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Showing posts from December, 2016

Jukebox Grooves From The Crates (1965-1975)

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Let’s leave 2016 with sounds from the last years of the jukebox era (1965-1975). Around the mid-seventies disco took over and dance music was played more and more at big, crowdy clubs instead of intimate local bars and cafes. From then the jukebox, an early version of Spotify, slowly disappeared out of sight.

Some of the songs clearly give away that disco was not far away to take over, like the ones from The O’Jays, Billy Paul and Van McCoy, but The Trammps show perhaps best the transition from the soul era to the disco days. Jimmy Ellis did the soulful, gospel influenced vocals and the uptempo music was played by Ronnie Baker (bass), Norman Harris (guitar) and Earl Young (drums), also main members of MFSB, house band of the Philadelphia International label The first recordings of the Trammps were not very successful, except for 'Hold Back The Night', which was a hit in the UK and on the Billboard R&B chart in 1973, before a re-release saw it climb the Billboard Hot 100 …

Smooth Sailing: Soulful Songs & Holiday Vibes

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Enjoy this Holiday episode of Smooth Sailing!

One of the tracks I selected is 'Reasons' by Minnie Riperton. It was the first single from her album 'Perfect angel'. The song was embraced by rock stations, but R&B radio weren’t too keen on the heavy guitars. Sales of the album started slow, and her record label was ready to move on to the next project. However, a few MOR (Middle Of the Road) radio stations were playing 'Lovin' You' (about daughter Maya) as an album track. Her record company released it as a single and it made a slow three-month climb to #1 on the American pop charts in April 1975 (#3 R&B). It went to #9 on the Dutch charts a few months later. Nowadays this classic soul song has been covered and sampled dozens of times.

Dutch-born Thomas Azier makes moody yet highly dynamic synth pop centered on his robust, often melancholic singing voice. Born in the Netherlands, Azier moved to Berlin at age 19 to pursue a music career and quickly en…

1971 Best Of 70s Soul

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In the beginning of the 1970s soul music became influenced by other genres like country (Candi Staton), rock (Sly & the Family Stone) and folk (Bill Withers). The typical Motown beat disappeared in favour of more sophisticated sounds, like Memphis soul (Al Green) and the sound of Philadelphia (The Three Degrees). One of the first songs that came out on the Philadelphia International label was ‘You’re the reason why’ by The Ebony’s. Philly soul, however, was not fully evolved yet and still on the drawing board.

Around 1971 the Three Degrees were in search of a sound that would suit them best. When they eventually aligned their recording fate with Gamble and Huff’s Philadelphia International label, after years of struggling, they hit immediate paydirt in 1973 with 'Dirty Ol’ Man'. Soon after came 'TSOP', which featured the ladies with the Philly house orchestra MFSB. The following year came ‘When Will I See You Again'. All tracks were on their first album for Ph…

AOR On The Radio: Soft & Easy

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The Salsoul Orchestra led by vibraphonist Vincent Montana initially consisted of many of the original members of Philadelphia International's MFSB, who had moved to Salsoul as the result of a disagreement with producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff over finances. Other members began performing as The Ritchie Family and as John Davis and the Monster Orchestra. On later MFSB and Philadelphia International recordings, Gamble & Huff used a new rhythm section which resulted in a slightly different sound.
The orchestra's biggest chart singles were 1976's reworked version of the standard, "Tangerine" (pop #18, R&B #36) and "Nice 'N' Naasty" (R&B #20, pop #30) later in the same year.
When Montana left Salsoul, the orchestra recorded a final album at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia mainly with producer Bunny Sigler. The orchestra's last three albums were recorded in New York City with local session players and producers, including Patri…

Smooth Sailing: Soulful Pop & Funky Chill

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Remember those sunny days of summer? I collected a couple of songs that will give you a warm feeling... ;-)

I selected "Hurry Sundown" by Candi Staton. The career of the tiny soul singer has had some ups and downs, because of her troubled personal life and alcohol addiction. She was married to soul singer Clarence Carter (1970 - 1973) and John Sussewell (1980 – 1998), along whom she co-founded the gospel label Beracah Records. She is the mother of Cassandra Hightower and the drummer Marcus Williams. Her biggest hits are "You Got The Love" (remixed by The Source), the disco anthem "Young Hearts Run Free" and her country soul versions of "Stand By Your Man", originally sung by of Tammy Wynette, and "In The Ghetto”, the classic from Elvis Presley. Candi Staton released eleven soul and disco albums from 1970 to 1982, thirteen gospel albums, a club album ("Outside In") and in the mid-00's she made her soul comeback with two deep so…