Barbara Lynn ‎– 1968 – Here Is Barbara Lynn

A fantastic album of soul from Barbara Lynn – an oft-overlooked gem in the crown of Atlantic during their glory soul days in the 60s, and a singer with a raw soulful style that really deserved greater exploration! The album’s filled with wonderful original tunes, written either by Barbara or arrangers Cliff Thomas, Ed Thomas, and Bob McRee – and there’s an overall style that’s nicely free of some of the more familiar Atlantic Records modes of the time – quite possibly because the set was recorded at the Grits & Gravy Studios in Clinton, Mississippi by Huey P Meux – who mostly did more obscure indie work at the time. Whatever the case, the whole thing is Barbara Lynn’s lasting tribute – and it’s filled with great titles that include “You’ll Lose A Good Thing” which crossed over to the pop Top 10. Tracks A1 You’ll Lose A Good Thing …

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O.V. Wright ‎– 1977 – Into Something (Can’t Shake Loose)

A stone killer from OV Wright – a record that’s got all the raw, deeply soulful vocals we love in his early work – mixed with some wicked 70s Hi Records production from Willie Mitchell! Imagine an Al Green record, but with rawer vocals, and you’ve got a good idea of the feel of this one – a perfect setting for OV’s massive talent, and a great way for him to reach out to a wider audience too! The sound is impeccable – about as classic as you can get for Hi – and titles include a number of great Willie Mitchell originals. Tracks A1 Into Something (Can’t Shake Loose) 4:22 A2 I Feel Love Growin’ 3:47 A3 Precious Precious 3:30 A4 The Time We Have 3:00 A5 You Gotta Have Love 3:05 B1 Trying to Live My Life 2:39 B2 Medley 12:46 a. God Blessed Our Love b. When …

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Charles Cherell – 1974 – For Sweet People From Sweet Charles

A supremely fantastic album, and one that’s always woefully overlooked in discussions of James Brown’s incredible People label! Sweet Charles, Charles Sherell, was a great lost soul vocalist who had a voice that was warm and mellow, with a sweetness that was often missing from James’ singing – but which sounded great with his arrangements and production. Fred Wesley and Dave Matthews arranged this one and only album, and the record’s a great blend of sweet soul tracks, funky numbers, and other stellar grooves. There’s a killer version of “Soul Man“, that begins with a very tasty break; the monster “Yes, It’s You“, which has a sweetly sliding intro that’s ripe for sampling; the righteous political “Why Can’t I Be Treated Like A Man“‘; and lots of other nice ones too! Tracks A1 Strangers in the Night 3:32 A2 Soul Man 2:57 A3 Dedicated to the One I Love 3:55 …

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Isaac Hayes – 1976 – Juicy Fruit (Disco Freak)

Review by Mark Brian Mathew Whenever reading about Isaac Hayes and his discography this is the album that seems to inspire most haters, and it took a turn for the worst, when this long out of print album was reissued on CD in 2009 along with the 1971 remasterd “Black Moses” album. Critics had a field day in quickly stating that “Juicy Fruit” lacks the cohesiveness of “Black Moses” and sounds phoney in compared to Hayes other works. Furthermore it has aged poorly and not a single track on this album was good enough to garner chart interest even back in 76. Oh, and yes, it would have been nice if “Juicy Fruit” were a worthy addition to Hayes’ catalog, but in reality it’s pretty forgettable. Mr. Hayes traded in his smooth and funky signature sound for watered down dance floor beats, and this album especially proves how the frivolity …

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The Baby Huey Story – 1971 – The Living Legend

With a psychedelic brand of soul and a vocal style that drew comparisons to Otis Redding, the 300-400 pound Baby Huey was set to break out of the Chicago scene with the release of his debut album. Unfortunately, his weight and taste for drugs resulted in a fatal heart attack that prevented him from seeing the release of the disc. Featuring Curtis Mayfield’s Hard Times and Mighty Mighty Children plus a cover of Sam Cooke’s A Change Is Gonna Come,Baby Huey’s lone album (recorded in 1970 and released in 1971) has become a sought-after collectible among soul fanatics. Tracks A1 Listen to Me 6:35 A2 Mama Get Yourself Together 6:10 A3 A Change Is Going to Come 9:23 B1 Mighty, Mighty 2:45 B2 Hard Times 3:19 B3 California Dreamin’ 4:43 B4 Running 3:36 B5 One Dragon Two Dragon 4:02 Huey, a Chicago native, was a protege of Curtis Mayfield (who …

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The Politicians Featuring McKinley Jackson 1972

Jackson was a long standing member of Motown’s sessions band, playing trombone on dozens (if not hundreds) of Holland-Dozier-Holland recording sessions for the label.   That would certainly explain how Jackson and company ended up releasing one of the first album’s on the trio’s post-Motown Hot Wax imprint.  Musically the album featured a collection of ten largely-original instrumentals ranging from hardcore funk (‘Psycha-Soula-Funkadelic‘ and ‘Funky Toes‘), to a radio friendly ballad (‘A Song for You’).   Technically these guys were pretty amazing, easily measuring up top Motown’s Funk brothers, Hi Records’ Hodges Brothers, or The Memphis Horns.  Unfortunately, the absence of a singer clearly limited their audience.  Still, it’s one of the better releases on the Invictus/Hot Wax roster. Tracks A1 Psycha-Soula-Funkadelic 3:48 A2 The World We Live in 4:21 A3 Church 3:15 A4 Free Your Mind 2:50 A5 Everything Good Is Bad 4:14 B1 A Song for You 4:34 B2 Speak …

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The Four Tops‎ – 1973 – Main Street People

Review by Mark Brian Mathew Whatever happened to the days we met on Main Street? “Main Street People” kicks off with familiar street sounds, smooth vocal riffs and deep harmonies, all combined within a short introduction of the title track that leads with ease to the next song, the poignant mid-tempo “I Just Can’t Get You Out Of Mind”. Nine tracks further down the road the album finishes off nicely with the full-length rendition of “Main Street People”. What one can find inbetween is a flawless mix of R & B and pop, offering each song either; a cool arrangement, fine elements of lush orchestration, forceful soul rhythms, funky wah-wah guitars or smooth ballad vocals. Never neglecting the group’s trademark left-of-center harmonies and always matched by a skilled backing band in full swing, including the likes of Wilton Felder on Bass or Paul Humphrey on Drums. Tracks A1 Main Street …

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Joe Tex – 1965 – Hold What You’ve Got

Rip and Research by Mr.Moo Posting and additional info’s by Nikos For the most part, this early long-player from Joe Tex favors the goofier side of his musical personality rather than the home-truth moral lessons which often dominated much of his work. While “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show”, “You Better Get It” and the title tune all offer heartfelt advice on love and life, the Caribbean-flavored “I’m Not Going To Work Today” and the Roger Miller-turned-hawk anthem “Are We Ready” both aim squarely for the funny bone, as does the exasperated “You Can Stay”, a rant against noisy neighbors, while the slinky “You’ve Got What It Takes” confronts a seriously sexy woman with an appreciative smile. Of course, being the country boy that he was at heart, Joe Tex’s comic numbers are still seasoned with friendly advice on living a better life, but Tex’s warm, emphatic delivery and the easy-going but potently …

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The Lost Generation – 1972 – Young, Tough and Terrible

They’re young and tough – and especially wonderful too – easily one of the most compelling harmony soul groups to ever hail from the Windy City! The set’s a Chicago soul gem from the early 70s – recorded with a laidback, slightly tripped-out vibe that’s different than the tighter styles of other groups from the same scene – definitely righteous at points, with some of the superbad modes you might hear from an east coast lineup like The Delfonics or Soul Generation, especially when they were trying to get a bit more conscious in their message. Arrangements are great – handled by Tom Tom Washington, Eugene Record, and Cliff Davis – very much at the best Brunswick mode, but again with a deeper sort of vibe too. The title cut’s a monster, and a very fitting follow-up to their earlier “Sly, Slick, & Wicked” track – and the album features …

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Lee Moses – 1971 – Time and Place

Lee Moses, perhaps due to his tragically minimal output, never got inducted into the pantheon of great soul men, but he should stand strong with the likes of Eddie Floyd, William Bell, and other lovingly remembered Stax/Volt artists, or those he mentions in “Got That Will” such as Dionne Warwick or Jimi Hendrix or Sly Stone, as he tells how he has the will to make it big like them, that his name will be on top. His vocal style is distinctively his own, like those artists, he has a raspy, guttural soul voice, somewhere in between early John Fogerty and Otis Redding, and the man plays some mean guitar and could have held his own with luminaries like Curtis Mayfield. All of which makes Time and Place especially poignant. This is a man who really did have what it took to be one of the legends of soul music, …

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Billy Preston ‎– 1970 – Encouraging Words

  “Encouraging Words” was the second and last album on Apple Records for long-time friend and sometimes collaborator with The Beatles – American keyboardist and Soul Singer Billy Preston. And along with his excellent debut LP the year before (1969’s “That’s The Way God Planned It”) – it’s not just one of the labels better offerings, it’s a criminally forgotten Seventies Soul gem – and arguably the best album of his long career. The cast is impressive  – GEORGE HARRISON co-produced the entire album with Preston, ERIC CLAPTON played guitar on 3 tracks – “Right Now“, “Use What You Got” and “Encouraging Words“. RINGO STARR and KLAUS VOORMAN are said to be on Drums and Bass respectively, while DELANEY BRAMLETT also plays guitar on “Encouraging Words” with Eric. The Rhythm Section for THE TEMPTATIONS are on there (Bass, Guitarist, Drums) while members of SAM and DAVE’S band played Drums and …

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Gene Harris & The Three Sounds – 1968 – Elegant Soul

 A key meeting between the Three Sounds trio and the amazing Monk Higgins – done at a time when Higgins was taking his Chicago-crafted grooves to work on the west coast – and doing some really wonderful productions with Dee Ervin! The set features full Higgins backings throughout – a mix of jazz and strings that takes the usual Gene Harris sound into territory that you’d be much more likely to hear on Cadet Records back in Chi-town – a very hip, very soulful style that’s totally great throughout, and a much-needed break from the straighter piano trio sound of other 60s albums the group did on Blue Note. Some tracks are laidback, but others are hard and funky – the kind of sock-solid cuts that have made the album a favorite with sample heads and soul dancers over the years – much heavier keyboard work than we’d ever heard …

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Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes – 1975 – To Be True

The third album from the melodramatic smooth soul quintet featured an array of R&B classics. While Teddy Pendergrass was featured on this album, he did not lead every song. The three singles — “Where Are All My Friends“, “Bad Luck“, “Hope That We Can Be Together Soon” were all Billboard R&B Top Ten chart hits, and “Bad Luck” reached number one, sporting an incessant grooving rhythm where Teddy Pendergrass cuts into the lyric with conviction. “Hope That We Can Be Together Soon” features the velvety smooth vocals of Sharon Paige on an easy-flowing number. While Harold Melvin carries most of the vocal duties, Pendergrass steps in for a one-liner and closes out on the vamp. Whereas most ballads climax towards the end of the song, the most climatic part of this number one song is the string and horn intro. This is one of four consecutive great albums to come …

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