Alice Babs: Been to Canaan
From Music With a Jazz Flavor (Swedish Society, 1973)
Edna Wright: Oops, Here I Go Again
From Oops, Here I Go Again (RCA, 1976). Also available on Vibe 2.
I’ve been hoarding dozens of LPs and singles to put together a future “sister soul” mix but I wanted to let a few tracks out the bag in the meantime.
“Been to Canaan” falls into the category of “awesome jazz dance songs” (remember Lyn Marino’s “Feelin’ Good”? Yeah, like that). Alice Babs’ career began early – she was recording in the late ’30s as a teenager and over time, became one of the first ladies of song throughout Europe, especially in her home country of Sweden. This cut is – surprise, surprise – the only real uptempo song off the Music with Jazz Flavor LP (why is it always like that?) – a real burner. The horns that drop in after the first chorus are a nice bonus.
The most distinctive part to Edna Wright’s “Oops, Here I Go Again,” isn’t Wright so much as those guitars that begin the song (De La alert!) Mezmerizing. Rest of the song is just fine too – Wright’s best known for her days leading the Honey Cones so you know she’s got her soul chops down. By the way, is it me or does this song sound like it could have been a prototype for so-called “modern soul” from the early ’80s? First time I heard it, I would’ve sworn it was from ’81, not ’76.