A big one for Norman Cook – caught here in his post-Housemartins, pre-Fatboy Slim years – working here in a playful blend of beats and samples that really point the way towards his later chart fame to come! The tracks here have a simple elegance that might have sounded dated a few years after release, but which is now finally beginning to win us over again – a really basic use of musical elements to construct a beat-heavy tune – one that's decidedly poppy, given all the hooks and vocals in the album, but which is also kind of refreshing to hear these days, considering all the wrong directions such efforts took in later years! The straightforward Cook remix approach is in full effect here – with one key idea hung on each tune – but it's also an approach that works well when not to much is expected of it, as you'll hear on tracks that include "Dance To The Drummer's Beat", "Dub Be Good To Me", "Burundi Blues", "Blame It On The Bassline", "Tribute To King Tubby", and "Babies Makin Babies". CD
Elton Britt —
RCA Years ... CD CollectorsChoice, 1940s/Early 50s. Used ...
Nice one! We've always loved the swinging vocal harmonies of the Four Freshmen, but their best records have never been issued before on CD. Now, though, Collector's Choice have put out two of their best on one CD, and the set's got a whopping 24 cuts of groovy groovy harmony sounds that have influenced everyone from Brian Wilson to Lambert, Hendricks, & Ross. Both records feature stunning off-kilter arrangments by the great Pete Rugolo, who puts the material together in a way that's similar to his work on the classic June Christy sessions for Capitol from the same time. Groovy tracks abound, including "Love Is Just Around The Corner", "The Last Time I Saw Paris", "Somebody Loves Me", "Give Me the Simple Life", and "The Night We Called It A Day". Very groovy, but with a dark edge that's even more compelling! CD
Great stuff from one of our favorite soul vocalists of the 60s! We love Deon Jackson – we love his sweetly honest vocal style, we love his songs, and we love the great production he gets from the legendary Ollie McLaughlin! This album is the only one he ever cut – and it's a masterpiece all the way through! Ollie's production mixes some wonderful lilting qualities with rollicking hard soul – it's a far-reaching approach that works incredibly well with Deon's unique approach to the vocals! Includes the super-hit "Love Makes The World Go Round" and a charming uptown soul take on "King Of The Road", plus "Come Back Home", "1-2-3", "You Said You Love Me", "SOS", "Love Is What You Make It" and "Hush Little Baby". CD
There's no knocking Wilson Pickett here – as his funky groove is still right on the money, set up in some sweet Muscle Shoals arrangements, at a level that's right up there with his first recordings for Atlantic Records! Production is by Brad Shapiro and Dave Crawford, who bring in a few slight 70s southern soul touches – but overall, the whole thing's got all the raw, heavy-grooving energy you'd expect from The Wicked Pickett on Atlantic. Some cuts slide into each other nicely – which makes for an album that's really unified – and Dennis Coffey plays some great guitar on the set, alongside keyboards from Crawford and Barry Beckett, drums from Roger Hawkins, and percussion from Jack Ashford. Titles include "Don't Knock My Love (parts 1 & 2)", "Fire & Water", "Call My Name I'll Be There", "Hot Love", "A Mighty Long Way", and "You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover". CD
The first full length album recorded by the legendary Association – a classic bit of Sunshine Pop that would forever change the sound of the 60s! Although familiar, the album's got an amazing depth that still never fails to surprise today – odd production twists and turns, courtesy of a young Curt Boettcher; personally youthful harmonies that slip as often as they soar; and just the right touches of flower power to move the group away from their folkie roots into the new sun of a changing decade! The hits "Along Comes Mary" and "Cherish" are almost worth the price of admission – but lesser-known cuts are even better, and show a wealth of great work penned by members of the group! Other titles include "Standing Still", "Message Of Our Love", "Changes", "I'll Be Your Man", "Blistered", "Round Again", "Remember" and "Enter The Young". CD
Two groovy 60s albums from the lovely Joanie Sommers – easily one of the most versatile singers of her generation! Positively The Most has Joanie working with some great arrangements from Marty Paich and Tommy Oliver – both of whom help things stay lively, even when sweet – and almost give the album a similar feel to some of the best Bethlehem or Mode label jazz vocal sides of the 50s. Joanie's got none of her pop trappings here – and her vocals are nicely deep and mature – on titles that include "What's New", "My Heart Belongs To Daddy", "Something I Dreamed Last Night", "Oh But I Do", "That Old Devil Moon", and "So In Love". Softly The Brazilian Sound is whole new dimension for Sommers – an album of bossa tunes, recorded with strings and backing by the great Laurindo Almeida! The style is wonderfully sweet – and works perfectly with Joanie's gentle vocals – and although not all the tunes are strict bossa standards, they're all taken in a similar mode, which makes for a really unified set. The album features a few tasty debuts – including "Old Guitarron" and "You Can't Go Home Again" – plus versions of "Meditation", "Quiet Nights", "Once", "Carnival", "That's All", and "Watching The World Go By". CD