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.

Ray Charles- Modern Sounds In Country and Western Music

I like having big records on Saturdays and perhaps there has been none bigger than this.  Plus I paid just a dollar for it.  I might as well have stolen in it.  I thought at this price, it would be in pretty rough shape but it actually plays pretty well.  

This was a monumental album for Ray Charles. It was his 18th album and his fifth for ABC-Paramount.  With four charting singles, it brought Charles more fame from mainstream artists.  Those close to Charles did not see the wisdom of putting out an album of country standards, but Charles masterfully translated country and western tunes into R&B flavored arrangements.    

As common place today as taking the country genre and adapting it to big band arrangements, this was a radical idea both musically and socially in the early 1960’s.  Most thought the record would flop but Charles saw the similarities between the two styles and crossed them over in a way that paid its respects to both camps.

Released in 1962, the album was a critical and commercial hit. Most critics consider this Charles’ best album.  The record spent 14 weeks at #1 on the Pop Charts.  “I Can’t Stop Loving You”, in turn , became a #1 single as well.

For a sample, I could have gone with any song but decided to go with Hank William’s “Hey Good Lookin”. Top Rated Record.

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.

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.

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.