Gloria Ann Taylor – 1973 – Deep Inside Me plus singles

Gloria Taylor grew up just out of the reach of death, her young life defined by a mother’s love for her seriously ill daughter and an abiding belief in the healing power of the Lord. Within this cauldron of faith and fear a soul singer was nurtured and cast into the world with a voice imbued with gritty honey soul and an ache tempered by joy and hope. The singles that the North Toledo native cut alongside her husband, producer Walter Whisenhunt, in the ’60s and ’70s were fascinating genre-bending exercises in funk, soul, disco, R&B, gospel, and rock that faded into obscurity, lost to questionable business decisions, a weariness with the music industry grind, and bad luck. Thanks to an Internet-fueled underground market for old soul music that has been lost — a 12-inch copy of Taylor’s 1972 song “Deep Inside of You” is on sale online for more …

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Bobby Wilson – 1975 – I’ll Be Your Rainbow

Here’s another example of soul music’s one-album wonders. Bobby Wilson is yet another in a long list of genuine soul talents who recorded one outstanding, albeit commercially unsuccessful, album and then never released another record. Released on the Buddah label, which was home to many other fine soul recordings, in the mid-70s, I’ll Be Your Rainbow is a deep soul delight. The whole album flows beautifully and is stacked full of great songs, though if pushed to name highlights i’ll mention the dramatic opener “Deeper and Deeper” and “Don’t Shut Me Out“. A rare real soul treasure. Tracks A1 Deeper And Deeper 6:17 A2 Hey, Girl (Tell Me) 3:49 A3 Let Me (Put Love Back In Your Life) 2:24 A4 I’ll Be Your Rainbow 5:45 A5 Here Is Where The Love Is 2:59 B1 Don’t Shut Me Out 4:54 B2 You Make Me Feel Good All Over 3:10 B3 I’ll …

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Rasa – 1978 – Everything You See Is Me

A deeply spiritual group at the core – so much so that the songs here are all guided towards the aims of Krishna – but one who works with the best sort of jazzy soul styles of the late 70s! The album’s become a surprising modern soul classic over the years – a record that was originally aimed at a small audience, but which has moved into countless collections – thanks to its righteous message and warmly jazzy grooves – an approach that’s quite heavy on smooth keyboards too! Lead vocals are mostly by Chris McDaniels – who’s got a laidback blue-eyed soul approach – but a few other singers are featured as well – and Randy Brecker also plays a bit of trumpet on the record. Tracks A1 Everything You See Is Me 3:40 A2 Questions in My Mind 2:52 A3 A Perfect Love 3:38 A4 Just for Believing …

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Jean Carn – 1976 – Jean Carn

Jean Carn’s self-titled debut for Gamble & Huff’s Philadelphia International Records could be subtitled “Philly soul at its best.” Released during the era of emerging sophisticated soul-formatted FM radio stations, Jean Carn provided perfectly suited singles, the wise R&B hit “Free Love” and format-friendly, radio-aired LP tracks: the airy ballads “No Laughing Matter“, “I’m in Love Again” and the jazzy “You Are All I Need“. “Free Love,” “Time Waits for No One,” “You Got a Problem,” and the second single “If You Wanna Go Back” were all long-running hits on Billboard’s Hot Disco charts. A classy affair that merged the best of ’70s soul and jazz with solid song-writing and tight instrumental support (MFSB, Instant Funk). Tracks A1 Free Love 4:11 A2 No Laughing Matter 4:55 A3 I’m In Love Once Again 6:54 A4 Don’t You Know Love When You See It 5:18 B1 Where Did You Ever Go 3:58 …

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Hunt’s Determination Band ‎– 1977 – This Is Determination Problems

 An obscure little funky group from Detroit, one with a tight ensemble sound that’s very much in the Earth Wind & Fire mode – complete with a really great horn section, plenty of bass-heavy grooves a the bottom, and a relatively spiritual feel that comes through strongly on the best tracks! There’s a slight jazzy finish to some of the cuts too, a deeper sound that makes Hunt‘s Determination stand out strongly from their contemporaries – even some of the better-known groups of the time. And although indie, there’s a real polish to the whole record – a well-conceived sound that comes off beautifully from start to finish, and which has always made this one a standout for collectors!  Tracks A1 Danceland 3:28 A2 Tonight 7:40 A3 Problems 4:05 B1 Loneliness 4:16 B2 Number One Lady 3:33 B3 I Got My Nut 5:03 B4 Where The Funk Come From 3:22 …

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Jimmy McGriff – 1971 – Soul Sugar

A fantastic album, and one of Jimmy’s hardest to find! The set is quite different than most of Jimmy’s other work – and it features short, hard, funky tracks that feel more like obscure 7″ singles than any of Jimmy’s straighter soul jazz work. It almost sounds like The JBs are backing him – as the drums are tight, bass is great, and the overall groove is fantastic! The record’s a little like Jimmy’s Electric Funk album, but harder, with more breaks and basslines – and a non-stop groove that’s a pure delight for any fan of deep funk! Tracks A1 Sugar, Sugar 2:46 A2 Ain’t It Funky Now 3:39 A3 Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours 2:49 A4 Dig on It 3:08 A5 Bug Out 3:04 B1 The Now Thing 2:57 B2 You’re the One 3:13 B3 Fat Cakes 3:49 B4 New Volume 3:36 B5 Spirit in the Dark 2:48 …

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Johnny Bristol – 1975 – Feeling the Magic

Johnny Bristol possesed one of the most sexy voices in sould music of the 1970s. His understated delivery and smooth intonation puts him on a different level than his peers Isaac Hayes, Barry White or Marvin Gaye for that matter. This was his second album for MGM, after the smashing success of “Hang On In There Baby” the year before. While the cover might insinuate this is a “make out” album (which largely it is) it is also an album with autobiographical touches such as “Morgantown, North Carolina“. The title track “Feeling the Magic” might be a soundtrack for a quiet evening in bed while “I’m Just a Loser” goes down smooth with a shot of rum. Johnny’s impassioned vocals run the gamut here, which makes this an album a winner on many levels. If unfamiliar with Johnny Bristol, this would be an excellent place to start.  Tracks A1 Leave …

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The Jones Girls – 1980 – At Peace With Woman

Classic Jones Girls for Philly! The record’s a landmark album in the shift from Philly disco to sophisticated modern – and the smooth tight vocals of The Jones Girls are to the latter half of Philly what the runaway singing of Three Degrees were to the early half. Includes their excellent remake of the Stylistics’ “Children of the Night” – which has a cool sample riff on the intro – plus the cuts “I Just Love The Man“, “When I’m Gone“, “At Peace With Woman“, and “Back In the Day”. One of the best female records on Philly International, and with excellent work by Dexter Wansel and Kenny Gamble!  Tracks A1 Children of the Night 5:11 A2 Let’s Celebrate (Sittin’ on Top of the World) 4:19 A3 Dance Turned Into a Romance 4:29 A4 I Close My Eyes 4:56 B1 At Peace With Woman 4:31 B2 When I’m Gone 4:49 …

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The Supreme Jubilees – 1980 – It’ll All Be Over

With roots as a gospel quartet, The Supreme Jubilees self-released their debut album in 1980. With only 500 copies pressed, it’s been in demand by enthusiasts ever since. It’s easy to see why as the band flex from classic, feel-good gospel “I Am On The Lord’s Side” to the silky, honey-toned emphatic soul of “You Don’t Know” via stomping, clam-tight funk jams such as “Stop Today“. Truly timeless. A gospel album from the end of the 70s, but a set that works equally well as a soul album too – thanks to the beautiful presentation of the grooves and the vocals! The vibe here is often laidback – more in a mellow Marvin Gaye sort of mode – surprisingly slinky and sexy for such a spiritual group, as are the lead vocals from Dave Kingsby – one of those singers who might have been huge, had he left the gospel …

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Johnny Guitar Watson – 1977 – A Real Mother For Ya

Johnny Guitar Watson at the top of his game – working here in a sublime mix of funk, blues, and soul – all crafted into a groove that was uniquely Watson‘s own! Johnny may have started the 70s in relative obscurity – down from some hit work in the 50s and 60s – but by the time of this set, he was back on top, and working in a confident groove that few others from his older era could ever hope to achieve! There’s a youthful sense of sex and soul that run through the entire set – an effortlessly slinky groove that never goes too over the top in the funk department, and which makes just the right use of electric instrumentation and tripped-out production, but never gets too wrapped up in either – and often comes off with some great jazzy touches as well. Tracks A1 A Real …

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Sweet Thunder – 1978 – Sweet Thunder

Formed in 1975 in Philadelphia, by Booker Newberry III (keyboards, lead vocals). The other members were Charles Allen Buie ((lead guitar, keyboards, lead vocals), Rudell Alexander (bass, vocals), John Aaron (drums, vocals), David Thomas (16) (keyboards, vocals). Newberry began his professional singing career in the group Mystic Nights around 1971. Moving to Philadelphia he became the lead singer of Sweet Thunder. Signing with the Philly-based record label WMOT Records, the group’s single, “Baby I Need Your Love Today” b/w “I Don’t Care What You Say,” stirred interest and was picked up for distribution by Berkeley, California based Fantasy Records. The group recorded three albums, Above The Clouds (1976), Sweet Thunder (1978), and Horizons (1979), the latter of which saw the single “I Leave You Stronger“, go to #63Billboard R&B chart in late 1979. Newberry joined another WMOT Records group, Impact, who was best known for the dance hits “Give a Broken Heart …

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The Unifics – 1968 – Sittin’ In At The Court Of Love

Rip and research by Mr.Moo The one and only album by The Unifics – and a beautiful precursor to the solid group sounds of the east coast early 70s. The group’s got some wonderful harmonies – still raw, but showing the strength of smooth production to hit some very strong moments. Arrangements are by Richard Rome, Bert De Coteaux, and a very young Donny Hathaway – and the lead singer of the group is AI Johnson  who went on to release a couple of highly acclaimed albums, including ‘Peaceful’ (in 1978), ‘Back For More’ (in 1980) and ‘My Heart Is An Open Book’ (in 1998). Tracks A1 Court of Love 2:49 A2 Which One Should I Choose 2:03 A3 Tables Turned 3:10 A4 Harper Valley PTA 4:11 A5 This Guy’s In Love With You 4:30 B1 Toshi Sumasu 3:13 B2 It’s All Over 3:16 B3 People Got to Be Free …

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The Jackson Sisters – 1976 – The Jackson Sisters

 An amazing bit of soul – and one of the rarest funk records of the 70s! This masterpiece was recorded by The Jackson Sisters, a semi-gospelly soul group that has a sound that’s a bit like The Voices of East Harlem, but that’s a lot harder, and that has a deeper soul sound overall! At times, the group is funky – as on their incredible track “I Believe In Miracles“, a rare groove classic if there ever was one, and one of the most in-demand tracks. At other times, the girls have a mellower soul sound, with great raw harmonies that remind us of the Volt work by The Emotions, but with much rougher instrumental backing. This album’s the only one they ever cut – and it’s just about impossible to find in the original pressing (and in fact, we’ve never seen a copy!) Apart from the amazing cut “Miracles”, …

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Johnny Adams – 1969 – Heart & Soul

 Of all great singers of southern soul one of the most forgotten is Johnny Adams and this album is his best. Produced by Shelby Singleton for SSS International Records, show the warm, baritone’s voice of Adams in a heartbreakers ballads and raw mid-tempos. Wonderful “Release Me” (compare with the version of Engelbert Humperdinck), “In a Moment of weakness”, “Real live Living Hurtin’ Man” and above all, “Reconsider Me“, one of the great singles of 60’s soul. Tracks A1 Georgia Morning Dew 3:25 A2 In a Moment of Weakness 2:35 A3 Real Live Living Hurtin`Man 3:10 A4 Lonely Man 2:37 A5 I Won`t Cry 2:17 A6 Release Me 2:46 B1 Proud Woman 2:40 B2 I Can`t Be All Bad 3:04 B3 A Losing Battle 2:23 B4 Living on Your Love 1:45 B5 Reconsider Me 3:50 LLBig Easy-born soul singer, Johnny Adams, possessed a magnificent set of pipes – his athletic, gospel-reared …

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