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Archive for the '45s' Category

Creepin’ (In My Dreams)
Tamiko Jones
7″ Single, 1975
Arista Records

Another gem from the 45 vaults. This is Tamiko Jones’ sultry cover of the Stevie Wonder classic that came out the year before. I don’t know much about her, I’ve had her song “Let It Flow” (which came out a year after this record) on my shopping list for years.

Songs are available for two weeks.

(I Got) So Much Trouble In My Mind Pt. 1
(I Got) So Much Trouble In My Mind Pt. 2
Joe Quarterman & Free Soul
7″ Single, 1972
GSF Records

This is another gem from the recently borrowed trove of 45s. I knew of Joe Quarterman and this song but only had the slightly contrived “South City Allstars Vs. Joe Quarterman” reworking of it and his “The Way They Do My Life” which is similar but not quite as dynamic.

Pt. 2 is definitely going on my list of tracks for the next I Love Vinyl party. I love that the first vocals you here (:33) are in the middle of a guitar solo and distorted and that when the “real” vocals come (back) in at 1:14 it’s a verse and not the (more likely) chorus.

My favorite part of Part 1 is the unlikely squelchy guitar chord @ 2:05.

Songs are available for two weeks.

Intimate Friends
Eddie Kendricks
7″ Single, 1977
Motown Records

We scheduled set times at the last I Love Vinyl party until 3:30 a.m. and after that it was sort of a free for all. This is the song I wanted to end the party with, but I didn’t elbow my way to the turntable in time.

Does anyone know the where this song first came out? This 45 says it’s from his “At His Best” compilation but it doesn’t seem to have come out before that. Is it one of those age-old “tack some new studio material onto a greatest hits so that the people who have every album still have to buy it” things? Well, if so, this was a great song to do it with, although, putting it out on 45 would sort of defeat the purpose.

Common (Immenslope, actually) sampled this on “A Penny For My Thoughts,” his first song on his first album in 1992, when he was Common Sense…before he tamed his flow.

Songs are available for two weeks.

Go On With Your Bad Self
Consumer Rapport
7″ Single, 1975
Wing and a Prayer Record Co.

Kid tested. Big Daddy Kane approved. We want that old pimp sh#% too!

The first time I heard this 45 was an extremely gratifying experience. It was one of those sounds that had taken up permanent residence in my brain ever since I heard it on “Big Daddy’s Theme” in 1989. But like so many sounds from my junior high years – a time when I didn’t care about the details of music, it took me a while to remember exactly where it was from.

So, my question is: who is Tone (of “Yo Tone, play me some old pimp sh#%”)? The credits say the track was produced by Kane and the other major players were Mister Cee, Scoob and Scrap (obviously), Marley Marl and Easy Mo Bee.

There doesn’t seem to be that much out there on Consumer Rapport. Discogs.com has a bunch of variations of singles that all have the A-Side of this 45, “Ease on Down the Road.” No albums. Anyone know anything about them?

Songs are available for two weeks.

Ask Me
Ecstasy, Passion & Pain
7″ Single, 1974
Roulette Records

This is another gem from the new borrowed 45 stash. I posted Danny Krivit’s edit of this song early last year but was unfamiliar with the original until just now.

I don’t know that much about what is “disco’s first super group” according to their bio on discogs.com but there are some interesting facts mentioned like that the group was a self-contained band. Barbara Gaskins, the leader singer and writer of this and most of their songs, played guitar. Also fairly uncommon at the time (and still), the group’s drummer (Althea “Cookie” Smith) was female. Blue Note recording artist Ronnie Foster (best known to the hip hop generation as the artist behind “Mystic Brew” which was sampled for “Electric Relaxation”) was also part of the group for a time.

The rinky-dinky intro (not included in Danny Krivit’s edit) is somewhat surprising considering how driven the rest of the song is.

Songs are available for two weeks.

What Do You Want Me To Do
Lou Courtney
7″ Single, 1973
Rags/Ragmar

A friend was kind enough to store his vinyl well-cared-for vinyl collection at my apartment a couple weeks ago, including the stacks and stacks of 45s in the picture below. I don’t recognize so many of them, it’s pretty exciting.

This is the first post of what may be many as I slowly work my way through them. The posts will probably be a little shorter as I’ll know absolutely nothing about a fair amount of the artists.

Case in point, Lou Courtney and Ragmar Music Corp., nice to meet ya. You’ve got a little Southside Movement meets The New Birth thing going on and I like your style. (He apparently has a bit of a catalog but it’s new to me.)

Songs are available for two weeks.

The World (Going Up In Flames)
Charles Bradley & Menahan Street Band
7″ Single, 2007

This song is kind of a masterpiece. I’ve only had it for a few days but this isn’t one of those songs you come to appreciate after time. This song gets in your face a little bit; that slightly sour upright piano (sounding just like the piano on this track 40 years earlier) has moved into my brain and set up shop.

I honestly don’t know how they (Daptone Records out of Brooklyn, as well as Truth & Soul) are able to keep making such amazing soul. For those unfamiliar, that release year is correct, it’s not a reissue, this song was recorded in 2007. They have all of the right ingredients – analog studios, older black singers etc. – but there’s no young Isaac Hayes and David Porter as a songwriting staff (although I guess they weren’t famous when Stax came on the scene either). It just seems like they could have just as easily compiled the formula and not produced the results. I have to give credit where its due.

I was searching for an image of this 45 online and found a great-looking blog of vinyl recordings that I hadn’t seen before. When I pulled the image down, I realized by the way it was titled that it was from my favorite online store, Dusty Groove. When I went there I realized that the author didn’t only borrow the image, but also most of the review! That’s a personal affront to me as a music blogger!

Dusty Groove’s review:

Scorching raw soul from Charles Bradley — backed by the tight Menahan Street Band! “World (Is Going Up In Flames)” might be the best track yet from Bradley — an incredible groover with a heavy theme — but the apocalypse never sounded so sweet! The groove is raw and emotive, given a deeper feel thanks to some piano in the mix — with a rubbery bass line and backing vocals by the Gospel Queens! The flip “Heartaches And Pain” is another emotional workout — and has the feel of a lost southern soul scorcher, but with funkier bassline and drums! Amazing stuff!

“Dusty Nuggets’” “review”:

Scorching raw soul from Charles Bradley, a funk legend backed by the unbelievably-retro sounding Menahan Street Band. “This World (Is Going Up In Flames)” might be the best track yet from Bradley. (Which is saying a lot, because his prior 45 with the Bullets, “This Love Ain’t Big Enough for the Two of Us,” was explosive.) The groove is raw and emotive, given a deeper feel thanks to some piano in the mix, with a rubbery bass line and backing vocals by the Gospel Queens. As Charles bares down with his first wrenching moan, it is clear that this is not going to be a record made of empty gestures.

Come on homie!

>> songs are available for two weeks (192 kbps) [4.8 MB]
>> songs are available for two weeks (320 kbps) [8.0 MB]

It’s A Shame
The Spinners
7″ Single, 1970

It all comes back to the Wonderlove. Stevie crops up so many (good) places. Click on the 45 label for a larger view and check the songwriting credit. As previously touched on (while discussing this other hot song that he co-wrote from that period), 1968-71 was a transitional period for Stevie as he went from being a teenage star to becoming a 20-something one-man show – establishing full creative control with Motown, took over his publishing rights and his production, and playing most of the instruments on most of his songs.

Although this song isn’t that much like his material that would come out a short time later, I like to imagine him sitting around, writing these instantly memorable melodies, instrumental lines and horn harmonies, gaining confidence and psyching himself up to take the giant leap forward that was soon to come.

The behind-the-scenes element to this song, that also fun to imagine is that he and Syreeta Wright, his fellow Motown artist and co-writer on this song, got married about 6 months after it was recorded. Was (Lee) Garrett feeling left out of the love-fest…or pre-marital squabbles?

I just found a whole page dedicated to Stevie Wonder songs for other artists but it looks like a long read, so I’ll publish this post first and read second.

>> songs are available for two weeks [4.2 MB]

Misdemeanor
Foster Sylvers
7″ Single, 1973

“Misdemeanor” is best known (to people under the age of 35, at least) as the sample for The D.O.C.‘s “It’s Funky Enough” (1989). I’ve never heard anyone say “oh, that sounds familiar” when I play “It’s Funky Enough.” It’s either “no, i’ve never heard that” or “1! and it comes the 2 to the 3 and 4, then i drop the beat i have in store!” Well, if you didn’t already know where the instantly memorable instrumental loop comes from, now you do.

“It’s Funky Enough” is such a dark track that the turn “Misdemeanor” takes at 0:05 is very surprising. The song actually covers a lot of sonic ground in 2:20. It goes back and forth from the darker intro/bridge (:00, :48) to the happier/major-chord sounding verses and choruses while interspersing dissonant harmonies (:27, 1:15) and crispier-than-expected drums (1:18-1:21) throughout.

The lyrics can’t go without mention, “she stole my heart…but it’s just a misdemeanor…like when you get your first ticket for illegal parking.”

Thanks Ed, for giving me this record on long-term loan!

>> songs are available for two weeks [3.3 MB]

Open Your Eyes
Bobby Caldwell
7″ Single, 1980

Bobby Caldwell is the man behind the mid-tempo-wanna-be-a-slow-jam classic “What You Won’t Do For Love.” Its in-between tempo was always a reason (in a long list of very good reasons) why I couldn’t ask some some girl to slow-dance in middle school (back when they would play a slow jam or two at a party!).

I didn’t discover “Open Your Eyes” until Common and Jay Dee increased its audience a couple of years back. I remember going to see Common and Jill Scott at The Hammerstein Ballroom in October of 2000, around when “The Light” was big. That was a memorable show for a couple of reasons. In between the time that they had booked the show and when it actually happened, Jill’s status had risen such that she was a little out of place playing before Common. The conversation while waiting for the show to start was whether she was opening for him or whether it was it a double bill and we never found out but we saw the answer to what was behind our question when she was presented with a gold record (for selling 500,000 copies of Who Is Jill Scott? (Words And Sounds Vol. 1)) at the end of her set…and then half of the crowd left.

To Common’s credit, after a twenty or thirty minute set change, he come on and put on a show that really engaged the remaining folks (it wasn’t THAT empty) and greatly exceeded my expectations. It included an un-akward mid-tempo slow dance with a 4-year-old to “Open Your Eyes” before he went into “The Light.” I was a little cocky about how music I thought I knew at the time (big surprise) so when a decent-sized portion of the crowd seemed to know the whole song (not just the parts that were sampled) and I didn’t, I got a little upset.

Needless to say, it went onto my master record shopping list and I eventually tracked it down. (Nothing like excessive pride to get you in touch with some good 7″s!)

Bobby Caldwell seems to be the master of the tempo-ambiguous love song. This song has become a Madame X late night classic and is often accompanied by lots of singing, acting and dancing. It seems to require both the dancing and the acting because it can’t make up its mind whether or not it’s a ballad.

What I love about this song, besides its overall charm, is that he is basically calling this woman a fool but he does it so lovingly, you wouldn’t really know. All he really says is “you think you’re so wise…open your eyes.”

>> songs are available for two weeks [5 MB]

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