Archive for the ‘Gloria Lynne’ Category

Mitty Collier

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Listen: I Had A Talk With My Man / Mitty Collier
I Had A Talk With My Man / Mitty Collier

The oddest things can happen, and will.

Mitty Collier got pop play on my local Top 40 when I was a kid. Now, her records were strictly black hits, even though ‘I Had A Talk With My Man’ did cross to some pop outlets in major cities. I did not, however, grow up in a major city. But WOLF, as I’ve raved on about before, was indeed an educational source in it’s day. Right there next to The Rolling Stones and Them we could hear The Vibrations, Irma Thomas and yes, Mitty Collier, thanks to their programming excellence.

Basically, the single was a secularised version of James Cleveland’s gospel song ‘I Had A Talk With God Last Night’ and reached #41 on Billboard’s Top 100.

Gloria Lynne, who had jazzier material and therefore more grown up appeal, grabbed some airplay on the easy listening formats, as it was referred to then. So my parents’ stations played her, and I regularly heard ‘Watermelon Man’ at our local barbers. There’s a definite resemblance between their voices, both full and heavy.

I actually bought ‘I Had A Talk With My Man’ at Walt’s Records instead of a new Searchers single one particular week. If you’re listening, this is it, rough around the edges but still intact.

Listen: Free Girl (In The Morning) / Mitty Collier
Free Girl (In The Morning) / Mitty Collier

Despite being a freezing November Saturday, ‘I Had A Talk With My Man’ brings back warm, vivid winter memories of rushing from the bus into Walt’s, desperate to find this record. Once back home, I played it over and over. But in the weeks that followed, B side ‘Free Girl (In The Morning)’ ended up grabbing my attention and by Christmas break, I probably made everybody nuts with it.

These RnB records really did go over the heads of my friends. Motown was way okay, but the hardcore stuff, not so easily tolerated. A twisted little kid, yes, happy to have been one.

Listen: Together / Mitty Collier
Together / Mitty Collier

Keeping up with the B side infatuations, ‘Together’, the flip to her next single ‘No Faith, No Love’, was really a gem. A most obvious similarity between ‘Together’ and ‘Bring It On Home To Me’ is undeniable. I wonder which of the two was written first.

Not long after releasing her final records for Chess, Mitty Collier was stricken with throat problems, polyps, which ultimately threatened to end her career. Never to sing again, she became completely devoted to her Christian beliefs. By ’72, there was an unexpected turn of events, Mitty’s voice regained strength and her ability to sing restored.

One of the first recordings as a result: ‘I Had A Talk With God Last Night’. Gospel albums followed. She established a Bible Study Telephone Prayer Line and a community outreach program, “Feed-A-Neighbor” (FAN), for which she received the key to the city of Birmingham in 1987.

Mitty Collier became a preacher, and was ordained in 1989, later being appointed pastor of the More Like Christ (MLC) Christian Fellowship Ministries in Chicago. She has received a number of humanitarian and other awards, including the National Council Of Negro Women (NCNW) and Woman Of Wonder Award 2000.

If that doesn’t warm someone’s heart, nothing will.

The above UK demo gifted to me by Vicki Wickham, a living saint. Thank you dearest Vicki. XXX

Gloria Lynne

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

Watermelon Man / Gloria Lynne

Listen: Watermelon Man / Gloria Lynne
Watermelon Man / Gloria Lynne

Michael Alago and I worked together at Elektra for ages. We’d first met when he booked The Ritz a few years prior. The great times and mischief we got up to at that label, it’s an HBO series waiting to happen. Michael’s one of the great A&R people out there as well, having signed Metallica, Alan Vega, White Zombie, Nina Simone. It’s pretty hard to top his track record.

There was a moment when we were sent on a mission to find some classic artists for a series of Nonesuch jazz releases, those that might still be active, but hadn’t recorded in a while. This was a perfect reason to have an extended champagne lunch at BicĂ© on the company card and brainstorm a list. Gloria Lynne came to mind. After a few phone calls, we found she managed herself and got her home number from the fellow who booked The Blue Note at the time, name escapes me. Turns out her’s was the exact same as Michael’s, bar the last digit.

In those days, we used to get back to one of our places, four or five in the morning, fresh from another night at Danceteria or The Ritz, still ready to go; seriously. Sad but true. We’d often dial her number up to that very last digit, deciding it was time to make the call, then chickening out. Thankfully.

Check out her rap at the end of ‘Watermelon Man’. This is so blatant, so nasty. Lil’ Kim has nothing on her.

SMASH / FONTANA CATALOG 1968

Saturday, February 6th, 2010

Smash Fontana Catalog

Smash Fontana Catalog

Smash Fontana Catalog

Smash Fontana Catalog

God knows where I got this – probably wrote away for it being the record collector I was at eight years old. Still have a few Fontana 7″ mailers from that time period as well. I would write to this person, Claranelle Morris, at Fontana’s main office in Chicago back then, pestering her about The Herd and Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich. She’d send photos, bios, sometimes even a single. I guess she figured you couldn’t hear or buy them in the sticks of the Syracuse suburbs, so give the kid the record already. We’re going to toss them anyways. Thank you Claranelle. To go back and police the Fontana dumpsters. If only.

It was years later, when I finally got a break to get into the business when Howard Thompson gave me my first A&R job at Elektra. Without him, I’d still be struggling. That’s when I first discovered that as soon as a record isn’t current, being worked at radio or believed in (at Columbia, my last label job, this often happened within a few weeks: Charlie Walk in particular convinced many he was quite good at A&R, he’s now unemployed), off to the dumpster went the product, and many times off to the scrapheap went the act’s career.

But let’s not lose focus. So I found this catalog in one of the many trunks of stuff I’ve saved over the years. It’s just like new, man, I wouldn’t mind a box lot of many of the titles here. Of course, I loved the English groups back then, but also had a jones for Gloria Lynne. It wasn’t only because she was on Fontana (which was always a favorite label, Suzanne King made me a great Fontana T Shirt for my birthday one year. She lives in Chicago now. Visit the Fontana building Suzanne. It was at 35 E. Wacker Drive).

Gloria Lynne had a bunch of records on Everest prior. I had a copy of ‘Indian Love Call’ from that period, given to me in one of the Saturday morning piles of singles my uncle, a jukebox operator, would drop off instead of trashing when I was very young, about five or six. It’s probably the reason the record collecting gene was dangerously awakened in my DNA.

I paid attention to Gloria Lynne singles. I often heard them on the radio playing in the local barber shop where I’d get my haircut as a little boy. Must have been an AC station of the day, way before it’s then output turned into bachelor pad, lounge, hipster stuff decades later.

And check out some of the soundtracks here too.

Fay Bennett / Lord Creator

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

Listen: Big Cocky Wally / Fay Bennett
Big

When thinking about blatant and nasty x-rated records, as is the case with the ending to Gloria Lynne’s ‘Watermelon Man’, I couldn’t help but remember ‘Big Cocky Wally’, a Lee Perry production from ’76, somehow never reissued or compiled. I think these style records were officially labelled rude. When coupled with the psychedelic dub Scratch was known for at that moment, it became an underground sensation, and difficult to find.

Fay Bennett was not new to this style either, having released ‘Bedroom Mazurka’ and the hysterical ‘Punanny’, which if you know your patois translates to…go ahead, guess.

“Gimme da royal flush” has to be the best one liner ever….

Big Pussy Sally / Lord Creator

Listen: Big Pussy Sally / Lord Creator
Big

As with loads of hits from Jamaica in the 60′s and 70′s, an answer record was many times hot on the heels. ‘Big Pussy Sally’, when scheduled, held loads of anticipation. Will Lord Creator out filth Fay Bennett?

Unfortunately, the serious vocal delivery in a lover’s style softened the impact, so to speak. And lack of any racey lyrics didn’t help.