Archive for the ‘Phil Ward’ Category

Vicki Wickham / Earl Van Dyke & The Soul Brothers

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Listen: The Flick (Part I) / Earl Van Dyke & The Soul Brothers
The

Listen: The Flick (Part II) / Earl Van Dyke & The Soul Brothers
The

Of Earl Van Dyke & The Soul Brothers’ six Soul/Motown single releases, ‘The Flick’ is one of the lesser known.

Sounding very much like the casual late night jam at 2648 West Grand Boulevard that it probably was, Motown’s house band, as they were, or The Funk Brothers, as they became known, got to record some instrumentals under the name Earl Van Dyke & The Soul Brothers. These guys really didn’t like the commercial records they were required to make by day, preferring jazz instead. So not surprisingly, these dabbles sound not unlike the Jimmy Smith and Jimmy McGriff soul jazz releases from the period, and make for great jukebox ambience.

Let me tell you, there’s nothing like a late Sunday afternoon spent digging through a few hundred Motown promos. Happened yesterday, so I can attest.

This all started at the Brooklyn Bowl 60′s Music & Memorabilia Show. One dealer displayed a Motown white label, and it set me off. To be honest, I’d been waiting a few years to start filing these, Vicki Wickham’s Motown singles, into my wall shelves. It suddenly felt like that moment had arrived.

Yes, Saint Vicki. This woman has performed many miracles in my world. As if giving me her record collection several years back wasn’t miracle enough, she out of the blue rang a few days before Thanksgiving 2010, announcing another multi-box discovery in storage. About a thousand singles from her READY STEADY GO days, completely forgotten about for decades.

“Might you want them?”

I nearly had to make the trip over to hers in an ambulance.

There they were, several white boxes, all stacked, labelled and waiting for me to collect. Plus perfectly separated out, a Vicki VIP section: two boxes of Oriole/Stateside/Tamla/Motown. All organized chronologically by label, then catalog number.

Now I have tripped out on these many times, even let a few friends have a look through, well Phil and Eric, and that’s about it. Duane wasn’t interested.

Yesterday began the process of folding these into the master collection. Playing many and nearly blacking out a few times.

No drug has ever gotten me this high. Not ever. Not any.

Mr. Bloe

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

Groovin' With Mr. Bloe / Mr. Bloe

Listen: Groovin’ With Mr. Bloe / Mr. Bloe
Name

In keeping with my previous posts about novelty songs, I was playing this a few weeks back during the holiday break. Phil and I had a late one, basically our own Northern Soul Allnighter. It was one of the many singles we’d dug out.

To be honest, ‘Groovin’ With Mr. Bloe’ always sounded average not only to me but every one I knew when originally released years back. My Anglophile friends and I would blag or buy anything in the UK charts, and this was an immediate let down. But once blessed as Northern, the single suddenly had a new glow. The record’s even in THE ESSENTIAL NORTHERN SOUL PRICE GUIDE, so there. Phil says he always gets requests for it when DJing, in England at least.

71-75 New Oxford / Mr. Bloe

Listen: 71-75 New Oxford / Mr. Bloe
Name

Mr. Bloe Press Release

A collaboration between Mr. Bloe, who were actually Hookfoot in disguise, and Elton John, ’71-75 New Oxford’ became a follow up single one year later. Titled after the address of the DJM Records office, it’s pretty valuable nowadays, both sides being Elton John’s only instrumentals. Luckily, this copy, from Tony King’s collection, still retained the original press release (above).

The Chants

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Listen: She’s Mine / The Chants
Chants.mp3

The Chants, despite a very ordinary name, were different than most from the British Invasion era. Basically a five piece vocal group with no musicians in their lineup, their real historical moment came late in ’62 when turning up at The Cavern Club for an audition without a band. The Beatles offered to fill in, but Brian Epstein objected. John Lennon overruled and The Chants made their Cavern dubut in November of that year with his band providing the backing.

Phil Ward turned me on to this one, having been hooked on it big time. At first, I mistook them to have Phil Spector involvement, given ‘She’s Mine’ could double for any number from The Crystals or The Ronettes songbook pretty easily with the arrangements and even production not unlike his.

Released in the US on Interphon got my curiosity up. Being Vee Jay’s subsidiary imprint, created exclusively for UK product, meant The Chants were English. Digging through my hardcore, only for obsessed collectors, research books allowed the plot to thicken and the above piece of trivia to be uncovered. Never knew it until recently.

Why didn’t Interphon market them via that Beatles connection? This was ’64, and anything Beatles was contagious. The label could easily have spread the rumor it was indeed them on the record. What a blunder.

The Quotations

Monday, January 16th, 2012

Listen: I Don’t Have To Worry / The Quotations
I

Sifting, separating. Everyone’s favorite thing to do with records.

In this particular case, I’m referring to the 45′s. Really making headway, immersing some big collections I’ve acquired into the master library, and finding doubles. Always a joy. Every so often a box is partially jammed with “where the hell did this stuff come from” items. Not via the aforementioned collections, but most likely garage and estate sales, church rummages and one of my favorite places for Northern and obscure soul, Academy Records in Williamsburg.

I’ve covered my love for the place previously, and never walk out with less than one gem, usually for $1 or lower.

So tonight, Phil came by for several hours of spinning and filing. We stumbled on a big pile of soul and Northern stuff, most likely from Academy, and found some real shockers. Like this one.

No sooner than ten seconds in, we were pawing through THE NORTHERN SOUL PRICE GUIDE, knowing surely it’d be there. Not wrong, The Quotations’ ‘I Don’t Have To Worry’ listed loudly as very, very desirable. And not without justification.

It isn’t often we repeat a single more than once when faced with a box that needs playing. This one got three spins.

No idea where these guys are from, nor do I know wack about their origins.

Howlin’ Wolf

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Listen: Do The Do /Howlin’ Wolf
Do

Blues. It’s a funny genre, almost extinct, possibly musical days gone forever.

I used to be okay with an LP side of the blues, and one day, my pal Phil Ward told me he hates the blues, and I swear, I’ve never been able to hear it the same since.

Now the occasional song or side of a single, if intriguing, still pushes my button. The dirtier the better. Some of Bessie Smith’s records are so filthy, they make Lil’ Kim sound as ass licking safe as Sheryl Crow.

Even the raunchiest of small town southern, chitlin circuit stations would not have touched ‘Do The Do’, hence it being banished to a Howlin’ Wolf B side status.

In ’90, Betty Boo went to #7 in the UK with ‘Doin’ The Do’, an undeniably terrific pop single. But in the early 60′s, there was no chance of getting airplay on a song that, let’s be real, was all about oral sex. Yeah right, no one did it then……

All good, makes this one even more fun to have and hear. ‘Do The Do’ never made it to the box set, and God knows if it’s ever been included on a compact disc, as I believe they are called. I’m sure, as the majors scrape every last morsel to keep lights on in those corner offices, it’s been re-released.

But does it sound like the mono vinyl 7″ pressing above? No way.

The Wildare Trio

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Listen: Cruising / The Wildare Trio WildareCruising.mp3

Listen: Bossa Nova Blueport / The Wildare Trio WildareBlueport.mp3

Don’t go to Yahoo searching for info on The Wildare Trio. The message from them: “Sorry, no matches found for “wildare-trio”. If you didn’t find what you’re looking for, try another search.” Why thank you very much. Glad I exchanged my YHOO shares for AAPL some seven years ago.

Now if you do want some history on The Wildare Express aka The Wildare Trio during their Brunswick days, check out FUNKY 16 CORNERS. Well, you really should check it regularly anyways. There you’ll discover many wonders of the 7″ black vinyl world. And specifically, this trio’s swinging, soulful Hammond organ leader Rueben Wilson, not to mention his combo’s historical timeline.

Me, I found this record, as with a good hundred or so more, at an Evangelist Church rummage and cake sale not too far from our house. I’d love to tell you where, but it’s one of my last undiscovered secrets. It’s a yearly do, and all the elderly church ladies sell traditional food: rice, string beans, sweet potato pie, mac & cheese and I mean a MEAN mac & cheese, corn bread, blackeyed peas, the lot. Every last morsel is homemade and laid out in a mismatch of their pots and pans from home. And then there’s the dessert table: pies galore, we’re talking homemade crusts, pineapple upside down cake, fresh peach and cherry cobblers with real, heart attack threatening whipped cream. Heaven right out there in front of a church – perfect.

I’m usually one of the first to show up, really early, like 6am. Certainly the first looking for vinyl. I try to go every year and have for at least fifteen. Even when there’s a bunch of records already out – the pastor still seems to enjoy leading me downstairs to dig through a few more.

‘Crusing’ / ‘Bossa Nova Blueport’ was part of a particularly good crop in that infamous basement. The lot were all pretty used, but nicely scratchy – almost to the point of politically correct. If one didn’t sample the music, the surface noise would’ve been of equal value. Despite their condition, the records were all housed in their original company sleeves. First miracle.

The best part of all this being I didn’t know what record it was for a few years now. Meaning I’d spent one entire festive Saturday night converting vinyl to mp3, getting such a machine like assembly line process in motion, that I forgot to identify a few of them until the next day, by which time the records, mixed with that evening’s simultaneous friends, food and drinks, had been shuffled and re-stacked beyond logic. It was the one last single I struggled to identify for ages, until this past Sunday morning. I was digging, really digging to find something fresh for the DJ set Phil and I were doing at Brooklyn Bowl later that afternoon. I found this, thought hmm and threw it onto the turntable. Boom – it’s that record! Found it. Always hoped I would but you know what it’s like when a single slips into that black hole of the unfiled. This was the last, evasive, unidentified mofo in my itunes library that was making me crazy for years. So I found some sort of peace, just as the Evangelist’s good book promises, I think.

Leon Haywood

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

LeonHaywoodMellow, Leon Haywood, Decca

Listen: It’s Got To Be Mellow / Leon Haywood LeonHaywoodMellow.mp3

I’ll make this real simple. The single’s a double sider must have. Despite one of my most hated words being ‘mellow’, I tolerate it just fine here. I loved when this got pop airplay back in ’67. And did you know while making solo vocal records, he also played with The Packers and Dyke & The Blazers? Me neither.

LeonHaywoodButtermilk, Leon Haywood, Decca

Listen: Cornbread And Buttermilk / Leon Haywood LeonHaywoodCornbreadButtermilk.mp3

Phil and I played this at the Otis Clay show we DJ’d a few nights back. Nothing like the A side, this is an instrumental for instance, it sounds damn good loud. As with many a food inspired title, how do you not listen to a single called ‘Cornbread And Buttermilk’?

Otis Clay

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

OtisClaySatisfied, Otis Clay, One-derful,

Listen: I’m Satisfied / Otis Clay OtisClaySatisfied.mp3

Otis Clay began a monthly series of Soul/RnB legends making long overdue returns to NY, at the City Winery. Bob Perry instigated the idea – and kindly asked me to dj. I suggested Phil (Lord Warddd) come along and spar, each of us manning a separate turntable. Who would have thought it would be so much fun? We had an absolute ball spinning, real hardcore soul fans appreciating all the obscurities we’d brung along.

Then there was Otis Clay. From the time when you REALLY had to deliver if you wanted a record released, he learned his craft from the church and the man stunned us all. I walked in a fan, and out a disciple. At 67, his voice was more powerful, raw, pure and riveting as it ever could have possibly been – and he delivered it so effortlessly. We, the audience, were not ready.

OtisClayTestify, Otis Clay, One-derful,

Listen: I Testify / Otis Clay OtisClayTestify.mp3

Several times indeed, he testified – I’m sure that’s what you’d call it, breaking down songs to a cappella middle parts – and seriously taking us on an out of body, other worldly or some such experience. Certainly not an everyday occurrence by any stretch.

OtisClayJukeboxTab, Otis Clay, One-derful,

Despite including neither side of his earliest One-derful non-charter in tonight’s set, his eyebrows raised when I asked him to fill out a trusty jukebox tab, requesting this double punch as my choice.

He talked about his Hi Records days, the Hi Rhythm players, Willie Mitchell, and hasn’t a bitter bone in his body. See him if you can. He’s doing a very rare one off June 16 in Chicago.

OtisClayPoster

Snooky

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

Listen:  Sugar Lips / Snooky

Listen: Sugar Lips / Snooky 01 Sugar Lis.mp3

I spoke with Roger Armstrong today. He was one of the guys who opened London’s Rock On record shop in the 70′s, having started out with a few standups of used records just off Shaftsbury Avenue and later, founded Ace Records, the catalog/reissue company, which he still owns and operates. Like the rest of us, he’s just a plain old record junkie. Luckily, when I bought Tony King’s 45 collection back in May, Roger offered a helping hand, and as a result, they’re still all boxed up and sitting in one of Roger’s spare rooms, waiting to come home to NYC. So we had a fun hour catch up call today. He mentioned the Camden Record Fair from a Sunday or two ago, whereby he picked up 70/80 singles, about two thirds of which he’d never heard of. Even the deepest record collectors and musicologists always are finding more records to collect. That’s the beauty of it all, there are so many records, not only to play but to discover as well, and the search is never ending. Wonderful.

Tonight Phil stopped by. We played singles for a good three hours. I pulled out a stack of Contempo releases I’d faithfully bought in the late 80′s and tucked away on a bottom shelf. The Notting Hill Record & Tape Exchange was the place to be then, for me that is. I always stayed at the The Pembridge Court Hotel, a mere block away. Sometimes I’d make a few trips to and from the shop with armloads of singles, dumping them in my room and resuming the digging minutes later. One time, Corinne dropped me off around 10 AM on her way to Soho to shop, and noticed me in the ground floor 7″ section around 4 PM that afternoon when she returned. I’d been there the whole time, by now starving and needing to piss badly. True story. All the 7′s were around a pound or so a piece then. I remember loving the look of the Contempo labels, and their stock sleeves, despite being pretty unfamiliar with the company. I did know of the BLUES & SOUL magazine that the label was loosely associated with from the 70′s. A good publication, even if they over celebrated themselves a bit too often. Well all these years later, I finally got around to playing through this chuck of Contempos, finding this, ‘Sugar Lips’ by Snooky, licensed from Feelgood Records Ltd in 1975.

Phil didn’t know a thing about this record’s history, not did I. We Googled Snooky. Googled Feelgood Records. Checked the RECORD COLLECTOR PRICE GUIDE. No info, not anywhere. Who is this? Who are Feelgood Records? No idea. Very bizarre. But in keeping with one of the great consistencies of record collecting, there’s always more records to discover. It never ever ends.

Interestingly, for such a hardcore soul label, this track sounds quite like The Tremeloes. I love it.

THE LO FIDELITY ALLSTARS / DEON JACKSON

Monday, November 10th, 2008

Battleflag / The Lo Fidelity Allstars test pressing

Battleflag / The Lo Fidelity Allstars

Love Makes The World Go Round / Deon Jackson

I hung out with Phil tonight. He stopped by to get some songs needed for a DJ job in Scotland that he’s schlepping to. He started brainstorming about his next project, The Cherry Truckers and played me a few tracks. It’s going to be pretty hot.
We met ten years ago when I picked up his band The Lo Fidelity Allstars for Columbia and became fast record collecting friends. We certainly had some fun bus rides on those US tours. Then a few months ago, by ridiculous coincidence, he and Holly bought an apartment two blocks from me. Why he left England is a constant to and fro between us but that’s another story. Deservedly, their single ‘Battleflag’ became a pretty big hit even in the States. You see the original version, which was blocked from release, had a Prince bit in it. The Lo Fi’s publisher, Warner-Chappell also published Prince, but couldn’t seem to get him to clear it – or according to some sources, had no rapport with him to even present the idea at all – so off it came. This post is that uncleared version. Some white labels were initially pressed for clubs, but the legal department freaked and in addition to ordering them destroyed – covered their asses by having them stamped ‘Uncleared Sample – Do Not Circulate’ first, just in case. That was way too tempting for me. I had a pal in the plant grab a few boxes and send them straight over to my office. They have since changed hands on eBay for crazy amounts. Worth it I must say. More importantly, this version is out there as it should be – and I bet Prince would like it too. See if you can spot the potential issue.

Listen: Battleflag / The Lo Fidelity Allstars 07 Battleflag.mp3

So Phil is flipping through stuff, putting together some songs to play at this Scottish do. Inevitably, these are the fun moments, when one good track leads you to find another. Not having heard this in ages, we gave it a play. I’d forgotten about it’s deep soul production, one only a great voice can fill. Never knew at the time if this was a guy or girl. Deon was pronounced just like Dionne, and it always baffled me until I saw him on Shindig. This record actually got it’s start on TV. It was CKLW’s Swingin’ Time, Detroit’s local American Bandstand knockoff that triggered it. He even managed an album on Carla’s parent label, Atco. According to Wikipedia, he’s a student supervisor nowadays.

Listen: Love Makes The World Go Round / Deon Jackson 11 Love Makes The World Go Round.mp3