I don’t know how many of you out there are fans of Soul Music from the 1970-1974 period, but I grew up on this stuff and it is indelibly a part of my being. It’s so common for people to say that they love ’60s Soul, but I don’t seem to hear much from people saying that they love the early to mid-’70s stuff that came out prior to the May ’75 release of “The Hustle” from Van McCoy when everything changed and became what we now know as Disco.
Musicians, in general, have always been given short thrift in so many ways. Sadly, Soul musicians got the short end of the stick even worse in some regards. When I grew up listening to AM radio down in the San Francisco Bay area, I never heard the names of the albums that a ton of great Soul singles came from. But I could always count on quite a few of the big name Rock bands getting the albums mentioned from whence the singles came or were about to come from before I switched over to FM radio during the Summer of ’74.
I can only think of a very select few Soul singles that d.j.’s actually bothered to mention when it came to connecting the singles to the albums. It was only the big ones that you actually heard about-like the “Freddie’s Dead” & “Superfly” singles coming from the Curtis Mayfield created OST of the Superfly movie and Marvin Gaye‘s Lets Get It On album. For every one of those that got mentioned, it seemed like there were a ton that never got mentioned on the AM airways.
I mourn over this. I might have gone out and bought a lot of these albums back in the day. The years have passed and I have amassed these many singles on various compilations-most especially the Didn’t It Blow Your Mind series from Rhino. I am disheartened over the small numbers of Soul albums I have on CD. You know what, though? There had to have been a gazillion little lost deep album tracks that were splendid. I’d like to hear them.
That’s where somebody like the BBR label out of England could come in and save the day. This is where what’s left of the record companies could come in and save the day. Period! So, I have spent a nice little portion of time looking up album titles online and aligning them with the singles from where they came from and I hope that I can garner a little bit of attention from BBR and others into doing these titles. A lot of them will be long-shots. For some titles, I will leave a comment or two on them.
And for those of you who are reading this, let me know if you think any of this stuff contains deep album track gems which need to be heard or if some of the albums that I list are not very good and only have the single tracks which saved the album. There’s only one album from before the ’70-’74 period and only a couple from afterwards. While compiling this list, it struck me how so many albums were named after the singles that they spawned. For those of you who are sharp-eyed observers, you will probably start to chuckle when you notice that my list closely follows some of the volumes of the Didn’t It Blow Your Mind material. If any of you feel compelled, please leave some feedback.
Maybe some of these are out on other labels and that a fine job has been done on them sonically speaking, or if there are ones to definitely avoid because of the mastering. And on a disturbing note, I also found out about the passings of people who are no longer with us that the media didn’t bother reporting on.
- Billy Paul – Feelin’ Good At The Cadillac Club (1968), Live In Europe (1974): I am very surprised that BBR has not issued the Feelin’ Good At The Cadillac Club album yet. I hope it comes out eventually.
- The Dells – Freedom Means, Give Your Baby A Standing Ovation
- Lou Rawls – Natural Man, All Things In Time (one of the few from after the ”70-’74 period)
- Love Unlimited – From A Girl’s Point Of View We Give To You…Love Unlimited
- Roberta Flack – First Take, Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway, Killing Me Softly, Feel Like Makin’ Love: I know that there’s SHM-CD reissues of these coming out in Japan at the end of the month. I’d like to see U.S. or U.K. issues of these. I may have gotten my signals crossed, but I could swear that people in the past have complained that there was too much noise reduction used on her stuff. I’d like to hear these particular albums in the best possible sonic shape that can be rendered.
- The Persuaders – Thin Line Between Love And Hate
- The Free Movement – The Free Movement
- Donnie Elbert – Where Did Our Love Go?: This one is a huge priority in my mind. I am really curious to hear if this guy pulled off any more gems beyond his wonderful single.
- Dennis Coffey & The Detroit Guitar Band-Evolution
- Joe Simon – Drowning In The Sea Of Love: This also has the great “Power Of Love” single on it too.
- Betty Wright – I Love The Way You Love: with “Clean Up Woman”
- Bobby Womack – Communication, Lookin’ For A Love Again
- Joe Tex – I Gotcha
- The Jimmy Castor Bunch – It’s Just Begun: Everybody needs to have Troglodytes in their lives.
- Frederick Knight – I’ve Been Lonely For So Long: I have had a burning desire for years to know if this guy ever pulled off a full album that’s just as good as the single off of this album was or if he was truly just a one-hit wonder.
- Luther Ingram – If Loving You Is Wrong I Don’t Want To Be Right
- The Main Ingredient – Bitter Sweet, Euphrates River: with “Everybody Plays The Fool” and “Just Don’t Want To Be Lonely” respectively.
- The Soul Children – Genesis: with “Heresay”.
- Laura Lee – Women’s Love Rights, Love More Than Pride, Two Sides Of Laura Lee: Remember “Rip Off”?
- Mel & Tim – Starting All Over Again: O.k., people. If you want to get me worked up, then just bring up this album to me. I have been dying to get my hands on the album from whence the single came from because I’ve never heard the longer version of the single that has the spoken word introduction. I’ll also let you in on a secret. I have always wanted Bruce Springsteen to do a cover of “Starting All Over Again”. If I ever meet him, I’m going to bring up this song to him. I just have no idea if he is a fan of the ’70-’74 period of Soul. I know he dearly loves the ’60s stuff.
- Timmy Thomas – Why Can’t We Live Together
- Brighter Side Of Darkness – Love Jones
- First Choice – Armed And Extremely Dangerous
- The Independents – album with “Leaving Me”. Did they do an album?
- New York City – I’m Doin’ Fine Now: I have to believe these guys did some great deep album work.
- Don Covay – Super Dude: with “I Was Checkin’ Out She Was Checkin’ In
- Gladys Knight & The Pips – If I Were Your Woman, Standing Ovation, Neither One Of Us, Imagination: I mean, c’mon. It’s Gladys & The Pips! They should never be relegated to compilations. These are the prime albums which need to be presented in full and with bonus tracks of alternate takes, etc.
- Eddie Kendricks – Eddie Kendricks (with “Keep On Truckin”), Boogie Down
- Manu Dibango – Soul Makossa: The single “Soul Makossa” planted a seed in me back in ’73. It took until the past decade for me to finally discover Afro-Beat, Afro-Jazz and Highlife. I will be writing about this.
- Al Wilson – Show And Tell
- William DeVaughn – Be Thankful For What You Got: I have been in contact with the BBR label and they have told me that they are trying to score this album and produce a reissue of it. I could wax poetic about the single. I have never heard the full 12 + minutes album version of the single. I would practically kill to do so. I just do not want to pick up the old Collectables CD of this album because I’m going to be disappointed in the sound The long version of the title track was on a Black Power compilation, but I never got around to picking it up and I’m sure it’s out of print now. “Be Thankful For What You Got” has had a profound influence on me. It was one of the great soundtracks to my life when I lived in California back then during that Summer of ’74.
- The Hues Corporation – Freedom For The Stallion: with “Rock The Boat”.
- Love Unlimited Orchestra – Rhapsody In White: Barry White was all over the place back then.
- Blue Magic – Blue Magic: I understand there’s a 2007 expanded reissue of this album which featured “Sideshow”. How is it and can it be improved upon in the sonics department?
- B.T. Express – Do It (‘Til You’re Satisfied)
- Carl Carlton – Everlasting Love
- The Manhattans – There’s No Me Without You, That’s How Much I Love You, The Manhattans (with “Kiss And Say Goodbye”)
- Sylvia – Pillow Talk
Because you NEED to hear this!