“That rock and roll is far behind me”

Southside Desire will be releasing their first album, Songs to Love and Die To with a show at the Nomad World Pub on Saturday October 27th, along with an amazing bill of bands: The Goondas, the Sex Rays and JT and the Sloppy Seconds. Hipshaker’s Brian Engel and Hot Pants’ Ben Mena will be DJing.

They will also be performing here at Hymie’s on Tuesday October 30th at 6pm (info on Facebook here). It would be a huge understatement to say we’re super excited about both events!

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(“When I Was Your Queen” by Southside Desire)

Listening to the eight songs on this great album by Minneapolis’ new “femme-fronted northern soul” band (as they describe themselves) inspired me to dig through our disorganized albums for some classic white soul. Here’s some of the records I found:

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(“Lay me Down” by Jubal)

Jubal (and not, as it may sound, “Jew-Ball”) recorded one of a great many one-off albums Elektra released in the early 70s, and although it is largely forgotten many songs by the band have been country/rock radio mainstays for decades. Dennis Linde, Jubal’s most accomplished member, is probably most famous for writing Elvis’ “Burnin’ Love” but also wrote and produced records for Roy Drusky and Roger Miller in the 70s and Tanya Tucker, the Dixie Chicks and Garth Brooks in the more recent years, highlighting a quiet, back scenes career that spanned decades.

Alan Rush, who played bass on the Jubal album, wrote songs for everyone from John Denver to Canned Heat. And keyboardist Rob Galbraith recorded two eccentric country-soul albums worth the search to find.

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(“Just an Everyday Guy” by Rob Galbraith)

Galbraith’s mid 70s album for RCA, Throw Me a Bone, epitomized pre-disco country-funk (sure, why not?) with songs like “White Boy in the Woodpile” and “I Majored in Jive”. It leans a little to self-depreciating desperation, while Nashville Dirt has a savvy confidence entirely lacking in country music today.

I pictured the back cover of this one too because I think it captures the feeling of the album so well. Plus our copy has one of those big dumb promotional stickers on it.

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(“Son of a Preacher Man” by Dusty Springfield)

Pop singers with good management recorded went south in the late sixties, usually chasing the sound and success of Aretha Franklin’s unprecedented run of hits preceding the era. Many are forgotten gems (like Lulu’s New Routes) and one is considered a classic.

In fact, Dusty didn’t record in Memphis – her vocal takes were recorded in New York City! Regardless, the album is a masterwork of pop and soul, and legendary Atlantic Records producers Jerry Wexler, Tom Dowd and Arif Mardin seem to use Springfield’s richly evocative voice as an instrument in the arrangements, much in the way Duke Ellington described his relationship to the performers who remained with his orchestra for decades.

“Son of a Preacher Man” is an enduring classic for good reason, although for me it has always been “Breakfast in Bed” that hit just the right spot.

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(“Nobody’s Fool” by Dan Penn)

Like the members of Jubal, Dan Penn’s best songwriting was for records that weren’t his own (“Dark End of the Street” for James Carr, “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” for Aretha Franklin, and – a favorite – “I’m Your Puppet” for James & Bobby Purify). Nobody’s Fool was his first and only album from the era (he since recorded several in the 90s n’ aughts) – like a lot of 70s white soul the album shows its age, but the same jaunty confidence heard on Nashville Dirt is evident.

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(“Night Owl” by the Bad Habits)

This was in a little blue 45 box I got from a friend of my mother’s when I was about twenty, long past the age your parents’ friends should be giving you stuff, but I was pretty grateful. And I’m pretty sure I still own most of the 45s that were in her case, including heavy garage rockers like the Shadows of Knight’s “Gloria” and “Wild Thing,” but also Manfred Mann’s “Quinn the Eskimo” and the first Donovan record I ever listened to.

The Bad Habits’ first single was the gem of the lot, and at the time I didn’t know it was a valuable so I played the shit out of it. They were a band from Louisiana who made only six singles – three with lead singer Debbie Folse – all for the Paula label. “Night Owl,” the first, is actually a cover of 50s song by Tony Allen and the Champs (as “Nite Owl”). The Bad Habits recorded their version in 1970.

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(“If I Ever Had a Good Thing” by Tony Joe White)

Probably not the best example of his music, this is unfortunately the only Tony Joe White album I have that’s not so scratched up I’d be embarrassed to share it here. People must have played the hell out of them!

Like a lot of great songwriters from the 60s, I first discovered White on an Elvis record. I have been including “Even Trolls Love to Rock and Roll” in my Halloween playlists ever since I first heard it, and “Five Summers for Jimmy” still breaks my heart every time I play my torn-to-hell copy of White’s first Warner Bros. album, simply titled Tony Joe White.

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(“She’s Gone” by Hall & Oates)

Fact: There was an abandon luncheonette. It was in Kenilworth, Pennsylvania, but it started out in Pottstown where it was the Rosedale Diner. It sat off Route 274 until it was burned to the ground when the land was developed.

Fact #2: I never listened to a Hall & Oates record until I started running a record shop. After a while, you realize you’ve listened to all your favorites more than enough times and start checking out the things you’ve never heard.

Fact #3: Neither had a well-known local DJ, who was in the shop last week when I was listening to Abandoned Luncheonette for the first time. We both agreed it was pretty good, and we should have listened to it sooner.

 

I once described a friend on this blog as an “elegant gentleman” or something like that, and he shot back at me that it was a codeword for a gay man. He wasn’t ashamed of himself and I think I heart his feelings, but I really was just trying to describe him as elegant, something so rare in this world I think you’ve got to appreciate it.

And he was the one who brought in this Renee Geyer album, which is one of the only ones you’re going to find here in the States (she was Australian). If her albums weren’t so damn expensive I would own every single one – especially the live ones – but those Aussie bucks really add up, not to mention the cost of a nine thousand mile journey! I get nervous carrying records ten blocks to the shop and back, I can’t imagine mail-ordering one from way down under!

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(“Just to Make Love to You” by Renee Geyer)

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(“Love Buzz” by Willie and the Bees)

Everybody record collector in town seems to disdain the pink Bees album. I think it all started when Axeman Surplus got a hold of cases of them and sold if for a buck. Sure, it’s no Honey from the Bees, but that’s just not a fair comparison.

Out of the Woods does have some great jams and some of Willie’s smoothest vocals. The entire thing has a fat sound only Minneapolis’ Sound 80 could create, and it deserves a second listen. I, for one, love “Love Buzz.”

The Cate Brothers jammed with the Band when they were the Hawks and Steve Cropper produced their major-label debut in 1975. What seems to be entirely forgotten by the folks at Allmusic and Wikipedia is that they recorded two albums for Metromedia as the Cates Gang that are awesome, fun, Sam & Dave-style southern soul.

If you’re interested in these guys and you can’t find any of their records, I suggest you look in the country section, where they are almost always mis-filed. In fact, I found a copy of Come Back Home under country’s C in our shop this week!

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(“If You Got the Time” by the Cates Gang)

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(“One Woman Man” by the Cates Gang)

 

 

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