Got to review the new anthology of Gloria Ann Taylor’s Selector Sound catalog. As folks here know; I love her work.



Karriem: I Love You (Pashlo, 1979, 12″)

It’s cliche to suggest that all you need with disco is a good, repetitive groove but that doesn’t mean it’s untrue. This obscure-ish disco single out of Oakland is barely more than Karriem singing “I love you” over and over and that’s all you need. Actually, if you tried to put more on it, maybe it wouldn’t be nearly as endearing.

By the way, far as I can tell, this single was the only 12″ that Oakland’s Pashlo imprint ever released. They only had about half a dozen records to their name which isn’t surprising given that they were so local, their original address was a literally a house in deep East Oakland. I couldn’t find much on Karriem himself; he’s not even in the credits! The most notable talent on the song might be producer (and elsewhere, writer/arranger) Gerald Robinson who, among many other works, produced another Bay Area boogie classic, the Numonics’ “You Lied.”

Update: Len Romano on Facebook pointed out that Karriem, aka Dr. Karriem Muhammad , is still recording and actually re-recorded “I Love You” in 2008.


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I’m finishing up the 7 days of soul challenge (thanks again to Michael Barnes) with my favorite soul track of the last couple of months:

The Equatics: Merry Go-Round (Now-Again, 2010, Doin’ It!!!)

I feel rather stupid since I slept on “Merry-Go-Round” specifically by 1) totally missing when Now-Again reissued this most obscure of Virginia soul LPs in 2010 and also failing to listen to it when Now-Again put it onto their excellent Loving On The Flipside compilation in 2012. ,It took until this fall for me to finally give the song the notice it deserved…and even then, only because I heard it used during the opening credits to the third episode of Master of None. Better late than never and all that.

I’m not suggesting this is all about the hook but…this is kind of all about the hook. Even if they borrow heavily from the Persuaders’ “Thin Line Between Love and Hate,” the sing-a-long infectiousness is irresistible. And all that from a high school band?!



Zilla Mayes: All I Want Is You (Tou-Sea, 1968, 7″) (Available on The Lost Sessions)

Even if this song screams “NOLA” thanks to the touch of writer/arranger/co-producer Allen Toussaint, Zilla Mayes/Mays herself was far more of a fixture in Atlanta. As a recording artist, she primarily cut blues tunes; there’s a phenomenal series of photos killer photo of her recording “Come Back to Me” for RCA’s Groove subsidiary in 1955. However, Mayes was best known as a pioneering radio DJ, the first Black woman to grace a booth in Georgia when she first began broadcasting as “The Mystery Lady” in 1954 for WAOK in Atlanta.

I couldn’t find any info on how/why she ended up recording this single on Toussaint’s Tou-Sea subsidiary in the late 1960s. By this point, she wasn’t recording much at all; she only has three credited releases in the entire decade (this being the last and musically, it’s quite unlike any of her previous sides). Regardless, I think “All I Want Is You” is one of the finest female funk/soul recordings to come out of NOLA – which is saying a lot – especially with that passion that Mays brings to the track (and that rolling piano does amazing work too).



The Relatives: More Time (To Explain) (Archway, 1971, 7″)

I learned about this Bay Area 7″ from the late Matthew Africa; I not only have a soft spot for Bay Area sweet soul and songs that use both male and female singers, but throw in some background harmonizing and I’m positively weak in the knees.

Best that I can piece together, the Relatives were a one-off group put together by Archie Reynolds III (producer) and Larry Coney (singer/writer/co-arranger). There’s a remarkable musical biography of Reynolds available here; he grew up in New Orleans but moved to San Francisco in the war years and became a fixture in the local gospel scene there, particularly via his involvement with The Paramounts. He created Archway in the early 1960s, alongside a variety of entrepreneurial endeavors, the most successful being Archie’s Hickory Pit down in Bayview.

It doesn’t sound like Archway ever released much besides a comedy album and this 7″ which included Reynolds’s long-time friend Coney. Unfortunately, I can’t find any info on who the female background singers were but I presume they were likely recruited out of the various gospel camps that Reynolds was affiliated with.