Robert John (Gallo): Tequila (Guinness, 1977, Compositions)
I’m not sure if there are any really great covers of a song that’s so kitsch-associated but Gallo gives it a decent shot…until the main melody drops in. What can you do?
365 Days of Soul, #122
Spontaneous Combustion: Walk On By (Rod, 196?, 7″)
Psych/garage cover of Dionne Warwick.
I’m pretty sure this is not the same Spontaneous Combustion that did this song but beyond that, I can’t track down any info about these guys (they may be from Iowa). Cool Chris played this at a gig and it stuck with me given my obsession with cover songs. A very cool one at that.
365 Days of Soul, #71
Omar: There’s Nothing Like This (RCA, 1994, 12″)
’90s “alternative” R&B.
Look…I just wasn’t f—ing with much R&B in the ’90s unless it was some obviously hip-hop influenced act like Mary J. or SWV. As such, I pretty much missed the entire Omar era and I deserve a late pass for sleeping on this laid back goodness. I have this as a B-side on Omar’s 1994 single, “Saturday” but I only realized later that the song is actually from 1990 (which means that the next move is to the cop the actual, original 12″ with the remixes).
365 Days of Soul, #53
Malcolm Catto: Scorpio Rising (Mo Wax, 2001, Popcorn Bubble Fish)
Funk instrumental EP.
Catto’s early solo releases brought together his skills as a drummer with his budding talents as a producer. This EP, in particular, is a head-smasher, all thinly-contained fury and chaos…about as far away from the typical ‘trip hop’ sound as one might imagine. (By the way, if you dig this, be sure to track down the 2008 EP by MRR-ADM that he also plays on).
365 Days of Soul, #32
Destination Unlimited: It’s Gonna Be Alright (True Soul, 1978, Right Track )
Soul/funk album out of Arkansas(?).
Was this the only full-length ever released on True Soul? The label’s best-known for a series of funk 7″s from the ’70s, including by Thomas East, and Now-Again created a two volume set from their releases. In any case, Destination Unlimited feels a bit left-field for the label, possibly because their album dropped considerably later than most of the singles did. Still a great sound though, especially on this slow burning instrumental.
365 Days of Soul, #25
Charles Brimmer: Just Another Morning (Chelsea, 1975, Expression of Soul)
Deep soul album.
Brimmer is one of the countless “what could have been” acts of the ’70s, having recorded a slew of singles for various labels before having a moment of opportunity once Chelsea began to distribute him nationally. Expression of Soul was his first LP and if you can grab it for $10 or so, it’s absolutely worth it. He’s a classic deep soul testifier and you get plenty of that on the LP but for this post, I went with my fave: a mid-tempo crossover cooker.
Berlin Township Elementary School Stage Band: Salsoul Hustle (private, 1977, A Rhythm Fiesta)
Private press elementary school stage band album out of Camden, New Jersey.
I don’t know about the bands at your elementary school, but these NJ kids were kind of killing it. At this point in the ’70s, stage bands everywhere were playing with funky/fusion tunes but I’m most impressed at the mature sense of polyrhythm this group already had at an early age.
Fred Hughes: My Heart Cries Oh (Vee Jay, 1966, 7″)
Deep-ish Northern-ish soul out of Los Angeles.
I initially assumed this was the same guy as Freddie Hughes but nope: two different guys. Another Groove Merchant pick-up, I gelled with the quality of the vocals and songwriting but also the fact that the song is titled “My Heart Cries Oh” (not “On”) as is sometimes erroneously transcribed.
The Music Machine: Come On In (Original, 1966, 7″)
Garage single from Los Angeles.
Oh hey, Cypress Hill sample! (Sorry, I can’t help it). This was the b-side to the group’s popular “Talk, Talk” single. That opening keyboard (which I’ve always describe as a calliope) is apparently a Farfisa organ.
Linda Foreman: If I Ever Needed You Darling (Public!, 197?, 7″)
Deep soul single.
Cool Chris had a few stock copies of this and suggested I cop. I’m more on a sweet (vs. deep) soul kick but something about the haunting quality of Foreman’s vocals here really stuck with me. Couldn’t find much about her; this seems to be the only single she ever released but even though Public! was based out of Hollywood, I’m guessing Foreman’s actually from Indianapolis since her arranger Ira Raibon, producer Jim Horton and songwriter James Belmore all have Indy soul connections (via the Fabulous Souls and Vanguards).