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Archive for the ‘Jimmy Smith’ Category

Get Righteous! Label Serves Up Dick Dale, Jimmy Smith, Northern Soul

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Dancing By MyselfCherry Red’s Righteous label celebrates “aching country, forgotten soul music and other strange exotica…from George Jones to Hank Snow’s immortal ‘When Tragedy Struck’ to the roots of Dylan’s twisted songwriting inspiration…” Three of the label’s recent titles aren’t too exotic, but certainly are righteous. Dancing by Myself: Lost in Northern Soul collects 26 obscure R&B floor-fillers, primarily from independent labels; The Search for Surf chronicles the formative years of the surf-music craze with 26 songs from Dick Dale and others; and That Jimmy Smith Sound spotlights the jazz organist, as well as the musicians who influenced him, over a 13-song program.

Mojo contributor Dave Henderson opines in his liner notes for Dancing by Myself: Lost in Northern Soul that “the formula for northern soul is never set in stone and the perfect 45 can arrive from anywhere.” This compilation sets out to prove Henderson’s point with alternately raucous and mellow soul gems from the likes of The Five Royales, Joe Stubbs (brother of The Four Tops’ Levi Stubbs), Don and Juan, The Vibrations, and Lou Johnson.  The late journalist Dave Godin is credited with coining the phrase “northern soul,” which he used to describe music in the mid-1960s soul vein preferred by enthusiasts in the northern part of England. Godin told Mojo in 2002 that he had first devised the term in 1968, to help employees at his Soul City record shop differentiate the rapidly-proliferating funk style of R&B from the smoother, Motown-influenced soul of just a few years earlier. (In The Soul Stylists, renowned DJ Ady Croasdell described the prototypical Northern Soul song as The Four Tops’ “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)” although the song was too mainstream to achieve much popularity in the Northern Soul scene.) The movement championed lesser-known tracks over big hits, and it soon spread, with clubs popping up throughout the north and midlands of England.

Dancing by Myself keeps the tradition alive with diverse tracks that might fit a northern soul playlist from the genre’s earliest years including The Knockouts’ barroom interpretation of the sizzling “Fever,” Tommy Navarro and The Sundialers’ down-and-dirty, uptempo take on the Gershwins’ and DuBose Heyward’s Porgy and Bess aria “Summertime,” and Lou Johnson’s classy uptown soul record “If I Never Get to Love You” from the pens of Bacharach and David. One nifty rarity is Don McKenzie’s “Whose Heart (Are You Gonna Break Now)” written by Smokey Robinson pal Mickey Stevenson and featuring The Supremes on backing vocals, from Berry Gordy’s Miracle imprint. Joe Stubbs’ “Keep on Loving Me” and Mark Rice’s “Baby I’m Coming Home” emanated from Detroit, too, on the Lu-Pine label.  Lu-Pine, of course, released the first Supremes records when the girls were still known as The Primettes. All tracks here date from the period between 1958 and 1962 and, like the tracks on all three of these new releases, have been issued in accordance with current U.K. public domain laws.

After the jump: details on The Search for Surf and That Jimmy Smith Sound, plus track listings and order links for all three titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 17, 2014 at 10:29

Jazz It Up with New Verve Records Box Set

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Verve The Sound of America Box SetMore than half a century after visionary music impresario Norman Granz founded his third and arguably most successful label, Verve Records, the label will be celebrated in style next month with a new book and a five-disc box set, The Sound of America: The Singles Collection.

Granz had previously come to prominence in the jazz world a decade before, when he organized a diverse jam session of a concert at Los Angeles’ Philharmonic Auditorium in 1944. This regular session turned into a full-fledged concert tour, and “Jazz At The Philharmonic” became one of the biggest national platforms for jazz musicians (both black and white) in North America. Recordings of the shows were licensed to Mercury Records, then in turn to two of Granz’s own labels, Clef and Norgran.

But it was Verve, founded in 1956, that enjoyed the greatest success, largely thanks to two factors: the rise of the 12″ long-playing record album, and Granz signing his biggest client as a manager to the label. Ella Fitzgerald, who’d been wooed to Verve from Decca, made some of the greatest recordings in jazz history during her years there, starting with her legendary Songbook series, which found her interpreting the catalogues of Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hart, Duke Ellington, George & Ira Gershwin and many more.

From there, Verve was, at one time or another, home to a who’s who of jazz luminaries, including pianist Oscar Peterson, trumpeters Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong, organist Jimmy Smith, saxophonist Stan Getz, guitarist Wes Montgomery and even vocalists like Bing Crosby and Mel Tormé. Today, the Verve label still exists as a home for new and catalogue jazz; current acts include operatic tenor Andrea Bocelli and jazz vocalist Diana Krall.

The Sound of America: The Singles Collection features 100 tracks – not only sides from the Verve years, but a handful of pre-Verve jazz singles on Clef and Norgran – over five discs, “over 20 of which have been out of print for years.” All the discs are contained in their own individual slipcases, packaged in a box with a lift-off lid alongside a 48-page book of liner notes. The box hits stores December 10, just over a month after the publication of Verve Records: The Sound of America, an exhaustive written history of the label from producer/researcher Richard Havers.

The full track list and order links for the box set are after the jump.

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Weekend Release Round-Up: SRV, Jayhawks, Sum 41 and More

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This was a busy week for catalogue fans, what with the Elvis revelation from the other day and reactions to the new Exile on Main St. sets. Here, to close out the week, are a few announcements that fell through the cracks.

  • The long-planned Legacy Edition of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble’s 1985 sophomore LP Couldn’t Stand the Weather now has a release date: July 27. The set will feature bonus tracks from the original recording sessions and a previously-unreleased live show on Disc 2. (No word on the tracks themselves, or if there are any repeats from the 1999 remaster. Also, Amazon’s got a June 22 listing for a deluxe reissue of the SRV/Albert King live collaboration In Session, originally released on the Stax label. Looks like it comes with a DVD of the performance.)
  • Legacy’s also announced some reissues for alt-country band The Jayhawks, hot off last year’s hits-and-rarities compilation Music from the North Country. Hollywood Town Hall, their 1992 LP (and first on Rick Rubin’s American Recordings label), will see a reissue expanded by five tracks, while 1995’s Tomorrow the Green Grass, one of their most successful records, will be expanded in a Legacy Edition that includes 24 bonus cuts, largely comprised of the fabled “Mystery Demos” the band recorded at the time. Both titles are due August 24.
  • Punk-pop band Sum 41 will see their debut LP, All Killer No Filler, get a 10th anniversary reissue from Island Records and UMe on August 3. Amazon has a pre-order link, but that’s the extent of it for now.
  • Finally, Hip-o Select has announced a limited reissue of two Verve LPs from soul organist Jimmy Smith. Respect (1967) and Livin’ It Up (1968) are getting their premiere release on CD with a bonus track, non-LP single “Mickey Mouse.” That track list can be found after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

May 22, 2010 at 13:48