BARBARA MASON: ARE YOU READY?

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Barbara Mason: Something You Got + Girls Have Feelings Too
From Yes, I’m Ready (Arctic, 1965)

I tend to ignore soul LPs (vs. 7″ singles) at my own peril but I’m glad I didn’t pass up this Barbara Mason LP when I saw it at the store the other day. Recorded for Philly’s Arctic label in 1965 (when Mason was only 18), it features her first major hit – “Yes, I’m Ready” – but I copped it because I wanted to hear what else was on here. It’s an interesting merge of styles, mostly R&B but also with a few conventional big band swing jazz tunes like “Misty” and “Moon River.” 1960s’ albums that mixed both jazz standards and R&B tunes weren’t that unusual but by the decade’s end, I always got the sense that these tended to bifurcated, especially as “soul” – as a genre category – gained commercial power.

I’m curious who backed Mason for the LP (if you know, holler) and heck, I’m not even sure who produced the songs on here besides Weldon McDougal. Great rhythm section, especially on Mason’s proto-funky recording of the Chris Kenner classic “Something You Got.” What’s funny is that the song reminds me of “Down Home Girl” and by coincidence, Alvin Robinson also covered “Something You Got.” .1 Considering that Arctic released nearly half the songs on the LP on single, it’s surprising this wasn’t one of them but you can find the other song I posted, the ballad “Girls Have Feelings Too,” on 7″. I’m all about the back-up “toooo-oooh-ooooh-ooohs.” Notably, this songs reminds me of another Barbara ballad: Barbara Lynn’s “Why Can’t You Love Me.”

  1. For my money, Mason and Robinson’s versions are the best out there.

BRENTON WOOD: BAD TYPO, GREAT BALLAD

Wantlove

Breton[sic] Wood: I Want Love
From 7″ (Brent, 1966). Also on 18 More of the Best, Vol. 2

File under irony…an artist named “Brenton” gets signed to Brent Records but they misspell his name on his first single for them. In Brent’s defense, Wood hadn’t yet become anywhere near a household name yet. He had previously only released one other song under his nom de plume (real name: Alfred Smith) and it wouldn’t be another year until he racked up two national hits – “The Oogum Boogum Song” and “Gimme Little Sign.”1

As far as ballads go, “I Want Love” is my favorite by Wood but unfortunately, it doesn’t always appear on his various “greatest hits” comps since it was released on Brent and not Double Shot (the latter released all his big hits). The opening is fantastic: the piano, the dreamy guitar, the sweeping doo-wop influences…it’s just gorgeous and that’s before Wood swoops in his yearning “I want loooooove.”

The flipside is a cover of Rudy Clark and Arthur Resnick’s “Good Lovin'” which most folks associate with the Young Rascals and if the discographic info is correct, Wood’s version appeared after the Rascals’. In any case, his cover is…just ok.

Interestingly, Brent reissued “I Want Love” – with Brenton’s name correctly spelled – in 1967, presumably after he was rising up the pop charts for Double Shot with “The Oogum Boogum” song. This time though, Brent put a different b-side on the single: “Sweet Molly Molone” which was much closer in feel/style to his Double Shot tracks.

  1. Piece of trivia I never realized until researching for this post: Wood’s name was inspired by the tony Westside L.A. neighborhood of Brentwood.

SHADES OF SOUL EPISODES, NOW AS PODCASTS

When I first started taping the Shades of Soul, I made a conscious decision not to do
them as podcasts, partially because I wanted to create a separate identity for them away from my pre-existing podcast series, The Sidebar. However, I’ve been taping SOS shows for over a year now and not coincidentally, The Sidebar has been silent for over a year now. It’s time I finally unite the siblings.

I’ve started to upload specific SOS episodes into the Sidebar feed (RSS or iTunes links). Unless by specific request, I don’t think I’m going to upload every single show (almost all of which are on available on both Mixcloud and RadioSombra.org) but I’ve begun pulling out those shows I liked best.

The trio I’ve already uploaded:

Again: you can download them either through the direct RSS feed or iTunes (though iTunes may not have updated their server with the latest shows yet).

SHADES OF SOUL, EP 2.19: GRAB BAG

Shades of Soul, EP 2.19: Grab Bag by Soul-Sides.Com/O. Wang on Mixcloud

A mix of old and new joints for this episode. I was overdue for a grab bag post anyway so this seemed more…efficient. But for real, next post (I hope) will be a long-awaited break down of a slew of tracks I’ve gotten in over the summer.

BLIND ALLEY – ALTERED TAPES REMIX

Folks know that “Blind Alley” is one of my all-time favorite breaks.1 Just wanted to say that Altered Tapes does a killer little edit, apparently by remixing the original multi-track stems with a little BDK thrown in for good measure.

  1. In fact, it might be the very first example of how I learned what a “break” (as in sample) was.