JOE “GROUNDHOG” RICHARDSON: Take It Off; Blues To Take It Off By (Major Minor MM 632).
THIS IS FABULOUS! To an ultra -cool “Baby Scratch My Back” -like riff, Joe implores his baby to take it off, to take it ALL off! In actual fact the underlying idea may be that natural Black is beautiful, but the main message is obvious enough to practically guarantee its being banned on Radio 1 – so watch the Charts! (Also, Joe may benefit from Dunlop’s new tyre publicity!) The best thing about this, though, is that it’s such a compulsive gas dancer, produced, incidentally, by Don Covay, for Johnny Nash’s Jad label. Let’s hope the word spreads. CHART CERTAINTY.
THE TEMPTATIONS: Runaway Child, Running Wild; I Need Your Lovin’ (Tamla Motown THE 716).
If you dig the Temps you really ought to have their “Cloud Nine” album, which contains the full 9:38 of this breathtakingly inventive song – cut here to only 4:30. [the rest of this review has been blurred by over-printing and can’t be deciphered] CHART PROBABILITY.
BROTHERS AND SISTERS Featuring Merry Clayton: The Mighty Quinn; Chimes Of Freedom (CBS S 4583).
Lou Adler has assembled a big gospel choir [blurred section] The formula may well make it a CHART POSSIBILITY.
THE INTRIGUES: In A Moment; Scotchman Rock (London HL 10293).
Fabulously tight soul vocal group [?] in a style that is completely, and understandably [?] to the majority of people in this country. For those few to who [?] (commonly known hereabouts as S.G.F.s), this bouncy [?] will be manna from heaven, as it’s certainly the best example of its type to be released in England this year. Nice old-fashioned flip too. ******
FERRANTE & TEICHER: Midnight Cowboy; This Guy’s In Love With You (United Artists UP 35050).
I had never thought that the day would come when I could honestly rave about a Ferrante & Teicher record – however, tempus fugit! In fact, the bespectacled piano duo must have been listening to Isaac Hayes’ beautiful “Hot Buttered Soul” album before arranging this new version of the groovy movie/chick flick theme, as they have made [?] his “Walk On By” . . . which is probably why I love it. Anyway, it really is different for them, and is well worth hearing [?] the relaxed yet freaky good music. Excellent instrumental of Herb’s biggie on flip, for added good value. ******
TONY JOE WHITE: Roosevelt And Ira Lee; The Migrant (Monument MON 1040).
King of the down-home mumblers, Tony Joe really mumbles some on a spoken introduction to his latest funky tale of life of the Bayous – Rosko will love this one! Not much to it, but it’s better than his “Willie And Laura Mae Jones” and has bags of atmosphere. The slow flip doesn’t quite work. *****
PEGGY LEE: Is That All There Is; I’m A Woman (Capitol CL 15614).
This Leiber and Stoller penned/produced singing-and-speaking tempo-change subdued little slowie [?] what “Those Were The Days”) has just done well for La Lee (had to say that!) in America – and it’s winsome enough to catch on here as well. To help it, her classic (from the same team) is on the flip. *****
FRED NEIL: Everybody’s Talkin’; Badi-Da (Capitol CL 15616).
Fred (of “The Dolphins” obscurity) wrote this hit song, and here he sings it – beautifully, with lovely gentle guitar backing. Equally restful flip is nice too. *****
TAJ MAHAL: Give Your Woman What She Wants; Farther On Down The Road (You Will Accompany Me) (Direction 58-4586).
While no “Statesboro’ Blues“, this happy Blues beater (with an incredibly strong bass) c/w a soulful slowie make good value Taj Mahal. (Both from his new album.) *****
BILLY EDD WHEELER: Fried Chicken And A Country Tune; Three Fingered Banjo Pickin’ Man (United Artists UP 35045).
Finger-lickin’ jolly Country music, both sides really great. *****
STEAM: Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye; It’s The Magic In You Girl (Fontana TF 1058).
There are four American indigenous singles out this week that are all timeless in style, though basically rooted in the early ’60s. Of limited appeal here, they may be of interest to real White American Folk Freaks (there’s a new category for you!). The best is this chanted ambiguous beater, which has a nice percussive break during which the voices fade back in. The pretty flip has heavy Classics IV influences . . . and I’m a sucker for it! *****
MARSHMALLOW WAY: C’mon Kitty Kitty (Let’s Go To The City); Michigan Mints (United Artists UP 35031).
Pure W.A.P. (not to be confused with [?] pop, which is somethin’ else again!), with roots that go deeper than the surface Bubble Gum beat – to “Bristol Stomp” and all the other nonsensical excuses for having a simple good time. This one is actually infectious enough to do well here too. *****
ANDY KIM: So Good Together; I Got To Know (Dot 132).
Vet producer/songwriter Jeff Barry, Phil Spector’s past collaborator, just successfully (in the commercial sense) re-did “Baby I Love You” with Andy Kim – this hit follow-up is even deeper into the Master’s sound. Another for W.A.P. Freaks. ****
THE CUFF-LINKS: Tracy; Where Do You Go? (MCA MU 1101).
Another very indigenous American one – it’s not only the biggest hit, but it’s also the most puerile! The boys, obviously not the gang of “Guided Missiles” fame, are true to the teen tradition though, to a skip-a-long beat. **
THE BOX TOPS: Turn On A Dream; Together (Bell BLL 1084).
Well, I goofed over “Soul Deep“! I really don’t know what to say about this one – it’s very similar, and seems to me much of a muchness. Let’s wait and see! ****
TINY TIM: Mickey The Monkey; Neighbourhood Children (Reprise RS 20855).
Mr. Tim is singing strictly for the kiddies here, which is a shame as he can be devastatingly adult. Fine for tots. ****
SANTANA: Persuasion; Savor (CBS S 4593).
From their “Santana” LP (not “Santa”, as in our U.S. Album chart!), two percussive “heavy” beaters – the frantic Latin instrumental flip is better than Carlos Santana’s vocal on top. ****
DINO, DESI & BILLY: Hawley; Let’s Talk It Over (CBS 4592).
“Hawley was a girl who really knew her mind”, in case you wondered. A gentle soft slowie from these scions of fame. ****
THE PLAYHOUSE: You Don’t Know It; Love Is On Our Side (Dot 130).
“It’s gettin’ near dawn” . . . oh, no? It’s the cast of “Hair” singing Bubble Gum? No? Oh, well! ***
GENE VINCENT: Be-Bop-A-Lula 1969; Ruby Baby (Dandelion Stereo
As the classic, unimprovable, original 1956 recording still
exists for one to enjoy, this messy new treatment seems unnecessary. *