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Archive for the ‘Freda Payne’ Category

More Than a Band of Gold: Complete Holland-Dozier-Holland Singles Collected On New Box Set

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H-D-H Box Contents

The legacy of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland is filled with some of the most popular songs ever written:  “Stop! In the Name of Love,” “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You),” “Baby, I Need Your Loving,” “You Can’t Hurry Love,” “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” among them.  All of those songs, and so many other indelible hit records, were written under the aegis of Hitsville, USA, a.k.a. Berry Gordy’s Motown empire.  But by 1967, the relationship between the label chief and his star writers was starting to feel strained.  Within two years, the H-D-H team had struck out on their own, forming Invictus Records, distributed by Capitol, and Hot Wax Records, distributed by Buddah.  H-D-H’s new wrinkle on the Sound of Young America eventually encompassed the Music Merchant label as well, and gave Motown a run for its money with hits from The Chairmen of the Board, Freda Payne and The Honey Cone. Now, Demon Music Group’s Harmless Records is putting together the most comprehensive survey of the Invictus-Hot Wax-Music Merchant catalogue yet with Holland-Dozier-Holland: The Complete 45s Collection: Invictus/Hot Wax/Music Merchant 1969-1977. 

By the numbers, this 14-CD box set, due on May 26 in the U.K. and the following week in the U.S., celebrates the 45th anniversary of H-D-H’s independence with a staggering array of newly remastered 45 RPM singles:

  • 96 x Invictus 45s
  • 44 x Hot Wax 45s
  • 17 x Music Merchant 45s

for a total of 157 singles and 269 original recordings.

To that, Harmless is adding previously unreleased recordings by The Chairmen of the Board, Eloise Laws, Honey Cone, the Barrino Brothers, the Jones Girls and 100 Proof Aged In Soul.  The package is rounded out by three previously unissued Tom Moulton mixes (The Chairmen of the Board’s “Give Me Just A Little More Time” and “You’ve Got Me Dangling on a String” and Freda Payne’s “Unhooked Generation”) and three more exclusive instrumental mixes of those songs by Moulton, available only on the box set’s enclosed download card.

We have more on this comprehensive new collection after the jump including the full track listing with discography, and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Ain’t Nothin’ Goin’ On But Vintage R&B: Expanded Reissues Arrive From Payne, Mills, Guthrie

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Freda Payne - Supernatural High

A recent trio of releases from Cherry Red’s SoulMusic Records imprint is sure to get the pulses racing of ’70s and ‘80s soul fans.

Freda Payne’s second album for Capitol Records, 1978’s Supernatural High, followed 1977’s Stares and Whispers, also the recipient of a past SoulMusic reissue.  Skip Scarborough (Earth Wind and Fire, Dionne Warwick, Phyllis Hyman) took the production helm from Motown’s Frank Wilson and wrote a few tracks for the project.  Like many of Payne’s best albums, Supernatural explored numerous sides of the versatile artist.  Freda had, after all, been spotted by Duke Ellington, toured with Billy Eckstine, played on Broadway, and recorded for labels including Holland-Dozier-Holland’s Invictus/Hot Wax family and ABC-Paramount.  She scored her stone-cold classic “Band of Gold” for H-D-H in 1970, but was still very much an active recording artist when Supernatural rolled around.  The album has numerous disco flourishes but is still very much in a soulful R&B vein as produced by Scarborough and arranged by David N. Crawford.

The opening medley of “Happy Days Are Here Again” with Scarborough’s “Happy Music” put a disco spin on the Democratic Party favorite written in 1932 and adopted by Barbra Streisand (and so famously sung by Streisand and Judy Garland as a duet).  “Livin’ for the Beat,” from Payne’s then-husband Gregory Abbott, was another track designed for the dancefloor.  ”Tell Me Please,” from Scarborough’s pen, is a sweet ‘n’ smooth mid-tempo ballad for Payne to wrap her pipes around, as is Thom Bell and Leroy Bell’s “Just the Thought of You and Me Together (Supernatural High),” which lent its title to the album.  Kevin L. Goins’ excellent liner notes don’t explain how Payne got a hold of the Bell song, but it’s a major highlight with Bell’s typically lush melodic style.  Alas, he didn’t come on board to produce or arrange the track, but the horn arrangement near the song’s conclusion is in vintage Bell style.  Other songs on Supernatural High came from Deniece Williams (the languid “Falling in Love”) and Freda’s sister, the Supreme Scherrie Payne (the shimmering “Storybook Romance”).  One more album followed for Capitol (1979’s Hot) before Payne took an extended recording hiatus.  Soul Music’s new edition adds one bonus track, the single edit of “Happy Days/Happy Music.”  (The B-side of “Happy Days,” “Falling in Love,” has not been included, and nor has the “I’ll Do Anything For You” Pt. 1 and 2 single.)

After the jump: we revisit classics from Stephanie Mills and Freda Payne, plus order links and track listings for all three titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 18, 2013 at 14:38

In Case You Missed It: Cherry Red Brings Out Pop Will Eat Itself, Soul Reissues

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Last week at Cherry Red saw news an expansion of Bauhaus frontman Peter Murphy’s solo debut and a host of titles from Big Break Records. But that wasn’t all. Monday saw the release of four other expanded titles from the label group: two from a legendary British alternate rock outfit and another two overlooked soul albums.

Pop Will Eat Itself, the Stourbridge-based band, first gained attention when their self-released debut EP, The Poppies Say GRRrrr!, was lauded by NME and added to the BBC’s Radio 1 playlist. The band would flirt with mainstream success in the 1990s, after signing to RCA and a raucous opening slot for Public Enemy, culminating with their sole U.K. Top 10 single, “Get the Girl! Kill the Baddies!” Singer Graham Crabb continues to work with a reformed version of the band after a full reunion in the mid-2000s, but it’s that classic lineup that will be saluted with two expanded sets from Cherry Red.

The first, Now for a Feast!, was actually the band’s second full-length release, collating much of their non-LP material from 1986 to 1987. That set is now expanded to two discs, including all of their primary single sides and a bonus disc of B-sides, alternate versions and unreleased material, including rare early demos by the band (some cut while they were still working under the name Wild and Wandering). Additionally, the band’s first proper LP, 1987’s Box Frenzy, has been reissued with additional material, including non-LP mixes and tracks and three unreleased demos.

Cherry Red’s also got two albums out on the SoulMusic.com label. One is Stares and Whispers, a late-’70s album from Freda Payne (she of “Band of Gold” fame), which features two non-LP B-sides and a single cut with Tavares (her labelmates on Capitol at the time). The other is Back for More, a 1980 album by Al Johnson (onetime lead singer of the ’60s soul group The Unifics), augmented by both edited sides of the single Columbia released to promote the album.

All track lists and order pages can be seen after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

July 20, 2011 at 11:59