanks to original uploaders, enjoy.