Listen: Love Power / The Sandpebbles
Clocking in at just over two minutes, ‘Love Power’, like The Flirtations ‘Nothing But A Heartache’, could qualify as one of the greatest Motown tracks never to be issued by Motown.
Instead, the independently owned soul label, Calla Records out of New York, distributed by Roulette, released ‘Love Power’ in late ’66, and by the end of winter ’67, it was both an RnB and Pop hit (#14 / #22).
Nate McCalla was the guy, keeping his company active from ’65 to ’77 . Originally being both a bodyguard for and associate of Morris Levy, Roulette Records legendary owner, connects the dots to the label’s distribution setup and supposedly Nate’s execution style demise in ’80.
Calla Records was a rather unsung entity, and Nate McCalla certainly seemed to have an ear. In addition to The Sandpebbles, his roster included J.J. Jackson, Little Jerry Williams (aka Swamp Dogg), Jean Wells, The Emotions, The Fuzz, Lonnie Youngblood, The Persuaders and Betty LaVette. Not shabby.
‘Love Power’ was one of many greats written, and in this case produced, by Teddy Vann. Revived years later by Luther Vandross and made into an even bigger hit meant Teddy finally achieved a long awaited Grammy for such a powerful track.
The Sandpebbles may be little known. Still, lead vocalist Calvin White along with his two musical partners Andrea Bolden and Lonzine Wright, can always put claim to their performance on ‘Love Power’, one of soul’s best records ever.
I know, I sprang an entire week’s allowance for it, and my single still has the original price sticker to prove it.