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.
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THE PERSUASIONS: Party In The Woods; It’s Better To Have Loved And Lost (Than Never Loved At All) (Minit MLF 11017).
Soul Group Freaks – ignore the very ordinary beater on top, and dig the slow flip (which I think was the U.S. A-side anyway). You will be rewarded for your effort! Also, look out for a new British group called Jellybread, and corner their Pete Wingfield – he’s as big an S.G.F. as any!
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OTIS RUSH & HIS BAND: All Your Love (I Miss Loving); Double Trouble (Blue Horizon 57-3159).
Mighty fine Blues from guitarist/vocalist Otis, as distinctive as ever. These tracks, from his forthcoming L.P. accurately titled “This One’s A Good ‘un”, were recorded by the Cobra label, and, while not his very latest, they’re certainly not dated. Beautiful playing, and it’s interesting to spot who’s been influenced by him!
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BOBBY MARCHAN: Ain’t No Reason For Girls To Be Lonely; Instrumental Version (Action ACT 4533).
Bobby, of “There’s Something On Your Mind”, “Get Down With It”, “Funny Style”, and “Shake Your Moneymaker/Tambourine” fame, has some fun on this slightly sub-standard (for them) Gamble & Huff beater – it’s enjoyable and good without being really great. Still, I’m glad I eventually found this (buried at the bottom of a drawer, hence this late review) as I like it and am sure that others do too.
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EDWIN STARR: 25 Miles; Mighty Good Lovin‘ (Tamla Motown TMG 672).
Tamla have re-serviced this energetic stomper, which was a U.S. smash for Edwin some time after it was first out here. It’s still reminiscent of Wilson Pickett’s “Mojo Mamma“, and it’s still very good.
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