February 6, 1971: Johnnie Taylor, Diana Ross, Buddy Miles, Four Seasons, Presidents

JOHNNIE TAYLOR: Jody Got Your Girl And Gone; A Fool Like Me (Stax).
Guess you could call Jody a playboy, ‘cos he don’t do nothin’ all day ‘cept spend money and ball . . . usually your old lady. Yup, now we know who’s makin’ love! Good Gawd, y’all – it’s great funk. Charlie (Roy Brown Fan Club Prexy) Gillett digs the slow flip, and so does Doctor Soul, although I disagree with Charlie about Johnnie’s lack of vocal character on earlier material: here I think he does sound colourless, whereas his bluesy mid-’60s slowies were full of powerful personality.

DIANA ROSS: Remember Me (Motown).
A nicely written song of sweet but sorrowful parting, in which one gets the impression that Diana has the upper hand – like, she’s splitting and the bloke is all cut up over it. Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson both penned and produced, and I think spoilt their song by making it a bit too strident as it progresses.

BUDDY MILES: We Got To Live Together (Mercury).
Yeah, it’s the chubby cherub (oh, how do I choose the wonderful stuff I use?!) on a rip-roaring funkadelic segment from his current album release. He must be pleased that now, ever since “Them Changes“, he’s getting R&B attention in America – he used to try so hard, but now he really is good.

4 SEASONS: Where Are My Dreams; Any Day Now – Oh Happy Day (Medley) (Philips).
Nice full-bodied harmony noises on the unfrantic beat top, while the flip speaks for itself . . . and comes off very well. Hey, dig this if you can get to it: the Cowsills, the Partridge Family, and now . . . the Pat Boone Family! Pat and his girls sing Gospel on Word Records out of Waco, Texas. Far out?

PRESIDENTS: Triangle Of Love (Hey Diddle Diddle) (Sussex).
Still unreleased here, the three boys’ superb “5-10-15-20 (25-30 Years Of Love)” smash had a breathtakingly beautiful and powerful opening, and their follow-up tries to grab one’s attention too with a deliberate beat pattern that’s accentuated by a strong echo. Trouble is, the guys don’t then come in as a solid wall of wailing sound as they did before – this is altogether gentler and lacking in impact. However, it is nevertheless a very good Soul Vocal Group side!

LYNN ANDERSON: Rose Garden (CBS 5360).
This fabulously gay bouncy beat filled irresistible dancer is the U.S. smash that all subsequent cover-versions have been copying. I think it will be a crying shame if an unoriginal British copyist gets the chart place that Lynn deserves.

CANNED HEAT: Wooly Bully (Liberty LBF 15439).
Sam the Sham is alive and well and living with the Pharaohs in Bob Hite (who’s got room for more)! Looser than the original.

NEIL DIAMOND: Sweet Caroline; Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show (Uni UNS 531).
Two old U.S. hits back-to-back as a follow-up for newly won pop-pickers.

IKE AND TINA TURNER: Proud Mary; Funkier Than A Mosquita’s Tweeter (Liberty LBF 15432).
Ike sings quietly while Tina tells us how they’re gonna do the beginning “nice and easy” and then the finish “nice . . . and rough”. Well, the beginning is worth everyone’s money and the finish is pure Checkmates Ltd.

JOE SIMON: Your Time To Cry (Polydor 2066066).
The best side Joe has ever cut (his first for the Spring label), this solid stone Soul searing slowie is so satisfying it’s sanctified (alliteration apart, it’s terrific)!

LITTLE SISTER: Somebody’s Watching You; Stanga (Atlantic 2091053).
Vanetta wails, Freddie wah-wahs, and Sly (wearing his producer’s cap) bends all the sounds to mess up your minds. Funkadelicious!

LEE DORSEY: Occapella; Yes We Can – Part 1 (Polydor 2066063).
Lee’s accompanying vocal group even say they’re gonna “sing it accappella” before doing just that, so I guess someone goofed titlewise. Otherwise this subtle mellow slow beater is perfection, as is the flip’s similarly under-played tho’ livelier U.S. hit. Two goodies.

JIMI HENDRIX: No Such Animal (Parts 1 & 2) (RCA 2033).
Forget recent history and accept this for what it is – a darned good (though dated) R&B instrumental, better for Soul Freaks than Heads. From Audio Fidelity, and I imagine cut around 1965.

EDDIE ROBINSON: Hey Blackman (parts 1 & 2) (Ember EMBS 301).
Charlie (Payola Roll) Gillett reckons this nicely-backed slowie is a year old, while I am dubious about some of the “Hair”-like vocal theatrics; anyway, it’s something else for Soul Freaks to argue about.

VIVIAN REED: Lean On Me (Epic S 5422). Soulstress Viv always was a dramatic Lorraine Ellison-like stylist, but here the fireworks seem rather surface when shackled to such a stodgy slowie.

STEPHEN STILLS: Love The One You’re With (Atlantic 2091046).
The hit from the hit album (in the U.S. at least) – fast paced smooth n’ slick noises, with a wild organ break and lotsa chanting.

MICHAEL NESMITH & THE FIRST NATIONAL BAND: Silver Moon; Lady Of The Valley (RCA 2053).
The Monkee with get up and go who got up and went (to quote Record World), on his second Country outing – a nice semi-slow thumper with some of his falsetto yodelling, and a subtler flip. Beautiful steel guitar effects allied with his “Joanne” style. Slim Whitman’d better look out!

GORDON LIGHTFOOT: If You Could Read My Mind (Reprise RS 20974).
A pleasant little ditty (his own), acoustic guitar and strings backed, that’s doing well SS.

HENRY MANCINI: Theme From “Love Story” (RCA 2056).
So far, the U.S. hit of the movie theme that’s racked up 28, no 29 – hang on, 30 (phew!) different recordings in the last few weeks. Lush piano concerto stuff.

BOBBY GOLDSBORO: Watching Scotty Grow (UA UP 35184).
Top Easy Listening and climbing Pop, Bobby’s latest is predictably senti (yech!) mental (it’s by Mac Davis). At least its bouncy beat is a bonus.

LEON RUSSELL: Delta Lady (A&M AMS 806).
The original, for those who care, super-hype and all.

GAIL WYNTERS: Help Me Make It Through The Night (London HLE 10326).
From Hickory, a Kris Kristofferson Country slowie sung quite soulfully but for dramatic splurges a la Bassey.

UP WITH PEOPLE: It’s Happening (Buddah).
Oh no, it’s not.

LANCELOT LINK AND THE EVOLUTION REVOLUTION: Sha-La Love you (Probe).
From telly’s “Lance Link – Secret Chimp”, this catchy mindless Bubble Gum sucks.

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