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IN A SPIN... TO WIN

Friday, 09 December 2011 18:59 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

spinnersMUSIC CLUB/RHINO have just released the last of their 2011 soul retrospectives. This time the spotlight has been turned onto legendary vocal group THE DETROIT SPINNERS. Known just as "THE SPINNERS" in the States, they began their recording career with HARVEY FUQUA'S Tri –Phi label which eventually brought them into the Motown fold.

Despite some excellent Motown recordings, they were only ever considered second stringers by BERRY GORDY'S execs and decision makers, so in 1971 they joined Atlantic and didn't look back as the hits flowed. MUSIC CLUB/RHINO have assembled all those Atlantic hits and many more memorable cuts on 'THE DETROIT SPINNERS... THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION'. The double CD offers 31 great songs and comes complete with critical essay from our own CHARLES WARING.

We have five copies of this wonderful collection to give away. Simply answer our question, send it to us via our e-mail address and the album could be "working its way back to you" (yes, poor punning... we know!!!). The closing date is Friday 16th December... good luck.

QUESTION: Name the legendary Philly producer/writer/arranger responsible for the first flush of the SPINNERS' Atlantic success.....

Last Updated on Friday, 09 December 2011 19:05

 

TWO SAD PASSINGS...

Friday, 09 December 2011 15:26 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

The last week has seen the passing of two great soul stylists – HOWARD TATE and DOBIE GRAY. TATE died on Friday, December 2, while GRAY passed on Tuesday, December 6.

howard-tate4HOWARD TATE was born in Macon, Georgia in 1938 but his singing career only took off after relocating to Philadelphia where he teamed up with GARNET MIMMS in the GAINORS. He then worked with organ grinder BILL DOGGETT before coming to the attention of JERRY RAGOVAY who recorded him for a number of labels. His biggest hit was 'Get It While You Can' (1966) but he never really made the major leagues remaining something of a cult figure. Personal problems – relationships, addiction, business conflict and other issues – saw him drop off the radar till 2003 when he teamed up with RAGOVAY again for the 'Rediscovered' "comeback" album'. Though it was Grammy nominated, it failed to reignite his career. He was nevertheless embraced by soul purists and even managed to win back royalties from Verve with whom he'd enjoyed his moderate 60s success. By then TATE had cleaned up and, he said, "found his God".

He was found dead at his Burlington, New Jersey apartment on Friday 6 December and the Coroner later confirmed that he'd died of natural causes. He's survived by three children.

DobieGray_article_story_mainDOBIE GRAY was born in Brookshire, Texas in 1943 and there's some conflict regarding his given name. Some suggest he was born LAURENCE DARROW BROWN, while others say he was LEONARD VICTOR AINSWORTH. Whatever, he moved to Los Angeles in the early 60s to break away from his family's share-cropping poverty and seeing music as the way forward he came into contact with SONNY BONO who suggested a name change to DOBIE GRAY – after a then popular US sit com character - DOBIE GILLIS.

In 1965 he recorded his breakthrough hit – the truly anthemic 'In Crowd' but despite the glory and his adoption by the UK Northern soul fraternity (who avidly collected his more obscure sides), DOBIE veered to musical theatre spending two and a half years in 'Hair'.

In '72 he resurfaced as a solo recording artist. Working with MENTOR WILLIAMS, he recorded the wonderful 'Drift Away' and 'Loving Arms'. The engaging mix of country and soul made them huge hits and the singer decided that for him, at least, country music was the way forward and he relocated to Nashville. Sadly he failed to score anymore hits as an artist but his songs were regularly recorded by others.

In later years GRAY suffered from cancer, though after his passing on Tuesday, December 6, no cause of death was given.

 

INTRODUCING PATRICE COVINGTON

Wednesday, 07 December 2011 19:41 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

PATRICE COVINGTON hails from the Chesapeake area of Virginia and it wpatriceas there that she developed her love for musical theatre... debuting at a tender age in 'Annie'. Since then she's appeared in numerous productions but is now set to launch a solo singing career. Having just finished a nationwide tour with RUBEN STUDDARD, the lady's busy working on her debut album, 'Life Feels Good' which is slated for early 2012 release.

In the meantime, she's just released a promotional 4 track eponymous EP which clearly shows the lady's potential. The four songs are all written and produced by CHAZ SHEPHERD and they mostly have the feel of current girl group pop/R&B, with 'Release' standing out as a sweet ballad. The odd one out is the big opener, 'I Wanna Be'. This is bright, breezy and quaintly old-fashioned. You know, there's an air of the SUPREMES about it ... hardly surprising when you learn that PATRICE has recently appeared in 'Dreamgirls'! Here you'll hear her sweet, melodic true soprano voice at its best. Learn more @ www.patricecovington.com

Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 December 2011 19:49

 

KNEE DEEP IN SOULFUL HOUSE

Wednesday, 07 December 2011 19:39 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

knee_deepKNEE DEEP are Germany's top soulful house crew. Having met in Hamburg, BASTI DOHRING and TODDIE FREESE have worked with many big names (RAMUS FABER, KENNY BOBIEN, DAVID MORALES, JAMIROQUAI and RHIANNA amongst them) and gigged at the world's most prestigious venues. One of their recent big tunes is the infectious 'Mysterious' which features a fab vocal from SHENA. Now THE BROTHERS label have licensed the track and called in two top mixers to tweak it as their first salvo in a remix assault on KNEE DEEP'S back catalogue.

American top gun, BOBBY D'AMBROSIO is the first to get his hands on the song. He offers a couple of 8 minute plus epics and there's little to choose between the Vocal Club Mix and the Sunset Vocal Mix. Both feature tight, hard beats, sweeping Philly style strings and some sweet keys. Crucially though, BOB allows the beauty of the melody to stand. There are, of course, instrumentals available too... and here you can appreciate the swagger of those keys.

Switzerland's MICRO ESPOSITO also tackles 'Mysterious' and though his mix is more electro and sounds thinner – even sparse, the delights of the song itself remains and SHENA'S vocal sounds a tad more powerful.

The 'Mysterious' remixes are available now on TRAXSOURCE PROMO... with the full release on December 14th on THE BROTHERS label.

 

LANU GOES ACOUSTIC...

Friday, 02 December 2011 18:39 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

lanuOne of this year's best albums on the underground alternative soul scene has been LANU'S 'Her 12 Faces'. Now LANU (aka LANCE FERGUSON of Aussie outfit, THE BAMBOOS) is set to release the LP's third single –the wistful, folksy 'Roosevelt Blues' which features the vocals of MEGAN WASHINGTON. The song is about the urban legends associated with the famous Roosevelt Hotel in LA and is set acoustically.

To match the mood of the song, LANU has also re-mixed four more of the albums songs acoustically. They are the two previous singles – 'Beautiful Trash' and 'Fall' along with 'Hold Me Down' and 'Wire'. All four feature Ms WASHINGTON and you can learn more at www.tru-thoughts.co.uk

 

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