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The Squires -> The Sweet Inspirations


THE SQUIRES Eagle 90413 A Dream Come True ● CD $18.98
32 tracks featuring two different groups named the Squires based in Los Angeles in the mid 50s - one of them featuring Don Harris and Dewey Terry, later known as Don & Dewey. Includes backups to vocalist Effie Smith and several tracks issued as by The Blue Jays doing versions of doo-wop hits of the day (Hearts Of Stone/ Ling Ting Tong/ Sincerely, etc). Songs include Dreamy Eyes/ Lucy Lou/ Am I A Fool/ Sindy/ Venus/ Me & My Deal/ Where Are You Tonight/ Beg & Steal, etc.
EFFIE SMITH & THE SQUIRES: Champagne/ Water, Water/ You Ought To Be Ashamed/ THE SQUIRES: A Breath Of Air/ A Dream Come True/ Am I A Fool/ Beg & Steal/ Dangling With My Heart/ Do Be Do Be Wop Wop/ Don't Drop It/ Dreamy Eyes/ Earth Angel/ Every Word Of This Song/ Hearts Of Stone/ Heavenly Angel/ Let's Give Love A Try/ Ling Ting Tong/ Listen To You Heart/ Lucy Lou/ Me & My Deal/ Oh Darling/ Pledging My Love/ S'cadillac/ Shoo Doo Be Doo/ Sincerely/ Sindy/ Stingy Little Thing/ Sunday Kind Of Love/ Sweet Girl/ Venus/ Venus/ Where Are You Tonight

THE STAPLE SINGERS Kent CDKEN2 240 The Ultimate Staple Singers- A Family Affair, 1955-1984 ● CD $32.98
Two CD retrospective of this great gospel and soul group featuring 44 tracks recorded between 1955 (their first gospel recordings for United) to 1984 (their hits for Private of H-A-T-E {Don't Live Here Anymore} and Slippery People) and including rare and unissued sides making their first appearance CD on plus solo sides by Pops Staples and Mavis Staples.
THE STAPLE SINGERS: (sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay/ A Hard Rain's A Gonna Fall/ Be Careful Of Stones That You Throw/ City In The Sky/ For What It's Worth/ God Bless The Children/ H-a-t-e (don't Live Here Any More)/ Hammer And Nails/ Heavy Makes You Happy (sha Na Boom Boom)/ I Got To Be Myself/ I Have Learned To Do Without You/ I Honestly Love You/ I Wish I Had Answered/ I'll Take You There/ If You're Ready (come Go With Me)/ It's Been A Change/ Let's Do It Again/ Long Walk To Dc/ Love Me, Love Me, Love Me/ New Orleans/ Nobody's Fault But Mine/ Oh La De Da/ Respect Yourself/ Slippery People/ Solon Bushi/ Swing Low/ The Gardener/ The Ghetto/ The Only Time You Ever Say You Love Me/ This May Be The Last Time/ This World/ Too Close/ Touch A Hand, Make A Friend/ Uncloudy Day/ When Will We Be Paid For The Work We Did/ Who Took The Merry Out Of Christmas/ Why (am I Treated So Bad)/ Will The Circle Be Unbroken/ Won't You Sit Down (sit Down Servant)/ You're Gonna Make Me Cry/ You've Got To Earn It/ MAVIS STAPLES: Trippin' On Your Love/ POPS STAPLES: John Henry/ Tryin' Time

THE STAPLE SINGERS Stax 4116 Be Altitude: Respect Yourself ● CD $12.98
10 cuts, including Respect Yourself/I'll Take You There/Who Do You Think You Are/I'm Just Another Soldier.

THE STAPLE SINGERS Stax 8532 We'll Get Over ● CD $12.98
Reissue of Stax 2016 from 1969. Though they signed to Stax in 1968 and had no hits until 1972's Respect Yourself , The Staples were still putting out excellent material. This is their 2nd Stax LP, when they were still a quartet with brother Purvis still in the group. Produced, arranged & engineered by Steve Cropper - Tend To Your Own Business/ Give A Damn/ Everyday People / title tune. (GM)

THE STAPLE SINGERS Stax 8561 Soul Folk In Action ● CD $12.98
Interesting reissue of 1968 recordings, with Pops, Mavis and the other Staples in front of the unbeatable Stax rhythm section and horns. As is also the case with Mavis' solo LP's, Steve Cropper's production efforts are a little too psychedelicized to stand the test of time; but still the music carries the moment. No one can fuse pop, gospel, soul and social commentary into a solid statement like the Staples do - check out We've Got To Get Ourselves Together/ Dock Of The Bay/ The Weight/ I See It/ The Ghetto and the two unissued bonus tracks The Lady's Letter/ Pop's Instrumental, which are equally strong contenders. 11 cuts, 13 on CD. (MB)

THE STAPLE SINGERS Stax 8573 The Staple Swingers ● CD $12.98
12 tracks, 46 min., recommended
Now available domestically. The year was 1971 - prime time for funky fashions and politically charged pop music. The Staples' pop music contributions to the zeitgeist have aged better than most, thanks to their indelible soulfulness, positive messages, and especially creative production from the Stax crew. The period yielded three hits - You've Got To Earn It, the booty-bouncin' Love Is Plentiful, and Heavy Makes You Happy, one of the Staples' many post-gospel top 10 charters. This Is A Perfect World opens with ironic battle sounds before exploding into an imaginative collage of studio trickery and Sly-inspired boogaloo. In between deep bump-and-grind numbers like What's Your Thing/ You're Gonna Make Me Cry touches of slide guitar, harmonica, and non-stop tambourines keep it down home. Great remastered sound makes for effortless appreciation of this forgotten classic. (MB)

THE STAPLE SINGERS Stax 53308 Greatest Hits ● CD $10.98
8 tracks including Respect Yourself/ Touch A Hand Make A Friend/ I'll Take You There/ City In The Sky, etc

THE STAPLE SINGERS Stax 60007 The Best Of The Staple Singers ● CD $16.98

MAVIS STAPLES Stax 88012 Only For The Lonely/ Mavis Staples ● CD $17.98

DOC STARKES & HIS NITE RIDERS Famous Groove 971014 Night Ridin' ● CD $18.98
29 tracks, 71 mins, recommended
Fine collection of sides recorded between 1954 and '59 by band of mostly veteran R&B stalwarts led by bassist, trombonist and songwriter James "Doc" Starkes and including fine vocalist Melvin Smith, singer/ guitarist Harry Crafton, legendary pianist Harry Van "Piano Man" Walls among others. Their material was a mixture of hard driving R&B vocals and instrumentals, jivey jump material, novelty sides, blues, ballads and a bit of after hours lounge material. They also accompany vocalist Faye Simmonds on a couple of sides. A good and varied selection of sides. (FS)

THE STATENS Crystal Ball 1029 Time & Again ● CD $17.98
30 tracks from group from Staten Island, NY featuring recordings from the 60s as well as from their 80s reunion and features several demos - some acapella. The material ranges from white doo-wop a-la Dion & The Belmonts and The Elegants along with rock 'n' roll in the mould of The Beach Boys or Jan & Dean. It includes three versions of their most famous song Summertime (not the standard) including the original demo, the first recording with the Dematron band and recording issued by George Goldner on Mark-X with a full orchestra. Other songs include Where was I/ See Saw Love/ The Humpty Dumpty (a nice dance oriented song with tough guitar)/ Test Of Time/ Valentine/ You Broke My Heart/ Certain Kind, etc.

CANDI STATON Capitol (UK)594 432-2 His Hands ● CD $23.98
11 tracks, highly recommended
In 2003, when English label Honest Jons (Astralwerks in the USA) released the first retrospective of deep soul singer Candi Staton's classic FAME sides from the sixties and seventies, no one knew if an audience existed outside of deep soul fanatics. In three years it ended up selling around 70,000 copies, seven or eight times more than most soul reissues sell. Honest Jons then persuaded Candi to record her first secular album in twenty-five years and "His Hands" is far better than we fans have any right to expect. Her voice-unsurprisingly-has lost some of its suppleness, but she more than makes up for that with the emotional power of her singing. The CD is worth it for the first two tracks alone: Merle Haggard's You Don't Have Far to Go is country soul at its finest and Tommy Tate's When Hearts Grow Cold takes us back to the best of sixties/seventies southern soul. There are other treats, such as Candi's gut-wrenching take on Charlie Rich's You Never Really Wanted Me, a great shuffling version of Bert Berns' Cry to Me, and Bill Owens' driving You're Running Out of Love (I'm Running out of Patience). Throw in the fact that the recording uses real instruments (no synthesizers anywhere), among which is the Hammond B3 played by soul hero Barry Beckett, and you have a CD that for a soul fan is essential. But anyone who likes good songs and great singing will respond to this disk. Thank you Honest Jons. (Joe Sperry)

CANDI STATON Astralwerks 94432 Candi Staton ● CD $16.98
26 tracks, 74 mins, essential
Some of the greatest Southern soul of the late 60s/ early 70s is finally available on CD. Candi Staton is a truly great singer with a soaring, emotion drenched voice that reveals her gospel roots - I'd put her up there with Aretha Franklin & Irma Thomas. Linking up with producer Rick Hall in 1969 she recorded a series of stunning singles over the next four years at his justifiably acclaimed Fame studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Accompanied by some great studio musicians she recorded songs written by staff writers like George Jackson as well some composed or co-composed by Candi herself. Among the highlights is the stupendous I'm Just A Prisoner, one of my all time favorites with it's great Roebuck Staples style tremelo guitar and the deliciously effective key change. Other standouts includes her first hit I'd Rather Be An Old Man's Sweetheart, a great cover of the country song Stand By Your Man which changes the whole mood of the song, the powerful evidence and a gorgeous cover of the Otis Redding classic That's How Strong My Love Is that equals the original in emotional intensity. But every song is great. Sound quality is superb and there are informative notes by Tim Tooher. Let's hope that they release the rest of her glorious Fame recordings. (FS)

CANDI STATON Spy 46005 Candi/ Music Speaks Louder Than Words ● CD $15.98
This CD reissues two LPs recorded by this superb soul singer for Warner Brothers in 1974 and 1977. "Candi" was produced by Rick Hall in Muscle Shoals and continues in the Southern Soul vein of her classic Fame releases though more heavily arranged. "Music Speaks Louder Than Words" was recorded after Candi had topped the R&B charts with her disco song Young Hearts Run Free and is dominated by dance and pop songs but that oh so soulful voice is still prominent and her cover of the Freddy Fender classic Before The Next Teardrop Falls rates up there with her Fame masterworks.

BILLY STEWART Chess CHD 6027 One More Time - The Chess Years ● CD $10.98
2-LP set on one CD.

JESSE STONE Bear Family BCD 15695 Jesse Stone Alias Charles Calhoun ● CD $21.98
30 tracks, 78 mins, recommended
Although Jesse Stone may not be a household name chances are you've heard some of the classic R&B songs he has written under the pseudonym Charles Calhoun such as Shake, Rattle & Roll/ Your Cash Ain't Nothin' But Trash/ Money Honey/ Losing Hand/ Smack Dab In The Middle and many others. He is also credited with having originated the heavy bass line that is a cornerstone of R&B and rock 'n' roll. This disc features the recordings made under his own name between 1947 and '58. His 40s recordings are very much in the Louis Jordan vein though Stone is a relatively unexceptional singer. The band, featuring top New York musicians is excellent and there are some fun songs like Hey Sister Lucy (What Makes Your Lips So Juicy)/ The Donkey & The Donkey (witty political comment calypso style)/ I Came Unexpectedly/ Who Killed 'Er and others. His 50s sides are solid rockin' New York R&B with the usual suspects in the band - Sam "The Man" Taylor, Mickey Baker, Taft Jordan, "Panama" Francis and others and features some terrific instrumental cuts like Runaway/ Hey Tiger/ Night Life (with some intriguing tremelo guitar from Baker) and others. Booklet has informed notes from the ever reliable Peter Grendysa and some rare photos. Now in his 90s, Stone is still and active musician and one whose contributions are immense. (FS)

ROLAND STONE Westside 577 Just A Moment - Something Special From .. ● CD $13.98 $9.98
Obscure but fine white R&B singer from New Orleans who had a big local hit with the title song. He was accompanied on these early 60s by top New Orleans session including Mac "Dr. John" Rebennac who plays piano on many tracks and wrote quite a few of them. Includes unissued songs and alternate takes.

THE STRANGERS & FRIENDS Dipper 206 23 1950s Vocal Group Cuts ● CD $17.98

NOLAN STRONG & THE DIABLOS Diablo 1080 Fortune Of Hits, Vol. 1 & 2 ● CD $18.98
24 tracks, 60 mins, recommended
Two hard to find LPs from 1961 and '62 by this fine and influential group featuring sides cut between 1954 and 1961. Although they only had minor commercial success with the ethereal The Wind and the bluesy The Way You Dog Me Around they were very influential - Strong's soulful high vocals were to influence Smokey Robinson, among others. The material, mostly written by Strong, is a nice blend of soulful ballads, blues and up tempo rockers. In addition the above songs there are other great performances like If I Oh I ((Could Be With You)/ Route Sixteen/ Goodbye Mathilda/ Do You Remember What Youd Did/ Ooh! Ooh! Those Eyes/ Adios My Desert Love/ Hold Me Until Eternity/ Yeah Baby, It's Because Of You/ Daddy, Rocking Stone, etc. Sound quality is unexceptional and along with the absence of any documentation takes the rating down a notch. (FS)

J.B. SUMMERS Collectables 5333 With The Blues Shouters ● CD $11.98 $7.98
14 tracks, highly recommended
Originally Krazy Kat LP 833. I confess. I took one look at this and I knew I'd love it - blues shouters, Tiny Grimes, Frank Motley, Gotham, great cover photos - yeah! J.B. really has the Wynonie Harris bit down pat, shoutin' out good time R&B over a blazing R&B band. He is very impressive on his 7 tunes here, backed up on different occasions by the orchestras of Grimes, Doc Bagby and Eddie Woodland. Tunes include Hey Mr. J.B./ Drinking Beer/ I Want A Present For Christmas , etc. Side two starts with one of the greatest blues shouters, Jimmy Rushing. Mr. 5x5 sings the previously unissued Ain't It Lonesome , backed by The Count Basie All Stars. Harry Crafton, Danny 'Mr. Alto' Turner, Benny Brown, Lloyd 'Fat Man' Smith and Gay Crosse all contribute to the rollicking good time. A very enjoyable collection. Super sleuth Bruce Bastin figures things out in the liner notes. (AE)

THE SUNGLOWS Collectables 5551 Peanuts ● CD $13.98
Texas based instrumental group popular in 60s.

SUNNY & THE SUNGLOWS Collectables 5533 Talk To Me ● CD $13.98
12 tracks from San Antonio, Texas band who were very popular in early 60s. Include their title smash plus Think It Over/ Carino Nuevo/ Golly Gee/ Rags To Riches/ Not Even Judgement Day, etc

SUNNY & THE SUNGLOWS Sunglow 118 Talk To Me ● CD $17.98
25 tracks from this Tejano R&B band from San Antonio, Texas who were active in the early/ mid 60s. Led by vocalist Sunny Ozuna they had a big hit in 1963 with their cover of Little Willie John's Talk To Me and ended up becoming the first Tejano act to appear on American Bandstand. That hit is here along with rags To Riches/ You Gave Me A true Love/ Please Mr. Sandman/ Cheating Traces/ Trick Bag/ Something's Got A Hold Of Me, etc.

THE SWALLOWS Collectables 2878 The Very Best Of The Swallows ● CD $15.98
25 tracks, highly recommended
The Baltimore based Swallows were known primarily for their smooth, laid-back blues-based harmony style, a sort of vocal group equivalent of early Charles Brown & The Four Blazes recordings. The group is also remembered for novelty songs like Bicycle Tille and It Ain't The Meat. Led by tenors Eddie Rich (on jumps) and string-bass player Junior Denby (on ballads), the group had a rich earthy blues style all their own. Other original members included Earl Hurley (tenor & bongos), Fred "Money Guitar" Johnson (bari & guitar), and Norris "Bunky" Mack (bass, piano, guitar, drums). Formerly known as The Oakaleers, they came out of the "swing in rhythm" quartet tradition of The Spirits Of Rhythm, etc., and first recorded for King in 1950. The first 22 tracks are drawn from their sides recorded for King between 1951 and 1953 and includes their R&B hits Will You Be Mine and Beside You. The last three tracks were recorded for Federal in 1958 with a somewhat differnt line up though still featuring the fine lead of Eddie Rich and includes a cover of Bobby Hendricks's Itchy Twitchy Feeling. (OLN/FS)

THE SWALLOWS Starbound 503 The Starbound Years ● CD $18.98
22 sides from 1985 and '86 by this legendary group. The only original member of the group is lead singer Eddie Rich. Includes Try To Remember/ Beside You/ have Mercy Baby/ It Ain't The Meat/ It's Never Too Soon/ Dearest/ Oh Lonesome Me, etc.

THE SWALLOWS Starbound 505 Acapella ● CD $17.98
1980s recordings of this group doing acapella versions of vocal group favorites like Will You Be Mine/ Dearest/ Beside You/ Love Bells/ Would I Be Crying/ When The Swallows Come Back To Capistrano/ Mother/ I'll Be Waiting, etc.

THE SWALLOWS/ THE LAMPLIGHTERS Eagle 90405 For Collectors Only ● CD $18.98
43 tracks, 55 min., good
A fly-on-the-wall look at two specific recording sessions: one held for the latter day Swallows on 4/28/58, and one held for the Lamplighters on 1/7/56. Inherent in such an approach are multiple versions of each number and lots of brief false starts. So the 43 tracks listed above include lots of 10 to 20 second miscues. The completed numbers are We Want to Rock, In the Palm of My Hands, Rock-a-Bye Baby, and Laughing Boy by the Swallows, plus You Were Sent From Heaven, Stop Doing What You're Doing, Everything's Allright (sic), and Hey Bo Pete by the Lamplighters. The fully performed numbers are above reproach, but I think the whole-session approach used here might well lose its charm for most listeners. Would you want to listen to up to nine attempts at a single song before a new number is offered? (DH)

BETTYE SWANN EMI 98841 Bettye Swann ● CD $16.98
22 tracks, 64 mins, highly recommended
From the same people who put together the recent great Candi Staton CD here is another collection of truly great deep soul. Bettye Swann was originally from Louisiana but recorded on the West Coast - originally for John Dolphin's Money label (reissued on Kent 197) and then between 1968 and 1970 for Capitol which is the source of these recordings. Produced by Wayne Schuler she recorded a lot of covers of country, soul and even pop songs but with her beautiful, sensitive, sweet and soulful voice and uncluttered arrangements she gives every song her own individual stamp. Includes Don't You Ever Get Tired (Of Hurting Me)?/ Don't Touch Me (her only Capitol hit)/ Cover Me/ Sweet Dreams/ Ain't That Peculiar/ Words (yes, The Bee-Gees song!)/ Stand By Your Man/ Angel Of The Morning and more. After Capitol she recorded for Atlantic and then gave up on the music business which is certainly our loss. (FS)

BETTYE SWANN Collectables 5177 Make Me Yours - Golden Classics ● CD $11.98

BETTYE SWANN Kent CDKEND 197 The Money Recordings ● CD $18.98
24 tracks, recommended
Fine uptown soul from L.A., 1965-68. The 1st recordings by Betty Jean Champion, done for this John Dolphin-associated label. All her recordings done for the label are here, including A & B sides, the "Make Me Yours" LP (Money 103 from '67), even the never-issued "Don't Wait Too Long" LP, as well as other unreleased tracks, including a beautiful demo for her version of Don't Look Back which is just Bettye with acoustic guitar! Swann is a "northern soul" fave & reminds me a bit of Barbara Acklin. Includes her hits Make Me Yours & Fall In Love With Me. (GM)

THE SWEET INSPIRATIONS Collector's Choice 700 The Sweet Inspirations ● CD $12.98
12 tracks, 33 mins, highly recommended
Reissue of first solo album from 1967 by this fabulous soul vocal quartet (Emily "Cissy" Houston, Estelle Brown, Sylvia Shemwell & Myrna Smith) that are best known for their vocal backup on hundreds of Atlantic recordings as well as backing Elvis Presley, Dusty Springfield and many others. Most of the group started as gospel singers and it shows in their wonderful expressive vocals. This CD features their first three hits, the Roebuck Staples song Why (Am I Treated So Bad), a gorgeous rendition of the old Everly Brothers hit Let It Be Me and their theme song Sweet Inspiration which was written by Dan penn and Spooner Oldham and became their biggest hit. Other songs include a remarakble treatment of the old country standard Blues Stay Away From Me which bears only a passing resemblance to the Delmore Brothers version, covers of Knock On Wood/ Do Right Woman, Do Right Man/ I'm Blue as well as some great songs written for them. Includes original artwork and notes as well as new notes by Richie Unterberger. (FS)

THE SWEET INSPIRATIONS Spy 46004 Sweets For My Sweet / Sweet Sweet Soul ● CD $17.98
21 tracks, highly recommended
Reissue of two Atlantic LPs from 1969 and 1970. A fabulous collection of deep soul featuring the vocal charms of this great quartet - Emily "Cissy" Houston, Estelle Brown, Sylvia Shemwell & Myrna Smith. Most of them started as gospel singers and it shows in their wonderful expressive vocals. They appeared as vocal backup on hundreds of recordings cut for Atlantic and other labels though they only had moderate success under their own name. "Sweet For My Sweet" was recorded in New York with the Muscle Shoals session group and includes the title tune (a fine cover of the Drifters hit), But You Know I Love You/ It's Not Easy/ Don't Go/ Every Day Will Be Like A Holiday/ Crying In The Rain and others. "Swwet Sweet Soul" from 1970 was produced in Philadelphia by Ugene Dozier for Gamble-Huff Productions and has a bit more of an uptown sound. It opens with the fiery Shut Up!! and also includes two Can Play The Game/ (Gotta Find) A Brand New Lover, Parts 1 & 2/ / Them Boys and others. Booklet has informative notes by British soul expert David Nathan. (FS)

THE SWEET INSPIRATIONS Stax 8565 Estelle, Myrna And Sylvia ● CD $12.98
This reissue of the 1973 Stax album was recorded after Emily "Cissy" Houston had left for a solo career, but there were still enough Inspirations here to make a wonderful record. The first song Wishes And Dishes will convert disbelievers - slow, plaintive vocals wax mournful on a marriage gone sour, and 6 minutes hardly seem like enough time. Call Me When All Else Fails is another slow, sad one that leaves little wonder why these women used to sing backup for Aretha Franklin. The upbeat Slipped And Tripped turns the idea of literally falling in love into a great song. Come to think of it, there are no bad cuts here. As a bonus, this CD adds two hits from 1967: Why (Am I Treated So Bad), their first chart success, and Sweet Inspiration, which reached #5 on Billboard's R&B chart. Recommended. (JC)


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