Johnny Blue & The Providers – Crazy, Crazy

Johnny Blue & The Providers - Crazy, Crazy

I hope you all had a great weekend and have arrived into Monday in fine fettle! My weekend was spent catching up with old friends that I haven’t seen in a while (yes there was some alcohol taken!) and I find myself both tired this Monday evening and somewhat lacking in my usual creative writing – however I hope the tune I bring you will more than compensate for any obvious writer’s block that I might display!

This selection is another one that is filed under the “record that I know virtually nothing about” category. In my personal opinion it’s one of those records that any serious rare/deep funk aficionado should have in their collection. I picked my “minty” copy up a while back but in recent times it’s started to hit the £50+ mark for one in good condition (although someone is currently trying to sell a copy online for £195 – I don’t think so!!)

So what do you get for your £50 (or £195)? Well this is heavy on the old hammond organ (you know I’m a sucker for that sound), nice horn work and pounding drums but it has been recorded in a way that makes it sound like a live track due to what sounds like an audience in the background (though I’m not sure it actually was live, I think the sounds may have been added in later in the mixing). One thing I should add about this song is that there is quite a bizarre video attached to it on youtube – I have no idea what the correlation between song & video is!!

I hope to be able to bring you a guest contributor in the next couple of weeks as it’s been quite a while since my last one and it’ll also be a good opportunity for me to take a break and get my creative juices flowing again! In the meantime, enjoy this one! 

The Flirtations – Nothing But A Heartache

Flirtations - Nothing But A Heartache

Before I start talking about today’s chosen song I have an admission to make -Northern Soul is a genre of music I’ve never been particularly keen on. I know it’s hugely popular and has had a particular renaissance in the last few years but I’ve found that I’ve had to wade through a massive amount of rubbish to find one decent tune. I know plenty of people who are huge fans but I’ve always been more excited by the rawer, and dare I say it more “black” sound of funk.

Despite that, I do still own records that would fit under the “Northern” tag and today’s selection is one such track. This song has been huge on the Northern scene for a long time and the intro is a killer which still sounds fantastic blaring out of a good sound system. It is a bit more on the funky edge of Northern Soul in comparison to something like “Hey Girl Don’t Bother Me” by The Tams or “At The Top Of The Stairs” by The Formations.

This will be one of the few times I’ll post a “Northern” tune so any fans out there crank this one up and backdrop your way around the living room!

Before I go, I just want to let you know about a guest radio show appearance I’ll be doing this weekend. I’ll be spinning some records on my good buddy Dr Kruger’s “House Call” show this Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on London’s NTS Radio. You can access the show online by clicking this link http://ntslive.co.uk/

Jackie Wilson – Hum De Dum De Do

Jackie Wilson - Hum De Dum De Do

This week I bring you one of the heavyweights of soul music and one of the artists largely credited with taking the traditional sound of r&b and creating what became known as “soul” music, the one and only “Mr Excitement” – Mr Jackie Wilson.

Now, as much as I’m all about the lesser-known soul & funk artists it’s hard to ignore the contributions made by those pioneers of the black music scene and they surely deserve a tribute as much as anyone else. To that end, it would be easy for me to have featured any one of Mr Wilson’s huge hits from his vast back catalogue (including “Reet Petite”, “I Get The Sweetest Feeling”, “Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher”) but those tracks have all been featured extensively on other blogs and radio shows over the years. This selection is one of the lesser-known singles that gets relatively little spins and is still easily purchased for peanuts.

Throughout his career Wilson recorded songs in a vast array of styles including r&b, pop, doo-wop,rock & roll and crooner style easy listening. But by the time of the mid/late 60s he was in full-on soul mode and today’s track is arguably the funkiest of all the records he cut around this time. I could probably detail Wilson’s personal life (both good and bad) but I guess the story of his life would probably be better served as a motion picture rather than condensed into a blog post. Suffice to say, for all his faults Jackie Wilson ranks for me as arguably the most exciting performer in black music (alongside James Brown) with one of the most distinctive voices in music.

So crank up the volume on this one and understand why he was so deserving of the title “Mr Entertainer” 

The Exciters – Blowing Up My Mind

When I was thinking of what I was going to bring you this week on the blog, it struck me that up until now I had hardly featured (if at all) some northern soul. So I figured it was about time I put that right as I have quite a few friends who are more than partial to a little bit of northern.

I have to admit to not being a huge fan personally. In my experience I’ve had to wade through a lot of records to find something of sufficient quality or to my taste, though thankfully this selection comes up trumps on both counts.

The Exciters originally started out as an all-girl group with their first hit coming in 1962 – the Leiber & Stoller penned “Tell Him”. Shortly after they recorded the original version of “Do Wah Diddy” (’63 in fact), which as I’m sure you all know became a massive hit a few years later for Manfred Mann.

This selection was released in ’69 and pretty much flopped – however, by the early 70s it was picked up by the northern soul scene and became hugely popular amongst soulboys in England. The track itself is quite mid-tempo and to my ears there is a slight reggae feel to it, however it still has that northern sound to it.