Showing posts with label Detroit Soul. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Detroit Soul. Show all posts

May 26, 2016

The Devotions "Same Old Sweet Lovin'"

     Ran by  Robert Eaton and Benjamin Knight (who, along with Fred Bridges, also comprised the soul trio Brothers Of Soul as well as a songwriting team that had something to do with around 50 singles that came out Detroit in the 60s and 70s) and based out of a storefront on Hamilton St in Detroit (well, Highland Park actually. They both share a zip code) the Tri-Tone label only released 2 singles.
     The first of them was The Devotions “Same Old Sweet Lovin’.” Recorded and released in 1966, the record might possibly being gunning for the same formula a lot of the Detroit labels were going trying to grab a piece of that Motown pie, but the frills free production and obviously not charm school trained voices of Ragina Wood, Rosemary Green and Bobby Hemmitt give this this record a raw street level soul thing that sounds something more akin to a female version of what the Parliaments were doing in the city around the same time than any of the seriously buffed and polished records from the House Of Gordy.

Apr 18, 2016

Carol Anderson "I'm Not Worried"


     One of the things about these lost Detroit soul records of the 60′s is finding out a little history on the label and especially the singers and players that appeared on them. Little slivers of info from here and there sometimes lead into a trove of history. Other times a lot of things remain a mystery.
     Located at 5725 14th Street in Detroit, the Whip record label was ran by a fellow who’s name might have been James Davis or Jim Riley. The address was also the same for another label called Dotty’s that was owned by a cat known as Clifford Marshall. To add even more confusion both labels also used the exact same catalog numbering system and we releasing records around the same time frame. It has been speculated that they were all just the same person operating under different names for possibly different (perhaps even nefarious) reasons. The name C. Marshall appears as both a songwriter and producer here so until someone who actually knows a bit more about the whole situation comes a long (as I am just a fan really. My historian research hat only fits rarely) I am gonna assume they all different personas for whatever reason.
     Carol Anderson was the third record to come out on the Whip label. The a-side, the horn laden and smoky mid tempo’d "Taking Mind Of My Love", is no stranger to Northern Soul fans but we’re gonna listen to the flip. To me it’s just got a hotter bump to it and I dig the sass and the way she sing “Oohhh Yeah!” in it.
     In the late 60′s and early 70′s Carol also released records on the Mid Town, Explosion and Soul “O” Sonic label. It has been noted that those labels were started by her mother, Esse Anderson, who was a hairdresser as well as Carol’s manager. All three labels (as well as the hairdressing business) were based out of their home at 443 Navhoe St. in Detroit. Esse also has songwriting and production credits on the records that Carol sang on through the 70′s
     Esse passed away from a bout with cancer in 1983. Carol died just a year later.

Dec 9, 2015

Lee Rogers "You Won't Have To Wait Til X-Mas"

     Legend goes that Marvin Gaye got the notion of "the beat" is what drives the kids wild from watching Lee Rogers perform on stage. The became friends in 1962 and shared a lot of the some bills such as appearing at record hops hosted by WJLB's Eddie Dunham.
     As we all know Marvin was brought into the Motown stable in and, by 1962, his career took off first as a songwriter (the co-writer of the Marvelettes "Beechwood 4-5789") and scoring his first of many top 10 pop hits in '63 with "Pride & Joy."
     Dubbed the Prince of Detroit, Lee didn't have it easy breaking the national charts. His first single for single for the D-Town, "Sad Affair", was released as a friendly challenge to Marvin of who could score the next hit record. The single fared decently in Detroit and landed at #10 on some local airplay charts. In 1965 though it looked like his luck would change. That was the year the single "I Want You To Have Everything", which was recorded live in a makeshift studio located in a building on Detroit's 14th St that also housed a record store, was released on D-Town Records and hit #17 on the Billboard R&B charts. Unfortunately, due to the inconsistent distribution channels of the time (and possibly some string pulling from the folks at Motown, who always seemed worried that another Detroit label would overtake their position of power in the music world, to keep record from getting any bigger) it only cracked the Hot 100 and Lee's follow up records weren't ever able to gain any traction.
     One of those follow ups was "You Wont Have To Wait For X-Mas." Released in the later months of 1965, the beat swings in that way that Marvin Gaye may have copped while Lee lays down a smooth yet burning message to his love around the holiday. It one of those songs that is a must for me to break out and spin this time of the year.

Sep 23, 2015

Bonnie Brisker "So Much Lovin' (Deep Inside Me)"


     Like with a lot of the 60s Detroit soul records that didn’t make a dent nationally (but may have gotten some play in the Northern Soul Scene in the UK) there’s not a lot of info on who Bonnie Brisker is or if this was the only record she did. Heck, with this record even the year it was released is kinda fuzzy but judging from the catalog number it’s safe to assume it is early ‘67 (the previous catalog number, MC 002, was a “I’m Going Christmas Shopping/Santa Goofed” by Horace Williams and Choker Campbell & His Magic City Orchestra was released in December of ‘66.) 
     What is known about Bonnie is that she was the sister of Detroit saxophonist Miller Brisker who toured and played with Aretha Franklin, most notably on her Aretha In Paris album, as well as the arranger of “I’ll Be On My Way” by Bob & Fred which appeared on Big Mack, another Detroit label of the era.
     Though both sides of this record have a nice live and loud sound with some rough edges intact the a-side, “Someone Really Loves You (Guess Who)”, tends to lean a little more towards some kinda sophisticated Mary Wells territory. This b-side though gets much looser. The bass line brings everything to a boil, getting the band to lock into a total proto-funk groove and Bonnie lets everyone listening know what she has and what she needs.

Jul 8, 2015

Joan Dovalle "No Better For You"

     
     Arranged by early Funk Brothers members Herbie Williams and Joe Hunter, this Joshie Armastead &Valerie Simpson penned number was the 2nd release for the Sport Record label.
     Both songs on this record were recorded by Big Maybelle and released as a single on the Port label in 1965. In 1967, Williams and Hunter gave the song a Detroit makeover turning it into a solid dance floor rumbler packed with much more grit than what became their most well known employer’s stock and trade. Their arrangement provides a heap of funk for the husky and authoritative wail of the very little known about Joan Dovalle.
     Copies of the Big Maybelle version are fairly common on 45 and can be found for around $20. The Joan Dovalle single is a lot more rare and prices for it have hit the $400 mark in the past.  

May 14, 2015

Belita Woods "Grounded"


     Before making a name for herself with songs such as “Lovin’ Is Really My Game” as lead singer for the Funk/Soul band Brainstorm in the 1970s and being a singer in the P-Funk All Stars in the 90s, Belita Woods first started recording in the mid 60s.
     After cutting some sides for Detroit record label impresario Ollie McLaughlin, her first single was released on his label, Moira, in 1967.
     The legend about this record is that though the sass pack floor filling groover “Grounded” was suppose to be the a-side but the pressing company went with the recording notes on the tape instead of the label’s request so the more soul ballad leaning (but still smokin’ in its own right) “Magic Corner” was viewed as the plug side. Both side of the record got a fair amount of play in Detroit but the record never broke through nationally.
     By 1969 McLaughlin was having financial problems and sold the distribution rights of his labels Carla, Karen and Moira (all of which were named after his daughters) to Atlantic Record records. In 1969, Atlantic subsidiary Cotillion re-released this single to little fanfare (and still with “Grounded” as the b-side.) 
     Belita passed away from heart failure on this day, May 14th, in 2012 at the age of 63. 

Feb 8, 2015

Leah Dawson "You Got To Change (Your Evil Ways)"


     Released as the 4th record on the Godmother of Detroit Soul's (and the first African American female to own and operate her own record label a few years before this was released with the Northern Recording Company) Johnnie Mae Matthews Big Hit imprint, this would be the 2nd single to feature the powerful voice of Leah Dawson front and center. 
     Leah was first heard singing for the Choker Campbell Orchestra's on the innuendo laden "My Mechanical Man" single on the Magic City label in 1966 but on this Sir Mack Rice written and produced track from 1968, which digs deep into the blues aspect compared to a lot of the post Motown R&B tracks that were being cut in Detroit at the time, her voice really booms. She puts the needles on the mixing board in the red as she belts out indignity of a man who has done her wrong too many times.
     This record was picked up by the Okeh label for national distribution but sadly did not become the hit it deserved to be.

Dec 8, 2014

Yvonne Vernee "Just Like You Did Me"

     After being a member of the Correct-Tone label group the Donays, whose only single had the Richard Dee penned b-side“Devil In His Heart” which the Beatles covered on their second album With The Beatles,  Detroit gal Yvonne Symington got the itch to record as a solo artist. Correct-Tone owner Wilbert Golden declared that no one would remember her name so he changed her last name to Vernee and put Sonny Saunders & Robert Bateman, who were in charge Correct-Tone subsidiary SonBert, to make her a star.
     Released in 1965 “Just Like You Did Me” was Yvonne’s 2nd single for the label and her 3rd (main label Correct-Tone released “Does He Love Me Anymore” in 1964) since becoming a solo artist in 1963.
     Backed by Motown musicians at after hour session at Correct-Tone’s studio on Detroit’s 12th St, this Tony Clark written and Sonny Sanders arranged track gets cooking allowing Yvonne’s voice put the point across of what it really feels like to be heartbroken.
     Sadly, the song never became a hit but is a very sought out single with original copies selling up to the $3,000 range when they come up in auction.
After the release of this record Yvonne stepped out of the spotlight and took a day job. In 1971 she was asked to join the Elgins. She still performs with them to this day.

Nov 6, 2014

Steve Mancha "Monday Through Thursday"

   
     Originally from South Carolina, Steve Mancha (real name is Clyde Wilson) and his family moved to Detroit around 1954. By the early 60s he had recorded for Harvey Fuqua's HPC and had Barry Gordy showing interest in him his career wasn't taking off.
     In 1965, producer Don Davis signed him to his Wheelsville label. His first record for the label was "Did My Baby Call?" It didn't see much airplay action but in '66, with Edwin Star and JJ Barnes, recording the under the name the Holidays (a name which Davis owned and though there was an actual group he had by that name none of the members appeared on the record) scored a top 40 hit with "I'll Love You, Forever" on Golden World records.
     When Davis started back up the label he originally had going in 1963, Groovesville, in 1966, Mancha was the first one to have something released on the label, "You're Still In My Heart" in May of that year. He would record five singles for the label over the next year including this Friday themed one, "Monday Through Saturday" (incidentally the A-side of this particular record is called "Friday Night". I could have picked either side to spotlight on as their both great but this is I heard first years ago so that's why I went for it.) None of them did much outside of Detroit but are still big faves with the Northern Soul crowd.
     Mancha did find later success though as lead singer in 100 Proof Aged In Soul. He would also become a big part of the Detroit gospel scene up until his death in January of 2011.

Oct 7, 2014

Bettye LaVette "What Condition My Condition Is In"

In 1968 Bettye LaVette went into the studio to record a second set of sides with Detroit producer Ollie McLaughlin for his label Karen Record. Backed by Dennis Coffey, Ray Monette and Bob Babbitt they cut the Popcorn Wylie and Tony Hester song "Get Away" with it's intention of it being the hit side of an upcoming release on McLaughin's Karen label.

For the b-side they recorded "What Condition My Condition Is In." Written by Mickey Newbury, the song, which was actually titled "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)" was a country hit for Jerry Lee Lewis in 1967 as a honky tonk oddity. A year later the song went into the Billboard top 10 as a bubblegum psychedelic tune by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition.

McLaughlin was confident in Bettye's ability to turn the song into a smoldering and funky Rhythm and Blues track and claim the song her own. Detroit radio DJ's must've thought so too because though the a-side was ignored, "What Condition My Condition Is In" hit the top 10 on the charts of the legendary Detroit R&B station WCHB in February of 1969.

Sep 7, 2014

Little Ann “Going Down A One Way Street (the Wrong Way)”

  
     Here’s a hot slab of horn heavy funky soul from the Motor City. Born in Chicago,  Anne "Little Ann" Bridgeforth recorded a slew of track for Detroit producer Dave Hamilton before having this song picked up by the Ric Tic label in 1969. “Going  Down A One Way Street (the Wrong Way)”  was the only 45 released in the US by her (and she only got the A side too. The flipside was taken by an instrumental ‘I’d Like To Know You Better’, credited to Ric Tic’s owner Wingate).
     In the late 80’s a couple of soul aficionados were visiting Hamilton and going through the many reels of tape he had. One of those reels included Ann’s unreleased recordings. Some of those songs started appearing on British label Ace record compilations in the 90’s, introducing her to a new audience as well as being flown over to the  UK to play for adoring fans before passing away in 2003.
     In 2009, Finland based label Timmion label released an entire album of Little Ann tracks under the name Deep Shadows.

Aug 8, 2014

Gwen Owens "Just Say You're Wanted (And Needed)"


    
     I was doing a little research on something totally unrelated and learned that the label this Gwen Owens single was released, Velgo, was owned by a friend of my family. This record here was a 14 year old Gwen’s follow up to her ‘67 Detroit hit “I Lost A Good Thing” (which was also on the Velgo label.)
     Not many heard this record because the pressing plant screwed up most of the copies during manufacturing making it play all warped. Most copies didn’t even make it out to stores and what was in the warehouse went to the trash.
     The family friend has been dead for some years now. Every once in awhile he would talk about his music biz days but it was mostly stories of the biggest star he worked with, Jack Scott.
     Gwen Owens had a national top 40 soul hit in 1969 with “Keep on Living.”

Jun 18, 2014

Edd Henry "You're Replacement Is Here"


   
     "No more heartaches/No more sorrows"
     Here’s a very hard to find Detroit groover from 1966 on the Big Mack label by Edd Henry. It’s a song of being done wrong and having enough of it. Recorded at the legendary United Sound with a hot band this records swings. It received no local airplay of note. Would’ve been a hit in a better world.
     The a-side of this, a soul burner in it’s own right called “Crooked Woman" (it seems Edd had his share of women treating him wrong), showed up in an episode of Mad Man some seasons back.
     The Big Mack label released records sporadically through the mid 60’s to the early 70’s. It’s offices operated at several different addresses though the years but operated out this location during the time this record was released. You can find both sides of the single and other Big Mack Records tracks on the Numero Group’s Eccentric Soul compilation devoted to the label.
     Edd Henry recorded several funk sides for the Heavy Hank label, including this sticky bop, in the late 60’s/early 70’s and released a gospel album in the mid 80’s.