Tuesday, October 31, 2006

posted by O.W.

Ruby Andrews: Whatever It Takes To Please You + You Made a Believer Out of Me
From Black Ruby (Zodiac, 1972). Both also available on Just Loving You.

Ruby Andrews' two albums on Zodiac in the late '60s are easily some of the best, strong-armed soul recorded by any woman in the era. Both are pricey showpieces though Black Ruby tends to sell even higher than Everybody Saw You (personally, I think both are fantastic albums though I might have to give Black Ruby the nod for overall excellence).

Mississippi-born but Chicago-identified, Andrews had her share of hits though she never achieved marquee status. Interestingly enough, I didn't realize that Andrews was part of the Detroit-based Brothers of Soul (one of several female leads they worked with in the late '60s). The Brothers were also the team behind Zodiac and, as I recently learned at Ear Fuzz, they also recorded under the name, The Creations. (The Brothers of Soul's "I'd Be Grateful" is one of the Northern Soul singles that makes you understand why Northern Soul goes for beaucoup bucks).

In any case, the Brothers are responsible for the sound behind Andrews' Black Ruby and Everybody Saw You LPs and thus, deserve part of the credit for lacing her with some fantastic production: a rousing, energetic mix of mid-60s funk and soul that's a nice fit with Andrews' powerful vocals.

"Whatever It Takes To Please You" showcases all those elements, combined with a thick sound that draws powers off the horn and string sections but most of all, that driving bass that anchors the whole song. Don't sleep on that back-up singers other. This whole thing is just fantastic.

"You Made A Believer Out of Me" was actually off of Everybody Saw You originally but I guess it was so nice, they ended up using it twice. And indeed, I love this song enough to program it twice as well. If you missed it the first time, here's the rewind. (De La Soul fanatics might find this tune familiar as well).

I really want to emphasize that if you like either of these songs, seriously consider copping that Andrews/Zodiac comp I listed above - you can only imagine how good some of the other songs are in her catalog...these two here are simply first among equals.

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