Jerry Butler- The Best of Jerry Butler

This was one dollar and a good chance to put some soul music on the site. After what proved to be almost a book of a post on Thursday coupled with the fact that this is Saturday should make this brief.

This is a greatest hits compilation from Mercury Records from the former lead singer of the Impressions/ the current Cook County Commissioner Jerry Butler.  Born in 1939 in Sunflower, Mississippi, The Iceman moved to Chicago as a youth and used music and church as his escape from poverty (he sung in the local church choir with Impression’s band mate Curtis Mayfield).

He left the Impressions in 1960 to pursue a solo career which spawned a good amount of hits in the 60’s and 70’s which this record (released in 1978) compiles.  Butler is still singing and performing somewhat while serving his commissioner duties.  

This record is pretty good but what else would you expect from a greatest hits album?  The songs are good an probably warrant more explanation from me but I am posted out this week so all I am going to say is here is “Hey Western Union Man”, from 1968 which was #16 on the US chart as well as #1 R&B chart.

Great little collection of R&B/pop.  Satisfactory.

Lloyd Price-Come To Me/ Misery

Hey it is Saturday.  This was $5.  I got it a Vinyl Edge.  The clerk did not think it would be $5 or under when he was looking up the price but surprise , surprise.  He might have also shaved a buck off the price and applied it to a $2 record.  Hey that counts.

Lloyd Price was born in Kenner, Louisiana in 1933.   He is best known for “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” and one of the more violent songs of early rock and roll as well as one of my favorites, “Stagger Lee”.  He is still alive and was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.  That is all I want to say on  a Saturday.

This was released sometime in the 1960’s on Guest Star recordings.  I am unsure if it was new material or a culmination of previously recorded tracks and quite frankly, I am too lazy to look into this any further.I am guessing it is the latter.

To make up for my shortcomings today, here are two samples, “Lonesome Valley” and “Come to Me”.  You are welcome.

Satisfactory Record

VA- This is Soul

This was $3 at a record show. Look at the names on this and tell me if you are going pass this up.  Anyway, this is that brief day between St Patrick’s Day and my birthday so I am going to make this one of my shortest posts. 

This piece came out on Atlantic Records in 1968 and features various hits from such luminaries of soul as Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Solomon Burke, and Ray Charles among others.  All of this is previously recorder material.  For a sample, I wanted to use a song which I felt was a fitting tribute to soul and actually discussed in last months blog, Arthur Conley with “Sweet Soul Music”.  As discussed, Conley used Sam Cooke’s “Yeah, Man” (used as a sample for that blog post) as the basis for a tribute to the big names of soul.

A lot of great songs on here.  Top Rated.  See, this is short, like I said.

 

Rare Earth- Ma

When I first started this blog, it became evident to the folks I ran into around my apartment that I was hoarding records.  Naturally, I would strike up conversations with random stranger who saw me carrying a handful of albums. It was one such conversation with one of the maintenance staff of my apartment where I as asked about this album.  The person I was talking with told me that if I ever find a copy of Rare Earth’s Ma, to make him a CD copy.  Naturally I was on the look out for it when I found a copy. Paid $4 with discount which is a bit on the high end. Since I bought this, I have found a few more copies at lower prices.

Rare Earth was probably the most successful white artists on Motown.  Formed in 1960 as the Sunliners, the band changed its name in 1968 and signed to Motown a year later after a dismal first album.  Originally from Detroit, the band gained fame in the 1970’s.  Their biggest hit was most likely “I Just Want To Celebrate”. An incarnation of the band continues today, led by Gil Bridges, who seems to be the band’s only constant.

This was Rare Earth’s sixth studio album, released in 1973.  It was produced by Motown’s Norman Whitfield, who also wrote the songs. The title track as well as “Smiling Faces Sometimes” and “Hum Along and Dance” were previously done by the Temptations.  However , Rare Earth provides extended jams with their version of these songs. Good album that showcases a great mix of soul, funk, and rock. Some consider this the band’s best work.  Regardless, it did not sell well at the time.

For a sample, I went with “Hum Along and Dance”, a good hard rocking number. As opposed to the Temptation’s version, this one has no vocals.

Overall, a pretty good record. Satisfactory.  Getting back to the original narrative, I have been sitting on this for a year since at the time of purchase, my backlog of records started to get out of hand as well as the fact that I started working again. So I am going to make a copy for the maintenance man tonight like I originally promised.

Ray Charles- Ray’s Moods

Well this is the end of Black History Month here at the old Show that is known as the Donkey.  Been a fun month for me although time has always been a constant factor this month.  This was $3.00.  I got it at a record show.  If the fact that it was from Ray Charles wasn’t enough to buy this, the inclusion of one of my favorite songs which I will use as a sample drove the purchase home for me.

This record came out on Charles’ own label Tangerine.  It was released in 1966, which would have come right after his stint in rehab after his third arrest for heroin possession.  As dark as this time was for Charles (no pun intended), he was able to finally overcome the drug habit.  

This is a pretty good album of songs which vary in style.  There are a few RnB numbers as well as a few Country and Western ones as well.  Charles is backed up by his orchestra which provides a lush sound to back up his piano.  He is also accompanied by his Raelets on backup vocals.  There are a lot of good songs on this album.

For a sample, I was drawn (as always) to one of my favorite songs, “By The Light of the Silvery Moon”.  This song was a popular Tin Pan Alley tune, first published in 1909. Charles version is pretty good, although my favorite version is still Gene Vincent’s.  Also for good measure, I included “Granny Wasn’t Grinning That Day”.

Good album.  Satisfactory,

Roberta Flack- Chapter Two

This was $5 putting it on the high end of the record buying scale for me.  But I enjoyed the last album I posted of Roberta Flack’s (which was her first) and felt this was a logical progression.

In that earlier post, I profiled Flack as best as I could, depending on how busy I was that week.  Flack is a prolific R&B singer and pianist who scored a massive hit with “Killing Me Softly” as well as “Feel Like Makin’ Love” and “The First Time I Saw Your Face”.  As the title would suggest, this was Flack’s second album.  Produced by Joe Dorn and King Curtis, and arranged by Donnie Hathaway, the album features a collection of songs from various song writers including Bob Dylan, Jim Webb, and Saskatchewan’s own Buffy St Marie.  Decent album and a great continuation of what she started on the first as well as framework for where she was heading in the future.

There were a couple of tunes I really liked, but at the end of the day, I went with one of my favorite songs, “The Impossible Dream” from Man of La Mancha.

Good album.  Satisfactory.

Little Anthony and the Imperials-

This was $1.60 with discount.  I think I got this the same day I bought the Coaster’s album and was quite surprised to find either at Half Price. This month is nearly over.  Where did time go?

Little Anthony and the Imperials were a doo-wop vocal group from New York City who burst on the scene in 1958.  The group was founded by “Little Anthony” Gourdine, Clarence Collins, Ernie Wright, Nate Rogers, and Tracey Lord.  Lord got married and Rogers got drafted and were replaced by Sammy Strain, thus forming the classic lineup. The group would have several hit singles including “Going Out Of My Head”, “Shimmy Shimmy Ko-Ko Bop”, “Tears on My Pillow”, and “Hurts So Bad”.  A version of the group with Gourdine and Wright still tours today.

 

Webpage

This is a greatest hits album and features some of these hit singles.  Pretty good stuff.  Gourdine’s high pitched vocals are very noteworthy.  What more else to say or more accurately, what more do I have time to say?

I really liked all the songs I listed two paragraphs ago. However, for a sample, I went with “Get Out Of My Life”.

I liked this album quite a bit. Satisfactory.

Dionne Warrick- Very Dionne

Trying to get a bit more caught up on blogging this week.  Keeping Black History Month going with this selection from Dionne Warick.  This was $4.00.  As a side note, I saw Verdi’s Requiem last Friday at the HGO.  Pretty good production.  It was one of those instances where I did not realize I was familiar with the music until I heard it.  Also, since there is no story, I could focus on the orchestra and the singers.  I had to wait for it, but once Soprano Angela Meade finished the opera quite well.

Well, there is this.  This would have been Warick’s 14th album if my math is right.  I can’t remember how many Warick albums I have posted so far but I have put more than a couple on this blog. Got to love starting the week with a subject I have exhausted.  Anyway, this came out in 1970.  It would be her last album with Specter Records before jumping ship to Warner Brothers.  

Five of the ten songs are by Bacharach and David.  Highlights include “The Green Grass Starts to Grow” as well as her cover of the Beatles’ “Yesterday”.  However, for a sample, I went with “Going Out of My Head”.

Satisfactory.

Sam Cooke- Shake

This was $1.60.  I remember coming across a couple soul albums the day I bought this.  Normally, I don’t find a lot of soul at Half Price books.  I was very tempted to limit today’s post to 3 sentences.  Well, I decided against that but still trying to keep it brief.  Hopefully, I can get caught up on things this weekend.

Ah, the brilliance that was Sam Cooke and the strange and questionable circumstances that led to his death.  Born in Clarksdale, Mississippi in 1931, the King of Soul had 30 Top Ten hits between 1957 and 1964.  A brilliant singer and song writer, he has been labeled as the inventor of soul and his success paved the way for many an artist in the same genre.

Then, one night in Los Angeles at the Hacienda Hotel, it all ended.  Cooke was shot to death in an act that was ruled a justifiable homicide.  The events leading up to his death were lurid and have been in question to this day.  He was shot by a hotel manager in self defense although some suspect foul play was involved. The details regarding the case can be summarized in the link below.  Regardless of what really happened, the world was denied of what could have been from perhaps the greatest soul artists of all time.

Link to Shooting story

According to the back sleeve, this was Cooke’s first release after his death . It came out in January of 1965. A lot of the great songs are here including “A Change Is Going To Come”, “Shake”, and “Ease My Worried Mind”.  The first two songs were hit singles for Cooke.” Change” in part became one of the iconic songs of the Civil Rights movement.

For a sample, I went with “Yeah Man” as it served as the basis for Arthur Conley’s “Sweet Soul Music” co-written by Conley and Otis Redding.  Incidentally, Cooke’s business partner J.W. Alexander sued the duo to get a aptly deserved song writing credit for Cooke.

Great album.  Top Rated.

The Dramatics- Do What You Wanna Do

This was $3.00 at a record show.  Still just really running around this week, trying to make some time to do this week’s posts.  Probably going to be keeping things brief all week long.  One of these days, I will write about my time off in Arizona.

The Dramatics were a vocal group formed in Detroit in 1964.  They had some success with top ten hits in the 1970’s.  They are also known today for backing vocals in Snoop Dog’s “Doggy Dog World”.

Link to Wiki page

This was their 9th album, released in 1978.  It did pretty well, topping out at #6 on the R&B chart as well as going Gold in the US. It produced three singles including the title track, “Stop Your Weeping”, and “Why Do You Want To Do Me Wrong.

Overall, it is pretty good album, although it is in a bit of rough shape.  It sounds like you would expect a 70’s vocal group to sound.  I liked it.  It was a bit hard to pick a sample as a bunch of the songs skipped.  I think that is why I went with “I Want You”.

Good enough album.  Satisfactory.  6 mins putting together.