THE ISLEY BROTHERS: I Turned You On; I Know Who You Been Socking It To (Major Minor MM 631).
Before hearing this, I thought that “It’s Your Thing” was about as good as the Isleys could get. So, I was wrong! As Roscoe frequently proves, the two are virtually interchangeable – why, then, is this better “Sock-it-to-me”, “Sock-it-to-me” “Sock-it-to-me”, “Sock-it-to-me” is the answer! The beat is slow, the sound funky, the groove terrific. the sax yakkety, the effect mesmeric. The flip is even trickier! Not a smash here. but let’s hope it sells.
BOB DYLAN: Lay Lady Lay; Peggy Day (CBS 4434).
No need to gamble about predicting success for this! From the outset, this tender slowie was THE most popular track from the “Nashville Skyline” album, and just cried out for release as a single (much more than Bob’s last, “I Threw It All Away”). Well, with perfect timing as Dylan publicity reaches a peak, it’s finally out . . . need I say more (Yes – pert ‘n’ perky “Peggy Day” is on the flip, Elvis-inspired slowed-down finish and all.)
HAROLD SMITH’S MAJESTIC CHOIR: We Can All Walk A Little Bit Prouder; Why Am I Treated So Bad (Chess CRS 8101).
With brilliant Gospel groups such as the Violinaires to draw from, why do Chess choose to release this mediocre record here? Because it’s got a big-voiced ”Happy Day” choir, that’s why.
SAMMY DAVIS JR.: I’ve Gotta Be Me; Bein’ Natural Bein’ Me (Reprise RS 20779).
Reprise re-service this big U.S. hit of several months back – it’s got the same message as Frankie’s “My Way”, and is a good if overly chest-thumping dramatic slowie. Shirley Bassey would dig. Funky flip. Somehow the sentiments expressed in both seem incongruous coming from the master-mimic, who never seems to know who he is himself.
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ANDY WILLIAMS: Live And Learn; You Are (CBS 4462).
Andy’s customary quality outshines the actual song on this lurching brassy lilter, which gets unnecessarily raucous. Dreamy flip. An “easy-listening” radio hit, for sure.
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SPANKY & OUR GANG: And She’s Mine; Leopard Skin Phones (Mercury MF 1123).
This easy semi-slow harmoniser starts with the promise of brilliance, but doesn’t maintain the initial interest. The flip is fun, about some luxurious stereo headphones . . . a shame it’s not IN stereo here.
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HANK SCHIFTER: Long John; How Or When (Liberty LBF 15244).
A well produced exercise in tedium, which has unaccountably earned Mike Raven’s love and devotion. Gruff bloke, pseudo-Gospel chix. trendily moody sounds, all getting nowhere.
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DEL SHANNON: Comin’ Back To Me; Sweet Mary Lou (Stateside/ Dunhill SS 8025).
Another of those slow-beat “Weight”-influenced drum-rumblers – all rather pointless. Gutsier flip.
JOHN BROMLEY: Kick A Tin Can; Wonderland Avenue, U.S.A. (Atlantic 584289).
Undeservedly well-backed. sub-‘teen beater, with a taste of “Mendocino”.
SLY & THE FAMILY STONE: Hot Fun In The Summertime; Fun (Direction 584471).
O.K. – it stays hotter longer in the States, so that this may be a bite late here . . . who cares? Sit back, relax, pat your feet, click your fingers, and DIG! A complete break from the group’s rapidly palling “freaky” style, this pretty semi-slowie seems fairly “straight” . . . until the guys and gals let rip (but gently, mind). Great! Not much “fun” flip-side, the dullest track on their “Life” elpee.
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THE DELFONICS: You Got Yours And I’ll Get Mine; Funny Feeling (Bell BLL 1073).
Soul Group Freaks – Red Alert! It’s a beauty, AND it’s from Bell! What’s more, it’s two hits for the price of one, the faster flip being the boys’ previous outing. Go ‘head on, do your duty – you’ll dig it! (Now, can someone charitable please release the fabulous U.S. hit by the Intrigues, “In A Moment“, on the Yew label?)
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TYRONE DAVIS: All The Waiting Is Not In Vain; Need Your Lovin’ Every Day (Atlantic 584288).
The title is right for Tyrone’s few faithful fans! There’s a beautiful “Soulful Strut” backing, but, more’s the pity, the song is no “Can I Change My Mind“. Busy, beaty flip.
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JOHNNIE TAYLOR: I Could Never Be President: It’s Amazing (Stax 129).
All Johnnie needs is a good slow hit and he could capture Otis Redding’s crown, vacant still in the popular imagination. He certainly has the credentials, having replaced Sam Cooke in the Soul Stirrers Gospel group, and more recently having racked up an array of bluesy and now beaty hits. Unfortunately, his promisingly titled newie is just more “Who’s Making Love” stomp ‘n’ scream, but indistinct and less good. New-style freaky Soul on the better flip.
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BOBBY BLAND: Share Your Love With Me; Honey Child (Action ACT 4548).
The normally superb Bobby “Blue” Bland first hit with this dreary string-backed slowie five years ago exactly. Right now it merely serves as an interesting comparison for Aretha Franklin’s current version. Brassy mover on flip is better.
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BILLY JOE ROYAL: Cherry Hill Park; Helping Hand (CBS 4470).
This catchy mid-tempo brassy beater tells a variation on the old “up Primrose Hill” school-boy joke. Billy (“Boondocks”) Joe (“Hush!”) Royal is from the Bill Lowery talent stable, so he can be counted on to be O.K. Inconsequential maybe, yet this is really rather good.
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SIR DOUGLAS QUINTET: Dynamite Woman; Too Many Dociled Minds (Mercury MF 1129).
The joyful beat and spirit follow on from Doug Sahm and the boys’ recent bouncy, happy “Mendocino” U.S. biggie, with the addition here of some Country fiddle. The similar flip has some listen-worthy lyrics, about “the toilets of your head”. A simple good time will be had by all!
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BUTTERFIELD BLUES BAND: Where Did My Baby Go; In My Own Dream (Elektra EKSN 45069).
Fairly routine all-happening jerky beater, with wailing vocal and harmonica and good instrumentation – Jerry Ragovoy wrote and produced, so it could have been better. It’s the Gospel-influenced relaxed and subtle pulsater, with nice tenor solo, on the flip (from L.P. of same name) that earns this 5 * * * * * s.