The Soul Children – 1971 – Best Of Two Worlds
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This is a beautiful album from one of the greatest soul groups of all time!
The Soul Children were a wonderful Memphis (Stax) vocal group with a two parts female/two parts male vocal style that just sounded incredible. All the members of the group were great singers, and the overall sound was a mixture of rootsy southern soul, and sweeter harmony sounds.
“Best Of Two Worlds” is a great album ( recorded in Muscle Shoals, Detroit) by one of the sweetest vocal groups ever to come out of the south! The record’s a bit more complicated than some of their earlier ones, and features some nice tracks with a more extended style, and more sophisticated arrangements that work great with the group’s rich harmonies.
This is a @320 vinyl rip of the original Stax record including covers.
A rare one which we almost never see on vinyl. Released on cd twice with another of the albums of the group.
A1 Bring It Here 2.47
A2 Thanks For A Precious Nothing 3.23
A3 Put Your World In My World 4.03
A4 Give Me One Good Reason Why 4.17
A5 Got To Get Away From It All 3.26
B1 The Hang Ups Of Holding On, Parts 1 & 2 8.22
B2 Wrap It Up Tonight 2.55
B3 Let’s Make A Sweet Thing Sweeter 4.37
B4 Finish Me Off 3.48
B5 Don’t Break Away 4.21
Produced by David Porter and Ronnie Williams
This Memphis, Tennessee Stax Records mainstay was formed by Norman West (formerly of The Del-Rios), and included the talents of John Colbert aka J. Blackfoot, Anita Louis and Shelbra Bennett. The group was formed by Isaac Hayes and David Porter in order to fill the gap that Sam & Dave had left after parting from the Atlantic record label. They scored 15 R&B hits between 1968 and 1978.
Together, they have done six albums (three of them with Porter), and had a solid string of soul hits, worked with almost all the other Stax artists, and came through it all with smiles on their faces and good will in their hearts: the essence of soul.
In late ’67, while Stax was exploding as a powerful international force in contemporary black pop music, David Porter and Isaac Hayes decided to form a group. They’d worked with the different Soul Children on an individual basis, and had written some material specifically for a particular blend of voices.
“Each of us was asked to join the group, and Mr. Porter and Mr. Hayes were very careful to give us a couple of days to think it over. Well, it didn’t take a couple of days to decide!”
Group spokesman Norman West continues: “We all knew from the very beginning that we wanted to be on Stax. So we went into the studio, and David and Isaac just said, ‘Here, take this song, everybody find their voice on it.’ It clicked together instantly, like an automatic thing. It wasn’t until much later that I realized they’d approached it in a very scientific manner—getting the right voices together.” One voice of primary importance—at that time and at all times since—is the lead vocal of John “Blackfoot” Colbert. “Wilson Pickett was number one and James Brown was doing his Apollo thing, so naturally the roughness and the fullness of Blackfoot’s voice was essential. Nobody has to wonder who the lead singer is because Blackfoot just stands right on out!”
Their first album, The Soul Children, was released in 1968, containing their hits “I’ll Understand,” “The Sweeter He Is,” and “Tighten Up My Thang,”
Other Stax albums included Best of Two Worlds, Genesis, and Friction. “By that time Stax was beginning to have trouble, and then it became a matter of our survival. Unfortunately, there aren’t any books out there that you can check out of the library to figure out what to do. So you just know—keep singing, keep writing, and hope for the best.”
In early ’75, the Soul Children received a call from Epic. “I thought it was some kind of a bad joke,” laughs Norman. But after a half hour’s conversation, he began apologizing. The Soul Children signed with Epic and did two LPs. The first was Finders Keepers, produced by Detroit’s Don Davis. The second, Where Is Your Woman Tonite, was released in 1976 and was, again and most familiarly, produced by David Porter.
“Then, to take it full circle,” comments Blackfoot, “when David went with the new resurrected Stax, we were right there knocking on his door. After all, David heard our sound in his head before we even heard it ourselves!”
John “Blackfoot” Colbert is the lead vocalist with the Soul Children, and once you‘ve heard his distinctive gritty and gravelly voice you’re not likely to forget it.
‘J. Blackfoot’ is a nickname Colbert picked up during his early years, due to his habit of walking without footwear on the tarred sidewalks of Memphis during the hot summers. He spent six months as lead singer with a new line-up of The Bar-Kays after the original members were killed with Otis Redding in a plane crash. He later launched a solo career as J. Blackfoot with the single “Taxi”, which climbed into the R&B Top Ten in 1984.
Norman West hails from Monroe, Louisiana, and grew up singing and playing organ in his father’s church. While in high school, Norman won all the talent contests. Then, fearing his r&b activities were damaging his father’s Christian reputation, Norman went to Memphis and joined the Del Rios, replacing William Bell. He met and worked with the whole Memphis crew—Carla and Rufus Thomas, Willie Mitchell, Porter and Hayes, etc.
Whatever the Soul Children sing, their golden voices make even the most hackneyed cuts interesting.
More albums by Soul Children in our back pages here