Monday, November 30, 2015

My final top ten 50 years on

It's exactly 50 years today since I compiled my final personal top ten, the 408th time between early 1960 and December 1965 that I had listed my favourite records of the moment. Here is the list (11 actually as there were two records tied in tenth place) and a great selection it is.
1. Otis Redding - My Girl. Atlantic AT 4050.
This is the only time that two versions of the same song made it to number one in my top ten - the Temptations original made it there in March 1965. Both versions are excellent of course. Otis died 48 years ago this month.
2. Fontella Bass - Rescue Me. Chess CRS 8023.
St Louis born Fontella enjoyed success with Bobby McClure on Don't Mess Up A Good Thing, but this was her greatest success. When she tried to obtain song writing credits she failed and was branded a troublemaker, harming her career, she said. She died in 2012.
3. O V Wright - You're Gonna Make Me Cry. Vocalion VP 9249.
Overton Vertis Wright was one of the greatest soul singers of all time and this Willie Mitchell production was his first UK release. He had recorded That's How Strong My Love Is for Goldwax, but Don Robey, owner of the Duke and Back Beat labels, claimed he had a prior contract. Sadly O V died in 1980 aged just 41.
4. Wilson Pickett - Don't Fight It. Atlantic AT 4052.
This was the follow up to In the Midnight Hour and was equally good. The Wicked Pickett made some great soul records and was a dynamic performer. My photo shows him at Clapham Grand not long before he died in 2006.
5. Willie Mitchell - Everything Is Gonna Be Alright. London HLU 10004.
As well as being a superb record producer at Royal Studios in Memphis, Willie was also a trumpeter and bandleader who recorded some soul classics, including this double sider, which had That Driving Beat on the B side. He died in 2010.
6. Patti La Belle & Her Belles - All Or Nothing. Atlantic AT 4055.
Beginning with the Bluebelles in 1962, Patti went on to become a soul superstar. Success came with LaBelle's Lady Marmalade, duets with Bobby Womack and Michael McDonald and solo hits.
7. Len Barry - 1-2-3. Brunswick 05943.
Blue eyed soul singer Len Barry was lead singer with the Dovells before going solo and enjoying huge success with this one and the follow up Like A Baby. He went on to record more disco oritentated material and is now also a novelist.
8. Marvin Gaye - Ain't That Peculiar. Tamla Motown TMG 539.
Another big hit from Marvin Gaye who died tragically in 1984. Written by Smokey Robinson.
9. The Mad Lads - Don't Have To Shop Around. Atlantic AT 4051.
Stax/Volt recording artists the Mad Lads introduced some sweetness into soul. Members included John Gary Williams, who I saw at Porretta a few years ago, and William Brown, who went on to become studio engineer at Stax and Royal Studios.
10=. Bobby Bland - These Hands (Small But Mighty). Vocalion VP 9251.
Bobby 'Blue' Bland created some exquisite soul and blues records during a career that extended until his death two years ago.
10=. The Miracles - My Girl Has Gone. Tamla Motown TMG 540.
The follow up to The Tracks Of My Tears, this was another Smokey classic.


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