Monday, January 28, 2013

Two I's show number seven really rocks

The annual Tales From The Woods tribute to the early days of British rock and roll and to Soho's famous 2 Is coffee bar has reached its seventh year and, judging by the sell out crowd at the Borderline last night, it will be around for many years to come. This was an excellent show from beginning to end with some lesser known names from the fifties and early sixties holding their own with some of the bigger names from the period. Once again the TFTW House Band, led by ace guitarist John Spencely, provided great support for five of the six acts on the bill, and Rockin' Rick Stevens acted as MC, also singing three numbers during the evening. John Howard spun the discs between acts.
First act on shortly after 5pm was Robb Shenton, not a well known name but a man who was in demand as a session man with Joe Meek and who has recently made an album of rock and roll covers. Starting off with Down The Line (one of many Jerry Lee songs on the night), his set included several tracks from the CD, including Be Bopping Baby, Cincinatti Fireball, Lonely Blue Boy, the Jesse Belvin original I'm In Love, Pretty Little Love Song and the title track We're Gonna Rock, before signing off with Mean Woman Blues. Robb has a strong voice and his interesting choice of songs set the night off to a rocking start.
Next on stage was the diminutive Liverpudlian Beryl Marsden who made her name in Liverpool and Hamburg and had a minor hit with a cover of Barbara George's I Know in 1963. Her set included Shotgun, three Shirelles numbers - Baby It's You, Everybody Loves A Lover and Boys - a lively version of Irma Thomas's Breakaway and finished with Hi Heel Sneakers and Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On. This was another good set, with great backing again from John Spencely and the House Band, with Claire Hamlin providing great support on the keyboards, Brian 'Bunter' Clark on drums, Alex Bland on sax and Robb Davis on bass.
Next on stage was a man billed as 'the oldest rock and roller in Britain' - the irrepressible Wee Willie Harris, who will be 80 in March. I'm not a fan of Willie's rather basic version of rock and roll but he looked good in a bright green jacket and rocked through Be My Guest, his one non-cover record Rockin' at the 2 Is, Blue Moon of Kentucky, Hound Dog, Splish Splash, Let's Have A Party, See You Later Alligator and Big Fat Woman. These are all well known songs and good for a sing along, and if not exactly great art, were certainly good fun.
The House Band took a break for the next act, Vince Eager and his new band The Memphis Tones, who provided some excellent harmony during his set. Vince's connection with the 2 Is goes back to 1958 and he had a fund of tales about his time there, his links with the notorious Larry Parnes and how he would have recorded with Eddie Cochran, if Eddie hadn't died. It was a varied set with a couple of Johnnie Ray numbers (Such A Night and Yes Tonight Josephine), his little known first recording Gumdrop, Charlie Gracie's Fabulous, a couple of slower dramatic numbers - It's Only Make Believe and I Don't Want No Other Baby But You, plus Summertime Blues, Lonely Weekends and Gene Vincent's Baby Blue. He has a new album out - You're Never Too Old To Rock and Roll - and he sang the self-penned title song which was really his life story set to music. For an encore Vince and the band did Mean Woman Blues (second time on the night). Another highly proficient set by someone who still performs regularly and showed it.
The fifth act of the night was Mike Berry who, for me, provided the highlight, with his choice of material (John Spencely apparently persuaded him to do some originals that he hadn't performed for many years, if at all), great sense of humour and still intact Buddy Holly style voice. Kicking off with Somethin' Else he moved on to his 1962 hit Don't You Think It's Time, the rockabilly standard Red Cadillac and a Black Moustache, a couple of Jerry Lee numbers (Put Me Down and It'll Be Me), Buddy Holly's Mailman Bring Me No More Blues and Ricky Nelson's A Little Too Much, featuring a great James Burton style guitar break by John. Of his own material he sang My Baby Doll (B side of his first release), his classic Tribute To Buddy Holly and a Joe Meek produced B Side Loneliness. Mike finished off with a rocking Move It, with High School Confidential as an encore to complete a highly professional and enjoyable set.
Headlining this 2 Is 7 heritage show was another big name from the sixties Cliff Bennett, whose roots go back to 1957 when he formed the Rebel Rousers. He was joined on stage by former Rebel Rouser Sid Phillips on baritone sax, who combined well with Alex Bland's tenor. Kicking off another good rocking set Cliff began with Bobby Bland's classic Turn On Your Lovelight before launching into pure rock and roll with Lovin' Up A Storm, Ubangi Stomp, Good Golly Miss Molly, Bobby Parker's Watch Your Step, Hello Josephine, Why Me (not sure if there are one or three 'whys' in the title), Money and his final number, Slow Down.

Here are Alex Bland and Sid Phillips blowing in tandem.

This was the best attended 2 Is show yet, and the format is now proving so successful that there is another show planned for April featuring King Size Taylor and Roy Young, among others.
Introduced as the House Band's musical director, here's John Spencely, whose guitar playing was impressive throughout the show.

Finally, here's the man who made it all possible, Keith Woods. His Tales From The Woods newsletter provides a quirky outlet for this loose network of music obsessives and roots music enthusiasts and is the glue that binds the group together. Keith struggled to get decent attendances for his early promotions, but the long queue of people outside the Borderline must have been very satisfying for him. Well done Keith.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Great double siders - part 3

Here's the last part of my list of great UK double sided 45s (78s in a couple of cases), from the letter P onwards. Only one record per artist as usual - which Elvis single would you choose???

Carl Perkins – Blue Suede Shoes/Honey Don’t (London),
Mary Petti – Hey Lawdy Lawdy/ Gee But It Hurts (RCA),
Wilson Pickett – Mustang Sally/Three Time Loser (Atlantic),
Piltdown Men – McDonalds Cave/Brontosaurus Stomp (Capitol),
Gene Pitney – If I Didn’t Have A Dime/ Only Love Can Break A Heart (United Artists),
Platters – Great Pretender/Only You (Mercury),
Elvis Presley – Hound Dog/ Don’t be Cruel (HMV),
Lloyd Price – Stagger Lee/ You Need Love (HMV),
Marvin Rainwater – Whole Lotta Woman/ Baby Don’t Go (MGM),
Otis Redding – Respect/I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (Atlantic),
Jimmy Reed – Shame Shame Shame/Let’s Get Together (Stateside),
Reparata & the Delrons – Saturday Night Didn’t Happen/ Panic (Bell),
Cliff Richard – High Class Baby/ My Feet Hit the Ground (Columbia),
Rip Chords – Gone/ She Thinks I Still Care (CBS),
Rolling Stones – The Last Time/Play With Fire (Decca),
Rosie & the Originals Angel Baby/Give Me Love (London),
Bobby Rydell – Swingin’ School/ Ding-a-ling (Columbia)
Sam & Dave – I Thank You/Wrap It Up (Stax),
Jack Scott – My True Love/Leroy (London),
Neil Sedaka – Oh Carol/One Way Ticket (RCA),
Del Shannon – Hey Little Girl/You Never Talked About Me (London),
Shirelles – Will You Love me Tomorrow/Boys (Top Rank),
Percy Sledge – Take Time To Know Her/It’s All Wrong But It’s Alright (Atlantic),
Huey Piano Smith & the Clowns – Don’t You Just Know It/High Blood Pressure (Columbia)
Benny Spellman – Lipstick Traces/Fortune Teller (London),
Edwin Starr – Stop Her On Sight/Headline News (Polydor resissue),
Supremes – You Can’t Hurry Love/Put Yourself In My Place (Tamla Motown),
Surfaris – Wipe Out/Surfer Joe (London),
Temptations – My Girl/Nobody But My Baby (Stateside),
Joe Tex – Show Me/Woman Sees A Hard Time (When Her Man Is Gone) (Atlantic),
Them – Baby Please Don’t Go/Gloria (Decca),
Irma Thomas – Wish Someone Would Car/Breakaway (Liberty),
Tippie & the Clovers – My Heart Said/Bossa Nova Baby – (Stateside),
Tommy Tucker – Hi-Heel Sneakers/I Don’t Want Cha (Pye Int),
Conway Twitty – It’s Only Make Believe/I’ll Try (MGM),
Ritchie Valens – Donna/La Bamba (London),
Bobby Vee – Run To Him/Walkin’ With My Angel (London),
Vernons Girls – Lover Please/You Know What I Mean (Decca),
Gene Vincent – Bluejean Bop/Who Slapped John (Capitol),
Dionne Warwick – You’ll Never Get To Heaven/A House Is Not A Home (Pye Int),
Muddy Waters – Walkin’ Blues/Rollin’ Stone Blues (Vogue 78),
Mary Wells – Two Lovers/Operator (Oriole),
Marty Wilde – Bad Boy/It’s Been Nice (Philips),
Hank Williams – Cold Cold Heart/I’m A Long Gone Daddy (MGM 78),
Larry Williams – Dizzy Miss Lizzy/Slow Down (London),
Chuck Willis – What Am I Living For/Hang Up My Rock And Roll Shoes (London),
Jackie Wilson – No Pity (In The Naked City)/I’m So Lonely (Coral),
Kathy Young & the Innocents – A Thousand Stars/Eddie My Darling (Top Rank).

Friday, January 25, 2013

Great double siders - part 2

Continuing my list of great double sided 45s of the 50s and 60s, here's my choice from letters G to O. Only one record per artist, so it's almost impossible to decide with people like Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard and no doubt many people will disagree.

Marvin Gaye & Mary Wells – Once Upon A Time/What’s The Matter With You Baby (Stateside),
Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston – It Takes Two/ It’s Got To Be A Miracle (This Thing Called Love) (Tamla Motown),
Don Gibson – Oh Lonesome Me/I Can’t Stop Loving You (RCA),
Charlie Gracie – Fabulous/Just Lookin’ (Parlophone),
Bill Haley – Rockin’ Through The Rye/Hot Dog Buddy Buddy (Brunswick),
Slim Harpo – I’m A King Bee/Got Love If You Want It (Stateside),
Wynonie Harris – Luscious Woman/Lovin’ Machine (Vogue 78),
Ronnie Hawkins – Who Do You Love/Bo Diddley (Columbia),
High Numbers – Zoot Suit/I’m The Face (Fontana),
Eddie Hodges – I’m Gonna Knock On Your Door/Ain’t Gonna Wash For a Week (London),
Ron Holden – Love You So/My Babe (London),
Jimmy Holiday – Give Me Your Love/The Turning Point (Liberty),
Buddy Holly – Listen To me/I’m Gonna Love You Too (Coral),
Howlin’ Wolf – Smokestack Lightnin’/Going Down Slow (Pye Int),
Tab Hunter – Ninety Nine Ways/Don’t Get Around Much Any More (London),
Impressions – People Get Ready/I’ve Been Trying (HMV),
Wanda Jackson - Mean Mean Man/Honey Bop (Capitol),
Etta James – Tell Mama/I’d Rather Go Blind (Chess),
Jan & Dean – Surf City/She’s My Summer Girl (Liberty),
Jive Five – My True Story/When I Was Single (Parlophone),
Little Willie John – Let’s Rock While The Rockin’s Good/You’re A Sweetheart (Parlophone),
Mable John – It’s Catching/Your Good Thing (Is About To End) (Atlantic),
Johnny & the Hurricanes – Red River Rock/Buckeye (London),
Marv Johnson – Ain’t Gonna Be That Way/All the Love I’ve Got (London),
Jimmy Jones – I Just Go For You/That’s When I Cried (MGM),
Johnny Kidd – Shakin’ All Over/Yes Sir That’s My Baby (HMV),
Ben E King – Spanish Harlem/First Taste Of love (London),
Freddy King – Driving Sideways/Hideaway (Sue),
Patti Labelle – Take me For A Little While/I Don’t Want to Go On Without You (Atlantic),
Lafayettes – Life’s Too Short/Nobody But You (RCA),
Brenda Lee – Sweet Nuthin’s/Weep No More My Baby (Brunswick),
Curtis Lee – Under The Moon Of Love/Beverley Jean (London),
Barbara Lewis – Baby I’m Yours/Hello Stranger (Atlantic),
Jerry Lee Lewis – Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On/It’ll Be Me (London),
Little Richard – Long Tall Sally/Tutti Frutti (London),
Bonnie Lou – Tennessee Wig Walk/Just Out Of Reach (Parlophone),
Frankie Lymon – I’m Not A Juvenile Delinquent/Baby Baby (Columbia),
Majors – She’s A Troublemaker/A Little Bit Now (London),
Martha & The Vandellas – Jimmy Mack/Third Finger Left Hand (Tamla Motown),
Jimmy McCracklin – Think/Steppin’ Up In Class (Liberty),
Gene McDaniels – Chip Chip/Another Tear Falls (Liberty),
Chas McDevitt & Nancy Whiskey – Freight Train/The Cotton Song (Oriole),
Clyde McPhatter – Ta Ta/I Ain’t Givin’ Up Nothin’ (If I Can’t Get Something) (Mercury),
Mighty Sam – Badmouthin’/Fannie Mae (Stateside),
Garnet Mimms – I’ll Take Good Care Of You/Lookin’ For You (United Artists),
Miracles – I Like It Like That/You’re So Fine And Sweet (Stateside),
Ricky Nelson – It’s Late/Never Be Anyone Else But You (London),
Olympics – Western Movies/Well (HMV),
Roy Orbison – Runnin’ Scared/Love Hurts (London),
Johnny Otis – Castin’ My Spell/Telephone Baby (Capitol),

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Great double siders - part 1

I am a lover of 45s and a feature of the late 1950s and 1960s was that there were some fantastic double sided singles issued in the UK during that time. I have started going through the list of those I have in my collection and picked out a few that not only have excellent A sides, but brilliant B sides - often neglected but just as good.
So far I have gone from A to F, so here are the ones that have grabbed my attention so far. I have limited myself to one record per artist (incredibly difficult in the case of people like Fats Domino and Chuck Berry) and I haven't included any which consist of part one and two of the same track. I will continue the list shortly but here are my choices so far (other suggestions are more than welcome):

Arthur Alexander – You Better Move On/Shot of Rhythm & Blues (London),
Hank Ballard – The Continental Walk/ What Is This I See (Parlophone),
Beach Boys – God Only Knows/Wouldn’t It Be Nice (Capitol),
Beatles – Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane (Parlophone),
Brook Benton – Kiddio/The Same One (Mercury),
Rod Bernard – This Should Go On Forever/Pardon Mr Gordon (London),
Chuck Berry – Almost Grown/Little Queenie (London),
James Brown – Out Of Sight/Maybe The Last Time (Philips),
Solomon Burke – Just Out Of Reach/Be Bop Grandma (London),
Johnny Burnette – Dreamin’/Cincinnati Fireball (London),
Freddy Cannon – The Urge/Jump Over (Top Rank),
Clarence Carter – Funky Fever/Slip Away (Atlantic),
Johnny Cash – Ballad Of A Teenage Queen/Big River (London),
Champs – Tequila/Train To Nowhere (London),
Gene Chandler – Rainbow/You Threw A Lucky Punch (Stateside),
Ray Charles – Georgia On My Mind/Carry Me Back To Old Virginny (HMV),
Chubby Checker – Black Cloud/Birdland (Cameo Parkway),
Chiffons – Nobody Knows What’s On (In My Head But Me)/The Real Thing (Stateside),
Patsy Cline – A Poor Man’s Roses (Or A Rich Man’s Gold)/ Walkin’ After Midnight (Brunswick),
Coasters – Searchin’/Young Blood (London),
Eddie Cochran – Three Steps To Heaven/Cut Across Shorty (London),
Contours – Do You Love Me/Move Mr Man (Oriole),
Sam Cooke - Bring It On Home To Me/Having A Party (RCA),
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Proud Mary/Born On The Bayou (Liberty),
Crickets with Buddy Holly – Oh Boy/Not Fade Away (Coral),
Crickets (post Buddy Holly) – I Fought The Law/A Sweet Love (Coral),
Crystals – He’s A Rebel/I Love You Eddie (London),
Bobby Darin – Dream Lover/Bullmoose (London),
Bobby Day – Rockin’Robin/Over And Over (London),
Bo Diddley – Pretty Thing/Road Runner (Pye Int),
Dion – Lovers Who Wander/ (I Was) Born To Cry (HMV),
Dr Feelgood & Interns – Doctor Feelgood/Mister Moonlight (Columbia),
Ernie K-Doe – I Cried My Last Tear/A Certain Girl (London),
Fats Domino – Blueberry Hill/I Can’t Go On (Rosalie) (London),
Lonnie Donegan – Bring A Little Water Sylvie/Dead Or Alive (Pye),
Ral Donner – You Don’t Know What You’ve Got/So Close To Heaven (Parlophone),
Doors – We Could Be So Good Together/The Unknown Soldier (Elektra),
Lee Dorsey – Do Re Mi/People Gonna Talk (Top Rank),
Drifters – This Magic Moment/Baltimore (London),
Bob Dylan – The Times They Are A’Changin’/Honey Just Allow Me One More Chance (CBS),
Duane Eddy – Peter Gunn/Yep (London),
Betty Everett – Getting Mighty Crowded/Chained To A Memory (Fontana),
Everly Brothers – All I Have To Do Is Dream/Claudette (London),
Eddie Floyd – Knock On Wood/Got To Make A Comeback (Atlantic),
Frankie Ford – Sea Cruise/Roberta (London),
Four Seasons – Rag Doll/Silence Is Golden (Philips),
Four Tops – Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever/I Like Everything About You (Tamla Motown),
Inez Foxx – Hurt By Love/Confusion (Sue),
Connie Francis – Stupid Cupid/Carolina Moon (MGM),
Aretha Franklin – I Never Loved A Man/Do Right Woman – Do Right Man (Atlantic),
Bobby Freeman – Do You Want To Dance/Big Fat Woman (London),
Billy Fury – Colette/Baby How I Cried (Decca).

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Recent finds on 45

Here's a mixed bag of singles and EPs I picked up, mainly in charity shops, the other day.
First, here are two EPs by The Tornados. Tornado Rock, their fourth and last on Decca released in 1963, features vocal versions of rock and roll hits and is really pretty awful. Judge for yourself.
The Sounds Of The Tornados, their first Decca EP, shows the five group members of the time on the cover but the sleeve notes describes the group as a quartet, before going on to list five. Here's Ridin' The Wind, first track on the EP


Next, here's a 45 by British guitarist Judd Proctor, who made his name with the Ray Ellington band, and who released a number of instrumentals on Parlophone in the early 1960s. This one, Speakeasy, is typical of his style.
Also here's a lesser known but rather untypical 45 by the under-rated American vocal group The Lettermen, best known for their melodic versions of The Way You Look Tonight and When I Fall In Love.


Next, here we have Blue On Blue by American ballad singer Bobby Vinton, written by Bacharach and David. Vinton is best known for Roses Are Red, Blue Velvet and Mr Lonely.
Here are a couple of RCA demos - firstly Sweet Dreams by Don Gibson, one of my favourite country singers of the late 50s and early sixties. This one was released in 1960.
The second one is Send Me The Pillow That You Dream On by The Browns, also from 1960, who are best known for their 1959 hit The Three Bells. The song is better known by Johnny Tillotson.


Finally here are two records from the great sixties Ska and Rocksteady era. One is a superb rocksteady version of the Coasters' Yakety Yak by The Cool Spoon (Alton Ellis and Jeff Dixon) from 1967.  The B side - Drum Song by the Soul Vendors - is also excellent.
More in the ska style is Blazing Fire by Derrick Morgan from 1963. Another excellent B side - I'm In A Jam by Derrick and Patsy.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Jazz Fest in decline

It's a sad fact that every year the New Orleans Jazz Fest loses a little of its appeal. The line up was announced today, but so many of the greats of yesteryear are either dead or no longer performing that it's a shadow of its former self. Official headliners this year are Fleetwood Mac, the Black Keys, Billy Joel, the Dave Matthews Band, Frank Ocean, Maroon 5, Widespread Panic, Patti Smith, B.B. King, Frankie Beverly & Maze, Hall & Oates, John Mayer, Phoenix and Willie Nelson. Yes there are some big names but also a few that I've never heard of.
Looking further down the list there are a few other highlights over the two weekends. Most of these are New Orleans regulars, such as Dr John, Irma Thomas, Aaron Neville, the Nevilles (comprising the other three Neville Brothers as Aaron is pursuing a solo career, no doubt with the aim of promoting his new doowop album), Allen Toussaint and Walter Wolfman Washington. There is the usual sprinkling of Cajun and Zydeco acts, including Steve Riley, Geno Delafose, Rockin' Dopsie Jr, Wayne Toups, C J Chenier and D L Menard. Of the rest there are a few that look interesting, including Earth Wind and Fire, Charles Bradley, Herb Hardesty, Jimmy Cliff, Ruby Wilson and Taj Mahal. And of course there are literally hundreds of lesser known acts, some of whom will no doubt prove to be excellent. The full line up can be found at
I am currently looking into the possibility of doing a US road trip in the spring, which would take in part of Jazz Fest, as well as a lot of other festivals and cities. But it is no longer the seven days of brilliant music that it used to be.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Farewell HMV, Blockbuster, Jessops etc etc

The digital revolution has been wreaking havoc on the high street since the New Year. First it was the camera chain, Jessops, then yesterday the only remaining high street music retailer HMV went into administration, and now it's Blockbuster which, in the 80s and 90s was the most popular destination to buy or rent videos (remember them?)
It's sad to see all of them go to the wall, but especially distressing to see the decline and possible fall of His Masters Voice. The first HMV shop was opened in Oxford Street in 1921. It was one of the great record company names in my youth. Elvis Presley had his early 78s and 45s released in the UK on HMV. Many jazz and middle of the road artists saw their records issued on the label, but for rock and roll fans it was also the home at various times to Danny and the Juniors, Joe Bennett and the Sparkletones, Lloyd Price, Fabian, the Olympics, Sam Cooke, Johnny Kidd, Ray Charles, Mike Berry, Dion, Gene Pitney, the Impressions, Brian Hyland, the Shirelles, Tommy Roe, Fats Domino, the Tams, Manfred Mann, B B King and many more.
It's a shame that the likes of Amazon and digital downloads have undermined the market position of all these High Street names. Meanwhile Ebay has meant that everyone, including me, can compete with the remaining independent record shops when it comes to the second hand market.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Ones that got away...

Back in the 1960s, in my journalism days with the Croydon Advertiser, I wrote a regular record column. All the record companies of the day would send me new singles for review, but the company which was the most reliable was Polydor, which issued Atlantic and Stax at the time. I was enthusiastic about these and about some of the 45s from US record companies which were released on the Polydor label. But I was dismissive of many of the UK-produced Polydor singles and for one reason or another did not hang on to them. What a fool I was. I found a list of the Polydor singles that I received today and there are quite a few which are highly collectable today. Here are just a very few of the ones that got away:
Peep Show - Your servant Stephen - £90;
Ben Brown - Ask the Lonely - £50;
Mickey Finn - I Do Love You - £100;
Waygood Ellis - I Like What I'm Tryin' To Do - £50;
Hector Rivera - At The Party - £60;
Stu Brown - Since I Found You Baby - £300;
Oliver Norman - Down In The basement - £60;
Nightriders It's Only the Dog - £60;
Longboatmen - Take Her Any Time - £500;
Shyster - Tick Tock - £220;
Soft Machine - Love Makes Sweet Music - £175;
Fleur De Lys - I Can See The Light - £80;
Inspirations - Touch Me Hold Me Kiss me - £200;
Vic Richards - Jonathan Whatsit - £70.
Good luck if you own any of these. Chances are they were once mine.
Of course, I did keep some of the Polydor 45s that I received. Here are some of them.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

London gigs in the early 90s

The early 90s was a vintage period for music gigs in London, as these tickets show. I only retained a few from the shows that I attended but there was at least one great show every week. Now they are few and far between. There's a Betty Wright gig coming up soon and the annual Tales From The Woods 2 Is show, but even the London-based David Gest shows, featuring people like Percy Sledge, Candi Staton, Martha Reeves, Dorothy Moore and many others, which were due to take place in Islington next month, appear to have been cancelled.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Classic Soul LPs - 2

A very happy New Year to all my readers (assuming there are a few!) I saw the new year in watching Jools Holland's Hootenanny which was, as usual, a good mixture of the old and the new. Among the excellent oldies taking part were Bettye Lavette and 80 year old Petula Clark (not one of my favourities, but you have to admire her staying power). Also on the show was the great Bobby Womack, who is enjoying a new lease of life with his new album The Bravest Man In The Universe. He seemed to have recovered from his recent illnesses but revealed this week that he may be suffering from the early onset of Alzheimers. Let's hope he keeps going for many years to come.
Having recently bought new racks for my LPs I have been able to access them properly for the first time in a couple of years. So I thought I would pick out a few classic soul LPs released in the US, mainly during the sixties, (including Bobby Womack's second album). Most of them weren't issued in this form, if at all, in the UK at the time and there are some crackers here. Details below:

Top row (left to right).
The Essex - A Walkin' Miracle. Released on Roulette in 1964 this was the group's second LP (after Easier Said Than Done). Members of the US Marines, the featured singer was Anita Humes. Released on Columbia in the UK.
Shirley Ellis - The Name Game. Released on the Congress label in 1965, Shirley had novelty hits with The Nitty Gritty, The Clapping Song and The Name Game. This LP did not get a UK release.
The Jive Five - I'm A Happy Man. This was released on the United Artists label a couple of years after their brilliant My True Story and featured their last significant hit, the title song. Unreleased in the UK.
Major Lance - The Monkey Time. This came out on Okeh and includes Lance's first hit and a batch of soul covers. Unreleased in the UK.
Middle row:
The Orlons - Not Me. Released on Cameo, this was named after their cover of the US Bonds hit and again didn't get a UK release.
Clyde McPhatter - Love Ballads. After he left the Drifters Clyde McPhatter made some sublime records for Atlantic and this 1958 album was his first solo LP on the label. Unreleased in the UK.
Freddie Scott - I Shall Be Released. This one came out on Probe in 1970, seven years after his stunning Her Girl. No UK release.
Dee Dee Sharp - Mashed Potato Time. Another Cameo LP, this one featured her first two hits - Mashed Potato Time and Gravy. Not released in the UK.
Bottom row:
The Shirelles - Sing With Trumpets And Strongs. Released on Scepter, this includes Mama Said and What A Sweet Thing That Was. It got a release on Top Rank in the UK.
The Tams - A Portrait Of The Tams. This came out on ABC and was produced by Joe South and Ray Whitley.  Unreleased in the UK.
Wilmer & The Dukes - Wilmer & The Dukes. A popular soul band in New York State, this was released in 1969 and featured their biggest hit Give Me One More Chance (released on Action in the UK) and later hits, including Living In The USA.
Bobby Womack - My Prescription. Released in 1969 on Minit, this was Bobby at his most soulful. Unreleased in the UK.