Thursday, October 29, 2009

British Soul

Watson T Browne and The Explosive - "Gimme Some" b/w "Home is Where the Heart Lies" is a British-pressed and recorded soul 45 on the President label. I honestly don't know a whole lot about it except it says it's produced by Eddy Grant. I can't really find much info about about Watson or the President label, although I did see a President label discography, and it includes a ton of great American soul 45's, some Equals 45's, and other British artists I'd never heard of. The Equals 45's tip me off that the Eddy Grant you're thinking of (yeah, Electric Avenue) is the same guy who produced this 45. It also has a similar rock 'n soul sound to what the Equals were doing. "Gimme Some" is a mid-tempo mover with passionate vocals and lyrics that you could probably guess without ever hearing the song. The b-side is a mellow ballad that leaves some passion to be desired, in my opinion. What I love about this 45 is how British it sounds. It's clearly trying its hardest to sound like good American southern soul, but it's got a certail sterility about it that just reeks of England. The vocals are a bit too forward in the mix for my liking, and the rhythm section doesn't play "behind" enough to give it the swagger that American soul had. It's interesting, and "Gimme Some" is certainly danceable. Download and hear it for yourself, then look for a copy somewhere!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Jean Wells' Sweet Soul

Jean Wells - "Can't You Feel It" b/w "Sit Down And Cry" is a beautiful 45 on the NY-based Calla label from the late 60's ('67 or '68). Wells was a Florida-born singer who made records in Philly before doing her finest work for Calla in the late 60's. She's got some tunes that are prized by the Northern Soul cats, and she's not particularly well-known overall. When I saw this 45, I only bought it because I love a lot of stuff on Calla, and the song titles sounded like soul. I'd never heard of Ms. Wells. Well, the record went beyond my expectations. "Can't You Feel It" is an up-tempo mover with the hand-drumming and percussion that makes purple-heart-popping Anglophiles dance in ways they didn't know they could. It's a fairly passionate tune, but the ballad side, "Sit Down and Cry", is the one that gets me. Wells' voice is just totally convincing, and her timing is fantastic. She comes into lines just late enough to really make you believe, and keep you waiting for the next note to be emphatically sung. Love this 45, so download it below and buy it from somewhere.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Magazine - Shot By Both Sides

Magazine - "Shot By Both Sides" b/w "My Mind Ain't So Open" was Magazine's very first single, and I proudly own it. This 7" was recorded BEFORE the band had a keyboard player, so it's got a much rawer sound, with less glossy production keyboards. Now, this is tough for me, because I admittedly LOVE the polished, keyboard-heavy sound of the first LP, Real Life. So, obviously, this version of the classic song is different from the LP version that is more well-known to anyone who didn't hear this song on the radio in the UK when it came out. It's a more "punk" sound, and the b-side (which didn't make it on Real Life), "My Mind Ain't So Open", is definitely a fairly traditional "punk" song, more than the artsy, New-Wave-anticipating sound of the songs on the LP. It's a straight-ahead 2 minute rocker with 2 or 3 chords total. LOVE it. Devoto's voice was awesome. This band was awesome. Enjoy my rip of my very clean copy, then get a copy for yourself:

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Weirdos - Destroy All Music

The Weirdos - Destroy All Music on the Bomp label from 1977 is probably my favorite REAL early LA punk 7". I found this SUPER clean copy of this record for really cheap at a record store REAL close to where I'm working now. This is just quintessential 1977 American punk, with the perfect amount of posturing-without-really-trying-because-it's-new attitude and snarl. Songs are short, not all that serious, and very fun to listen to. Don't know what more to say, really, because this one should pretty much explain itself. Great punk 7", download: