Monday, October 08, 2012

Red Atlantic Part two

Here are another ten Vinyl Obscurities released on the red Atlantic label in the UK between 1967 and 1970. Most of them are one off UK releases by artists who are not particularly well known, although there are a couple by big soul names included.
1. Mary Wells - (Hey You) Set My Soul On Fire/ Coming Home. Mint value £18.
Mary was one of Motown's top songstresses (and therefore hardly obscure) with some wonderful soul releases in the sixties. After a less successful spell with 20th Century, Mary recorded some tracks for Atco, including this one with her by then husband Cecil Womack (misspelt on the label). Can't find this track on Youtube so here's a fairly similar version by Vilma Valera.
2. Percy Wiggins - Book Of Memories/ Can't Find Nobody (To Take Your Place). Mint value £10.
Percy, brother of Spencer Wiggins, had just one 45 released in the UK. He was one of many soul singers to emerge from Booker T Washington High School in Memphis and after meeting up with locals Larry Lee and Jerry Crutchfield he recorded for RCA before signing for Atco in 1967. Percy sang in the church for many years but appeared at the Ponderosa Stomp in 2006 and, memorably, with brother Spencer, at Porretta in 2009 and 2011.  Both of these excellent soul sides are worth a listen. 
3. Harvey Scales & the 7 Sound - Get Down/ Love-Itis. Mint value £15.
Harvey is another soul man who had just one 45 released in the UK in the 60s and another who has appeared at Porretta in the last few years. He hailed from Milwaukee and was influenced by James Brown and Wilson Pickett and he is best probably best known for being the co-writer of Johnnie Taylor's Disco Lady. This double sider was recorded for the Magic Touch label in the US.
4. Fleur De Lys - Stop Crossing The Bridge/ Brick By Brick (Stone By Stone).  Mint value £65.
By way of a contrast, this is by a UK band from Southampton who recorded half a dozen collectable freakbeat singles in the sixties on Immediate, Polydor and Atlantic, of which this is the least valuable. They were managed by UK Atlantic boss Frank Fenter and also recorded with Sharon Tandy (see previous blog entry). This one was produced by Graham Dee, who was involved with many UK groups in the 60s. 
 5. Vamp - Floatin'/ Thinking Too Much. Mint value £90.
This is another UK psych group who had just two singles released under that name. Members were Viv Prince (previously with the Pretty Things), Andy Clark, Mike Hutchinson and Pete Sears (hence the name VAMP, after their first name initials). Pete was in a number of other groups, including Sons Of Fred, Steamhammer and Jefferson Starship.  
6. Jeanie Greene - Sure As Sin/ I've Been A Long Time Loving You. Mint value £10.
Back to soul now, and this is a sizzling deep soul track by a white singer who began her recording career with three country singles under the name of Jeanie Johnson. She then recorded a couple of singles for RCA including one written by Dan Penn and future husband Marlin Greene. She recorded backing tracks at Chips Moman's American studio and backed various artists including Elvis. Sure As Sin, co-written by Eddie Hinton, was probably her peak, despite a later album produced by Don Nix and recorded at Muscle Shoals.  
 7. Ralph 'Soul' Jackson - 'Cause I Love You/ Sunshine Of Your Love. Mint value £25.
Another one off UK release by a soul singer who calls himself the Alabama Love Man and stills performs today. I saw him at the Ponderosa Stomp a few years back and he was excellent. Produced by Spooner Oldham in Muscle Shoals, this is a good double sider. As you can see from the label, this record came from Roger St Pierre's collection and I bought it when Nick Sands was selling off some of Roger's records. Here is the B side.  


8. Mack Rice - Love's A Mother Brother/  Coal Man. Mint value £12.Yet another one off UK 45 release, this time by 'Sir' Mack Rice, best known as the writer of Mustang Sally, who is another soul artist to have appeared at Porretta in recent years. Originally from Clarksdale, Mississippi, he was a member of the Falcons (with Eddie Floyd, Wilson Pickett and Joe Stubbs) and wrote many other soul hits, including Respect Yourself, Cheaper To Keep Her and Do The Funky Penguin. As the label says, this was recorded at American Studios in Memphis. I can't find either of these sides on Youtube so here is Sir Mack doing Mustang Sally.
9. Ronnie Hawkins - Down In The Alley/ Matchbox. Mint value £7.
Rocker Ronnie Hawkins needs no introduction and had big US hits with Southern Love, Thirty Days, Mary Lou and Who Do You Love? having made his name in Canada. He formed The Hawks, who later became The Band, and this track, recorded in Muscle Shoals, features Duane Allman. 
 10. Wilson Pickett - Cole, Cooke and Redding/ Sugar Sugar. Mint value £5.
I've included this final record for John Jolliffe, who drew it to my attention. I'm not sure if I had ever flipped the record over to listen to this one. It's Abraham Martin and John, but dedicated instead to Pickett's musical heroes Nat King Cole, Sam Cooke and Otis Redding. The official A side is his version of the Archies tune.


At 6:43 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I confess I do not know any of these forty fives listed in part two. Some gems I guess. But I do actually possess three from part one. Rex Garvin/Little Mack/Loretta. When I get a mo, I will see what I can find.
I do have a Cecil Womack single on Playboy Records, 'Last Date' which I understand is very obscure.
Brilliant links to Youtube.
John Soulboy

At 7:38 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I stand accused" of being a pillock. It was Curtis Womack who released 'Last Date' on Playboy. Bloody good it is to. Deeeeeep Soul at its deepest.
A very apologetic John Soulboy


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