Shades of Soul July 1999
Recently had the good fortune for this to fall through my letterbox, yet again another excellent mag authored by Derek Pearson. 60 pages jammed full of stuff. Highlights in the Jul 99 issue are 5 pages on parkers in manchester, a excellent article on life after wigan, loads of vinyl reviews, label listings,interview with Andy Rix ,willie t thing, and loads more. Has a wide spectrum of coverage on all things soulful, with many contributors, mark hanson, john pugh and one I'm sure I've heard of before a pete smath from st rossiters or somewhere, my view on "Shades of Soul" is its one that you keep picking up and picking at it, know what I mean a few minutes there and a few there, and always find something new each time, full of info.
Enough of my words here's some clips to give you better idea of content:
Interview with Richard Searling, vinyl reviews and info clips
'Derek Pearson interviewing Richard Searling 5th May 1999
DP 'What was early nineties background to why you started Parker's ?
RS 'Well the Expansions shop had opened in Manchester through John Anderson's inspiration in 1987 and we had a couple of fairly rough years but none the less we survived. Dean Johnson become Shop Manager in October 1989 and around that time someone had pointed out that there was an hotel in central Manchester available for functions so I popped up to have a look as it happened to be close to the shop anyway. I felt I could work there, you usually get a feeling in these places whether you can work with the management or not straight away. I encouraged Dean to have a look at it with me and I remember the first night we went down there into basically what was a cellar, albeit a large one. The first night I think I remember it was about January 1990 we played Jelf Redd "Love High" and got a good response. There were about 160 people in for a first night, although a lot of it had to do with the fact that Manchester had heard nothing like this before, it was that we were supplying the right kind of music, easy listening lounge music I call it and getting a very nice up-market mixed race crowd in there.
Apart from numbers growing the profile of the crowd did not change over the next four years apart from when we did a northern night or when we had an artist on. It was amazing really the crowd that were attending were just the kind of people we were looking for, we were not haunted by any of the trouble makers getting in.
The reason a lot of people liked the place was for the atmosphere and the music, you don't find many people going somewhere just for the music alone its got to be a bit of both really. I do know people that have tried other places just for the music, but I reckon if you can have both then you have cracked it.
DP 'As I've pointed out before you've got to have the music, the venue, the DJs willing to play plus importantly the crowd have to be willing to listen. "what would you say was the reason for your success at Parkers? "
RS 'Well Dean and i have always worked well together because basically we play different stuff, there is nothing worse than working with a DJ that you feel all the time wants to be you and attempt to spoil what you are doing. Dean would play things that I would think 'Christ that's brave' and he would drive me on, we work well off each other, the chemistry was very good- I think with DJs there's an element of envy and if they see someone who is successful they think he's successful because of what he plays when in fact its not what you play it's the way you play them. It also boils down to what type of a crowd are in, if they're difficult you can end up playing what you consider a very ordinary set. With the right people in the right room and the right music and you can go onto another level".
DP Where as Parkers was only once a month it saddens me that there no where else you can go to nowadays once a month
RS "If i was getting more people in at The Howard then I would probably run it once a month, but as it is I've got two rooms going which I think is right and we attract about 250 people, If I was getting 400 1 would probably run it once a month".
DP "Is it a case of we're all getting older and money's tighter ?
RS 'No i don't think it is that, Its very difficult to say really because on the face of it there are still as many people chasing the records and talking about it. But they do seem to be more selective about the venues they go to, I've still not done the night that 1 really want to do do. I've got so many fantastic records which just never ever touch in the box.I just think if I could ever get a scene going at the Half Way House again where we played nothing but ballad's all night but they were up dancing, there's still a wealth of that kind of music being recorded today, but to get away with that in clubs is very difficult and even at the Southport weekender although I still play them, I always have to have the Futures "Ain't got time for nothing" lined up, great record that it is I don't want to be playing it when there's other quality record from an album to play".
DP I suppose with dJing you never know when you are going to stop and if you're still buying, you've got all that great material and you'd cry if you never got the chance to air it.
RS "I know I'm very lucky, I've got the radio show for that, I think I've played most things on it, but first of all its got to be the radio its got continuity and basically it gives me a lot of satisfaction doing it. But there must be a time to get a club going playing radio music and attracting 2 or 3 hundred in on a weekly or monthly basis.
DP "Going back to Parker's many people went to hear your exclusives ? "
R8 "I recall The Affair's 'New Life" remix which i don't ever think came out in the end but that was a lucky streak that we were going through which happened to coincide with having the club, at that time I used to spend alot of time chasing the record companies, because i had the time to do it, I worked in an office where I could spend a couple of hours a day ringing EMI, MCA and all these people or going to London. Right now I don't have that time so yes I was..
continued in issue
JOE & MACK - DON'T YOU WORRY (One-Derful 3099)
One of the more elusive sounds on a label which is fairly easy to collect - there must be millions of One-derful imports in the UK, seemingly not many of them are this duet from a Sam & Dave type pairing. At first listen, it's in one ear and out the other, but the more you hear it, the better you get, mainly due to the insistent horn riffs throughout. Listed at £100earlier in the year, did Anglo American ever sell that 1 wonder, as I've had this listed for half that amount for 6 months and it hasn't moved. $
BRAD LUNDY - (I'M AT) THE BREAKING POINT (Julmar 2647)
An absolutely stunning beat ballad, perfection in fact, but marred by the fact that every pressing I've heard of this - and I've had three this year - are appalling quality. I'm told that the blue label copies are second issues, if that's the case, they must have dubbed it from a scratchy original, because even mint copies have surface noise and are recorded at too low a volume. As for the record, it's a big voiced vocalist backed by a full orchestra and some wailing girlie back-ups, great song (written by Brad himself and a real kitchen sink production. If you like the beat ballad sound, 1 can't recommend this highly enough, it's stunning. Label was based in New York. Price from £30 to £45. $$
(Additions: even before the mags out - Karl Mitchell writes: It first came out on Lundy which presumably was Brad Lundy's own label, the sound quality on this is superb but on the Julmar release it's very Lo-fi, don1 forget Denna Johnson's version on Wild Deuce.)
LONNIE LESTER & CHUCK DANZY - AIN'T THAT A SHAME (Nu-Tone 209)
One of a pair of Lonnie Lester singles on Nu-Tone doing the rounds at the moment, this one's a minimal r & b stomper with a driving guitar backing, ifs uptempo and repetitive and, apart from a messy middle section, is just right for a scene currently dominated by r & b dancers. miminal production values, this is obviously a five take but nonetheless, this is how music is meant to sound, raw and alive. Was on a certain dealers fist for £5 fast year but price is now £30 to £40 and that can only increase as it picks up spins.
DELLA REESE - BLOW OUT THE SUN (RCA 8070)
An early dancer circa 1963 I'd say, similar in style to something like Ketty Lester's "Some things are better left unsaid". Echo laden production, nagging but effective backing vocals, some great timpani and a fair song - and Della Reese always had a strong voice. Typical of today's type of newie, this is well above average and a very enjoyable couple of minutes listening. As with the aforementioned Ketty Lester disc, all copies seem to be issues, which is strange for RCA- $
UPTONES - TAKEN FOR A RIDE (Watt's 901)
Well 1 thought this sounded a bit familiar, and lo and behold, ifs The Saints"I've been taken for a ride" - and when 1 say it IS The Saints, that's exactly what I mean. This must have been the local label issue before it came out on Kent, but why the group name was changed I've no idea. A very slick production, a catchy tune and a great arrangement with chimes, brass and a nagging guitar lick throughout, plus great vocals too, this is an excellent midtempo dancer which really is excellent. $
CHARLES BERRY - NEIGHBOUR NEIGHBOUR (Jet Stream 708)
From Huey P. Meau3Cs Jet Stream label comes this - possibly original - version of the well known Jimmy Hughes/Ad Libs number, and it's a rollicking r & b dancer with a throaty vocal and excellent brass and organ backing. It's all a bit minimatistic but the guy's got a great voice and this is tailor made for today's scene. Pretty hard to come by, seen listed for £40 recently. $
JOE DOUGLAS - CRAZY THINGS. (Playhouse 10008)
Onto a bit of real class now, and this is a number thats been reactivated over recent months and has consequently doubles in price from the £25 it was selling for last year. Playhouse is a Philadelphia label - note the Swan-style checks on the label - but the Detroit credits (Jack Ashford and Mike Terry) assure it's collectability. Not only that, there are two cracking sides here. Originally spun for the uptempo "Something to brag about, connoisseurs will now appreciate the dreamy midtempo sounds of 'Crazy Things", with it's chugging backbeat and stylish brass interjections. Nice vocals and an excellent production, with some clever lyrical couplets to boot. There are two different pressings of this, differing only in that one is a darker shade of blue than the other and the typeface is slightly different. $$
DRAKE & THE EN-SOLIDS - PLEASE LEAVE ME (Alteen 8662)
An old-school style stompalong from a group who sound years behind the times; hard to believe that people were still making records such as this as late as 1968. That's not to say it's bad record mind, far from it - ifs one of those 'instant' records which propels you to the dance floor the second you hear that drumroll intro and it charges along at breakneck speed, propelled by an insistent rhythm guitar. Superb harmonies abound, often drowning out the lead singer, and do my ears deceive me or does the whole thing actually accelerate towards the end? Brilliant stuff.$$
more 45 reviews
VALA-QUONS - WINDOW SHOPPING ON GIRLS AVENUE (Tangerine 951)
This lovely mid-60's dancer begins a la "Expressway to your hearC with various traffic sound effects added, before turning into a catchy clip-clop dancer. Strong lyrical hook in the chorus "Go window shopping on girls avenue, til you find one who's good for you". Can't tell if this is a black group or a white one, but whatever, this has had a few spins on and off over the years but never really risen to any great heights - it deserves more exposure. Note that this song was published by Jobete Music so there's probably a Motown version of this rotting away in the vaults somewhere. $
ROSE ST.JOHN & THE WONDERETTES - MEND MY BROKEN HEART (U.A. 997)
Detroit magic from the group that bought us "I feel strange", though this major label release has no Detroit credits whatsoever, which I find strange, especially as Mike Terry's trademark baritone sax is way to the fore. Both sides are very strong, "Mend" being the preferred side but the flip, "And if I had my way" is also awesome, slightly slower pace but equally as good. Two perfect examples of Detroit Northern Soul of the female variety. Add to this their Veep 45, and you have a handy little C.V. for Rose and the girls. Price-wise, anything from £50 to £75 for a white demo.
SKYLINERS - EVERYTHING IS FINE (Jubilee 6606)
Surely one of the most underrated records around at the moment, this first came to light on the Soul Underground 2 CD, since when several people have picked up on it, though ifs yet to make a big breakthrough. A truly majestic performance from this legendary doo-wop group in the twilight of their career, and this is a real feel good record, midtempo and mellow, with handclaps and fabulous harmonies to give it an extra something. Absolutely brilliant, buy it if you see it, should only cost around £15. $$
THERESA LINDSAY - IT'S LOVE (Correc-Tone 1053)
Here's a gem among gems, what a record this is, and how fortunate I consider myself to have managed to pick up a copy. Last seen for the extraordinary price of £ 140, 1 picked this up in a job-lot for a couple of quid where it was listed as the other side, "Good idea", which is very similar to her "Gotta find a way'. However, my eyes nearly popped out of their sockets when 1 saw what was on the flip; sounding poles apart from the messy upternpo A side, this one is a Van McCoy composition and is notable for a very sympathetic, string laden Dale Warren arrangement, and those violins soar in and out as Theresa finds true love for the first time and sounds well pleased about it. "Say it, say it over and over and over' she pleads in a heartbreaking voice towards the end of the record, reducing the listener to a quivering wreck with her intensity. What a record this is! Never will this one ever leave my collection!
MARVELOUS RAY - WHIRLPOOL (Abner 1004)
Richards old Baby Washington cover up, Ray is a female, albeit deep voiced, and this track turned up on the Thelma cd by Pat Smith as "Going through a whirlpool". Midterapo stomper with a Detroit feel to it, this never lets up from the off, and should never have been dropped from the playlists so quickly because it's got just about anything you could ever ask for in a Northern dancer. All copies seem to carry a "Chips" sticker (presumably the record plugger), peel off to your peril - that's why there are so many "tear on label" copies about. Price, £30 to £40, worth every penny.
BARBARA LYNN - THIS IS THE THANKS I GET (Atlantic 2450)
No apologies if I've reviewed this before, and I think I did, many years ago, but now it seems that people are finally sitting up and taking notice of fins magnificent beat ballad item. It goes from a whisper to a scream m mere seconds, with ifs seemingly innocuous intro suddenly becoming a heartfelt plea from Barbara telling her man to treat her right. It builds and builds, instruments being added every few bars, until the kitchen sink is in there at the end, along with girl backing and Barbara m fine form. heard this spuri at the 100 Club in November, apparently it was also spun there in December, so nows the time to buy it while it's still relatively cheap.
The $ signs are ratings out of 5.
Hope you enjoy these. Cheers. Pete Smith
Sydney Joe Qualls I don't do this" (20th Century LP)
reviewed: Issue 1 (Jan'84) Darren Harden Not as instantly memorable as records such as the Four Tops*, but this mid tempo floater is certainly picking up much interest. Taken from his 1979 album 'So Sexy', under the guidance of Carl Davies, this track may take a while to sink in, but is well worth the inclusion in any 70's spot. * let me set you free" Casablanca LP
Jimmy Cobb "So that nobody else can hear" (Contempo Vibrato LP)
reviewed: Issue 2 (July '84) StuartRaith
As Jimmy is a jazz session drummer, this late 1983 album is as one would expect jazz orientated, but wait! The title track on side one is brilliant soul, the slow shuffly intro reminds me of Nina Simone's "My baby cares". Greg Hines and Marilyn Redfield are the two singers and the overall structure of the song is in the classic Marvin & Tammi boy loves girl mould! "Speak softly darling, whisper gently in my ear.... so that nobody else can hear". Greg and Marilyn's mellow voices blend into each other so skilfully they tend to distract the listener from the distinguished backing musicians, who include Freddie Hubbard and Pee Wee Ellis. 1 hope you all get to hear this, it could just have easily come from 1963 instead of '83.
Mandrill "Love Song" (Polydor album 5059)
From the album 'Just Outside of Town' which provided the northern side Never Die', comes a quite brilliant deepie which stands out like a beacon, in an album full of so many different styles from this Multi-Racial group. Well, what's it like? if you can imagine the best 70s ballad's from groups like the Dells, Bloodstone, or the Dramatics, then you're pretty close to guessing the pedigree of this epic track. The cut starts quietly enough, just tinkling piano, then horns, flutes and strings are added to the 'Melting Pot', before the stunning 'lived in' vocals appear, 'If the world was to end tomorrow would we have reason to live, no flowers or trees, just a sad lonely breeze'. Cool harmonies, and imaginative strings abound throughout, together with a great drawn out sax break, I can't recommend this outing highly enough, thankfully the album has never been that scarce, so check it out now!!
Eddie Hubbard (March'99)
Greg Tormo (New Jersey,USA) writes:
Lynn Vernado lives in Oklahoma where she is an ordained minister. She still sings and records, but it's all gospel stuff. She sent me her latest CD about a year ago, along with a load of her Jesus literature with her photo m the pamphlets. She couldn't remember much about "Wash and wear love" or "Second hand love", except to say that Miles Grayson was the guy to talk to about them. She had no copies of either record- And believe it or not, her nephew is none other than Snoop Doggy Dog.
Mel Brit is a really great guy, very friendly and Ul of interesting info, and he currently works in a "Chicken & Rib restaurant in Michigan. I gave Ian Levine his phone number so that he could be filmed singing " She'll come running back" for his movie.
Did you all know that the group The Exciters who had a hit in 1963 with "Tell Him", well two members of that group got married and became parents of a son, known to the world as songwriter producer L.A. Reid. For those that need to know, when you hear of the swingbeat and R&B producers LA and Babyface he's the LA bit. They've produced Bobby Brown, Blackstreet, R Kelly, Michael Jackson and many many others. Herb from Peaches & Herb: A recent interview with Herb revealed he is now working as a security guard in a court house protecting judges. He says he has found another Peaches and is now looking for a record company to sign them. He wants to get back into performing and recording.
Heard that the Rev. O.C.Smith is doing well in California and has been a full time minister for over 25 years. He performed the marriage of MarilIyn McCoo & Billy Davies Jr (5th Dimension) and then renewed their vows for them 25 years later.
"Wade Flemmons, who was on Vee Jay Records in the 50's and early 60's passed away approximately 4 years ago, his funeral which was held in Battle Creek, Michigan (Wade's home), was financed by the Rhythm & Blues Foundation. Wade Flemmons was also an original member of Earth, Wind and Fire. He and Maurice White formed the group m Chicago, there was also a female member of the group Sherry Scott who is still singing jazz today. She and Wade were married, however wade left the group with a broken heart. He never recovered". mmdells DP adds: Maurice White learned his trade as session drummer at Okeh during the 60's playing on all the Radiants recordings and on Ramsey Lewis's 1966 hit "Wade in the water". source: R Pruter 'Chicago Soul' book.
Ron Kersey is a keyboard player and original member of the Trarrimps. He wrote and produced their smash, "Disco Inferno. " He also arranged for the likes of the O'Jays, Norman Harris, Love Committee, the Temptations, Billy Paul, First Choice, Major Harris, Dee Dee Sharp and others. He moved to the West Coast in the early'80s and produced a number of acts including Stephanie Mills. Norman Harris died in April of 1987. He had heart problems. He, incidentally was a cousin to Major Harris.
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