Posts Tagged ‘Pye International’

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

Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band

Saturday, August 4th, 2012

Listen: Tell It Like It Is / Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band
Tell

Here we have a song, ‘Tell It Like It Is’, so perfect via it’s most known rendition by Aaron Neville, that it takes a brave contender to even attempt one upping it. These challenges usually scare off all the competition.

I guess the magic in a strong composition can also be it’s greatness when indeed delivered competently. Enter Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band. Making their mark in the UK back when you really had to sing in order to make records, these guys perfected themselves during those all nighters at London’s Flamingo and such. Covers of current US RnB hits being a priority for the many US servicemen in attendance, if history has been accounted accurately. And it shows on ‘Tell It Like It Is’.

Now here’s a song one of those musically vacant white girls blessed with wonderful black voices should cover. Someone send this post to Joss Stone please.

Willie Dixon

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Listen: Walking The Blues / Willie Dixon
Walking The Blues / Willie Dixon

Nowadays, especially if this were shorter, it would be known as an interlude. A lot of urban albums thread songs together with simple, stripped down stuff like this. But in ’64, ‘Walking The Blues’ was a single, how lucky for mankind.

The UK hipsters turned musicians of the day were insatiable for almost any US blues player. Stories of major rock band formations based on the love of American blues legends are endless. Willie Dixon was king. After all, he wrote “Little Red Rooster”, “Hoochie Coochie Man”, “Spoonful”, “I Just Want to Make Love to You”, “I Ain’t Superstitious”, “My Babe”, “Wang Dang Doodle”…the list goes on.

This B side makes for a nice, not overplayed, listen, complete with the original shop sticker on the company sleeve indicating point of purchase.

Alvin Robinson / Chuck Jackson & Maxine Brown

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

Listen: Something You Got /Alvin Robinson
Something You Got / Alvin Robinson

The voice. It’s why there’s not a song Alvin Robinson ever recorded that doesn’t hit dead center. Even though his steady income through the 60′s until the late 80′s was as a guitarist, it’s one of the wonders of the world that Alvin Robinson’s voice never took center stage, as in I wonder how that’s even possible. There are some great blog overviews of his recorded history, this one will lead you onto to others.

My first introduction to ‘Something You Got’ came via Them, one of the many highlights on THEM AGAIN. Not long afterward, my uncle gave me Alvin Robinson’s version, complete with the jukebox tab, basically unplayed, out of some malt shop account his vending company serviced. In most such locations, white rock soaked up kid’s dimes, bar only Motown mainstream hits when it came to anything black based. Not sure why he’d even take a chance on records like these, given jukebox companies needed to buy their records from one stops and seldom got anything but double A sided promos for free, which were clearly unusable in the players.

Listen: Something You Got /Chuck Jackson & Maxine Brown
Something You Got /Chuck Jackson & Maxine Brown

Years later, in a panic to get everything Maxine Brown centric, what did I discover but a version and vocal that could actually equal Alvin Robinson’s. A mid-chart (#55) Billboard Top 100 single in ’65, it was one of several duets they released together and their most successful. Three of the others, coincidentally, all peaked at #91.

James Brown & The Famous Flames

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Listen: Cold Sweat (Part 2) / James Brown & The Famous Flames JamesBrownColdSweat2.mp3

“Excuse me while I do the boogaloo”.

And meanwhile the rest of us can try finding ‘Cold Sweat (Part 2)’ on any number on James Brown comps and anthologies. Well don’t waste your time.

The full seven/eight minute take is out there, but not the original two part monos like on the 7″. That’s the problem with many reissues. Someone goes back, finds the master – the stereo master that is, cleans it up and sells the ‘remastered version’. Never the two mono sides from the original single. We’re supposed to get excited about this? What it really means is all the good stuff gets scraped off, leaving something clean and polished, and dull.

That’s why the oldies stations don’t ultimately get me excited. All those remastered versions of ‘California Girls’ or ‘The Sounds Of Silence’, as if we need to hear them ever again to start, come off sterile and missing something. The dirt, that’s what.

Well here’s the mono ‘Cold Sweat (Part 2)’ before the wash and wax.

Maxine Brown

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

maxineohnouk, Maxine Brown, Ace Records, Wand, Manfred Mann, Carole King, Goffin, Fontella Bass, Dusty Springfield, Dee Dee Warwick

Listen: Oh No Not My Baby / Maxine Brown MaxineBrownOhNo.mp3

Infamous Carole King (did you know she married one of The Myddle Class) / Gerry Goffin classic. Like many of their compositions, ‘Oh No Not My Baby’ was recorded by a whole bunch of folks. Cher, Manfred Mann, Fontella Bass, Dusty Springfield and Dee Dee Warwick amongst my favorites.

The US hit version went to Maxine Brown (#24, 1964). Unfortunately, most of her singles for Wand (Pye International in the UK for this one), as well her duets with Chuck Jackson, achieved undeserved low Billboard pop chart peaks, Bubbling Under The Hot 100 entries or non hits whatsoever. Hence, their place in every last Northern Soul price guide.

As with most of her work for the label, Cissy Houston and The Sweet Inspirations provided backups. It had to have been a magical time around the New York studios that catered to the RnB sessions in those days. Seems a day didn’t pass without a classic being recorded, just think of all the unreleased, forgotten songs.

Worth getting: BEST OF THE WAND YEARS, a flawless cd comp from Ace UK with the usual amazing booklet. The details will have you drooling.

Above: Jukebox Tab signed by Maxine Brown

Cyril Davies & His R. & B. All Stars

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

cyrilpreachinuka, Cyril Davies, The Rolling Stones, Pye International

Listen: Preachin’ The Blues / Cyril Davies & His R. & B. All StarsCyrilPreachin.mp3

cyrilsweet, Cyril Davies & His R. & B. All Stars, Pye International, The Rolling Stones, John Mayall,

Listen: Sweet Mary /Cyril Davies & His R. & B. All StarsCyrilSweet.mp3

I’m just so happy I own this. I only got it off eBay a few years back, and was rather excited thinking it was the same song I knew from The Gun Club – but it is not. No big deal, it’s a nice one to have still. Like Alexis Korner and John Mayall, Cyril Davies is often credited with helping to establish skiffle into purist blues, the form so many of the soon-to-be historic bands became addicted to. After his Blues Incorporated lineup that included Charlie Watts disbanded, The R. & B. All Stars were formed with many a member from Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages. They recorded five tracks for Pye’s new ‘R&B’ imprint (basically a logo on the stock sleeve). These are two.