August 30, 1969: Johnny Cash, William Bell, Three Dog Night, Billy Preston, Elvis Presley

JOHNNY CASH: A Boy Named Sue; San Quentin (CBS 4460).
There’s been so much talk about Johnny Cash of late that the time must be right for him to have a hit here. Recorded live at the infamous San Quentin prison, this jog-trotting amusing study (about a guy who HAD to be tough, thanks to his dad’s foresight) could be the one to do the trick . . . especially as it’s currently Top 5 in the U.S., and will be performed as heard here on the up-coming “Cash At San Quentin” T-Ver. Disconcertingly there’s even a “bleeped”-out word near the end! Big applause from the inmates for the flip.

WILLIAM BELL: Happy; Johnny I Love You (Stax 128).
“Happy” is the right name for William’s bright and bubbly terper, a most untypical sound from Stax – produced surprisingly by Booker T. Jones (from the Detroit-influenced strings and chix one might have expected it to have been Don Davis). This lively, lovely “happy” dancer will add sparkle to the air-waves and could so easily be a hit if played enough, especially following Jackie Wilson’s not dis-similar “Higher”. Flip-side, an easy sway is added to Booker T.’s “Uptight” song.

THREE DOG NIGHT: Easy To Be Hard; Dreamin’ Isn’t Good For You (Stateside/ Dunhill SS 8024).
This talented group are enormous in America, where their last outing, “One“, actually got to number one, yet they remain a minority taste in this country. Their new lurch-beat slowie, bulleted up the U.S. Chart, is from “Hair” – and that magic connection might just be enough to raise the interest level sufficiently to give them a hit here too. Punchy flip.
CHART POSSIBILITY. Continue reading “August 30, 1969: Johnny Cash, William Bell, Three Dog Night, Billy Preston, Elvis Presley”

August 23, 1969: Nickie Lee, Johnny Adams, The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, The Persuasions, Otis Rush

NICKIE LEE: And Black Is Beautiful; Faith Within (Deep Soul DS 9013).
Dave Godin and fellow freaks at “Soul City” have finally got it together and are all set to release a lot of sizzling wax over the next few weeks (including a budget-price Oldies album!). To kick off, they’ve only released one of the best Soul records of the year, that’s all. Actually a U.S. R&B hit about the time of James Brown’s “Say It Loud”, this slowie takes that most Black music of all, Gospel, as a framework for its message . . . a logical choice. As chicks repeatedly chant the title statement Nickie interweaves his rallying advice, so that the whole is a powerfully insinuous slab of the best type of Soul there is. Naturally I am prejudiced, as Gospel Soul (along with those Oldies-But-Goodies Soul Vocal Groups!) is my favourite variety, and there hasn’t been enough of it during the last four years! (Deep Soul got this beauty from Bell Records. who again have let a small label win a six star review. Sure, it won’t be a hit, but then neither was “Soul Deep” by the Box Tops – which has most merit. Bell have got the goods in plenty, so why can’t they give us a taste more often?).
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JOHNNY ADAMS: Reconsider Me; If I Could See You One More Time (Polydor 567775).
Exactly five years after the late Joe Hinton scored so massively in America with his Souled-up version of the C&W “Funny (How Time Slips Away)“, Johnny Adams is enjoying a similar success with his not dis-similar treatment of another C&W song. His voice soars to a high and beautiful falsetto in a way that will delight True Soul Freaks, who should hear this. Great. Incidentally, his last hit was “Release Me”! (Modesty Corner: due to a lamentable lapse of my normally reliable I.B.M.-like brain, crammed full with unimportant facts, I forgot in the recent Aretha review that of course both “Pledging My Love” and “The Clock” were Johnny Ace songs).
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THE WATTS 103rd STREET RHYTHM BAND: Till You Get Enough; Light My Fire (Warner Bros. WB 7298).
The Band’s latest U.S. hit starts with a trace of Isaac Hayes’ “Hyperbolicsyllabicsequedalymistic” sound (it’s a track off his smash “Hot Buttered Soul” album), before they get into their own jungle rhythm groove. Not every Soul fan’s groove maybe, but for “Cue Club”-goers and other funky dancers this is a mesmeric gas! It’s sure all got rhythm! Dig the quiet flip too – if you think at first that it’s nothing new, have patience.
* * * * * Continue reading “August 23, 1969: Nickie Lee, Johnny Adams, The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, The Persuasions, Otis Rush”