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Jimmie & Vella – 1972 – Jimmie & Vella

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I don’t know anything about Jimmie & Vella, but the cover of this album definitely has them doing their Ike and Tina Turner impressions. Hopefully things worked out better for them. The music (all original) bears some resemblance to the Turners, though with a significant dollop of both protest folk and gospel, making this one of the precious few albums that actually lives up to the current nom de vogue of “folk-funk”.

The songs are actually rather captivating, with the gospel influence making for some beautiful, heart-rending ballads, the folk influence responsible for some intelligent, hard hitting lyrics, and the funky rock keeping everything interesting. When all of these ingredients are added to the batter, the result is “Lord Abide With Me“, which sounds for all the world like a tailor-made civil rights anthem, though as such it was probably a little late by 1972. A very unique sound. Nice psychedelic gatefold too for some reason.

A1 The Door is Open 4:40
A2 Old Men 3:28
A3 Do You Really Know How I Feel 5:52
A4 To the Master of Every King 4:41
A5 Then I Woke Up 3:40
B1 Chica Boom 3:16
B2 Rain 7:40
B3 Just Hasn’t Been the Same 3:41
B4 Lord Abide With Me 6:30

From the late 60’s and early 70’s mod look on the cover of 1968’s ‘Heartbeat’ LP to the afro’s and dashikis of 1971’s self titled ‘Jimmie And Vella’ they’ve looked cool as ice. Not much is known about this husband and wife duo and they have had a ghost like career floating about through several decades with no real huge success. But, their legacy is deep and such a talented duo they are indeed.

Success might have eluded them, but milestones are what they left us on all three of these LP’s. They bounced around on a different label for each decade.Heartbeat‘ is a quality straight soul LP with stunning production but it most known for the tune ‘Hey Boy Over There‘ which was also flipped by DJ Premier. It’s a great soul LP produced in a very typical style for 68-71 in Los Angeles. Released on the Imperial label.

In 1971 Jimmie and Vella expanded and deepened their sound with ‘Jimmie And Vella’ released on Atlantic Records. They turned away from commercial stresses, explored more folky grooves and wrote about social issues and injustice. In ‘Lord Abide With Me‘ they came with a heavy gospel and revolutionary feel. This ‘self-titled’ LP is a fine crafting and example of ‘hippie soul’ or ‘folk funk’. At times laid back and delicate and at other times empowering, passionate and furious. Just a well rounded work.

Musically quite good, instrumentally and vocally. Worth it for “Rain“. Pretty hard to find music like this these days. Just good songs, really good singing. Fine instrumental backing. The album was recorded in 1972 at Electric Lady Studios and produced by Dave Palmer, so there is a lot of quality in the technical aspects of the record. The music is “soul” based but moves all around stylistically. All of the songs were written by either Jimmy or Bella Cameron, or by both.There is a really unique blending of soul, funk, folk, and spiritual here. Oh yeah, if you can pick up a vinyl copy, the inside of the gate-fold cover is pretty cool!