Posts Tagged ‘The Searchers’

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

Shirley & Lee / Slade

Monday, July 19th, 2010

Listen: Let The Good Times Roll / Shirley & Lee ShirleyLeeGoodTimes.mp3

There’s nothing like an original pressing and company sleeve when it sounds like this. There are probably a heap of accurate adjectives that apply here, like juke joint, chitlin circuit or barrelhouse RnR. I hope so, cause that’s how I hear it.

This being Shirley & Lee’s biggest hit (#1 RnB / #20 Pop: 1956), it was a drastic change from their earlier sweetheart, call and response sound and releases. Indeed, they were for a while coined as ‘Sweethearts Of The Blues’.

Years later, Sylvia Robinson, who went on to start Sugarhill Records, signed Shirley Mae Goodman and together they had a massive hit with ‘Shame Shame Shame’ as Shirley & Company on her All Platinum imprint.

Listen: Let The Good Times Roll / Slade SladeGoodTimesRoll.mp3

Covered by many: The Righteous Brothers, Barbra Streisand, The Searchers, Joe Strummer, Harry Nilsson, The Rolling Stones, Roy Orbison, Conway Twitty, Freddy Fender, Buckwheat Zydeco, The Animals, Fishbone and George Clinton, my favorite version clocks in via a working class glam rendition by the almighty Slade.

I sure hope Shirley Mae Goodman and Leonard Lee, who also wrote their biggest hit, got the publishing.

The Searchers

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

SearchersTakeUK, The Searchers, Pye, Kapp

SearchersTakeUS, The Searchers, Pye, Kapp

Listen: Take Me For What I’m Worth / The Searchers SearchersTakeWorth.mp3

Despite their clean cut Mersey look, The Searchers made consistently good singles for years. A staple of The English Invasion, like The Beatles and Freddie & The Dreamers, their past haunted them a bit when smaller labels in the US that had issued unsuccessful debut singles trudged them out to compete with more current hits. Didn’t seem to harm them much as ‘Sugar & Spice’ fared equally well next to ‘Needles & Pins’ in ’64.

A short time later, hits became a bit of a struggle (although most were well chosen covers), with spotty airplay hindering P.F. Sloan’s ‘Take Me For What I’m Worth’ unfairly. It’s seven week run that began in January of ’66 got it to only #76. Oddly, it didn’t fare much better back at home (#20).

SearchersHaveYouEverUS, The Searchers, Pye, Kapp

Listen: Have You Ever Loved Somebody / The Searchers SearchersHaveSomebody.mp3

Maybe the suits needed to go, and the adaption to an image more in line with Them, The Yardbirds or The Kinks would have kept initial fans interested. Even The Beatles dumped that look, probably in their constant effort to unsuccessfully keep up with The Rolling Stones, although for predictably klutzy flower power / Nehru gear. ‘Have You Ever Loved Somebody’, like ‘Take For What I’m Worth’ before it, was highlighted by a very unique vocal harmony that gave both singles something irresistible. Again, US airplay was playing it’s fickle hand and it’s short three week chart run found it stalling at #94, with a similar fate in the UK (#48).