Recent finds and current grooves
Weekly updates in which we share some goodies upon which we've been digging - enjoy!
Andre Williams - Pearl Time b/w Soul Groove
Sport Records 105, 1967
Posting both sides of this great record in honor of the great Andre Williams upon the news of his passing last weekend (March 17th, 2019). When I was 24 in 1998 I discovered Andre Williams via his record on In the Red, Silky, featuring a bunch of the great players I knew from around the Detroit rock & roll scene (Danny Kroha, Mick Collins, Jim Diamond). (Side note: His show at the Magic Stick that April turned out to by my first pro band photog gig.) Going backwards from there I soon learned about Fortune Records, United Sound Studios, and the rich history of Detroit rock and soul music beyond Motown. And of course I also developed a hunger to hunt down those early records from the man himself. Give a listen to those two tracks above for a taste.
Rest in Peace, Andre Williams.
Gordy Motown G7110F, 1970
This is a great example of the infinite rewards of Motown; just when you think you’ve heard about all of it, a track like this pops into your hands and onto your turntable. I dunno how I’ve missed this one all these years but it’s a great B-Side deep cut (on the flip of “Bless You”, a decent song on its own but no match for this heavy, desperate mid-tempo burner). Written and produced by Berry Gordy’s brother George (along with Allen Story and Larry Brown). Also found on the Vandellas' 1971 LP Black Magic. Worth seeking out!
Jammys Records 1369, Kingston Jamaica, 1987
Ordinarily Dancehall is not my go-to when it comes to reggae and dub, but this mesmerizing steady-fire track from UK music journalist-turned-vocalist Dominic I find irresistable.
Palmer Record Co., Detroit, 5002-B, 1966
Detroit City Surf Rock! With a decidedly gritty underlayer. Hailing from Allen Park, Michigan, Tim Tam and the Turn-On's had several singles and one regional hit, "Wait a Minute", a doo-wop number in the style of the Four Seasons. "Opelia" is the flip of that record, and was actually recorded by the Turn-Ons backup band, the Satellites (as the Turn-Ons were a vocal group). Both songs were recorded at United Sound in Detroit (5840 Second Ave.). (Palmer Records, for those into this sort of thing, was at 13401 Puritan in Detroit, now a neighborhood church.)
Kapp Records, K-996, 1969
For a little while there, Kapp Records (1954-1973) practically had a corner on the market of a particular type of pop-psych nugget (see The Nightcrawlers' "Little Black Egg"). This is decidedly the tail end of that era, as with its heavy organ-fuzz guitar combo, this could've been recorded 3-4 years earlier (at a time when pop music was advancing at lightning speed). That said, it's a great song!
Duke Reid Records 45 DUC 0011 1973
Produced by Duke Reid at Treasure Isle in Kingston, JA.
Laurie Records, LR 3359, 1967
Primal fuzz! Yep, from the dudes who brought you the whole series of "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron" records. But, ignore all those for now and check out this great tune and that great guitar. Much like the Lemon Pipers before them, The Royal Guardsmen were a great psych band that somewhere down the line got convinced by the suits that the $$$ was in bubblegum pop and novelty songs.
MoSoul, MS 5103-B 1967
Flipside of another instrumental ("Last Date"), this record - produced by Jimmy Mack and written by Fred Smith and James Carmichael - is just a soul groove (with a Latin touch in that bass line), pure and simple.
Edison 8537, 51033-R 1922
I'm generally not a big Edison collector (his tastes ran notoriously, well, white) but I recently stumbled onto a stash at a good price and picked 'em up. Some of them turned out to be pretty good! (Let your ears acclimate to the surface noise for a minute and you get used to it - remember, this was recorded and pressed nearly 100 years ago!) Plus, I've always been a sucker for Hawaiian music. Not really sure how authentically Hawaiian this is (this song was written by one F.W. Vandersloot, which is no doubt a great name but not a very Hawaiian one), but it still sounds pretty good to me.
Sonoro 126-B, 1940s?
Picked up this beautifully haunting 78 on a recent, very fruitful record-hunting excursion in Havana. Because it's Cuba, I can find very little information on the band, or the song, or the record label! I can tell you that the song was written by one Jose Dieguez but that's pretty much it. I have lots more Cuban 78s and 45s I'm sure I'll be sharing eventually. Enjoy!
Rust Records, R 5120 1967
United Travel Service existed for a short time (1966-69) in Portland, Oregon. Clearly inspired by the psychedelic scene down the coast in San Francisco (going so far as to essentially name themselves after Quicksilver Messenger Service), they put out only two singles in their lifetime (and another shortly thereafter). More songs were unearthed and subsequently released by Sundazed in the 90s; I haven't heard those, but this A-side of the first single (on Rust Records out of NYC, an affiliate of Laurie) is pretty tops. "Drummer of Your Mind" on the flip is pretty great too, in a kind of dated belly-button-gazing sort of a way.
Fun fact: principle songwriter Ben Hoff went on to later fame as the author of several well-known books, including The Tao of Pooh and The te of Piglet.
Numero Group, NUM712 2017 (originally 1972)
Flying Wedge was the brainchild of Greg Corbin, a bon vivant polymath and legend of the Detroit art world underground. With his brother Matt and a revolving cast of others—including Vic Hill who would later play in Black Merda and the Detroit Cobras—their sole record is the painfully rare self-released “Come to My Casbah” b/w “I Can’t Believe” 45. This riff-driven, no chorus, highly percussive single suggests a band that could hold its own with local rock brethren Death, Black Merda, and Funkadelic. Recorded in 1972, the single flirted with underground notoriety via brushes with Cream Magazine editor Ben Edmonds, who called Flying Wedge the "Black Stooges" but couldn't locate the band, and cursory airplay on Detroit’s revolutionary free-form radio station WABX. Ultimately, the single and group faded with nary a trace.
- Numero Group website
A rare occasion in which I post a reissued 45, but this one was so good as to be a revelation and good luck finding an original!
Kitty Kitty, Choosy 4, 1996
I somehow missed these guys when they existed (90s-00s) but they've become one of my favorite bands of the era. Lead Brit Tom Cullinen was fresh off Th' Faith Healers (also great) and looking to do something similar, yet moreso. In my humble opinion all three LPs (and one rarities/singles collection) are essential for anyone who digs Pavement with a splash of Can and a deep dose of The Feelies. This 45 (also to be found on US copies of the self-titled Quickspace first LP) is pretty much quintessential Quickspace, all fast repetitive riffs and rhythms with a catchy chorus.