Three Degrees- ST

This little gem was $4.  I got it to diversify the blog which is much needed given where the second half of September is heading.  What is this you say?  Well, stay tuned to find out.

Formed in Philadelphia, and rising up with the Philadelphia Sound of the 1970’s, The Three Degrees started their career in 1963..  This is the second studio album and the first on Philadelphia International Records, the label of Gamble and Huff (and Thom Bell).  Released in 1973, this features the group with the lineup that brought them their biggest hits.  This lineup, which formed from 1967- 1976, featured original member Fayette Pinkney along with Valerie Holiday, and Shelia Ferguson.  Consequently, a version led by Holiday still performs today.

Link to The Three Degrees’ Web Site

Anyway, back to the record, it was among one of their most successful and spawned four singles; “Dirty Ol’ Man”, “I Didn’t Know”, “Year of Decision” and ” When Will I See You Again”, which went to #2 in the US and #1 in the UK.

For a sample, I decided to go with “Can’t You See What You Are Doing To Me”.

Pretty good album.  Satisfactory.

 

The O-Jays- The Year 2000

This was one dollar.  I got it because the title reminded me of the Conan bit he used to do on his late show.

This O-Jays’ album, from 1980, came out near the end of the arc of their career.  That being said, there are some decent tracks on here that are consistent with other R&B acts of the period.  (Note-for a bio of the group, look at an earlier post or use Google). With the duo of Gamble and Huff handling production as well as a good chunk of the song writing, I think this album is good enough.

For a sample, I was going to go with “You’re The Girl Of My Dreams” but the title track did really grow on me and was kind of reminiscent of the Conan bit.

Decent album. Satisfactory given the price.

 

Buddy Morrow and his Orchestra- Night Train

This gem was $1.50.  Maybe something about the cover caught my eye, or maybe it was the version of “Night Train” which despite never being able to find a version that even comes close to James Brown’s, does not discourage me from trying.  This record once belonged to one Jimmy Blarbsher, I believe.

Buddy Morrow was a tromboner whom New Haven, Conn.  Born in 1919, he gained fame with big bands led by Eddie Duchin, Artie Shaw, and Tommy Dorsey among others before leading his own band.  He also was in the Tonight Show Orchestra, although for Jack Paar or Johnny Carson, I am unsure (98% sure it was Carson but too lazy to confirm).  Known for his skill in the upper range, Morrow died in 2010.

Morrow’s Spage Age Pop Page

 

“Night Train” was Morrow’s first hit as a band leader and is probably the most third most famous performer of this song after Brown and the original performer, Jimmy Forrest.  Morrow’s blended big-band/R&B version, released in 1952, went to #27 on the charts.  This record, released on Mercury Records in 1959, seems to capitalize on the success of this single. It has a pretty good collection of songs which seem to continue to wander slightly into R&B territory without leaving the big band sound.

For a sample, I went with “One Mint Julep”.

I am in a decent mood this week so satisfactory record although it was slow at times for my tastes.

 

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.

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.

The Chi-Lites- A Letter to Myself

DSCN4291This was $5.00 at a Record Convention. I got it to add more soul and R&B to the blog.  However, I am keeping things in line with the country theme of the last two days.  Sounds strange, huh?  Then just check out the song posted below.chi-lites

The Chi-Lites were formed roughly in 1959 and continue today with one original member still alive.  Originally names the Hi-Lites, they changed their name to reflect their Chicago origin in 1964.  The classic line up seems to consist of Eugene Record, Marshall Thompson, Robert “Squirrel” Lester, and Creadel “Red” Jones.  Record was the primary songwriter.  Their biggest hit was 1971’s “Have You Seen Her”.  Most of the members ares now dead.  Thompson, on the other hand,  is still alive and touring under the Chi-Lite moniker.

Link to the Chi-Lites Web Page

This was their fifth studio album, released in 1973. It was a successful effort reaching # 3 on the Billboard Soul Charts as well as producing two hit singles, “We Need Order” and the title track.

The third single, “My Heart Keeps on Breaking” is strange choice both as a single and for being on the album.  This is a country and western ditty by a soul/ R&B group.  As a result, it did not chart as well as its predecessors.  However, I think it is a charming and catchy tune.  So here it is as a sample.DSCN4289

Satisfactory record for this track alone but the other two singles are good as well as a good version of “It’s Too Late To Turn Back Now.”.  Need to give a shout out to Flannery for letting me use his fancy record cleaner to get the skips out of this track as well.

DSCN4291

 

Ray Charles- Love Country Style

DSCN2389This was $5.00.  I got it at the Infinite Record Show at the Hilton back in August.  I was pretty happy when I got this and other soul based records because as I have said before on this blog, I do not find many good soul albums.  I begrudgingly went to the October Infinite Show two weekends ago.  I did not want to go as I still have a backlog of unlistened records.

This record was released by ABC/ Tangerine in 1970.  It is a pretty good showcase of Ray Charles’ skills tacking diverse work.  Some of his earlier country albums are way better, but this one has a bunch of good moments including the opening track “If You Were Mine”, “You’ve Still Got A Place in My Heart”, and “I Keep It Hid”.DSCN2390

For a sample, I went with the Johnny Cash classic “Ring of Fire”.  That is the one you wanted to hear anyway.  That is the reason I bought the album.ray_charles-buck_owens-necktie03

Satisfactory record. If you like this, check out Charles’ Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music Vol 1 & 2 Happy Saturday.

Roberta Flack- First Take

DSCN2361This album was a dollar and a good chance to diversify the site.  While the cover is in poor shape, the record itself is not.RobertaFlack_130318Roberta Flack’s music encompasses soul, jazz, R&B, and folk.  Born in 1939 in Black Mountain, North Carolina, she showed interest in piano as her mother was a church organist.  From playing in church, to music education at Howards, to becoming a music teacher, it was her playing in nightclubs in Washington DC which led to her getting signed to Atlantic Records.  From there, she released 16 or so records, won two Grammys, and had three #1 singles.  Among her most noted output is her work with Donnie Hathaway. She still tours today.

Roberta’s Web Page

This was Roberta’s first album.  Released in 1969, it would actually reach # 1 on the album charts in 1972 after the use of Ewan MacColl’s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” in Clint Eastwood’s Play Misty For Me. The album itself is more jazz than soul.  Roberta recorded it in 10 hours, mostly because the songs were ones she played in her night club set.  The opening number, “Compared to What” is pretty grooving.  The rest of the songs are a slower sort but still pretty good.  Two songs are written by Hathaway.  Overall, it is an excellent debut album.DSCN2362

For a sample, I went with “Angelitos Negros” as it is sung in Spanish.  I am guessing it was adapted from a poem by Venezuelan poet Andres Eloy Blanco  and not related to the 1948 Mexican movie of the same name. I really was not  much in the mood to dig any deeper.roberta-flack_s345x230

Satisfactory Record.

 

The Delfonics- ST

DSCN2259This was a dollar.  At the time,  I was short on good soul records. For the most part, I still am.  Most of the records at Half Price Books are devoid of soul.  I have to either get lucky at Sig’s Lagoon (which is where this record came from) or clean up at record conventions.53fe4d3f7cc94.image

The Delfonics were a soul trio from Philadelphia who were big in the late 60’s/ early seventies.  Consisting of William Hart, Wilbert Hart, and Randy Cain, the hits from this period were written by producer Thom Bell.  During this time with this lineup, they had a string of successful records and hit singles.  They would breakup in 1975 and reform in the 1980’s in various incarnations.  A lineup headed by Wilbert still tours today. Moreover, their music was used heavily in Jackie Brown.

Delfonics Web Page

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This record was their third and highest charting, reaching # 4 on the R&B chart.  Critics have called it their most cohesive and complete album and generally speaking, their best work.  Coincidentally, it was the last album to be produced by Thom Bell. There are a lot of great moments on this album.  the biggest hit was “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)” but songs like “Over and Over”, “The Delfonics Theme”, and “Funny Feeling” are very good as well.  Released in 1970, I also like the General Zod pose on the back cover.

DSCN2260The record itself is pretty worn from use.  I went with “Down is Up, Up is Down” as a sample as it is the least scratchy.jackie_brown_edit_3263415k

Top Rated Soul record, no doubt.  Happy Saturday.