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✨✧ Richard EvansRichard Evans ... CD
Horizon (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
One of the few albums as a leader by Chicago Soul genius Richard Evans – a key late 70s effort that perfectly sums up all his genius on record for countless other artists! The album's got a warm, smooth groove that's totally great – one that builds tremendously from the sophisticated soul advances on the Chicago scene of the 70s – and which features bits of jazz, soul, and even Brazilian influences gliding wonderfully through the mix! There's a sense of pride, power, and confidence here that graces every single number – and in a way, the album's almost like a Quincy Jones effort from the same stretch – with Evans' showcasing a new side of his talents, and his collaborators, on every different number. Linda Williams sings vocals on the groovy "Capricorn Rising", Eddie Harris plays on "Do Re Me For Soul", Billy Durham sings on "Windy City", Tower Of Power guest on "Educated Funk", and the group offers up a remake of Evans' Soulful Strings classic "Burning Spear". CD
 
Possible matches: 6
Possible matches2
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Dorothy AshbyRubaiyat Of Dorothy Ashby (Japanese paper sleeve edition) ... CD
Cadet/Universal (Japan), 1970. New Copy ... $31.99
Incredible work from the amazing Dorothy Ashby – a brilliant set of funky and spiritual tunes, set to full backings from Chicago soul arranger Richard Evans! This album is easily one of Ashby's greatest, and it's dedicated to the writings of Omar Khayyam – one of the forces guiding Dorothy's more spiritual sound at the end of the 60s, clearly opened up in a way that's not unlike the direction of Alice Coltrane's work, but a lot more focused and a lot more funky! Ashby not only plays her usual jazz harp, but also koto as well, and even sings a bit too – and the larger group directed by Evans features work by Stu Katz on vibes and kalimba, Lenny Druss on flutes, and Cash McCall on guitar – all in a groove that's really a precursor to the Earth Wind & Fire generation of the Chicago scene! Titles include the amazing break "The Moving Finger" – worth the price of the album alone – plus "Dust", "Joyful Grass & Grape", "Heaven & Hell", "Wax & Wane", "Shadow Shapes", "For Some When Young", "Myself When Young", and "Drink". CD
(SHM-CD pressing!)
Also available Rubaiyat Of Dorothy Ashby ... LP 11.99

Possible matches3
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Gil EvansSvengali ... CD
Atlantic (Japan), 1973. New Copy ... $14.99
A great example of the way that Gil Evans really opened up his groove in the 70s – moving here way way past the cool jazz and third stream of earlier years – into a soulful style that's far groovier than might be expected! Part of the strength of the set is because of the players – as Gil's working with a group of younger soul jazz and spiritual soloists that include Ted Dunbar, Billy Harper, and Hannibal Marvin Peterson – as well as the older soul modernist Richard Williams. But there's also some other specifically Evans-like touches to the record that stand out – like Gil's stark notes on acoustic piano and his lighter work on the electric keys – plus a bit of inventive synthesizer from David Horowitz, who makes a few tracks really crackle with energy. Tracks include "Zee Zee", "Blues In Orbit", "Cry Of Hunger", and "Thoroughbred" – the latter two of which are lovely compositions by Billy Harper! CD
(SHM-CD pressing!)

Possible matches4
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Shades Of BrownS.O.B. ... CD
Cadet/Dusty Groove, 1970. Used ... $9.99
Amazing soul from Chess Records – and an album that almost feels like some lost small-label soul set, or a batch of rare funky 45s! Shades Of Brown are an ultra-hip male group from Chicago – a quartet of singers with the range and depth of The Temptations or Dells at their best, supported by a small combo of very lively instrumentalists who bring a really funky edge to their music – that sort of self-contained sound than you might find more in the hinterlands of the 60s soul scene than at Chess. But there's also plenty of key Chess touches too – including production by Dells maestro Bobby Miller, who also penned all the tunes for the record, giving the group some wonderful material to work with. Richard Evans handled most of the arrangements, but Charles Stepney also did a few too – and titles include "Man's Worst Enemy", "Girl I'm Coming Home", "Falling In Love Too Hard", "Lite Y'All Up", "Lie #2", "Little Girl", "Ho-Hum World", "He Didn't Leave Me A Name", "Garbage Man", and "The Soil I Tilled For You" – which has an amazing break! CD
(Out of print.)

Possible matches5
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
VariousChess Uptown Soul ... CD
Chess/Kent (UK), Mid 60s. New Copy ... $11.99 18.99
The cooler, classier sound of Chess Records in the 60s – the side of Chicago soul that really showed that the Windy City was onto something special Sure, Chess gave the world plenty of blues and R&B, but the label also really helped open the door to a special side of soul music – the heady brew of new sounds that were coming from Chicago – in the hands of arrangers like Richard Evans, Johnny Pate, and Phil Wright – plus tracks recorded farther in the field, but which found a perfect home at Chess Records – as the label was able to balance the deep soul styles of the singers with some of the richer styles used in the backings and production! Yet all the while things still kept on with a nice groove – the kind of stepping sounds that got Chicago soul dancefloors going, and which still made them special well into the 21st Century – thanks to killer cuts like these. The whole thing's a really well-chosen batch of soul that goes way beyond simple Chess Records hits – and titles include "Jerk & Twine" by Jackie Ross, "Oh What A Feeling" by James Phelps, "Go Away Little Boy" by Marlena Shaw, "The Soul Of A Man" by Fontella Bass, "I Had A Talk With My Man" by Mitty Collier, "So Much Love" by Maurice & Mac, "Here You Come Running" by Sugar Pie De Santo, "Nothing But You" by The Chessmen, "Wear It On Our Face" by The Dells, "I Believe She Will" by Eddie & Ernie, "Sitting In The Park" by Billy Stewart, and "It Ain't No Big Thing" by The Radiants. Also includes the amazing instrumental "Two In The Morning" by Spooners Crowd – a killer cut from Fame Studios! CD

Possible matches6
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Natalie ColeInseparable/Natalie/Unpredictable ... CD
Capitol/BGO (UK), 1975/1976/1977. New Copy 2CD ... Out Of Stock
A triple pack of early magic from Natalie Cole! Inseparable is Natalie's stunning debut for Capitol Records in the mid 70s – a real surprise, and a set that should have had the singer blossoming even more than she did at the time! As with some of the other Capitol soul sessions of the time, the album's done very firmly under the guidance of Charles Jackson and Marvin Yancey – a pair who give Natalie just the right sort of backing to launch her career – a sound that's full and rich, deeply sophisticated – but also still plenty soulful, almost in the mode of some of Minnie Riperton's work at the time. Given the pair's Chicago roots – and the arrangement help from Richard Evans – that comparison is no surprise, and Natalie rises to the occasion nicely. Titles are all originals too – and include "Needing You", "Joey", "I Can't Say No", "Something For Nothing", "I Love Him So Much", "You", "Your Face Stays On My Mind", and the huge hit "This Will Be". Next up is Natalie – a record that really has Natalie Cole finding her groove – not needing any help from her famous familial legacy, thank you – and instead stepping out with a tight, proud mode that really helped refine the sound of female soul in the 70s! The album's got plenty of influences from the Chicago soul scene – including songwriting and production from the team of Chuck Jackson and Marvin Yancy – and work from key session players like Richard Evans and Gene Barge, who worked in the Curtom Studios to craft the grooves on the set! Titles include "Keep Smiling", "Mr. Melody", "Heaven Is With You", "Can We Get Together", "Touch Me", "Hard To Get Along", and "Good Morning Heartache". Unpredictable is an album that reunites Natalie Cole with the smooth soul team of Chuck Jackson and Marvin Yancey – the team who did such a great job with Natalie's Capitol debut, and who really continue the groove here too! The album's got a rock-solid approach through and through – a quality that has Natalie really standing out on her own as a positive young artist in soul – without any need to nod towards her father, as in later years. And Jackson and Yancey bring a nice dose of Chicago soul class to the affair – which turns out to be a perfect match for Natalie's vocals! Titles include "Be Mine Tonight", "Party Lights", "This Heart", "I've Got Love On My Mind", and "Still In Love". CD

Possible matches7
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Natalie ColeThankful/I Love You So/Don't Look Back ... CD
Capitol/BGO (UK), 1977/1979/1980. New Copy 2 CDs ... Out Of Stock
Classic early work from Natalie Cole – packaged here in a sweet 2CD set! First up is the album Thankful – the third record in a tremendous early creative and commerical winning streak for Natalie! Thankful has her sweet, soulful voice out from of prodcution by Chuck Jackson and Marvin Yancy of the Independents, and they give her a nice jazzy sound that made the record one of her best of the 70s. Richard Evans and Gene Barge arranged, which probably had something to do with that, too – but Natalie truly deserves most of the credit of the strength of this set. It includes the standout groovers "La Costa" and"Annie Mae", but the whole record is really sweet – with "Lovers", "Our Love", "Be Thankful", "Just Can't Stay Away" and "Keeping A Light". I Love You So is a Capitol killer from Natalie Cole – a really great record from the time when she really seemed to be starting out her career with a bang! As with other gems on Capitol, the record features some great production work from Marvin Yancy and Chuck Jackson, getting a bit of help here from Gene Barge too – all wrapped up with a strong, sophisticated sound that shows plenty of Chi-soul touches in the music – a great approach for Natalie's maturing vocals. The sound is wonderfully balanced, and really stays away from easy hit modes – leaving the lady in a space that's all her own, on tracks that include "The Winner", "I Love You So", "Oh Daddy", "Sorry", "Stand By", and "Who Will Carry On". Don't Look Back is an overlooked gem from Natalie Cole – a set that still has her working strongly with songwriter Marvin Yancy, who really helped her find her sound and style during the early years of her career! Natalie actually helped with writing a fair bit on the record herself – sometimes with Yancy, sometimes alone – and the result is a surprisingly personal batch of tunes that really show a deepening of spirit in the singer, especially in the mellower moments. Gene Barge handles the arrangements – still bringing a bit of Chicago soul roots to the record – that mix of deep and sophisticated modes that always brought out the best in Natalie. Titles include "Don't Look Back", "I'm Getting In To You", "Paradise", "Hold ON", "Danger UP A head", and "Someone That I Used To Love". CD
 
 
 



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