The Kaldirons + Dynamic Tints: From Dawn to Twinight

The Kaldirons: To Love Someone
From 7″ (Twinight, 1970)

Dynamic Tints: Be My Lady
From 7″ (Twinight, 1970)

Both on Twinight’s Lunar Rotation (Numero Group, 2007).

I admit – it’s kind of wack for me to copy n’ paste my own article from another source but I had been meaning to write about the Twinight’s Lunar Rotation comp for a while and having just done it for NPR’s Song of the Day, I thought it’d be more *cough cough* efficient to just repost what I wrote for them and then add on some additional thoughts (plus a song).

Let me say this much: this is one of the best anthologies of a single label that I have ever heard and that says a lot considering the other fine titles in Numero Group’s Eccentric Soul series. However, as I note below, song for song…the Twinight catalog is amazing and perhaps that explains why Numero has taken the extraordinary step of reissuing every single ever released by Twinight, beginning with these. Seriously, if you make only one purchase this month…well, actually, please buy SSV2. But if you make two purchases, make your other one Twinight’s Lunar Rotation. Here’s what I had to say about the comp and the Kaldirons song for NPR:

      Chicago’s Twinight imprint coexisted with scores of regional soul labels that sprang up during the 1960s. Like many, Twinight wasn’t long for this world, lasting from roughly 1967 through 1972. However, during its lifetime, Twinight boasted — single for single — one of the strongest and most consistent catalogs for any R&B label of its era. Long overlooked save for a handful of tracks, Twinight finally receives the spotlight it deserves thanks to the comprehensive Twinight’s Lunar Rotation anthology. (Numero Group intends to reissue the entire Twinight catalog of seven-inch singles on vinyl, with original label art.)


      Of the 40-plus songs that dot this set, The Kaldirons’ “To Love Someone (Who Don’t Love You)” is first among equals, the product of a group formed at Harlan High School on Chicago’s south side. Unfortunately for the group, “To Love Someone” ended up becoming one of Twinight’s most obscure singles, with purportedly less than 500 copies ever distributed. This failure is hard to reconcile against the song itself: In short, “To Love Someone” is a monster of a ballad.


      Produced by Jimmy Jones (best known for his collaborations with blues/R&B singer Syl Johnson), the song opens with a sweeping string arrangement. Strings are tricky to master in soul music: The right amount lends an important emotional weight, but an overabundance can overwhelm a song’s delicate textures. Jones, like his counterpoint across town at Chess (the great Charles Stepney), nails that ideal balance. Even before The Kaldirons’ vocal harmony glides in, “To Love Someone” already has the feel of something epic.


      From there, the group gives a sweet soul performance that easily holds its own next to anything other Chicago groups (like the Impressions or Dells) could boast. Delivered in a striking falsetto, the truism “It’s no good to love someone who don’t love you” oozes heartache. Given the chorus’ catchy arrangement, listeners shouldn’t be surprised to find themselves singing along with every note — or at least trying to hit those upper octaves.


    “To Love Someone” does leave a slight bittersweet aftertaste: In being witness to such grandeur, it’s only natural to wish that the group had released more songs. Still, if it was destined to only release this one single, at least The Kaldirons made the most of it.

Bonus round: One of my other absolute favorites off the comp is “Be My Lady” by the Dynamic Tints which, unlike “To Love Someone” is actually fairly easy to come by (assuming you’re willing to part with $25 or so). That’s a blessing because it’s such a great tune – something any soul/funk DJ/collector should consider filing into their crates. Is it the banging pianos at the beginning? The vocals? The lyrics? The horn section?


I should also add, just for people’s general edification: Syl Johnson (as noted above) was a huge part – if not seminal – to Twinight’s success though, because he owns all his songs, he’s notably absent from the comp. This isn’t a real disaster given that you can actually buy a lot of Johnson’s Twinight material on CD already (unlike the vast majority of what’s on Lunar Rotation). I didn’t have time to get into it for the NPR piece but yeah – Twinight was as much Johnson’s baby as anyone’s, especially in being one of the main producing forces there.