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.

 

Isaac Hayes- The Isaac Hayes Movement

Happy Saturday.  This gem was only $1.

This was Isaac Hayes’ third album, released in 1970, fresh off the heels of the massive success of Hot Buttered Soul.  I did not want to write about HBS but since I already have a copy and find it very unlikely that I would find one for under $5, I might as well note it here that after dismal sales of his first album, Hayes was prepared to go back behind the scenes, writing and producing.  The label’s executive, Al Bell, had different plans.

As Stax had lost its entire back catalog following a split with Atlantic, Bell was tasked with building the catalog back up and pressed Hayes to make another record.  Hayes insisted on creative control. which he received, and as a result, a massive and heavily influential record was born.

This was the follow up album, which was also a hit, reaching #1 on the Soul charts.  The album features only four songs , heavily arranged and orchestrated with the signature sound Hayes crafted on the previous album.

For a sample, I went with “Something” despite being 12 minutes in length.  It should be noted that “Something” is the most covered Beatles’ song after “Yesterday”.

Great album. Top Rated.

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.

 

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.

The Stylistics- Thank You Baby

We are celebrating Black History Month on the blog all month long.  Here is this record which I picked up at a record show for $3.00.

The Stylistics are a vocal group who embodied the Philadelphia Soul scene of the 70’s.  Lead by Russel Thompkins Jr on vocals, and backed up by James Dunn, James Smith, Airrion Love and Herb Murell, the group had a string if hits during this period, most under the production of Thom Bell.  Styles change and popularity fades but two incarnations of the group continue today, one of which led by Love and Murrell along with members of the Delfonics.

Link to the Stylistics

This record, released in 1975, was the groups’ sixth effort.  It would go to #9 on the RnB charts.  It produced a few singles, the title track being the most successful, reaching the #7 spot.   This record was the beginning of a transformative period for the group as Bell stepped down from production duties.  Success in the US was fading at this point, but the group continued to find success in the UK.

As far as this record goes, it is pretty good 70’s vocal-driven soul.  However, the record is in bad shape.  Most every song skips.  Therefore, I went with “Tears and Souvenirs” as it was the only non-skipping song on the record.

Well it is not the group’s fault that someone played this record to death so I am going to say this is a satisfactory record despite the scratches and skips.

Al Green- Green is Blues

As February is Black History Month, I decided to pay tribute all moth long with a collection of albums by African-Americans as well as a few African-Canadians. Last year, I highlighted the Oscars and posted soundtracks all month long.  Although I had a lot of fun with it, I felt that I did short change BHM and decided that if I made it thru another year of doing this, I would correct the issue this year. So we are kicking things off with one of the greats of soul, Al Green.  I got this album from Big Al’s collection so this is at zero cost to me.

This album, released in 1969, was Green’s second effort but his first for Hi Records and producer Willie Mitchell.  Backed by the Hi Rhythm Section, the album ushered in the new “Memphis Sound” and was a precursor of the massive success that would soon find Green in the 1970’s, making him perhaps one of the last great southern soul singers.

This album went to #19 in the US and #3 on the R&B chart.  As far as singles go, “One Woman” was released off the record but failed to do any serious action.  That being said, this is a real great album. The album is mostly covers with some new material written by Mitchell and Green.  Highlights include Smokey Robinson’s “My Girl”, “I stand Accused”, “Tomorrow’s Dream”, “Get Back Baby”, and the old Porgy and Bess standard, “Summertime”.

For sample, I originally wanted to go with the Beatles’ “Get Back”, but I was drawn to the Box Tops’ ” The Letter” which I felt was a funkier version.  Not to say the “Get Back” is not fine and dandy.  It is just ” The Letter” is much better. The more I think about it, it is the reprise on “Get Back” that makes the Beatles’ song and without it, it is a bit flat.

Satisfactory record.

George McCrae- Rock Your Baby

This week I have been posting records I bought in Amsterdam for a Euro.  On the surface, this album may seem strange selection.  Well, before I bought it, this record cover was posted on the wall of one of the bars, cafes, or restaurants I was in while on vacation.  However, I can not remember which one. When I saw it, I bought it and originally thought it was a Dutch artist.  

But George McCrae is from West Palm Beach Florida.  Born in 1944, McCrae has one of the first big hits of the disco era with this record and the self titled single.  It sold eleven million copies and was voted the song of the year by Rolling Stone in 1974.  It also was #1 overall in the US singles chart as well as in the UK, Norway, Sweden, Germany, and the Netherlands.

In the 80’s, he moved to the Netherlands where he still remains popular.  He has released around a dozen records or so. 

As stated above, this was the first and biggest hit for McCrae.  I never really thought about it in disco terms until I did some research on it. The title track has some disco elements but overall, I thought it was a good R&B/ soul album.  “I Can’t Leave You Alone, “You Got My Heart” and “Make It Right” stuck out when I listened to this as well as the title track and reprise. All these quality songs considered, “I Get Lifted” is the sample I stuck with.

Satisfactory Record