The Tempests - 1968 – Would You Believe!
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A highly sought-after classic ’60s Soul album.
The ten piece band from North Carolina were a massive draw on the live circuit and were major players in expounding the Carolina Beach scene. This, their one and only album, was originally issued in 1968 by Smash Records in the States. The album would become a prized item by the Northern Soul cognoscente, with two tracks in particular attracting a great deal of dance-floor attention: ‘Someday‘ and ‘I Don’t Want to Lose Her‘ became massive in the mid ’80s, especially so at the legendary Top of the World all-niters in Stafford and these gems still command serious respect today.
Other classic tunes and dance-floor favorites include ‘Ain’t No Big Thing‘, ‘What You Gonna Do‘ and ‘Would You Believe‘. Plus you simply must check out their exhilarating version of ‘You Don’t Know Like I Know‘.
A1 Would You Believe 2:10
A2 Ain’t No Big Thing 2:15
A3 Happiness 2:37
A4 Ain’t That Enough 2:25
A5 I Cried For You 2:39
A6 Someday 2:36
B1 Can’t Get You Out Of My Mind 1:59
B2 I Don’t Want To Lose Her 2:43
B3 What You Gonna Do 2:10
B4 You Don’t Know Like I Know 2:05
B5 You (Are The Star I Wish On) 2:38
plus bonus cd tracks
God Bless the United Kingdom!
Ask any American over 55 to talk about the soul music of his or her youth, and you will hear about either the slick Motown Sound with the mega hits by the Supremes, the Temptations, and the Four Tops or the more “raw” sounds from Atlantic Records with Aretha Franklin, Sam and Dave, and so-on. Of course, there was James Brown, and he was in a league of his own. Now go talk to someone across the big pond about American soul music, and if he is a fan of “Northern Soul” he will tell you about songs, artists, and record labels you either never knew existed or have long since forgotten about. You will hear about flip sides of 45’s you never bothered to listen to when you only bought the records for the A sides. You will also learn about the greatest unreleased Motown recording ever – Frank Wilson’s “Do I Love You (Indeed I Do),” and after hearing it, you’ll see that keeping it in the vaults was a musical tragedy.
The funny thing is, some of the stuff you never heard was the backbone of American soul music. It was a few guys with guitars, organs, drums, and plenty of horns that played for small events – maybe your senior prom or frat party. They practiced in someone’s basement and made a few dollars entertaining at clubs. They came in all sorts of racial configurations – all African American, all Caucasian, or Caucasian back-up musicians with African American lead singers. Some of this music never made it out of small African American nightclubs on lonely back roads. If you were white, maybe you stood outside the building just for the chance of hearing some of it wafting out in the night air or catching a glimpse of the fancy dance steps so you could learn them yourself. Occasionally this amazing music would get to a mom-and-pop recording studio and 1,000 or so 45’s would be pressed. Some acts, like the Tempests, would actually be picked up by a nationally distributed record label. One often overlooked fact during the racially charged 50’s and 60’s is that although we were unfortunately still a segregated society, American white teens LOVED soul music, and if their radio stations were not playing it, they would find a way to hear it. Think about Otis Day and the Knights playing at the frat house and the Dexter Lake Club in “National Lampoon’s Animal House.” This may have been a parody, but it wasn’t too far off base.
The Tempests were indeed one of those “local” groups that got lucky.
A mainstay in the Charlotte, NC area, they cranked out an original song called “Would You Believe” in 1967 that was released by Smash Records (a Mercury subsidiary label), and although it did not crack the Hot 100 nationally, most of us in the Carolinas and Virginia loved it, and no party was complete without a band covering it. It is a classic piece of what we call Carolina Beach Music. In their most memorable configuration, the Tempests consisted of nine white instrumentalists backing up the now-deceased Hazel Martin, an African American lead singer with a voice that could blow the windows out. To the untrained ear, this is a dated garage band effort with a wall of horns, but to classic soul purists, this is heaven. Even if you are lucky enough to own the rare LP as I do, buy the CD because it contains extra tracks and will probably disappear into oblivion, never to be seen again.
Now, for our friends in the United Kingdom, we owe you a debt of gratitude for your unwavering dedication to the preservation of an important piece of American music history. You have searched the closets, basements, and vaults of our country for master tapes and 45’s of this wonderful, but now obscure music genre, and you have kept it from tragically disappearing for good. Here’s a message to anyone that either performed in a soul band that cut a record in the 60’s or just simply enjoyed buying off-label soul music from that era.
Get your records into the hands of a UK Northern Soul purist.
This is the only way of possibly having these lost treasures preserved with loving care.