In terms of weirdness this one scores consistently high. Blessed (?) with a near operatic voice, Wardell impresses with a batch of sub-hysteric songs accompanied by a soulful band. The most famous track here is the ultra funky "Down on my luck" which is quite extreme.
This LP hails from southern California and was released on George's own label. He hired engineer John Vestman to produce this 1981 record. Soundwise it is 70s soul with a slight dsco influence on one of the three cream tracks, "You're the one" which has a great steppin' vibe (click the picture for audio). The conscious tune "Keep on keeping on" and the melodic romantic "You're all my dreams" are also quite gorgeous.
Freddy Cole is of course Nat King Cole's brother and specialized in jazz vocals and piano. As of time of writing he is still performing world wide and claims to be able to play thousands of songs at will. In the late sixties and early seventies he hit on a specific soul sound very "beat ballad" in style and this record is his very best. It contains the definitive version of a brilliant song he recorded several times, which is the title song "On second thought".
The Gospel field knows many legends and its fair share of literal Heavyweights. These guys recorded for the tiny NYC label Sher-Mar, founded by Doyle Sherman, himself a gospel artist. Big Nick and his heavyweights had a long career, releasing records until well into the 1980s ("God has been gracious" LP on Nashboro). They also share an LP on Sher-Mar with Doyle Sherman & the Doylettes. The sound on these Sher-Mar records is primitive, but very hard as well, Punk Gospel anyone?
This was Harvey Averne's third LP and arguably his hippest. Harvey is of course a Latin Soul legend who needs no introduction. On this LP, recorded it seems in Woodstock, he brings us a set of conscious and hip tunes. The best tune on the LP to me is "Love never stays the same", an incredible soul ballad with just the right vibe.
Ela Laboriel is a female singer and actress from Mexico. She released her sole LP on Musart in 1967 which contains her version of Motown-esque soul music, sung in Spanish (for example You Can't Hurry Love). The LP also contains cover versions of several Brazilian soul classics such as Mas Que Nada and Jorge Ben's Chove Chuva.
The Maple label out of New York holds some of the greatest LP’s in the soul canon, for instance the Gloria Barnes LP, The Chosen Few and George Scott. Lee Moses takes the biscuit for me, because his growling monster of a voice is such a phenomenon it cannot be matched by anybody else. The LP is a masterpiece full of classic songs, the very best of which is the to die for deep ballad “What you don’t want me to be”, where Lee shows the power of restraint.
Here’s a record that officially doesn’t even exist, because the Buddah catalog number on the sleeve is held by an altogether different LP in the official Buddah release list. If you like your soul music in the smooth and rich Barry White production style, this is a must have LP for you. Betty and Dee are great singers, and the songs are almost overpowering with their great tunes, and rich production. Fortunately this LP is very much under the radar, so you might be able to find a copy for not too much money, with a little patience and sharpness.
Miami Soul from the late seventies with TK Murray as the suave singer on a batch of crucial tunes. The modern soul crowd goes for two midtempo floaters on the album (also rereleased on a Street Sounds records single a few years ago), but the very best track on this beautiful LP is the ballad “No love anymore”, which just builds and builds until all emotion is wrenched out of you, an inescapable juggernaut of a ballad!
Possessing a singing voice of incredible purity and sweetness, Jackie Ross was a vastly underrated singer who struggled to get heard after her initial fame with “Selfish one” on Chess records in the 1960s. This LP is from 1980, and on it she is backed by the mighty funk/soul collective called the South Side Movement, famous in their own right with some great funky records. “A new beginning” is simply awesome pure soul music, with the interplay between Ross and the South Side Movement is unbelievable, on tracks like “Betcha by golly wow”. Just heavenly stuff.