May 24, 1969: Bob & Earl, Mason Williams, Jamo Thomas, Ike & Tina Turner, Ella Fitzgerald

BOB & EARL: Dancin’ Everywhere; Baby It’s Over (B&C CB-102).
Bob & Earl’s 1966 recording (an old “B” side) is nice enough for Soul fans, but now that all the mystery is over I don’t see many Soul freaks actually clamouring to get this fairly routine but good brassy dancer (very much like Jackie Lee’s other Fred Smith-produced things), and it certainly isn’t going to grab the general public as much as “Harlem Shuffle“. The excellent Wallace Brothers-like slow and ultra-Soulful flip (the U.S. “A” side originally) is something else though, and has always been one of my favourite goodies, so maybe this is the side to snare the Soul freaks! Anyway, as the boys are here and the record will be plugged, it’s a CHART PROBABILITY if not a smash.

MASON WILLIAMS: Greensleeves; 13 Dollar Stella (Warner Bros. WB 7272).
The Smothers Brothers may have been sacked by their T.V. company, but Mason Williams continues to make pleasant noises as always. This heavily-orchestrated, up-tempoed updating of the gentle oldie (!), which is currently popular “easy-listening” in the U.S., could carry on here where his successful and much-requested “Classical Gas” left off, since his excellent “Saturday Night At The World” vocal follow-up failed. Mason’s guitar does the twiddly bits, and is backed by slabs of violin and romping rhythm. The more peaceful flip features a bit of pretty happy-go-lucky self-penning with guitar to the fore.

JAMO THOMAS: I’ll Be Your Fool; Jamo Soul (Chess CRS 8098).
Lovely subtle funk on this beautifully flowing rhythm dancer, with some of “Heard It Thru The Grapevine’s” greatness. Jamo’s curious high, though not falsetto, voice, rides over the chugging beat and the subdued guitar which, with two nice brass breaks, constitute the hacking. Much better than “I Spy (For The F.B.I.)“, and given the plays it could do big things. Re-entitled instrumental flip is the same as “F.B.I.’s” though – a pity.
CHART POSSIBILITY Continue reading “May 24, 1969: Bob & Earl, Mason Williams, Jamo Thomas, Ike & Tina Turner, Ella Fitzgerald”

May 3, 1969: Canned Heat, Vikki Carr, Marv Johnson, Billy Butler, Gene Chandler & Barbara Acklin

CANNED HEAT: Time Was; Low Down (Liberty LBF 15200)
Will it be third in a row for Heat’s prepossessing new rock-a-ballad? Maybe, but although it combines some of Stevie Wonder’s lilt with a nice rumbling bass, freaky guitar and steady drumming, it lacks the last two’s magic spark of life – time will tell. Typical so-called “boogie” noises on flip, O.K. later on. CHART POSSIBILITY

VIKKI CARR: If Ever You’re Lonely; Fly Away (Liberty LBF 15217)
Though “With Pen In Hand” is still kicking (not out the jams), here is a newie from Vikki – all melodic with heavily crescendoing patches and torch singing (she even sounds a bit like Cilia at times). ‘S not bad at all, and could do rather well. Personally, I preferred the light, Bossa-Nova-ish, reminiscent flip. CHART POSSIBILITY

MARV JOHNSON: I Love The Way You Love; You Got What It Takes (United Artists UP 35010)
Recorded at the turn of the decade, when Marv was 20, these old UA sides are among Berry Gordy’s earliest productions. “Love” (a U.S. hit) hints at the course Tamla was to take in its first years, while the slightly earlier (muzzily re-mixed) “Takes” was a hit here for both Marv and Johnny Kidd (and was actually written by Bobby “Watch Your Step” Parker). Motown addicts should hear the old London LP, “Marvellous Marv Johnson” (HA-T 2271), the better of his two UA albums, which includes some deliciously falsetto-sung straight standards. Presumably aimed at collectors. * * * * * *  Continue reading “May 3, 1969: Canned Heat, Vikki Carr, Marv Johnson, Billy Butler, Gene Chandler & Barbara Acklin”