I’ve had a few individual songs that I’ve been meaning to post up and usually, I wait for some kind of thematic opportunity but I realize this is an inefficient way to go about things and instead, I just took ten of these stragglers, whipped up a quick sequence for them and if you download them in order, you’ll have yourself a half-hour mix.
Paul Kelly: Only Your Love
From 7″ (Dial, 1965)
This single (backed with “Chills & Fevers”) originally came out on Lloyd but turned out to be enough of a hit that Dial picked it up for distribution and, strangely, Atlantic UK also issued it (but not until the late ’70s). My man Brendan first played this for me and while “Chills and Fevers” was the big hit, it was always the flipside ballad that captured my attention. I could be crazy but this definitely sounds influenced by Sam Cooke’s “Change Gonna Come” – the arrangements seem remarkably similar though not a copy. But like Cooke, you have this impassioned delivery and the kind of deep, deep soul track I simply can’t get enough of.
Marvin Gaye: It’s Love I Need
From I Heard It Through the Grapevine (Tamla, 1968)
Confession: much as I recognize the greatness that was Marvin, I actually own very few of his albums besides a few anthologies. I basically missed out on buying a lot of classic Motown-era LPs (I’m starting to make up for it though) and it wasn’t until the other month that I finally picked up one of his biggest selling albums of the ’60s, I Heard It Through the Grapevine. Besides the now-ubiquitous title track though, I really liked listening to what some might call the “filler”, LP-only songs because you will always find little gems tucked away. Motown knew what the f— they were doing in that era and even the non-hits sound like potential hits. This track in particular has a nice, funky twang to it, anchored by fatback drums. Reminds me a little of this, an absolute favorite of mine from Tammi Terrell’s catalog.
Great Pride: She’s a Lady
From 7″ (MGM, 1974)
I originally heard this back in 2003 when I got booted on a strange, one-off 12″. Even then, I remember it being some really crazy stuff but I had forgotten about it for years until recently, when I grabbed an OG copy of the 7″. It’s such a fantastically quirky song that mashes up some funky white dude rock, lush orchestral production and crazy psychedelic vocals. Call me crazy but didn’t the moment where the strings and beat come together at :15 remind you of this? Far as I can tell, this was the only release this 7-man band ever put out; pity – I would have loved to hear what an entire LP’s worth of material sounded like from these guys.
The Victors: Magnificent Sanctuary Band
From 7″ (Clarion, 197?)
This cover of Donny Hathaway’s tune retains the opening drum break and a mostly loyal arrangement that isn’t necessarily superior to the OG but it’s a fun listen and nice to have on 7″.
The Detroit City Limits: 98 Cents Plus Tax
From Play 98 Cents Plus Tax and Other Hits (Okeh, 1968)
Ironically, even though this album was mostly covering other people’s hits, as one of the sole original compositions by this short-lived group, “98 Cents Plus Tax” was the group’s biggest hit: a squawking monster of an instrumental cooker that’s been a favorite of DJs for years.
Big City: Love Dance
From 7″ (20th Century, 1974)
This excellent, mid-70s proto-disco jam is a real enigma. If you’ve ever heard “Mud Wind” by the South Side Movement, you’ll notice that “Love Dance” = “Mud Wind” – a minute + vocals. Does that mean Big City is actually South Side Movement? That’s my assumption only because I’ve never seen another Big City single but apparently, this isn’t the first time a tune on Wand ended up being re-released on 20th Century (see The Groove: “Love, It’s Getting Better”).
Juan Diaz: Hit and Run
From Thematic Music (New World, 197?)
This comes from one of the many NY-based New World library music records. New World isn’t anywhere near the level of KPM/DeWolfe library respectability but like most library series, there’s good tracks to be found if you’re willing to sift through. This is one of the better cuts I’ve found on a New World LP – a slick, disco-y instrumental that rides a nice little groove.
Willie West and High Society Brothers: The Devil Gives Me Everything
From 7″ (Timmion, 2009)
Finland’s finest teamed up with legendary NOLA soul man for this single that sort of flew under people’s radars from last year. Whether intentional or not, there’s just something slightly “off” about this deep soul recording but whatever that element is, it works for me.
Myron and E: It’s a Shame
From 7″ (Timmion, 2010)
And staying on the Timmion tip is the latest single from Oakland’s Myron and E who made a strong splash with “Cold Game.” This is their follow-up 7″ and hopefully paves the way for the duo’s long-awaited debut LP with the Soul Investigators. This one’s real catchy (but it’s not a cover of the Spinners’ song in case you were wondering).
Bitty McClean: Tell Me (remix)
From 7″ (Sir Peckings, 2007)
Straight up, McClean’s “Tell Me” and “Walk Away From Love” are two of my favorite reggae songs that I’ve discovered in years. I didn’t even realize “Tell Me” got a remix 7″ treatment but had to cop. This doesn’t change the song dramatically; it basically keeps the original rocksteady arrangement but then remakes it over with some heavy dub elements, basically stripping it down and letting McClean’s vocals echo out.