THE SONGS OF DAN PENN & SPOONER OLDHAM
JACKIE DE SHANNON
THE MUSIC CITY STORY
JACKIE DE SHANNON
THE MUSIC CITY STORY
Sweet Inspiration – The Songs Of Dan Penn & Spooner Oldham
We have received many requests to add Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham to our songwriter series. It’s never really been about if we would, so much as when. With 2011 being something of a “Year Of Southern Soul” for Ace and Kent, what better way to kick it off than with a genius gathering of 24 of the best songs ever to bear their names below the title.
“Sweet Inspiration” does a bang-up job of assembling the key songs Dan and Spooner wrote together during the 1960s and early 1970s. A quick look at the track listing will show prospective buyers that my co-compiler Bob Dunham and I have tried hard to make sure that there’s a version of every major Penn and Oldham composition included. We haven’t always chosen the obvious versions, so there will be some nice surprises here for even the most avid collectors. It was difficult to bring what started out as a massive wish list down to just 24 selections, but we think our choices do justice to the performers of the songs and, most importantly, the writers.
Everyone will have their own highlights. Mine would include Arthur Conley’s Fame recording of ‘In The Same Old Way’ (which was originally written as a straight ahead country song) and country thrush Jeanne Newman’s riveting, previously unissued Goldwax recording of ‘It Tears Me Up’, one of the earliest songs Penn and Oldham wrote together. I’m also very partial to the Southern sincerity of the Box Tops’ ‘Everything I Am’ (a UK Top 3 hit for Plastic Penny in late 1967) and Tommy Roe’s little-known 1966 take on ‘Wish You Didn’t Have To Go’, a number made more famous a year later by James and Bobby Purify. But greatness abounds from beginning to end of this set, and it’s unlikely that any prospective purchaser will not be totally impressed by everything it contains.
A companion volume – which will also include songs co-written by Dan and/or Spooner with collaborators such as Donnie Fritts, Rick Hall, Marlin Greene and Chips Moman – will hopefully see the light of day next year. In the meantime, here’s over an hour of the sweetly inspired songwriting of Wallace Daniel Pennington and Lindon Dewey Oldham. Oh, what a power!
01 OUT OF LEFT FIELD - Percy Sledge //02 I'M YOUR PUPPET Dionne Warwick // 03 SWEET INSPIRATION The Sweet Inspirations // 04 A WOMAN LEFT LONELY Charlie Rich // 05 I WORSHIP THE GROUND YOU WALK ON Etta James // 06 I'M LIVING GOOD The Ovations // 07 TAKE ME (JUST AS I AM) Solomon Burke // 08 CRY LIKE A BABY Arthur Alexander // 09 IT TEARS ME UP Jeanne Newman // 10 SLIPPIN' AROUND WITH YOU Art Freeman // 11 I MET HER IN CHURCH Tony Borders // 12 ARE YOU NEVER COMING HOME Sandy Posey // 13 LET IT HAPPEN James Carr // 14 EVERYTHING I AM The Box Tops // 15 FEED THE FLAME Ted Taylor // 16 WATCHING THE TRAINS GO BY Tony Joe White // 17 IN THE SAME OLD WAY Arthur Conley // 18 DENVER Ronnie Milsap // 19 DREAMER Patti LaBelle & The Bluebelles // 20 GOOD THINGS DON'T COME EASY Irma Thomas // 21 I NEED SOMEONE The Wallace Brothers // 22 HE AIN'T GONNA DO RIGHT Barbara Lynn // 23 WISH YOU DIDN'T HAVE TO GO Tommy Roe // 24 LET'S DO IT OVER Joe Simon
Swamp Dogg – It’s All Good (A singles Collection 1963 – 1969)
Some compilation CDs carry titles that oversell their content, but not this one. As the compiler and annotator of the project, I can say with hand on heart that here’s one collection with a title that you can truly believe in.
What you get here really IS “all good”. The songs may not have made their creator rich, or famous beyond the circle of collectors who avidly seek out each and every note he recorded, but these 24 tracks amply demonstrate why Jerry Williams aka Swamp Dogg is held in such high regard by soul fans, and why there’s still enormous demand for his music almost 60 years after he cut his first recordings as an 11 year-old piano-playing prodigy.
“It’s All Good” brings you more than 25 year’s worth of primo Swamp, in a variety of styles and under almost as many aliases. It embraces everything from Jerry Lee Lewis impersonations (‘Hum Baby’, ‘She’s So Divine’) and Northern Soul anthems (‘If You Ask Me’), big city balladry (‘Baby You’re My Everything’ and Swamp’s previously unissued, stunning version of ‘Oh Lord What Are You Doing To Me’) to sublime Southern Soul (‘Knowing I’m Pleasing Me And You’) and then some. More than anything, it demonstrates the multitudinous talents of Jerry Williams Jr. as musician, singer, songwriter, producer and arranger of some of the best music made across the last 50 years.
We’ve managed to find room for a couple of great 60s sides that, for one reason or another, managed to evade release at the time of their recording. The rest of the selections were all originally issued on singles. Some of them also appeared on Swamp albums, but we have used the 45 versions – many of which have never appeared on CD – to give collectors something new. With superb sound quality throughout and a booklet packed with pics and info, it’s a treat that will enthral Dogg-lovers all over the world.
“It’s All Good” comes to you with the personal seal of approval of Swamp Dogg himself. As well as being a great listen in its own right, it’s the perfect complement to our earlier “Blame It On The Dogg” compilation, as well as other Kent titles by Doris Duke, Sandra Phillips/Bette Williams, Irma Thomas and Charlie “Raw Spitt” Whitehead that bear his unmistakable stamp. If “It’s All Good” lives up to its title and your expectations, you could do worse than invest in any and all of those.
Doris Troy – I’ll Do Anything (The Doris Troy Anthology 1960 – 1966 )
I’ll never understand why the term “one hit wonder” has come to be seen as pejorative. One hit is certainly one more than I ever had – how about you?
Doris Troy placed only one song on the US Hot 100, but what a song! ‘Just One Look’ has endured as a much-covered standard, heard in countless movies and commercials. If that one wonderful hit is all you know of singer-songwriter-producer-arranger-session vocalist-actress Doris Troy, then here’s chance to catch up with what you missed. I’ll give you a hint – you’ve missed a lot. Doris Troy earned every hyphen. “I’ll Do Anything: The Doris Troy Anthology 1960-1996” amasses, for the first time ever, songs from every phase of a most illustrious career, ranging from her very first recording to her last.
Affectionately dubbed Mama Soul, Doris Troy cut her teeth singing in church and worked as a teenaged usherette at New York’s legendary Apollo Theater before joining Cissy Houston, Dionne and Dee Warwick and Judy Clay in forming the premier New York studio backup group (two Chuck Jackson classics that feature cameos by Doris are included herein). She released two singles in 1960 as Doris Payne and a 1961 duet under the name Jay & Dee (all three make their digital debut here) before striking gold with her self-penned superhit.
10 sterling examples of her tenure with Atlantic Records comprise the heart of this set, including the irresistibly catchy ska-tinged ‘What’cha Gonna Do About It’ and ‘Please Little Angel’, co-written with a then-fledgling writing team named Ashford and Simpson. Incidentally, Doris co-wrote the song that gives this anthology its title, ‘I’ll Do Anything’, with another nascent writing combine you may have heard of named Gamble and Huff.
Both sides of the ultra-rare 1967 Capitol single ‘He’s Qualified’ and ‘Face Up To The Truth’ make their CD bow here. After that release, Doris decamped to England, again becoming the go-to girl for background vocals on classic hits for Dusty Springfield, George Harrison, Pink Floyd and the Stones, to name a few. In cahoots with Harrison, she released a brilliant LP on Apple in 1970, represented on this disc by ‘Ain’t That Cute’ and ‘You Tore Me Up Inside’.
Two definite high points are 1974’s Dandy Livingstone-produced reggae-inflected romp through Eddie Floyd’s ‘Don’t Tell Your Mama’ and a sparkling disco workout from 1977, ‘Can’t Hold On’, both new to CD. By this time, Doris had moved back to the States where she eventually starred in the musical based on her life, Mama I Want To Sing, written by her sister, New York radio luminary Vy Higgensen. The sisters are heard on a high-spirited duet released here for the first time anywhere.
Doris’ final recording was for Ace in 1996 – ‘Hear Me Calling’, a duet with British blue-eyed soul wunderkind James Hunter. Doris’ heartfelt, gut-wrenching reading of the gospel standard ‘Take My Hand, Precious Lord’ provides a poignant and powerful coda to a poignant and powerful collection.
The customary worth-the-price booklet includes rare photos and cuttings, remembrances from friends and colleagues Ady Croasdell and David Nathan, and Mick Patrick’s biographical essay drawing from a previously unpublished 1995 interview with Mama Soul herself. If you’ve only given just one look to Doris Troy, “I’ll Do Anything: The Doris Troy Anthology 1960-1996” is a golden opportunity to rectify that oversight.
Jackie DeShannon – Come And Get Me (The Complete Liberty And Imperial Singles Vol. 2)
Ace’s first volume of Jackie DeShannon’s Liberty and Imperial singles left her at the end of 1963. The same girl who performed a blistering set of folk and blues at LA’s Ash Grove venue had, a few weeks later, effortlessly climbed the Wall of Sound with Jack Nitzsche to produce one of the generation’s great pop records, ‘When You Walk In The Room’.
1964 saw Jackie composing more quality pop with new writing partner Randy Newman, then touring the States as specially requested support act to the Beatles hollering out ‘Shout’ to the screaming fans, and finishing the year in England exploring the boundaries of rock and folk with Jimmy Page.
1965 started gloriously with Jackie’s breathtaking recording of Bacharach and David’s homage to world peace ‘What The World Needs Now Is Love’. She co-starred with Bobby Vee in the teen movie C’mon Let’s Live A Little, laid down a riveting and still unreleased demo album of her own songs in the folk style, toured on the Caravan of Stars with the Drifters and Peter and Gordon, and took a break to study at the renowned Chouinard Art Institute.
In 1966 she recorded with the Byrds, released the sophisticated album “Are You Ready For This?” and signed a new recording and songwriting contract with Liberty.
This second volume of Jackie’s collected 45s leaves her at the start of 1967, when she laid down two ultra smooth and classy recordings of major film themes.
I’ve had the enormous pleasure of meeting Jackie a couple of times. Always excited, always enthusiastic, her conversation moves from spot-on analysis of the latest singers and bands, to recollections of every aspect of her life, to the thrill and tension of live performance.
Jackie DeShannon’s unwillingness to be typecast or pinned down to a single style has been the backbone of her splendid career and the reason why her loyal band of admirers – and all of those who have caught up with her over the years – find her performances, her songwriting and her recordings, a constant source of pleasure. Explore “Come And Get Me” at your leisure, you won’t be let down, you’ll smile with recognition and open your eyes wide at the unexpected, but most of all you’ll spend an hour and a bit with a young woman fully engaged in her career of making music of the highest quality.
Rick Nelson – In Concert The Troubadur, 1969
Rick Nelson and his four backing musicians were booked to play a week’s engagement at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. It wasn’t the first time the group had played there, but this time, between 30 October and 2 November 1969, the shows would be recorded for an album that would give new credibility to its star.
Six months earlier Rick had cut the Dylan song ‘She Belongs To Me’ and had used the steel guitarist Buddy Emmons on the session. Back in 1967, when Rick was recording his “Country Fever” album, Emmons had played steel on the old Jim Reeves song ‘When You Are Gone’, but the track was aborted. Rick was unable to secure the services of Emmons on a regular basis, so had toured for four months with his new trio of Randy Meisner, Allen Kemp and Pat Shanahan with the promise that “Sneaky” Pete Kleinow would join in time for the Troubadour recording. Let down at the eleventh hour, top pedal-steel player Tom Brumley joined just a day before the gigs began. The “In Concert” LP marked Rick’s first new recordings without his super sideman James Burton.
The album came as quite a shock to some people. Here was an artist considered by many to be a fabricated teen idol. Fired up and ready to go, at age 29 Rick Nelson had never looked or sounded better, singing the songs he loved, and some he’d written himself. How could he interpret Bob Dylan, Eric Andersen and Tim Hardin? It turned out that he could do so very well and the calibre of his own songs such as ‘Easy To Be Free’ even approached theirs. “In Concert” was a groundbreaking album that made a big contribution to the new style of music that came to be called country rock.
The album was released by Decca in the USA in January 1970 as a showcase for Rick and his new band. Not only did it receive critical acclaim, Rick’s fans also loved it. It was issued in a superb gatefold sleeve, folding out to reveal some great colour photos of Rick and the band, with a close up of Rick in action on the front cover. All the Troubadour concerts were recorded over a four-day period, sometimes with three shows a night. The tapes were edited down and Rick made the final choice of 12 tracks for release. Those tracks were transferred from 8-track to 16-track for overdubbing.
Having been deleted for many years, the album is reissued here in glorious expanded form over two complete CDs – more than Rick’s legion of fans could have ever hoped for. As the compilers of this musical treat, we were able to listen to nine reels of previously unissued material, from which we selected the best tracks. CD1 comprises the original 12-track album from the actual master recording remastered with dramatically improved sound plus 10 previously unreleased live cuts. Some might say that these 10 tracks alone, remixed with great care by Rob Keyloch and mastered by Duncan Cowell, would make a great Rick Nelson CD. CD2 contains a further 20 unissued mixes of live recordings from the Troubadour shows. All sound so fresh and up-to-date that it’s hard to believe that they were recorded live and not in the studio. All the alternate versions have been mixed directly from the original 8-track recordings to produce pristine sound.
The Music City Story
Ray Dobard’s Music City Records of Berkeley, California, across the Bay from San Francisco, is a catalogue of mythic proportions that has been cherished for decades by a small hardcore of R&B, vocal group and, latterly, soul fanatics. Based on the available evidence – 50-odd 45 and 78rpm releases – and a lot of hearsay and rumour, many have spent hours fantasising about the purported riches in the possession of its famously protective, zealous owner.
Ace Records is thus proud to unlock the Music City vault for the edification and entertainment of the world at large with the 3CD set “The Music City Story”, an unprecedented survey of the label’s 25-year operation, and an excellent primer for Ace’s forthcoming genre- and artist-based compilations of Music City material, telling the story with many rare gems from the catalogue and a surfeit of previously unissued goodies.
Although Ray Dobard experimented with recording a variety of genres, the legend of Music City is predicated on its role as a premier exponent of black rhythm and blues styles, with a strong regional flavour. Most significantly, the sound of Music City was street. Much of what appeared on the label and lies in its voluminous cache of unreleased recordings can be said to reflect the evolution of black popular music between the early 50s and the mid-1970s. It reflects reality: this is what was heard in clubs and juke joints, at high school auditoria and rec centres, rent parties or literally out on the sidewalk, with all the dissonance and unoriginality that might imply, but matched equally by huge, invigorating dollops of innocence and exuberance, and a surprising amount of inspiration.
Amongst the set’s 78 tracks are names familiar to doo wop and blues collectors – the Crescendos, Gaylarks, Rovers, 5 Lyrics, Alvin Smith etc – while behind several others lurk famous names (James Brown, Lou Rawls) or others soon to be famous (Sugar Pie DeSanto, members of Sly & the Family Stone). From the raucous jump blues of Del Graham’s ‘Your Money Ain’t Long Enough’ to the hip street soul of Darondo, the breadth of genres represented is extensive, but the overall emphasis in “The Music City Story” is upon the black vocal group, be it 50s, 60s or 70s vintage. It is the rich seam of Bay Area groups mined by Music City that collectors most closely associate with the label. Dobard had only a couple of minor hits – the 4 Deuces’ popular ‘W-P-L-J’, Johnny Heartsman’s raucous ‘Johnny’s House Party’ – but kept the tape machine running pretty much constantly for much of his quarter-century in the business.
It has been many years since as significant a stash as Music City’s has come to light, and accompanying the tantalising musical treats is an extensive, heavily-illustrated sleeve note detailing the label’s history. Given that the late Dobard was notorious evasive, an air of mystery has always surrounded his activities in music, but this is the first time a recounting of the Music City saga has been based upon hard data, rather than supposition. Documents, letters, tape box annotations, discographical notes, session chatter, even recorded phone conversations form a considerable body of evidence, that helps bring into focus what this fiercely independent and pioneering black entrepreneur achieved. Ray was no Dootsie Williams or Jake Porter, but nevertheless, a picture emerges of a fascinatingly complex figure, whose role in the black music scene in the mid-20th century cannot be discounted. As venerable East Bay bandleader Johnny Talbot puts it, “to me, Ray Dobard was the foundation of Bay Area music. There was hardly anyone who did anything later who didn’t bump into Ray, so he had to be a foundation.”
01 W-P-L-J The 4 Deuces - 02 YOUR MONEY AIN'T LONG ENOUGH Del Graham with Que Martyn's Orchestra - 03 KEEP ME SATISFIED, BABY Golden Boy with Chick Morris & His Band - 04 A PRAYER Al Joseph Harris with Chick Morris & His Band - 05 GUITAR BLUES Sidney Grande - 06 ON MY WAY Alvin Smith - 07 HERE LIES MY LOVE Mr Undertaker - 08 ANNIE PULLED A HUM-BUG The Midnights - 09 LATE LAST NIGHT The Twilighters - 10 ICHI-BON TAMI DACHI The Rovers - 11 JOHNNY'S STOMP Johnny Heartsman - 12 TELL ME, DARLING The Gaylarks - 13 I'M A WORKIN' MAN - The 5 Lyrics - 14 MORRINE - The 5 Campbells - 15 I DON'T STAND NO QUITTIN' - Gloria Jean - 16 CROSSING THE RIVER - The Dreamers - 17 THIS WICKED RACE - The Golden West Singers - 18 JERRY - The 3 Dons & Donna - 19 LIL TIPA-TINA The 5 Swans - 20 THE WHEEL Jimmy Nelson - 21 WRONG DOING WOMAN Jasper Evans - 22 DING DONG The Gayteens - 23 FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART Leon Pryor - 24 BURY ME IN THE SOUTH Al Bennett with The Country Travellers - 25 THE WALLFLOWER Unknown Duo - 26 BIG SIX RADIO AD
01 JOHNNY'S HOUSE PARTY PARTS 1 & 2 Johnny Heartsman with The Rhythm Rockers & The Gaylarks - 02 ROCKIN' SATELLITE The 3 Honeydrops - 03 JUST ONE MORE CHANC Lord Luther - 04 LOVE ME TENDER The Fidels - 05 GONNA BLOW OUT THE LAMP Gene Lee & The Blues Rockers - 06 ARE YOU MY BOYFRIEND Wally & Theresa - 07 INDIAN JANE The Marcels - 08 I NEED YOU BABY Robbie Meldano - 09 FLIPPIN' & A-FLOPPIN' Pee Wee & Sugar Pie - 10 STATION L-O-V-E The Holidays - 11 BLUES ALL AROUND MY BED Jimmy Raney - 12 ELAINE The Klixs - 13 MUSIC CITY HOP Johnny George - 14 HEAVEN'S OWN CHOIR The Five Crystels - 15 DYNAMITE Kary Lynn - 16 LOVER'S PLEA The Pagans - 17 THE SLOPP Willie Moore - 18 BEVERLY MY DARLING Joe Blackwell & The Individuals - 19 PARTY AT VERN'S The Satellite Band - 20 MY HEART'S DESIRE The Crescendos - 21 YOU GAVE ME LOVE Lee Durrell & The Tamaras - 22 I WALK IN CIRCLES Little Lynn - 23 CHURCH ON THE HILL Bob & Jessie - 24 LOVE YOU ALL NIGHT LONG Little Willie Littlefield - 25 MIRAGE The Night Caps - 26 MAGNIFICENT MONTAGUE RADIO SPOT
01 SCHEMING Wanda Burt & The Crescendos - 02 ALL AROUND THE WORLD Vermettya Royster with James Brown's Band - 03 OCEAN OF LOVE The Franciscans - 04 THE KASAVUBU WALTZ D'Vonya White - 05 NATURE BOY The 4 Rivers - 06 LONELY ONE The Derbys - 07DON'T FENCE ME IN Jackie Day 08 I FEEL SO BLUE The Italics - 09 I'M WAITING The Fantastics - 10 WHAT TO DO The Swingin' Brothers - 11 YOU ARE MY LOVER GIRL The Powell Brothers - 12 I CAN'T TAKE ANY MORE Johnnie Marie Thorne - 13 SOMETHING IN MY EYE The Music City Soul Brothers - 14 PASSING THRU MUSIC CITY Music City Swingers - 15 DO THE PHILLY The Music City All Stars - 16 TOO LATE TO CRY Lou Rawls - 17 FEELING FINE, FEELING GOOD Wanda Burt - 18 SHE'S COMING BACK The Soul Brothers - 19 HE'S ALL RIGHT The Heavenly Tones - 20 STOP TELLING ME The Two Things In One - 21 A MAN THAT IS NOT FREE The Soul Sensations - 22 DIDN'T I
Darondo - 23 LOVING YOU ISN'T ENOUGH The Ballads - 24 WHEN WE GET MARRIED PART 2
Tear Drop Tears - 25 FAREWELL GOODBYE MY LOVE The Performers - 26 KYA NEWSBEAT SPOT