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DEEP # 1/2013 (March)

  I’ve been waiting to receive a certain CD for close to a month and a half now, but I ran out of patience and decided to go ahead with this column, notwithstanding.  I’ll add the CD and the interview to go with it later on.

  The release of Roy C’s impressive gospel CD last year went practically without a notice, but I decided to find out more about it.  Tony Strong started in gospel but has since the 70s been involved in many famous secular Philly groups, too, most notably with the Intruders.  His chequered career is untangled in conjunction with the release of his new solo CD. 

  At the tail end of the column there’s the ever-important musical peak: my top-20 of 2012.

  Generally speaking, for many years I’ve been planning to cut down the number of my purchases and reviews.  This year I’ll try again.  I buy – and always have bought – most of my review copies, but, due to quality problems on many recent releases, I don’t want to waste so much money on substandard material anymore. Better to buy a bottle of vodka than to have a full-length CD with only a few decent songs on it.

Content and quick links:

Interviews:
Roy C.
Tony Strong

New CD reviews:
Total Package Band: “T’s” Groove
Roy C: Don’t Let Our Love Die
Ms. Jody: Still Strokin’
Tony Strong & the Philly Soul: It Ain’t Over

CD reissue & compilation reviews:
Norma Jenkins: Patience Is a Virtue
The Softones & First Class: Together/a>
Jeannie Reynolds: One Wish
Various Artists: Hall of Fame Volume 2
Various Artists: South Texas Rhythm ‘n’ Soul Revue


TOTAL PACKAGE BAND

  “T’s” Groove (Wilbe 2019, www.williambell.com) is a small gem of a record that got lost last year.  Produced by Reginald “Wizard” Jones and mostly co-written by him and William Bell - with some help from the founder of the band, Tyrone Holmes, and the musical director and one of the lead singers, Phyllislorena Smiley – the sound is like a throwback to the 70s with a real rhythm section and powerful horns and background vocals.  The very band (www.totalpackageband.com) is a nine-piece aggregation that has worked mostly on the south-eastern scene for close to twenty years.

  On this 12-tracker there are three outside tunes.  Vernay Jackson is leading on Betty Wright’s ’72 dance hit, Baby Sitter, Vernay and Larry Longino surprise with a decent version of You’re All I Need to Get By and finally Buddy Miles’s Them Changes is as predictable funky jam as you’d expect. 

  William Bell himself had originally cut Playing Hard to Get for his Survivor LP in 1983 on Kat Family, and here Phyllislorena revives this mellow song.  William produced Seven Day Lover for James Fountain on his Peachtree label in 1970, and now Larry comes up with a flaming interpretation of this fast northern favourite.

  Besides one bluesy mid-pacer (Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen) and one melancholy mid-tempo song (Lifestyle of the Poor and Unknown), sung by Kermit Quinn, the rest five tracks are all uptempo ones.  The title tune (Phyllislorena) and Writing a Check (Vernay) are both funky and slightly jazzy, whereas Second to None (Phyllislorena) has a merry pop sound to it and Girls Night Out (Phyllislorena) could derive from the 70s T.K.’s disco factory.  Larry’s sweeping and effortless version of William’s quick-tempo That’s My Job is quite stirring and uplifting.


ROY C *

  It’s been over three years ago that Mr. Hammond released his previous CD, Don’t Let Our Love Die, and we had our last chat at http://www.soulexpress.net/deep509.htm#royc.  Last year, almost out of the blue, Roy “C” released his first-ever gospel CD entitled Let’s Go Back to God (Three Gems 136; www.roycmusic.com), produced and all eleven songs written by the man himself.  Roy is supported by a live rhythm section, strong background vocals, and also the “keyboard horns and strings” are skilfully created.  His long-time companion and a recording artist in his own right too, Jonathan Burton, is on guitar, bass and keys.

  After 55 years in the business, why all of a sudden gospel?  Roy: “Let me start back, when I was a kid.  At nine or ten years old I was at a church and I remember hearing the preacher saying in his sermon that God stepped out of nowhere and said ‘let there be light’.  He was saying that God made the world six thousand years ago.  And then he was saying that one of the children of Noah laughed at father’s nakedness and the children were cursed to be black.  That bothered me.”

  “Living in Savannah at the time, all I could see was slums.  I was staying there with my grandmother.  I didn’t have to go out to see the sun.  I could look up and see the sun rising through one of the cracks in the roof.  As I grew older, at sixteen I went to New York to stay with my sister and that’s when I discovered that church was not what it was cut out to be.  There was big fighting and I saw a lot of things that I didn’t see in the south, where everybody respected the preacher.”

  “So I started thinking and doing research.  I borrowed library books and purchased many books.  I was sixteen, and I was training to be a fighter at the same time.  I picked up a book on King Thad and I saw something in there.  I saw a cover-up of the history of the black race.  I continued to dig and dig.  After gathering all this information up in the past fifty years, I decided to do a gospel record and put things in there that I see different from what I was taught coming up.”

  With only one funky track on the CD (Everybody’s Trying Hard to Get to Heaven), there’s a plethora of gorgeous, powerful and melodic slow or mid-tempo songs (Where Did All the Love Go, Father Father, We’re Living In Hell Down Here, Let’s Go Back to God and In the Beginning There Was One God).  Roy’s personal favourites are I Want a One Way Ticket to Heaven with a strong social message and the smoother and mellower I Was Lost but Now I’m Found.

  Marvin Sease Left on the Morning Train is a mid-tempo floater and a tribute to the late Marvin.  “I took Leaving on the Morning Train (1984) and changed it around.  At first we were close with Marvin, but then a little jealousy set in on his part, not mine.  They had set out to do shows all over the country with me, Tyrone Davis and Marvin Sease.  We did one show in Charleston, South Carolina, and I did not know they were intending to have a battle.  When I got down to Charleston that morning, they had a radio thing set up, and we battled on the radio.  I was telling people I was going to give them a voice lesson.  At the show I did a fantastic job that night, and that shook him up.  That was the only show we did.  They didn’t do another show with me on it.”

  Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven is another simple song with an infectious melody.  “I got that from a little kid saying ‘too high, too wide, too low’.  I figured out what it is.  When you die, your spirit has to pass the ‘sun’, not ‘son’.  If those spirits are not pure, they burn up.”  The first part of If I Ever Get My Feet Back on the Ground – Part 2 appeared on Roy’s previous CD and I See Angels, a truly impressive ballad, derives from his I’m In Too Deep CD (2004).

  Last time Roy mentioned about a possible upcoming DVD.  “We started a couple of times but never finished.  I want to have an introduction, where we interview people prior to the show and after the show.  I want to have it more personalized with the fans.  I’ll be doing one soon, though, and I promise it’s going to be fantastic.”

  The preceding CD on Roy’s own Three Gems label was by Mark IV, I’m So Glad to Be a Part of You (TG 135).  “The lead singer, Jimmy Ponder, passed away.  His funeral was on March the 1st.  I was planning to record him and some new guys, and the name was going to be New Mark IV.”

  “I’m hoping to have my next CD out by mid-year.  It’ll be an R&B CD.  And I would like to tour Europe again, before I pass on to the kingdom of God.  I think the last time I was in Europe was in 1972.  I’d like to live forever, but I was told that I couldn’t do that.”

  Please have a look at Roy’s complete discography at http://www.soulexpress.net/royc_discography.htm.  (Interview conducted on March 5, 2013).


MS. JODY

  Joanne Delapaz herself co-wrote five tunes on Still Strokin’ (ECD 1144; www.eckorecords.com), and the producer, John Ward, with Raymond Moore, Gerard Rayborn and a couple of others took care of the rest.  I think this is Ms. Jody’s 8th CD for Ecko Records, and I quite liked the previous one, Ms. Jody’s in the House.

  This new one is a party CD with no slow songs on display.  Some ring a bell, such as Dance Party (Quinn Golden), Another Get Drunk Party (“Having a Party”), Ms. Jody Don’t Mind Breakin’ up Somebody’s Home (“Ann Peebles”) and the remixed revival of Shake Your Booty.

  It’s a Reunion, Still Strokin’, Where Can I Find a Good Man and to-the-point titled Your Man Was Looking for That Good Thang (While You Were Out Somewhere Looking for That Good Thang Man) are all easily gliding, streamlined dance songs, while Good Love is a gentle and sensual mid-pacer.  I wasn’t overly excited this time, but I rarely dance anymore these days.  Many still do.

  A good source to purchase the indie releases above is www.intodeepmusic.com


INTRODUCING... TONY STRONG & THE PHILLY SOUL *

  Anthony Strong sounds amazingly like the late Sam Brown aka “Little Sonny”, the uniquely flat singing lead voice of the Intruders, so it’s no wonder that Tony has successfully headed a tribute group for the past fifteen years.  Late last year, however, he released a CD under his own name, but again among the fourteen tracks there are five Intruders-related songs.

  It Ain’t Over by Tony Strong & the Philly Soul ( www.essentialmg.com; 942 314 586-2) was produced by Butch Ingram and Edward Carpenter for Butch’s Society Hill Music.  Tony: “I knew Butch’s brother, Johnny Ingram.  I first met Johnny maybe like twenty years ago at the Harra’s Casino in Atlantic City, playing keyboards in the lounge, with Vickie Austin singing lead as a solo artist.  After about a year or two - again at Harra’s - Johnny, who was now playing drums, introduced me to Butch Ingram and the Ingram family.  They called me on stage to sing Cowboys to Girls.  Since then Butch always wanted to put out something on me, but I was always too busy.  We finally decided last year to do that.  Ed Carpenter is a person that works with Butch Ingram.”

  Practically the whole Ingram family is involved in this CD.  Billy Ingram plays guitar, Butch is on bass, Johnny is on drums and background vocals, Jimmy is on keyboards, Timmy is on percussions and Sharon and Bianca Ingram together with Keith Elmore are on background vocals.  Only strings and some horn parts are artificial.  “Some horns were cut live.  I don’t like that programmed stuff.  I like the live sound, and that’s what Ed did.”

  The five Intruders songs – Friends No More, I’ll Always Love My Mama, (We’ll Be) United, Together and Cowboys to Girls; all written by Gamble & Huff – were put out a bit earlier on a separate CD-EP titled Together – A Tribute to the Intruders.  “I’m the lead singer of the Phyllies Intruders from the year 1999.  After all those years I decided to go on my own, and we decided to sing these songs a little more upbeat, to make the music more today.”

  The flexibility of Tony’s voice and his impersonation skills become evident also on Never Gonna Give You Up and Ain’t Understanding Mellow, two songs that are always associated with Jerry Butler.  On the latter one, Brenda Lee Eager’s part is taken over by Sherena Khan, but again Tony sounds a lot like Jerry on these two tracks.  “I’ve always loved Jerry.  I love the voice of Little Sonny and I also wanted to do Jerry, because nobody’s doing it.  At one time he was very sick, and then I just wanted to perform those tunes.”

  There are two more cover tunes on display.  Does Your Mama Know about Me waas a hit for Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers in 1968 on the Gordy label.  “Butch suggested me to cover that tune in my own style.  I went to a higher range.  It’s a fantastic song.”  Voyage to Atlantis derives from the Isley Brothers’ 1977 repertoire.

  The rest five songs were all written or co-written by Butch.  The title tune, It Ain’t Over, is a mellow and melodic slow song.  “Butch wrote something that would fit me.  It has a nice sound that you can lay back and listen.”  Text from my Ex is equally catchy, and those two are also Tony’s favourite cuts on the CD.  When You Coming Home belongs to the same bag, whereas Wind It is a sort of funky nursery rhyme.  On a soft and sentimental ballad called If I Could Only Talk to Daddy Tony’s vocalizing bears a slight resemblance to that of Philippe Wynne.  Butch had produced that song on Edmond Daniels already in 1990.


FULLY COMMITTED

  Tony was born in Philadelphia on October 15, 1954.  “I was born in Philadelphia at General Hospital, which doesn’t exist anymore.  I was raised in Chicago.  My mother and father separated very early, when I was a toddler - about seven months old.  My father moved to Chicago, and I spent summers there.  He and my uncle came to get me for about three months, and then they would drive me back to Philly.  He raised me well, and I was close to my father till he passed on.  He had eight brothers and two sisters.  I started singing at the age of three at the Oak Grove Baptist Church in Philadelphia in the children’s choir.  My grandmother Anniebell took me to the church.  At thirteen I joined the Young Adult Choir and at fifteen the Oak Grove Inspirational Choir.” 

  “After the death of my late pastor, Rev. William Sullivan, Sr., I joined the New Bethlehem Baptist Church in Philadelphia, where Rev. Scott Jones was pastor.  There I joined the Scott’s Inspirational Choir.  At 38 I formed there the Bethlehem Male Choir, which is still in existence.  The church holds like 600 people, but they didn’t have any male chorus, and I enjoyed putting one together.”

  “I also had a group called Heavenly Joy.  It was me and a girl, Brenda Jones, and we had a four-piece band.  We travelled locally.  That was in the late 80s, and we stopped, I believe, in 1990.”

  “Prior to that, in 1972 to 1976 I also formed a cover group called Taylor Made with Larry Satchell and Anthony Blackman.  We travelled different states.  We didn’t continue, because Larry went to prison.  I folded the group, because I couldn’t find serious singers, and moved on.  After 1976 I sang with a couple of cover groups to keep me going, such as the Perfections.”  More recently Tony has sung in other cover groups, such as Sirenity and the ElationZ with Olivia Faison.  “I also worked with the Intrigues, showing them choreography.  We also travelled with Tawan Folana, Lola’s brother.”

  “In 1991 I and Erskin Butler started this little group called Fully Committed that’s still going on” (www.fullycommittedgospel.com).  In the line-up the third member of the group is George Daniels, and so far they’re released four CDs:  No Ordinary Man, Convicted Heart, God’s Love and Best of Fully Committed.  The last one, released in 2008, is still readily available.  “Erskin did most of the writing and I did most of the arranging.  We joined this record company called Brakboy Records, and the owner, Samuel Brakeem, was 90 years old.  He was a minister.  We had a tour set up and everything.  We signed with him, and two weeks after he passed on.  His son and daughter didn’t know anything about the music business, and they folded.  We never made it out like we should have.”


PHYLLIES INDTRUDERS

  The Four Intruders was formed in 1960 in the line-up of Sam “Little Sonny” Brown, Eugene “Bird” Daughtry, Robert “Big Sonny” Edwards and Philip Terry.  After single releases earlier in the 60s on Gowen, Music Voice/Musicor and Excel – now as the Intruders - they hit big-time with United in 1966 on Gamble and kept scoring hits on the same label until 1974.  Bobby Starr replaced Little Sonny as the lead singer for three years in the early 70s.  Bird died of cancer in 1994, and Little Sonny committed suicide in 1995.  “I once met Samuel Brown, aka Little Sonny, at a barber shop called Jim’s.  I found him to be a nice, soft-spoken guy who loved to clown around.  He also loved his group, the Intruders.”

  In 1997 Tony met Ervin Mears, who at that point managed his own Intruders.  Ervin was connected to Fred Daughtry, Bird’s brother, who’s also now passed.  Fred was a member of the mid-80s Intruders alongside Bird, Lee Williams and Al Miller.  They cut an 8-track LP for U.K. Streetwave titled Who Do You Love.

“Mears came from the Intruders, so I went with him.  When I joined, it was me, Kenny Pitts and two guys from New York.  Since Kenny and I were both from Philadelphia, I told Mears that it would be better if those in the group were all from Philadelphia.  So I found Gilbert and Dean Morrow, who were brothers.  Then it was the four of us.  However, in 1999 things went sour between Mears and me.  I left, and Gill and his brother went with me, but Kenny stayed with Mears.  He was replaced by Keith Elmore.  We formed the Phyllies Intruders 1999.  I was the lead singer and choreographer for the Intruders from 1997 through 1999, and continue as lead singer and choreographer for my group, the Phyllies Intruders, from 1999 till 2012.”

  In 2004 the Phyllies Intruders released a CD called Better than Ever, with twelve Intruders songs out of fourteen on it.  “I did all the leads on the CD, except When We Get Married, which was sung by Gilbert Morrow.  That was a great CD.  One original song called I Love You was written by Dean Morrow and arranged by me.”  In 2008 Dean still released on his own a 14-track gospel CD entitled Your Grace & Mercy, which offered duets with Ruth Scott-Miles.


TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT

  “In 2008 we had little differences and the trademark ‘Intruders’ was dropped.  Keith, Dean and Gill couldn’t see eye to eye at the time with me.  Dean was excellent with paper work, so I felt that it would be in the group’s best interest if he were in charge of the paper work.  When we split up, I was telling Dean that we keep the trademark going.  However, he informed me that the trademark had been dropped.  I told Dean that we need to renew it as soon as possible, but at that time Phil Terry had jumped on it.  Philip is one of the original singers of the Intruders and the one, who’s living now.”

  In 2008 due to dissensions, Keith, Dean and Gil formed a splinter group, their own Phyllies Intruders, and picked up first Cubby St. Charles, and later Corey Wims and Curtis Clark, Jr for their new lead singers, while Tony recruited to his group three new members, Eugene Johnson, Preston Stroman and Renardo Haynes.  “They had a few gigs, but they weren’t doing well, and then Dean called me and said that we need to get back together.”  Tony, Keith, Dean and Gil reunited in 2011.

  Eventually in April 2012 Philip Terry and Glenn Montgomery as plaintiffs sued Anthony Strong, Gilbert Morrow, Keith Elmore, Phyllies Intruders LLC and Dean A. Morrow Sr. for trademark infringement.  “Glenn didn’t have anything to do with it.  It was Phil Terry that gave him permission to use the name ‘Intruders’.  At one time (in 2011) Terry fought Glenn, because they weren’t getting along.  In court we could have won, but we didn’t have funds really for that.  We had a lawyer, but if we had gone further we’d have to pay so much money, so we just gave that up.  We had the name for so many years, but then Philip just picked it up.  I also did it out of respect for Philip.  He was the original, although he couldn’t sing anymore.”

  Tony’s group switched its name to the Phyllies Souls in the summer of 2012.  “We just carried on, and then I decided to go solo.  I did so much work for the group.  It was a struggle.  At first I didn’t want to go solo, because I liked to do choreography.”  Besides singing, choreography is Tony’s other forte in music business.  “While I was singing with the Phyllies Intruders, some of these groups called me out and wanted me to help with choreography.  I sang and did the choreography for the Ebonys.  Already in ’96 and ’97 I sang with the Hearts of Stone.  I helped them out.  I also sang background for the Delfonics with Pat Palmer and Norman Carter leading... also with the Bluenotes with “Pop Pop”, Lenny, Lloyd and Art and did choreography for them.  Also a couple of years ago I did a Mother’s day show in Bermuda with G.C. Cameron.  I put the background together and did the choreography.  Sometimes, when I go out, I use Jeaninne Walton and Valarie Ford as background singers.  They also have great lead talents.”  Valarie is known for her work in such groups as Philly Cream and Abstract Truth.  “Jeaninne organizes a Mother’s day concert, where I’m singing and helping the cast with dancing choreography.”  Tony’s third background vocalist today is Masha Smith from Russia.

  “Today there are groups, who call themselves ‘the Intruders’, in Chicago, Washington and New York, but we called ourselves ‘the Phyllies Intruders’, and we were the best one out there.  I still have people coming up to me saying ‘you must be Little Sonny’.  It’s really a shame, how some people try to do the Intruders until this day.  We rehearsed with the band twice a week, and we rehearsed ourselves twice a week.”  (Interview conducted on January 30, 2013).


COMP-ART-ment

NORMA JENKINS

  Patience Is a Virtue (Essential Media Group, 942 315 367-2; 20 tracks, 69 min.) contains Norma’s ’76 album by the same name on the Desert Moon label and 12 bonus tracks, which include her six single sides from the 60s and four sides from 1973.  The producer is George Kerr, and Andrew Smith, Bert Keyes and Richard Tee did the arrangements.

  Off the album, guitarist Samuel Taylor’s intense and slightly bluesy ballad, Love Jones, was tested as the second single, but unfortunately and unfairly to no chart action.  This is not the same song as Brighter Side of Darkness’ ’72 gold hit.  Four other big ballads on this LP are It’s All Over Now, I Did It For Real, Reachin’ Out in the Darkness and - as the cream cut - the melodic and highly emotional You’ve Been Here Since Then, written by Kenny Seymour.  The only charted song (# 92) was a feel-good and melodic dancer titled Gimme some (of Your Love).

  Norma’s ’73 singles on the Jean and Kerr labels were either mid-paced funk numbers or lighter toe-tappers, and her ’67 single on ABC with Troy Keys, A Good Love Gone Bad, owes a lot to the Motown sound.  Her ’66 singles on Maltese with the Dolls represent poppy and brisk girl-group sound with occasional melodic associations to Nowhere to Run and Our Day Will Come.  Sound quality on these early tracks leaves a lot to desire.


THE SOFTONES & FIRST CLASS

  Together (Essential Media Group, 942 315 368-2; 7 + 4 tracks, 63 min.) is a joint album by two sweet & sophisticated groups out of Baltimore, Maryland that was originally released on Park-Way International Records in 1979.  The main producer is Rod Armstrong in collaboration with George Kerr, Melvin Miles, Michael Davis and the Softones’ lead singer, Marvin Brown.

  The Softones’ peak period was in the early and mid-70s, when they recorded for Avco under the guidance of Hugo & Luigi and Van McCoy.  Here they take us to disco with Just Had to Dance and Can You Feel It, but I prefer Marvin’s high falsetto much more on such ballads as Love Minus One (which Ray, Goodman & Brown later cut for their ’82 Open Up album) and the tender Carla My Love, echoing the Stylistics.

  Also First Class enjoyed some small hits in the mid-70s on such labels as Today, Ebony Sounds and All Platinum.  On this album they discoed up Jimmy Ruffin’s Tell Me What You Want and Candy, but again I go for a ballad, Laying My Heart on the Line, which the Checkmates Ltd. had cut two years earlier.


JEANNIE REYNOLDS *

  Jeannie’s 1977 Casablanca album, One Wish (Expansion, EXCDM  39; www.expansionrecords.com; 12 tracks, 47 min.; liners by Ralph Tee), was produced and arranged by her brother, L.J. Reynolds together with John Brinson, and they must be applauded for their rich orchestration and powerful sound.  L.J. also wrote seven songs – three together with his sister – and Jeannie herself is in a fine and strong voice, sounding on one song a bit like Gladys Knight and on another track close to Mavis Staples.

  The most vibrant song is the opener, Come My Way, which in melody bears a remote resemblance to Expressway (to Your Heart).  Two melodic mid-tempo songs – Sexy Man and I Know I’ll Always Be in Love with You – are both lively ditties, with the latter one peppered still with the late Eli Fountain’s alto sax solo.  I’m Hooked on You is a powerful ballad, which the Dramatics also cut.  The most impressive slow song on the LP, however, is a cover of Carla ThomasGuide Me Well (1970), and this particular track was produced by Don Davis and arranged by Paul Riser.

  Both sides of the two preceding singles – Norma Toney’s mid-tempo pulsator named The Phone’s Been Jumping All Day and Rich Cason’s fast Lay Some Lovin’ on Me – are added as bonus tracks.  The late Jeannie’s discography is available at http://www.soulexpress.net/jeannie.htm.


HALL OF FAME, volume 2 *

  On Hall of Fame, volume 2 (CDKEND 386; www.acerecords.com; 24 tracks, 63 min., liners by Tony Rounce) there are five tracks by unidentified singers and the most thrilling ones among them are the opening deep ballad named Another Good Woman Gone Bad and an unfinished beat-ballad called Don’t Count Me Out

  Considering that as many as twenty tracks have never been released before, we can expect a fair share of early “rehearsal” takes – two by George Jackson (Take Me Back and I Smell a Rat), two by Clarence Carter (Take It All off and They’re Gonna Find Us at the Dark End of the Street) and two by Prince Phillip Mitchell (Fool for a Woman and How Much More Can a Poor Man Stand) – and also some pop and country; two samples from both genres.

  Produced by Rick Hall and his staff and recorded between 1964 and ’72, personal heavy-weight tracks for me include Billy Young’s Have Pity on Me (’66), a pleading Otis Redding type of a ballad written by Tommy Roe, Linda Carr’s Are You Teasing Me (’67), a Diana Ross sounding stomper, Otis Clay’s That Kind of Lovin’ (’68), a rousing dancer with powerful singing, and Joe Simon’s Get in a Hurry (’65), an easy and catchy dancer just the way Joe can deliver them at his best.


HOUSTON, WE HAVE NO PROBLEM *

  South Texas Rhythm ‘n’ Soul Revue (CDKEND 390; 24 tracks, 59 min., liners by Tony Rounce) compiles releases from Huey Meaux’s different labels (Jet Stream, Tear Drop, Eric, Cascade, Pacemaker, Boogaloo, HBR, Trinity) between 1962 and ’73.  Three tracks are previously unreleased.  Among stompers, blues, chicano and even country, there are a few performances that were strongly influenced by Lee Dorsey, James Brown, Fats Domino and Chuck Berry.

  Personal highlights include Jean Knight’s soulful reading of Doggin’ Around (’64), Warren Storm’s intense Tennessee Waltz (’67), Charles Berry’s slow and laid-back Time (’64) and an impressive version of I Found a Love by Maxine Davis (’63).

  For soul music lovers such names as Johnny Adams, Johnny Copeland and Joe Medwick need no introduction.  Johnny Adams’ magnificent voice and his piercing falsetto dominate the familiar Let Them Talk (’66), and the loping A Place Called Home (’66) is his other contribution.  Johnny Copeland’s raw voice penetrates on the downtempo Slow Walk you Down (’66), which to a degree reminds me of his best-ever record, The Invitation (not included here).  His other track here is the uptempo, second version of Sufferin’ City (’71). 

  Joe Medwick sings a melodic country & soul ballad called That Is Why the End Must Begin (’66) under the name of Joe Masters, and his other alias is Joe Melvin on the bluesy and big-voiced Friends in Show Business (’66).  The third disguise here is TV & The Tribesmen and Fat Man (’66).  The two finishing tracks are both demos – Neighbor Neighbor by its original writer, Alton Valier, and Barbara Lynn’s early demo of You’ll Lose a Good Thing

MY TOP-20 in 2012

(Full-length, new official releases)

1.      Lee Fields: Faithful Man
2.      Barbara Carr: Keep The Fire Burning
3.      Bunny Sigler: From Bunny With Love & A Little Soul
4.      Dorothy Moore: Blues Heart
5.      Jeff Floyd: Watch Me Work
6.      Roy C: Let’s Go Back To God
7.      Tasha Taylor: Taylor Made
8.      Vel Omarr: The Greatest Song I Ever Sang
9.      Frank-O Johnson: Only Time Will Tell
10.  Bettye LaVette: Truthful N’ Thankful
11.  Jerry L: Let’s Do It All Over
12.  Mighty Sam: Too Much Jesus (Not Enough Whiskey)
13.  Ron Tyson: Recipe 4 Love
14.  Tony Strong & the Philly Soul: It Ain’t Over
15.  André Lee: Stories Of Life
16.  Drew Schultz: Back To Class
17.  Total Package Band: “T’s” Groove
18.  Jesse James: Do Not Disturb
19.  Mel Waiters: Got No Curfew
20.  Eddie Levert: I Still Have It

© Heikki Suosalo





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