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Archive for the ‘Isaac Hayes’ Category

Ace’s “Black America Sings Bacharach and David” Features Dionne, Aretha, Cissy, Nina and More

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Black America Sings BacharachIn retrospect, it might be telling that Burt Bacharach’s first recorded song, “Once in a Blue Moon,” was cut in 1952 by Nat “King” Cole. From those earliest days, Bacharach and his lyrical partner Hal David saw their songs recorded by a host of African-American artists: Johnny Mathis, Gene McDaniels, Joe Williams, Lena Horne, and Etta James among them. Once the duo began to change the sound of American music with their ultra-cool, sophisticated pop-soul compositions, those songs were most frequently interpreted by African-Americans: The Shirelles, Jerry Butler, Lou Johnson, The Drifters, Aretha Franklin, and of course, Dionne Warwick. It’s no small feat to distill the best of Bacharach and David’s R&B recordings onto one disc, but Ace Records has proved up to the task with the release of Let The Music Play: Black America Sings Bacharach and David. This 24-track compilation follows similar releases for Lennon and McCartney, Bob Dylan, and Otis Redding, and draws from the halcyon period between 1962 and 1975. For much of that period, Bacharach and David’s songs were rarely far from the top of the pop and R&B charts. As per Ace’s custom, the set includes both the familiar hits and the lesser-known tracks that just might become future favorites.

Songwriter-producers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller were among the earliest professionals to champion Bacharach and David’s work. Both teams were integral to the sound of so-called “uptown soul” in which strings and Latin rhythms melded with gutbucket R&B to create some of the most indelible records ever made. Both of those elements are present on Leiber and Stoller’s production of Marv Johnson’s majestic 1963 recording of “Another Tear Falls,” one of B&D’s songs that fell short of hit status. Johnson passionately navigates its martial beat and darkly brooding orchestration, and Bacharach’s signature unexpected melodic shifts and rhythms are already in place. (Just listen to the song seemingly end around the 2 minute, 7 second mark, only to return with a coda – a device which Bacharach would revisit in the future.) Leiber and Stoller also produced a couple of other stunning tracks here, like Jerry Butler’s booming original recording of “Message to Martha” (later “Michael” in Dionne Warwick’s version) and The Drifters’ dramatic “In the Land of Make Believe.” With its nearly-operatic vocals and offbeat jazzy instrumental noodling, it’s one of the more unusual items in the Bacharach and David catalogue and all the more beguiling for it.

Thom Bell, along with his Mighty Three music partners Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, updated the “uptown soul” ethos for a new generation with The Sound of Philadelphia. Bell, who recently (and correctly) described his own music as “Bacharach-strange,” is represented on Black America Sings Bacharach and David with his 1968 production and arrangement of “Alfie” for The Delfonics. Bell delivered his ultimate homage to Bacharach with his reinvention of “You’ll Never Get to Heaven” for The Stylistics in 1972, but the lush, William Hart-led “Alfie” is no less classy. Bacharach’s influence on Philly soul is evident elsewhere, too. The Orlons made the most of a straightforward Richard Rome arrangement of “Anyone Who Had a Heart,” but it wasn’t enough to restore the “South Street” group to chart supremacy. Future “Hustle” man Van McCoy produced and arranged “Don’t Make Me Over” for Philly’s Brenda and the Tabulations, and also hewed closely to Bacharach’s original template.

Cissy Houston more radically overhauled her niece Dionne’s second hit, “This Empty Place,” in 1970. The funky arrangement takes liberties with Bacharach’s original time signatures but gives the powerfully-voiced Houston the opportunity to get down-and-dirty with her vocal. Aretha Franklin, like Houston a powerhouse vocalist, knew when to cut loose and when to play it cool on her hit 1968 recording of “I Say a Little Prayer.” Even the piano that opens Aretha’s “Prayer” is slinky and sexy. Bacharach has always been unduly harsh on his bright arrangement of the song for Dionne Warwick, but Aretha’s recording more vividly brought out its longing and passion. Bobby Womack and Isaac Hayes are expectedly and excitingly torrid on “(They Long to Be) Close to You” and “I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself,” respectively. More restrained is Nina Simone’s detached, smoky reading of the sultry “The Look of Love” from 1967, one of the now-ubiquitous song’s first covers.

After the jump, we have plenty more for you, including the complete track listing with discography and order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 30, 2014 at 10:44

Big Break’s Big Round-Up: Label “Phreeks” Out with Patti LaBelle, Isaac Hayes, Gwen McCrae, More

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Isaac Hayes - For the Sake of Love

One of the busiest labels on the reissue front is undoubtedly Cherry Red Group’s Big Break Records imprint.  We’ve just turned the spotlight on BBR’s releases from Donna Summer and John Barry, and Leon Haywood and Carl Carlton, and The Salsoul Orchestra and Loleatta Holloway.  Coming up, we have reviews and features planned on titles from The Hues Corporation, Odyssey, and more.  But today, we’re taking a look at another handful of the busy BBR label’s most recent offerings – from top-tier R&B artists including Isaac Hayes, Patti LaBelle, Gwen McCrae and Patrick Adams!

  • Whether as an architect of the Stax Records sound in the sixties, the soulful Black Moses of the seventies or even as “Chef” on television’s South Park in the nineties and beyond, Isaac Hayes made a cultural impact spanning generations.  The late seventies weren’t quite Hayes’ salad days, however.  But even if Hayes struggled both personally and creatively during the period, it wasn’t all barren.  BBR has recently remastered and expanded two of Hayes’ Polydor albums from the period following his tenures at Stax and ABC.  1978’s For the Sake of Love, in true Hayes fashion, featured just six smoldering tracks.  Its diverse selections featured originals by Hayes (including the title track and the funky Top 20 R&B hit “Zeke the Freak”) plus reinventions of Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are” and James Taylor’s “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” and even a danceable makeover of Hayes’ own “Shaft” as “Shaft II.”

Isaac Hayes - And Once Again

  • Hayes followed the LP up with Don’t Let Go, the disco-fied title track of which returned him to the pop chart, and then with 1980’s And Once Again.  (Like Hayes’ Polydor debut New Horizon, Don’t Let Go has already received a reissue from BBR.)  Hayes crooned, rapped, blew his saxophone and generally threw himself into the album’s set of just five songs including a reworking of Tommy Edwards’ oldie “It’s All in the Game.”  Many a tear didn’t have to fall for Hayes, though, as And Once Again yielded minor hits both with “Game” and the album’s lone up-tempo track, “I Ain’t Never.”  Equally impressive was his epic take on “This Time I’ll Be Sweeter,” best known in Angela Bofill’s rendition.  BBR has added two bonus cuts to For the Sake of Love and four to And Once Again (see full track listings below).  Both discs have been remastered by Kevin Reeves and annotated by J. Matthew Cobb.  Both Hayes albums are reissued in Super Jewel Boxes.

After the jump: Miss Patti LaBelle, Gwen McCrae and Phreek…plus full track listings and order links for all titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 11, 2014 at 09:54

Release Round-Up: Week of February 25

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Your ArsenalMorrissey, Your Arsenal: Definitive Master (Parlophone)

We don’t hate it when Moz becomes successful, as was the case with his third non-compilation album from 1992, which now comes with an unreleased live show on DVD.

CD/DVD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Johnny Winter - True to the BluesJohnny Winter, True to the Blues: The Johnny Winter Story (Columbia/Legacy)

A four-disc tribute to the influential blues guitarist, who turned 70 on Sunday. (Amazon U.S.Amazon U.K.)

Workbook 25Bob Mould, Workbook: 25th Anniversary Edition (Omnivore)

After the disbandment of Hüsker Dü, singer/guitarist Mould was on the solo beat with this album, now expanded with an unreleased 1989 concert at the Cabaret Metro in Chicago.

2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Silversun PickupsSilversun Pickups, The Singles Collection (Dangerbird Records, 2014)

The L.A. rockers collect their last nine or so years of A-sides on a professionally-pressed CD-R compilation or a box of six vinyl singles; both feature a newly released track, “Cannibal.”

 

CD-R: Amazon U.S.
6 x 7″ box:  Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Tabu boxVarious Artists, The Tabu Records Box (Tabu/Edsel)

A 6CD/1DVD/1 45 RPM overview of the classic ’70s/’80s R&B label, whose works have been thoroughly reissued by U.K. label Edsel over the past year. (Amazon U.K.)

And Once AgainIsaac Hayes, For the Sake of Love: Expanded Edition / And Once Again: Expanded Edition /Patti LaBelle, Released: Expanded Edition (Big Break Records)

Three new BBR reissues include two Isaac Hayes LPs for Polydor in the ’80s and LaBelle’s final studio album for Epic, which reunited her with producer Allen Toussaint. Joe, of course, has a full summary coming soon!

For the Sake of Love: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
And Once Again: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Released: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Stax, Motown, Chess Go Country with Second Volume of “Where Country Meets Soul”

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Where Country Meets Soul 2Ace’s first volume of Where Country Meets Soul arrived late last year, proving that those two venerable genres intersect more often than one might think.  After all, many of the most enduring records in both styles revolve around the vagaries of heartbreak, so the fine folks at Ace’s Kent imprint brought together 23 tracks from artists well-versed in the torrid ways of love: Solomon Burke (“He’ll Have to Go”), Percy Sledge (“Take Time to Know Her”), Clarence Carter (“Set Me Free”), Esther Phillips (“I Saw Me”), Al Green (“I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”) and Candi Staton (“He Called Me Baby”) among them.

The newly-arrived Sweet Dreams: Where Country Meets Soul 2 offers another 23 examples of R&B artists bringing country-and-western staples to life.  Though some artists make a return appearance (Esther Phillips, Clarence Carter, Joe Simon), the overall line-up is even more diverse this time out.  Like the first volume, there are well-chosen songs from the catalogue of Atlantic Records: The Sweet Inspirations’ Tom Dowd-produced “But You Know I Love You,” introduced by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, and Clarence Carter’s Fame-recorded version of John D. Loudermilk’s “Bad News.”  From Atlantic-distributed Stax comes Otis Redding’s dark reinvention of the 1947 standard “Tennessee Waltz” (introduced by Cowboy Copas and a pop hit for Patti Page) and Johnnie Taylor’s 1967 rendition of Merle Travis’ “Sixteen Tons,” produced by Isaac Hayes and David Porter.  Hayes himself makes an appearance from Stax’s post-Atlantic years via a 1971 Enterprise single of Hank Williams’ “I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still in Love with You).”

Down at Muscle Shoals, Millie Jackson cut Kenny Rogers’ “Sweet Music Man” in 1977, just one of the many smoldering southern soul performances here.  James Carr, one of R&B’s premier voices, tipped the hat to country music legend George Jones at Malaco Studios for his Goldwax recording of Jones’ “Tell Me My Lying Eyes are Wrong.”  Southern soul queen Bettye Swann is heard on her Capitol 45 of Hank Cochran’s “Don’t You Ever Get Tired (Of Hurting Me).”

There’s more after the jump, including the full track listing with discography and order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 27, 2013 at 10:15

Wu-Tang’s RZA Compiles Classic Stax for “Shaolin Soul”

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RZA Shaolin SoulA new compilation of music from Stax Records is coming courtesy of a most interesting source: rapper/producer/actor/director RZA of The Wu-Tang Clan.

The man born Robert Fitzgerald Diggs has rarely slowed down in the 20 years since Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) was released in the winter of 1993. Besides producing most of his group’s early records and solo projects (including ODB’s Return to the 36 Chambers, GZA’s Liquid Swords, Method Man’s Tical and Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…), RZA has also made a name for himself in prose (writing and co-writing Wu-Tang guidebooks The Wu-Tang Manual and The Tao of Wu) and film, turning in solid performances in Jim Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarrettes, Ridley Scott’s American Gangster, and most recently The Man with the Iron Fists, a martial-arts flick he also co-wrote and directed.

Now, he’s taking a small detour by overseeing this new compilation of Stax tracks through his own label, Soul Temple. The RZA Presents Shaolin Soul Selection Volume 1 (not to be confused with a similarly-titled 2001 compilation on the Koch label consisting of soul songs sampled by the Clan) will span two CDs or three vinyl LPs and feature 24 tracks by Isaac Hayes, The Meters, Albert King, The Emotions, William Bell, Booker T & The M.G.’s and many more.

A mix of selections from the compilation, due out March 19, has been commissioned by DJ 7L, and can be heard on the above video or on Soul Temple’s Bandcamp page, where special album and t-shirt bundles are currently up for sale. The full track list and Amazon links for the regular CD set are after the jump!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

February 20, 2013 at 15:49

From Manhattan to Memphis: Ace, Kent Collect Classic Soulful Sides on Three New Releases

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Though they’re located across the pond, the team at Ace Records literally has the entire map of the U.S. covered when it comes to celebrating classic soul sounds.  Among the numerous titles recently issued by the Ace family are three geographically-attuned sets sure to pique your ears and interest.  Ace’s journey begins in the American northeast, and specifically in New York City, with a second volume of Manhattan Soul.  Like the first volume in the series, it’s drawn from the considerable archives of Scepter, Wand and Musicor Records, and it brings together songs from cherished vocalists like Tommy Hunt, Jimmy Radcliffe and Big Maybelle, along with a whole slew of artists who may not have achieved notoriety, but sure did wax some great music.  Next, the Ace team heads down to Alabama, where The Charmels and Jeanne and the Darlings might have shouted, “We’re the Soul Girls!”  This 29-track anthology collects the complete recordings of two of Stax Records’ criminally-underrated girl groups, with many tracks appearing on CD for the very first time.  Finally, Ace basks in the glow of the heartland with Behind Closed Doors: Where Country Meets Soul, exploring the crossroads of those two distinct genres.

Both volumes of Manhattan Soul conjure up the urbane R&B sound that came out of the 1960s in that storied borough of New York City.  Florence Greenberg’s Scepter and Wand labels (home to Maxine Brown, Dionne Warwick, The Shirelles and B.J. Thomas) and Aaron Schroeder’s Musicor (home to Gene Pitney, George Jones and the Platters) boasted diverse rosters, but both had a keen interest in soul music, frequently swathing it in strings and lush orchestrations.  It’s no surprise that one maestro of sophisticated soul, Burt Bacharach, had his biggest successes on Scepter, and also provided hits for Musicor.  There were many other ties; Luther Dixon departed the Greenberg empire for Musicor, while Van McCoy, Bert Keyes, and Bert DeCoteaux all arranged platters for both labels.  Each of those names is represented on Manhattan Soul, Volume 2.

This is uptown soul, for sure, with further contributions from producers such as Teddy Randazzo (Porgy and the Monarchs’ “That Girl”), Chips Moman (The Masqueraders’ “I Don’t Want Nobody to Lead Me On,” recorded in Memphis but released in Manhattan on Wand), and songwriters like the young Kenny Gamble (Nella Dodds’ “I Just Gotta Have You”) and Curtis Mayfield (Something New’s “You Babe”).  Fetching big beat ballads proliferate on this 24-track CD, such as Ed Bruce’s “I’m Gonna Have a Party.”  The track was written by Bruce arranged by Florence Greenberg’s son Stan Green (nee Greenberg) on Wand, and is almost a sideways rewrite of Bacharach and Bob Hilliard’s “Any Day Now,” a sizeable Wand hit by Chuck Jackson.  Though the second volume of Manhattan Soul doesn’t feature as many high-profile artists as the first (which had The Shirelles, Johnny Maestro, The Platters and Maxine Brown all represented), it’s just as rewarding, if not more so.  These songs meld sophisticated, sometimes Latin-flavored arrangements with deep soul, plenty of booming baritones and swelling strings.  There are even four interesting unreleased tracks, including Jimmy Radcliffe’s beguiling “Deep in the Heart of Harlem” and “No Jealous Lover,” by Lois Lane, a.k.a. Louise Williams, a U.S. Congresswoman since 1988!  Ady Croasdell annotates, and even teases us with a liner note about a song that wasn’t included: Sylvia Jenkins’ “It’s Gonna Be All Right,” written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin which was rejected for its “excruciating passages!”  Bring on Volume Three.

After the jump: to Alabama and beyond, plus track listings and pre-order links for all three titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 17, 2012 at 10:04

Reviews: First Family of Soul – Rare Albums From Dionne and Dee Dee Warwick, Cissy Houston Reissued and Expanded

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If there’s such a thing as a First Family of Soul, it might as well be the combined Houston/Warwick clan.  Born in Newark, New Jersey in 1933, Emily “Cissy” Drinkard sang gospel with her family as part of The Drinkard Singers, which counted Cissy’s sister Lee Warrick among its members.  Marie Dionne Warrick was born in 1940 to Lee and her husband Mancel; Delia Mae “Dee Dee” Warrick followed in 1942.  Though The Drinkard Singers remain an important part of the history of gospel music, said to have recorded the very first gospel album on a major label (1959’s A Joyful Noise on RCA Victor), could Cissy and Lee have imagined the success that their daughters would have had?  Dionne Warwick – her new surname having been created by a record label misspelling – ranks second only to Aretha Franklin as the most charting female in pop history, with 56 singles on the Hot 100 between 1962 and 1998.  Cissy’s daughter Whitney Houston, of course, made history of her own, cited by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most-awarded female singer of all time and also the first to chart seven consecutive chart-topping singles!  Cissy Houston, to this day, continues to perform and inspire audiences wherever she goes.

Cherry Red’s SoulMusic Records has just celebrated this true First Family of Soul with three remarkable new releases: the first-ever CD reissues of Isaac Hayes and Dionne Warwick’s 1977 A Man and a Woman and Dee Dee Warwick’s 1969 Foolish Fool, plus a deluxe, expanded edition of Cissy Houston’s 1970 Presenting Cissy Houston.  Taken together, these three albums represent a mini-history of American soul music.  Hit the jump and we’ll individually explore each of these seminal releases! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 30, 2012 at 13:09

Release Round-Up: Week of January 31

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Aretha Franklin, Knew You Were Waiting: The Best of 1980-1998 (Arista/Legacy)

The Queen of Soul’s comeback years, in a new anthology. Check back soon for a review from Joe as well as a Greater Hits from me stacking this set up to other compilations from this part of Aretha’s discography.

Various Artists, Golden Gate Groove: The Sound of Philadelphia Live in San Francisco 1973 (Philadelphia International/Legacy)

A sublime showcase of some of the best Philly soul in concert.

Various Artists, Giant Single: The Profile Records Rap Anthology (Arista/Legacy)

One of the most underrated hip-hop labels out there – home to Run-D.M.C. and DJ Rob Base and E-Z Rock – anthologized over two great discs.

The Tymes, So Much in Love (Real Gone)

The first-ever CD release for a ’60s classic, with four bonus tracks, no less!

Bonnie Pointer, Bonnie Pointer: Expanded Edition / Isaac Hayes, Don’t Let Go: Expanded Edition (Big Break)

The U.K. soul label’s latest expanded reissues.

Metallica, Beyond Magnetic (Warner Bros.)

A physical release for this EP of outtakes from Metallica’s last album, Death Magnetic.

Various Playlist releases (Legacy)

You know the drill on this one.

Holiday Gift Guide Review: “Brunswick Lost Soul Vols. 1 and 2”

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Welcome back to our Second Disc Holiday Gift Guide, in which we review some titles we might have missed over the past few weeks!  The titles we’re spotlighting in this occasional series just might be candidates on your own holiday shopping list!

The annals of popular music are littered with lost souls, which isn’t surprising for a business that can turn the street of dreams into the boulevard of broken dreams.  But thanks to two recent releases from Brunswick Records, we can appreciate 30 slices of prime Lost Soul.  On Volume 1 (BRC 33020-2) and Volume 2 (BRC 33021-2), executive producer Paul Tarnopol and annotator Bill Dahl offer up a journey through an alternate sixties where Billy Butler was as big as his brother Jerry, Sidney Joe Qualls had the career of his sonic counterpart Al Green, and Major Lance’s “Tighten Up” was as beloved as Archie Bell and the Drells’ different tune of the same name.  Though many of the names on these two discs are unknown to all but the most diehard soul connoisseurs, some major hitmakers are peppered throughout, including Isaac Hayes (on Volume 2) and Little Richard (on both discs)

Lost Soul makes a potent case for the vibrancy of both the Chicago soul scene circa the mid-1960s to the early 1970s, and for the venerable Brunswick label and its subsidiary, Dakar, under the direction of Carl Davis, formerly of OKeh Records.  The fifteen tracks on each disc range from the wholly original to the wholly derivative, but the tracks are rarely uninteresting.

Ace Records has already anthologized Sugar Pie DeSanto’s Chess recordings (1961-1966) but on Lost Soul Volume 1 we’re treated to “Do the Whoopie” from her later Brunswick period, in which the sassy powerhouse funkifies Joe Simon’s Vee-Jay original.  Yet another artist with prominent releases on the Ace label, Van McCoy, contributed the pleading “Hold On,” as performed here by Marvin Smith.  It’s just one in a long line of remarkably unknown McCoy compositions; it’s a cruel irony that this man of such deep soul is best-known only for “The Hustle.”

Other tracks on Volume 1 reference a number of styles.  The Brunswick/Dakar roster was clearly a diverse one, though the lack of a signature sound might have contributed to the label’s remaining in the shadows of Motown and the other great soul providers.  (Many of the artists featured went on to prominence at labels like Philadelphia International or the Holland-Dozier-Holland family.)  Johnny Williams’ “Your Love Controls My World” is an infectious stomper in the tradition of the songs coming from the Motor City, as is The Artistics’ “You Left Me” with its big production of sweeping strings and luscious harmonies.  In contrast, The Admirations’ “Lonely Street” (not the Doc Pomus song of the same name) has the Latin-esque beat and bleating brass of New York’s uptown soul.  This isn’t a surprise, as the track was produced by Morty Craft of the Melba and Warwick labels.  His deft touch makes for one of Lost Soul’s highlights.

B.W. and the Next Edition’s “Stay with Me Baby” is one of the later tracks on the set, dating from 1973, but it has the sonic signature of the 1960s in its grooves.  Otis Leavill, inspired by Curtis Mayfield, offers one track on each set, and on Volume 1, he’s serving up sweet harmonies and an insinuating beat on “You Brought Out the Good in Me.”  After his strings of OKeh smashes (such as “The Monkey Time” and “Um, Um, Um, Um, Um”), Major Lance reunited with Carl Davis for the 1968 “Do the Tighten Up.”  It’s not as hook-laden as the Archie Bell song, but its wailing saxophone leaves an impression.  Another well, major name here is Richard Penniman, better known as Little Richard.  On “Baby Don’t You Tear My Clothes,” Richard is screaming like a much younger man, but the sound is current circa 1967, with funky electric guitar joining his pounding piano up front.  He was back in secular music in a big way!

Another torrid number is Floyd Smith’s “Getting Nowhere Fast.”  The tempo may be slow, but he’s getting into soul heaven with this scorcher.  One of the collection’s biggest curiosities is “Where the Lilies Grow,” as sung by Sidney Joe Qualls.  His vocal resemblance to Al Green is uncanny.   Born, like Green, in Jacknash, Arkansas, Qualls is a dead ringer for the “Let’s Stay Together” soul man.

Hit the jump as we explore Volume 2! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

December 23, 2011 at 10:22

Dionne Warwick “Playlist” Includes CD Debut of Isaac Hayes Duet

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A couple of weeks back, Mike filled you in on the track listings for Sony’s upcoming slate of Playlist releases.  This eclectic bunch – including Muddy Waters, Dave Brubeck, Janis Ian and the Psychedelic Furs – hits stores next week on May 10.  Only one title’s track listing proved elusive, and now we can reveal that, too.  Most happily, it’s worth the wait.  Playlist: The Very Best of Dionne Warwick is, like many of the titles, an odd collection.  It’s not a “greatest hits” but more a random selection of key tracks and under-the-radar favorites.  And though Sony controls Warwick’s Arista catalogue, tracks have been licensed to make this more than just another “Dionne in the 1980s” compilation.

Warwick’s Playlist boasts one new-to-CD song, and it’s a keeper, the nearly 8-minute duet between Warwick and Isaac Hayes on two Burt Bacharach and Hal David classics, “I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself” and “Walk On By.”  Taken from the 1977 ABC Records live release A Man and A Woman, this long-unheard epic track finds Hayes and Warwick melding their distinct (and very different!) renditions of the songs into one harmonious whole.  Kudos to Playlist for going the extra mile to license this track.  Now, would a reissue of the entire album be too much to ask…?  (If you like what you hear, the Warwick/Hayes duet of “By The Time I Get to Phoenix/I Say a Little Prayer” made an appearance on CD via the 2005 Stax compilation Ultimate Isaac Hayes: Can You Dig It?. )

Other duets appear, as well.   The Thom Bell-produced Philly soul chart-topper “Then Came You,” with The Spinners, makes an appearance, licensed from Warner Bros., while The Shirelles reprise “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” with their former Scepter labelmate.  Smokey Robinson turns up on 1987’s “You’re My Hero,” and of course, “That’s What Friends Are For” is present, with Dionne singing alongside Elton John, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder.

The lone Scepter-era track is “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” not the Elton John song but rather a bossa nova-flavored Bacharach and David original from 1966’s LP Here I Am.  Two songs from 1980’s No Night So Long, only recently reissued in a wide release as an import, take a place on Playlist, though not the hit title track.  Three songs have been selected from Warwick’s 1979 Arista debut Dionne, including “Deja Vu,” written by Isaac Hayes and album producer Barry Manilow’s frequent lyricist Adrienne Anderson, and the radio staple “I’ll Never Love This Way Again.”  The Bee Gees-penned hit “Heartbreaker” has also been included, from the album of the same name.

Hit the jump for the full track listing with discography! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 5, 2011 at 11:38