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Various Artists: Groove & Grind: Rare Soul 1963 - '73

Chris M. Slawecki By

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Various Artists: Groove & Grind: Rare Soul 1963 - '73
We call it "soul music" for a reason: Because from Ray Charles grooving on "America the Beautiful" to Maxwell gently hammering out his steps to "Ascension," the best soul music hits deep in our ears, our minds and our hearts.

Groove & Grind: Rare Soul 1963 -'73, which compiles more than 100 rare soul singles across four themed CDs, is sure to tickle the ears, mind and heart of just about anyone who digs just about any style of soul music. Disc one surveys early urban soul, featuring solo and group vocalists from Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia; disc two surveys more intricate, harmonized vocal soul in the style of The Temptations and similar Motown acts; disc three ventures deep into Memphis, New Orleans and other sounds of the deep south; and disc four brings down the curtain with on-the-one, hard-rocking funky soul. Its accompanying 127-page booklet, written by legendary Chicago music journalist Bill Dahl (contributor to The Chicago Tribune, Living Blues and The Blackwell Guide to Soul Recordings), provides historic and discography notes for EVERY track!

Depending upon the year you were born, Groove & Grind captures snapshots of musicians whose early work you might only have read about. For this writer, these include King Floyd ("Walking and Thinkin'"), whose "Groove Me" scored a #1 R&B/#6 pop hit for Malaco Records in 1971; King Ernest, with the incendiary "The Soul Stroke (Can You Handle It)"; early Ike & Tina Turner ("You Can't Miss Nothing That You Never Had"); and "I'll Pay You Back," a funky single performed by one Chicago blues guitar master (Magic Sam) and produced by another (Bobby Rush).

Groove & Grind also snaps quick portraits of musicians whose names you might recognize from other contexts: Sir Mack Rice became better known as a songwriter, penning such classics as "Respect Yourself" and "Mustang Sally," although you wouldn't know from this torrid vocal performance in "I Gotta Have My Baby's Love"; Kenny Gamble & The Romeos' "Hard to Find the Right Girl" presents vocalist and entrepreneur Gamble before he connected with Leon Huff to create "The Sound of Philadelphia" and found Philadelphia International Records; featuring vocalists Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr., The Versatiles ("You're Good Enough for Me") was an early configuration of The Fifth Dimension; "Got My Own Thing Going" (Little Charles & The Sidewinders) was co-written by Bobby Darin and arranged by pianist Ray Bryant; "No One to Love" presents female vocalist Pat Lewis, the eventual centerpiece of Isaac Hayes' female vocal troupe Hot, Buttered & Soul, and was produced by George Clinton (here a member of The Parliaments, before they psychedelically morphed into Parliament Funkadelic ).

But most of all, Groove & Grind serves up bone-rattling, soul-shaking music that you most likely have never heard before. Disc one includes Lezli Valentine's original version of "Love on a Two-Way Street" (the flipside to a long forgotten single), famously remade by The Moments (in 1968) and Staci Lattisaw ('81); "You Brought My Heart Right Down to My Knees" by former Lee Dorsey guitarist Alvin Robinson, whose swooping and dramatic vocal pulls jazz, blues and gospel threads together into the soul mantle so famously worn by Ray Charles; and Donald Height's #20 R&B single from 1967 which sounds and feels so good you wonder if maybe it's all right that "My Baby's Gone."

Disc two certainly lives up to its billing. From its bass through its falsetto vocals, "A Memory Best Forgotten" by The Sounds Four could not possibly sound more like The Temptations, and The Versatiles' "You're Good Enough For Me" clearly echoes The Temps' "The Way You Do The Things You Do." Plaintive lead and backup vocals in "Young Hearts Get Lonely Too" seem to honor Smokey Robinson & The Miracles (like The Temps, a Motown staple). But other sounds ring through too: The high harmony and lead falsetto vocal in The Ascots' "Miss Heartbreaker" float like the sound of legendary Midwest US soulsters The Impressions (from Chicago), while a funky New Orleans hook heats the rhythm to bubbling beneath The Mandells' "There Will Be Tears Part 1."

The stylistic shift between the first two and the last two discs of Groove & Grind is palpable and, as you'd expect, "Soul Brother Number One" James Brown casts a large hot shadow over much of the third disc and all of the fourth. Disc three is smartly programmed to present "Don't Make Me Cry" (Matt "Ti" Mattison & Minit Men), which crackles and hops with all the heat-seeking fury of Brown's classic "I Feel Good," back to back with "The James Brown Bougeloo" (Little Genie Brooks). It repeats this feat with two gospel-influenced slow burners, "I Can't Stop Crying" (Sam Hutchins) immediately followed by "It's All Wrong [It's All Right]" (Sam Dees). Carla Thomas sings with "Every Ounce of Strength" on this 1965 Stax single co-written by Steve Cropper, Isaac Hayes and David Porter; Betty Wright's "Mr. Lucky," recorded when she was only fourteen years old, sounds like Thomas fronting Sam & Dave's classic Stax rave-up "Soul Man."

Buddy Grubbs' "I'm Telling You," co-written by Curtis Mayfield and Jerry "The Iceman" Butler, and "A Broken Hearted Clown" by Nat Hall with the Mellow 3, capture archetypes of the classic southern soul sound but most likely went unheard; bringing such music to light realizes the purpose of Groove & Grind.

On disc four, Noble "Thin Man" Watts' "F.L.A." is a genuine house-rocker fueled by Farfisa organ, an irrepressible tempo and Watts' curiously oddball yet engaging lead vocal and wailing tenor sax, while Sonny Green's "People Talking About Me" features a horn chart that seems to majestically rise like a sunrise from the musical shores of Memphis. The fourth disc further reveals Brown's influence: Ironing Board Sam's "Original Funky Bell Bottoms" isn't a song (with verses, maybe a bridge, and a chorus) so much as it's a groove that keeps rumbling along; Bobby Dunn's "Do the Bobby Dunn" is Brown's classic "Cold Sweat" taken at double speed, with scatterbrained electric guitar instead of that famous break-time chorus.

(Not all the James Brown tributes here work out: Isaac Clark's "Do the Dog Funk" makes an absolute mess of mashing up Brown with Rufus Thomas' Memphis soul style.)

Compare the sound and feel of disc four to the sound and feel of disc one and you discover how much soul music changed in the decade covered by Groove & Grind: Rare Soul 1963—'73.

Track Listing

Disc 1: My Baby Likes to Boogaloo (Don Gardner); I'm Hip to You (The Jelly Beans); You Had Me Fooled (Danny Woods); They're Laughing at Me (Gail Anderson); Please Consider Me (Tyrone The Wonderboy Davis); Are You Gonna Leave Me (Jessie James); Almost (Bettye LaVette); My Baby's Gone (Donald Height); Got My Own Thing Going (Little Charles & the Sidewinders); Everybody's Talking (Joan Baker); Follow My Heart (Big Dee Irwin); Suffer (Cookie Jackson); You Brought My Heart Right Down to My Knees (Alvin Robinson); The Queen (Big Ella); Walkin' and Thinkin' (King Floyd); Mr. Shy (Bill McGregor); Do You Know What Life Is All About (Hoagy Lands); Searchin' for Love (Tommy Hunt); No One to Love (Pat Lewis); I'm Mad About You (Lou Courtney); Love on a Two Way Street (Lezli Valentine); You Can't Miss Nothing That You Never Had (Ike & Tina Turner); Don't Hurt Me No More (Tony Mathews); He's Coming Back to Me (Theola Kilgore); Hard to Find the Right Girl (Kenny Gamble & The Romeos); Big Train (The Soul Shakers); Love That Guy (Jackye Owens).

Disc 2: [Countdown] Here I Come (The Tempos); It's You and Me (The C Quents); I Don't Love You No More (The Exsaveyons); Memory Best Forgotten (The Sounds Four); You Stood Me Up (The Specials); Bingo! (The Dynamics); Peace of Mind (The Vontastics); Love's Creeping Up on Me (The Holidays); There Will Be Tears, Pt.1 (The Mandells); Never Ending Love (The Montclairs); You're a Gas With Your Trash (The Four Pennies); Young Hearts Get Lonely Too (The New Young Hearts); Forgive Me if I Cry (Down To Earth); I'm in a World of Trouble (The Sweet Things); Cry No More (The C.O.D.'s); Miss Heartbreaker (The Ascots); But Then You Left Me (Shades of Sensation); Keep Your Love Strong (The Webs); Just Like a Baby [Mama's Rocking in a Cradle] (The Flint Emeralds); I Don't Want to Cry (Pearlean Gray & The Passengers); Beggar of Love (Little Ben & The Cheers); You're Good Enough for Me (The Versatiles); Say You'll Be Mine (The Vows); She's the One I Love (The Delacardos); Savin' My Lovin' for You (The People's Choice); Got to Be Your Lover (The Profiles); Victim of Loneliness (The Pacesetters); I'm Not Strong Enough (The Four Perfections).

Disc 3: I Don't Turn Away (Willy McDougal); Mr. Clean, Pt.1 (Winfield Parker); Now You've Got the Upper Hand (Candi Staton); Forgive Then Forget (Jay Wiggins); Don't Make Me Cry (Matt "Ti" Mattison / Minitmen); James Brown Bougeloo (Genie Brooks); Mr. Lucky (Betty Wright); I Can't Stop Crying (Sam Hutchins); It's All Wrong [It's all Right] (Sam Dees); [On The] Re-E-B-O-U-N-D (Lee Edward & His Continentals); I'm Telling You (Buddy Grubbs); Hey Now (Eddie Floyd); The Good Got to Suffer for the Bad (Pat Brown); I Gotta Come Back (Frankie Lee); Broken Hearted Clown (Nat Hall with The Mellow 3); The Grass Is Always Greener [On the Opposite Side of the Fence] (Ella Washington); Still My Life Through (Billy Young); Every Ounce of Strength (Carla Thomas); I Don't Want to Hurt Nobody (Ruby Winters); I'm a Good Man (Al "TNT" Braggs); I Gotta Have My Baby's Love (Sir Mack Rice); I Confess (Elijah & the Ebonies featuring Mary Sexton); Understanding (Jackie Avery); Show Me (Margie Joseph); Pretty as a Picture (Moses Dillard and The Dynamic Showmen); Hurry Up Little Girl (Jerry & Eddie and The Tornados); Everybody Makes a Mistake Sometimes (Roy Arlington); Get Right (Bobby Parker).

Disc 4: Can You Handle It (Pep Brown); Free and Easy (Jesse Hill); Show Stopper (Richard Knight); Soul Affection (The Interpretations); The Soul Stroke [Can You Handle It] (King Ernest); Riccasha (Rockie Charles & the Lavonics); Soul Walkin' (Reggie Smith); Wake Up (Bobby Rush); The Bushman (The Tenth Dymentions); Funky Bandwagon (The Essene Brotherhood Band); F.L.A. (Noble Watts); Do It (Billy Sha-Rae); People Are Talking About Me (Sonny Green); Original Funky Bell Bottoms (Ironing Board Sam); I'm a Lonely Man (L.J. Waiters); I've Got a Habit [Of Lovin You] (Bobby Jones); Do the Bobby Dunn (Bobby Dunn); We Do It All Up Here [Loosen Up] (The Fantastic Epics); Ratty Ratty (Maskman & The Agents); It Must Be Love (Roy Hytower); Do the Dog Funk (Issac Clark); What You See Is What You Get (Little Joe Mixon); Do the Thing (Charles Lattimore); The Sno-Cone (Lloyd Hendricks); I'll Pay You Back (Magic Sam); Hep Squeeze (Mad Dog & the Pups); Poo Poo Man (Chet "Poison: Ivey & His Fabulous Avengers); The Trip (Dave Mitchell & The Screamers); I Got a New Thing (Willie Smith).

Personnel

Disc 1: (My Baby Likes to Boogaloo) Don Gardner; (I'm Hip to You) The Jelly Beans; (You Had Me Fooled) Danny Woods; (They're Laughing at Me) Gail Anderson; (Please Consider Me) Tyrone The Wonderboy Davis; (Are You Gonna Leave Me) Jessie James; (Almost) Bettye LaVette; (My Baby's Gone) Donald Height; (Got My Own Thing Going) Little Charles & the Sidewinders; (Everybody's Talking) Joan Baker; (Follow My Heart) Big Dee Irwin; (Suffer) Cookie Jackson; (You Brought My Heart Right Down to My Knees) Alvin Robinson; (The Queen) Big Ella; (Walkin' and Thinkin') King Floyd; (Mr. Shy) Bill McGregor; (Do You Know What Life Is All About) Hoagy Lands; (Searchin' for Love) Tommy Hunt; (No One to Love) Pat Lewis; (I'm Mad About You) Lou Courtney; (Love on a Two Way Street) Lezli Valentine; (You Can't Miss Nothing That You Never Had) Ike & Tina Turner; (Don't Hurt Me No More) Tony Mathews; (He's Coming Back to Me) Theola Kilgore; (Hard to Find the Right Girl) Kenny Gamble & The Romeos; (Big Train) The Soul Shakers; (Love That Guy) Jackye Owens.

Disc 2: ([Countdown] Here I Come) The Tempos; (It's You and Me) The C Quents; (I Don't Love You No More) The Exsaveyons; (Memory Best Forgotten) The Sounds Four; (You Stood Me Up) The Specials; (Bingo!) The Dynamics; (Peace of Mind) The Vontastics; (Love's Creeping Up on Me) The Holidays; (There Will Be Tears, Pt.1) The Mandells; (Never Ending Love) The Montclairs; (You're a Gas With Your Trash) The Four Pennies; (Young Hearts Get Lonely Too) The New Young Hearts; (Forgive Me if I Cry) Down To Earth; (I'm in a World of Trouble) The Sweet Things; (Cry No More) The C.O.D.'s; (Miss Heartbreaker) The Ascots; (But Then You Left Me) Shades of Sensation; (Keep Your Love Strong) The Webs; (Just Like a Baby [Mama's Rocking in a Cradle]) The Flint Emeralds; (I Don't Want to Cry) Pearlean Gray & The Passengers; (Beggar of Love) Little Ben & The Cheers; (You're Good Enough for Me) The Versatiles; (Say You'll Be Mine) The Vows; (She's the One I Love) The Delacardos; (Savin' My Lovin' for You) The People's Choice; (Got to Be Your Lover) The Profiles; (Victim of Loneliness) The Pacesetters; (I'm Not Strong Enough) The Four Perfections.

Disc 3: (I Don't Turn Away) Willy McDougal; (Mr. Clean, Pt.1) Winfield Parker; (Now You've Got the Upper Hand) Candi Staton; (Forgive Then Forget) Jay Wiggins; (Don't Make Me Cry) Matt "Ti" Mattison / Minitmen; (James Brown Bougeloo) Genie Brooks; (Mr. Lucky) Betty Wright; (I Can't Stop Crying) Sam Hutchins; (It's All Wrong [It's all Right]) Sam Dees; ([On The] Re-E-B-O-U-N-D) Lee Edward & His Continentals; (I'm Telling You) Buddy Grubbs; (Hey Now) Eddie Floyd; (The Good Got to Suffer for the Bad) Pat Brown; (I Gotta Come Back) Frankie Lee; (Broken Hearted Clown) Nat Hall and The Mellow 3; (The Grass Is Always Greener [On the Opposite Side of the Fence]) Ella Washington;(Still My Life Through) Billy Young; (Every Ounce of Strength) Carla Thomas; (I Don't Want to Hurt Nobody) Ruby Winters; (I'm a Good Man) Al "TNT" Braggs; (I Gotta Have My Baby's Love) Sir Mack Rice; (I Confess) Elijah & the Ebonies featuring Mary Sexton; (Understanding) Jackie Avery; (Show Me) Margie Joseph; (Pretty as a Picture) Moses Dillard and The Dynamic Showmen; (Hurry Up Little Girl) Jerry & Eddie and The Tornados; (Everybody Makes a Mistake Sometimes) Roy Arlington; (Get Right) Bobby Parker.

Disc 4: (Can You Handle It) Pep Brown; (Free and Easy) Jesse Hill; (Show Stopper) Richard Knight; (Soul Affection) The Interpretations; (The Soul Stroke [Can You Handle It]) King Ernest; (Riccasha) Rockie Charles & the Lavonics; (Soul Walkin') Reggie Smith; (Wake Up) Bobby Rush; (The Bushman) The Tenth Dymentions; (Funky Bandwagon) The Essene Brotherhood Band; (F.L.A.) Noble Watts; (Do It) Billy Sha-Rae; (People Are Talking About Me) Sonny Green; (Original Funky Bell Bottoms) Ironing Board Sam; (I'm a Lonely Man) L.J. Waiters; (I've Got a Habit [Of Lovin You]) Bobby Jones; (Do the Bobby Dunn) Bobby Dunn; (We Do It All Up Here [Loosen Up]) The Fantastic Epics; (Ratty Ratty) Maskman & The Agents; (It Must Be Love) Roy Hytower; (Do the Dog Funk) Issac Clark; (What You See Is What You Get) Little Joe Mixon; (Do the Thing) Charles Lattimore; (The Sno-Cone) Lloyd Hendricks; (I'll Pay You Back) Magic Sam; (Hep Squeeze) Mad Dog & the Pups; (Poo Poo Man) Chet "Poison: Ivey & His Fabulous Avengers; (The Trip) Dave Mitchell & The Screamers; (I Got a New Thing) Willie Smith.

Album information

Title: Groove & Grind: Rare Soul 1963 - '73 | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Rockbeat Records

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