Archive for the ‘Shout’ Category

The Exciters

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Exciters - Little Bit Of Soap

Listen: A Little Bit Of Soap / The Exciters ExcitersSoap.mp3

I’ve had this single for decades. It’s the version of ‘A Little Bit Of Soap’ that introduced me to the song in ’66. I know The Jarmels actually had the big success with it several years earlier, but I was in diapers. Now, when I occasionally hear it on an oldies program, it’s always that Jarmels version, which for me doesn’t compare to this. I guess it’s Brenda Reid, The Exciters’ vocalist, that makes the difference, as she has exactly the kind of voice I love. The Exciters were clearly a Brill Building type of act, having covered songs written by/been produced by/signed by so many of it’s familiar names: Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry, Bert Russell, Lieber & Stoller and Bert Berns.

In the 80′s, while working at Elektra, Bob Krasnow our chairman had signed Bert’s daughter, Cassandra Berns, and put me in charge of A&R-ing her project. This turned into a real stroke of luck as I got to spend time with the Berns family down in Atlanta and heard many stories of the great days at Bang Records, the label Bert formed with Ahmet & Nesuhi Ertegun and Jerry Wexler. His widow Eileen proceeded to run their record and publishing business after he passed away in ’67.

Eileen was an absolute firecracker. I liked her so much, especially when she generously walked me through their studio complex, littered with 50′s and 60′s jukeboxes, which I’m guessing Bert had collected; then into a big closet full of 45′s and said, “Take whatever you want”. Now that is just not what you tell a record junkie.

Bang and Shout (Bang’s offshoot label) obscurities galore and indeed, where this copy originated. Wisely, she had future Bang artists cover this, and many of their catalog’s songs, with continued success. ‘A Little Bit Of Soap’ charted twice more in later years by Nigel Olsson and Paul Davis both on Bang. One winter’s Saturday easily ten years ago, I gave it a spin for old time’s sake and was suddenly bitten by The Exciters bug which is not, by the way, treatable.

Donald Height

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

DonaldHeight365, Donald Height, Northern

Listen: Three Hundred And Sixty Five Days / Donald Height [audio:]

Once the Northern Soul bug bit, there was no turning back. I needed everything I could grab, vinyl that is. This one got included on endless comps, but sounds pretty sweet on record as opposed to the cd’s it rightfully graces.

Somewhere I have the US Shout press of this. Again, in the great unfiled. I’m very bad about pulling a single to DJ then not returning it to the shelf promptly.

I will admit, my deep groove US copy has a nice sound to it as thick, black 60′s vinyl always does. Still, I had a pleasant moment when finding this UK copy during an early morning troll through the crates on Portobello Road. Regardless of what others say, I still find records there. You have to go early though, like as it’s getting light to be honest.