Hard to improve on the sound of Severin Browne's first album for Motown – but this set definitely does so – and shows that the label had a surprisingly great ear for AOR material back in the 70s! Severin's the brother of Jackson Browne, but his music here – while in a nice singer/songwriter mode of the time – might share more with some of the sophisticated soul singers on the label, or the folksy soul of Jose Feliciano during his best mid 70s years at RCA. There's a nice Free Soul vibe to the record – with warm electric production backing up mellow lyrics and acoustic guitar – and titles include "Love Song", "Do Magnolia Do", "Love Notes From Denver", "Cooking School", and "More Dreams In The Sea". CD
An obscure later album from Lesley Gore – and a set that's far more mature and adult than you might know from her 60s girl pop hits! The album's cut for Motown's MoWest subsidiary, and has the same hip style as other albums on the label at the time – kind of a California singer/songwriter style, which fits well with all the original material penned by Gore for the album – arranged with kind of a gentle, glowing sound by Artie Butler and the team of Michael Omartin and Jimmie Haskell. The approach is laidback and warm on most numbers, with compressed orchestrations that would be right at home behind Dionne Warwick – and titles include "She Said That", "Out Of Love", "For Me", "The Road I Walk", "Someplace Else Now", "Mine", and "Be My Life". CD
Gift ... LP Polydor, 1982. New Copy (reissue)...
The final proper album by The Jam! The Gift is a far more diversely soul-steeped set of tunes than anything they'd done up to this point – and in hindsight, it feels more like a starting point for Paul Weller's career to come than a final album for The Jam! While they're working more soul influences into the formula, there's still a devotion to insistently catchy hooks that they'd sported since the beginning. A classic that really deserves a lot more respect than it gets in some circles! Includes "Happy Together", "Ghosts", the nice "Psychedelic Shack"-styled "Precious", "Just Who Is The 5 O'Clock Hero", "Running On The Spot", "Circus", "The Planner's Dream Gone Wrong", "Carnation", the great Motown-homage and superhit "Town Called Malice" and "The Gift". LP, Vinyl record album
David Johansen —
In Style ... CD Blue Sky/American Beat, 1979. Used ...
David Johansen's second post-New York Dolls solo record – and the first one where he really sheds the feral rock vibe – but with Mick Ronson on board as co-producer, it's still got plenty of pomp! David would go on to take many creative detours – but in this first real stretch, he's bringing in some Motown influences – with some R&B backing vocals here and there, along with ome sax, piano and other smoothed out touches. That said, it's not that huge of a jump – with some ruggedness and grit reminiscent of his earlier work –and it's got a bunch of really good songs. Titles include "Melody", "She", "Big City", "She Knew She Was Falling In Love", "Swaheto Woman", "Wreckless Crazy", "Flamingo Road" and more. CD
Great great work from Keith – one of those overlooked pop talents of the 60s, but one who really came across with a great sound at the time – kind of a mix of Burt Bacharach arrangements with a pop psych sort of edge! The tunes are sweet, but swinging too – and Keith's got this vocal style that slides in nicely with the larger charts – at a level that's almost more A&M-styled pop than you'd guess from the Mercury Records placement of the set! Jerry Ross produced, and brings in some nice soulful undercurrents – of the sort you'd hear on his more famous material – almost a Motown sensibility, but mixed with rolling horns, piano hooks, and great guitar lines – on titles that include the wonderful hit "98.6", plus "Mind If I Hang Around", "Sweet Dreams", "Tell Me To My Face", "I Can't Go Wrong", and "Pretty Little Shy One". LP, Vinyl record album
(Red label stereo pressing with deep groove. Cover has a name in marker on front.)
Heavy rock and heavy drums – a fuzzed out classic that's one of the best lost hard rock albums of the 70s! These guys may have been a strange choice for Motown's rock-based Rare Earth label back in the day, but they've more than made a place for themselves in the history books – thanks to some really fierce rocking, and an approach to the drums that's kept the record in more than a few crates over the years – not totally a break record, but with plenty of tight work on the drums and some really monster bass! Titles include "Hard Working Man", "Uncertain Destination", "No Time", "Realization", "The Sorcerer Of Isis", "It Couldn't Be Me", "The Death Trip", and "In The Night". LP, Vinyl record album
Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels —
Take A Ride ... CD New Voice/Warner (Japan), 1966. New Copy ...
Raw rockers, with a surprisingly strong degree of soul – and a classic set from the mighty Mitch Ryder and his smoking Detroit Wheels combo! These guys might have been a garage band in another side of the universe – and you can definitely hear that style on some of the guitars and keyboards in the set – but they also drunk deep of the Motown sound of their hometown, and listened to plenty of soul from Chicago and Memphis too – which they draw on to great extent for the grooves in this classic set! Years before so many other groups would cop 60s soul style and hit it big on the charts, Mitch and the boys made their move – much closer to the ground at the time, and with a lot more grit in their grooves too – so much so that we've always been unsure as to whether to file this record in the rock section or in soul. The whole thing's great – and titles titles that include "Jenny Take A Ride", "Shake A Tail Feather", "Come See About Me", and "I Hope" – plus three James Brown songs – "I'll Go Crazy", "Please Please Please", and "I Got You". CD
Iggy Pop's official solo debut and a masterpiece of individualistic, hedonist rock & roll! Lust For Life was produced by Bowie, and it's not only proof that Iggy had a great new life of his own in the mid 70s, even if the mainstream was no more ready for it than they were The Stooges. Includes the classic "Lust For Life" – we can all thank the Trainspotting soundtrack for bring this Motown drums meets junkie punks gem into the cultural daylight – plus equally excellent and unequivocally classic single "The Passenger", plus "Some Weird Sin", "Neighborhood Threat", "Success", "Fall In Love With Me" and "Turn Blue". CD
Wildly fun knockoff number from the 60s vaults of Spar Records – the Nashville based operation best known as a "soundalike" company – which you could charitably say were paying tribute to the hits of the day or call 'em rip off artists – but it's a remarkably fun either way! Soundalike Kings features wildly flagrant riffs on Motown, dance craze hits and other hugely popular songs and styles of the day, played by master studio musicians who could do whatever they wanted to, and did! Titles include "Where Did Our Love Go" by The New Generation, "Devil In Disguise" by Johnny Wrigley, "Follow That Dream" by Johnny Holiday, "Lovers Who Wander" by Joe Cash", "Slow Twisting" by Leroy Jones, "Roses Are Red" by Cecil Bright, "Dr Feelgood" by Herbert Hunter, "You're Slipping Away" by Gail Majors, "She Cried" by Bill Bailey, "Why Can't You Be Mine" by Connie Landers and much more. 48 tracks on 2CDs! CD