Archive for the ‘Sussex’ Category

The Presidents

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Listen: 5-10-15-20 (25-30 Years Of Love) / The Presidents

Given I’d previously owned only Dennis Coffey and Bill Withers records on Sussex, I assumed the best when this came along. Turns out it’s a one listen song, simple.

Seemed like no time passed before the record was literally all over the air. You almost couldn’t escape it. Logically both the Top 40′s and the RnB locals were playing it, but so too were the college stations. Everyone loved it, hands down. For me, just knowing a Sussex single was spinning on some 16″ industrial Gates radio station turntable made it sound that much better.

Within a few years though, producer Van McCoy got tarnished with the disco curse, simply for having too big of a hit, ‘The Hustle’. But truth be told, the fellow wrote some perfect songs: ‘Baby I’m Yours’ for Barbara Lewis, ‘Getting Mighty Crowded’ by Betty Everett, ‘You’re Gonna Make Me Love You’, the Northern Soul holy grail recorded by Sandi Sheldon and ‘I Get the Sweetest Feeling’ for Jackie Wilson.

Lee ‘Shot’ Williams

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Listen: I Found A Love / Lee ‘Shot’ Williams

In ’72, United Artists picked up Lee ‘Shot’ Williams’ ‘It Ain’t Me No More’ / ‘I Found A Love’ off PM Records out of Mississippi, re-releasing it as ‘It Ain’t Me’.

Having already issued a string of blues and soul singles from ’64 to ’70 on very small, local imprints like Foxy, Tchula, Gamma, Palo and Shama, with the occasional larger label like Federal and Sussex in the mix, the chitlin circuit airplay for ‘It Ain’t Me No More’ suddenly looked like it just might blossom into that much anticipated moment every musician awaits, and United Artists’ excitement felt like the stars had finally lined up for Lee Williams.

I recall the label’s RnB department acting super confident about the single, due in part to his dependable live performances.

B side ‘I Found A Love’, for what it’s worth, felt way more like the hit to me. It combined the the pure down at heal pleading of every great Solomon Burke single with a more dirty but polished radio ready production, not unlike say, Wilson Pickett. Wrong again Kevin. In fact, the record literally disappeared into thin air. Other than the posse at UA, for which I was a college rep, seems no one paid a wink of attention.

Fast forward a few decades and just try even holding a copy for under $50.

Bill Withers

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

Grandma's Hands / Bill Withers

Listen: Grandma’s Hands / Bill Withers GrandmasHands.mp3

He’s got so many great tracks, and seminal singles. This was the followup to ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ and directly preceded ‘Lean On Me’, but didn’t get much traction at Pop and Top 40 in the day. In fact it only went to #18 in the RnB charts, but it has slowly turned into a deserved classic. I don’t know if it’s that well known, but Booker T produced this, and ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’, who is another higher form of life to us earthlings.