Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson – From South Africa To South Carolina (1975)

Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson
From South Africa to South Carolina
1975 Arista Records AL 4044

01 Johannesburg 4:47
02 A Toast To The People 5:45
03 The Summer Of ’42 4:38
04 Beginnings (The First Minute Of A New Day) 5:36
05 South Carolina (Barnwell) 4:33
06 Essex 9:19
07 Fell Together 4:26
08 A Lovely Day 3:25 Continue reading

Tata Vega – Get It Up For Love / Just Keep Thinking About You Baby (1979)

Tata Vega – Get It Up For Love b/w Just Keep Thinking About You Baby
Motown M 00021D1
Format:Vinyl, 12″, 33 RPM, Single
Country:US
Released: 1979

A – Get It Up For Love  5:58

Co-producer – Andre Fischer
Written-By – N. Doheny

B – I Just Keep Thinking About You Baby  5:34

Written-By – G. Cathey, H. Johnson Continue reading

The Salsoul Orchestra – Christmas Jollies (1976)

The Salsoul Orchestra
Christmas Jollies
1976 Salsoul Records SZS-5507

A1 The Little Drummer Boy 4:57
A2 Sleigh Ride 3:03
A3 Silent Night 1:05
A4 Merry Christmas All 3:28
A5 Christmas Time 2:30
A6 There’s Someone Who’s Knocking 3:59

Christmas Medley (12:08)

B1.a Joy To The World
B1.b Deck The Halls
B1.c O Come All Ye Faithful
B1.d Jingle Bells
B1.e Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
B1.f Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
B1.g The Christmas Song
B1.h White Christmas
B1.i Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
B1.j I’ll Be Home For Christmas
B1.k Winter Wonderland
B1.l The First Nöel
B1.m We Wish You A Merry Christmas

New Year’s Medley (6:46)

B2.a Auld Lang Salsoul
B2.b I’m Looking Over A Four Leaf Clover
B2.c Alabama Jubilee
B2.d Oh, Dem Golden Slippers
B2.e God Bless America

Recorded At – Sigma Sound Studios
Mastered At – Frankford/Wayne Mastering Labs
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Salsoul Record Corp.
Copyright (c) – Salsoul Record Corp.
Distributed By – Caytronics Corporation
Manufactured By – Caytronics Corporation

Credits

Alto Saxophone – John Bonnie
Bass – Gordon Edwards
Chorus [Children’s] – Santa’s Little Helpers
Congas – Larry Washington, “Chiwawa”
Drums – Earl Young
Guitar – Norman “The Harris Machine” Harris
Guitar, Banjo – Ronnie James
Illustration [Backliner] – Yvonne Ortiz
Keyboards – “Cotton” Kent*
Photography By [Cover] – Joel Brodsky
Producer – Vincent Montana, Jr.
Strings, Horns – Don Renaldo And His Little Helpers
Trumpet [Solos] – Evan Solot
Tuba – Eddie Moore (2)
Vibraphone [Vibes], Chimes, Marimba, Timpani, Percussion, Bells – Vincent Montana, Jr.
Vocals – Barbara Ingram, Carla Benson, Evette Benton, The Salsoul Singers

 

LINEAGE
Salsoul Records SZS-5507 vinyl; Pro-Ject RM-5SE with Audio Tecnica AT440-MLa cartridge; Speedbox power supply); Creek Audio OBH-15; AUdioquest King Cobra cables; M-Audio Audiophile 192 Soundcard ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 192khz; clicks and pops removed with Click Repair on very light settings, manually auditioning the output; further clicks removed with Adobe Audition 3.0; dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced. Converted to FLAC in either Trader’s Little Helper or dBPoweramp. Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag & Rename


It might be easy to dismiss this Salsoul Christmas album as a disposable, vapid cash-grab because, let’s face it, that’s the essence of most Christmas albums.  And when it first occurred to me to do a post on this one, I confess it came with a chuckle and I wasn’t sure if I would be “liking this ironically” or sincerely digging it, having not played it in a million years.  This album was such a big seller for Salsoul that even non-music heads like my parents had a copy around the house when I was growing up (they don’t recall it, however, so it may have been given to them by their friend who ran a record store in Jersey and later worked for a distributor).*  I still have the jacket for that family heirloom (the record went missing), but this is super common record and I picked one up in decent shape super cheap this year.  And you know what?  It doesn’t suck!  Sure, disco versions of Christmas classics can be considered “novelty music”, but the level of professionalism in the arrangements and the playing – this is the Salsoul house band, after all – make it hard not to groove out to them.  “Sleigh Ride” might be my favorite of the classics here.  There are even a few original Christmas tunes that aren’t half bad – in fact, “Merry Christmas All” is just a darned good song.  The Christmas and New Year’s medleys are bombastic and over the top, which is actually as they should be for a record like this.  I could personally do without the finale of God Bless America, but it’s fine, I just always remember to spit contemptuously off to the side whenever it comes on.  Which makes for an odd sight at Christmas parties and I apologize to everyone who’s had to maneuver around my saliva on their kitchen or dance floor.

This was one of the fastest vinyl transfers I’ve ever done, and a voice coil on my fancy headphones broke in the middle of working on it, so you may hear some blemishes.  If any of Santa’s elves out there want to donate to the blog (Patreon button below, or link in the top left), it would help expedite a repair!

Merry Christmas to all and don’t forget to get up off of that thang and dance till you feel better!

*Trivia note about the cover.  The copy my family had was the more common version where “Dance Your Ass Off” as been entirely censored and changed to just “Dance to Salsoul” on the back of the model’s shirt.  As you can see, my current copy has the *partially* censored and nonsensical version that says “Dance Your As”.   And I might as well mention that, adding to the quick-cash feeling of a holiday album, the cover photo is a ‘family friendly’, pre-Photoshop modification of the same one gracing the previous Salsoul Orchestra album, “Nice and Naasty”…


password: vibes

 

The Young Tradition with Shirley & Dolly Collins – The Holly Bears The Crown

The Holly Bears the Crown
The Young Tradition with Shirley & Dolly Collins
Originally recorded 1969 but unreleased (see below)
Fledg’ling Records FLED 3006 (CD, UK, October 30, 1995)

 

Recorded in London in 1969 (but shelved because of the Young Tradition’s break-up);
Produced by John Gilbert
Mastered by Dennis Blackham at Porkys, London
Photography by Brian Shuel
Cover artwork by David Suff

Musicians

Peter Bellamy, vocals;
Shirley Collins, vocals;
Dolly Collins, portative organ;
Adam Skeaping, violone;
Rod Skeaping, bass viol;
Heather Wood, vocals;
Royston Wood, vocals;
Gary Watson, narrator [1, 8]

Tracks

Prologue from Hamlet (0.28)
The Boar’s Head Carol (Roud 22229) (1.38)
Is It Far to Bethlehem (2.12)
Lullay My Liking (2.10)
The Cherry Tree Carol (Roud 453; Child 54; G/D 2:327) (2.48)
Shepherds Arise (The Shepherd’s Hymn) (Roud 1207) (3.10)
I Sing of a Maiden That Is Makeless (1.56)

Interlude: The Great Frost (2.16)
Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day (Roud 21931) (2.08)
A Virgin Most Pure (Roud 1378) (4.19)
The Coventry Carol (Roud 19028) (1.55)
The Holly Bears the Crown (Roud 514) (2.49)
March the Morning Sun (2.24)
Bring Us in Good Ale (Roud 203; G/D 3:590) (2.33)

All tracks trad. except
Track 1 William Shakespeare;
Track 3 words Frances Chesterton, tune trad.;
Track 4 words trad., tune Gustav Holst;
Track 5 words trad., tune Shirley Collins;
Track 7 words trad., tune Dolly Collins;
Track 8 Virginia Woolf;
Track 13 Royston Wood

Arrangements by Peter Bellamy, Shirley and Dolly Collins, Royston Wood, Heather Wood;
All instrumental arrangements by Dolly Collins;
All titles published by Cacophony Music

Information in this text file was found on the wonderful website:
https://mainlynorfolk.info/peter.bellamy/records/thehollybearsthecrown.html

One single was released from this project at the time:

The Boar’s Head Carol / The Shepherd’s Hymn
The Young Tradition

Argo AFW 115 (single, UK, 1974)
The Young Tradition: The Boar’s Head Carol (Argo AFW 115)


Here’s one for getting out the mulled cider and spiced wine, although this will be the most sober of my holiday offerings. It is one of those genuinely “lost classics,” an album that went unreleased at the time except for one single on Argo.  It’s all very, very English.  The Collins sisters teamed up with vocal group The Young Tradition, whose name itself suggests that core folk revival principle of recovering, preserving, adapting, and recontextualizing ancient tunes.  Each “side” of the unreleased album was opened by brief recitations of passages from Shakespeare and Virginia Woolf, as if to underscore that traditional/modern dialectic.  A couple of the melodies were newly composed by Shirley and Dolly for traditional lyrics, and one comes from composer Gustav Holst, who played a part in the previous folk revival of the early 20th century, in the same cohort as Vaughan Williams.  Another deploys lyrics by Frances Chesterton (wife, manager, and religious anchor of G.K. Chesterton) to a traditional melody.  One original Royston Wood composition graces the album, sung by Shirley.

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting the UK during part of the Christmas season, and to make a broad generalization, man are they really into Christmas there.  Sure, it’s also saturated with American-style consumerism and filthy capitalism.  But being there as a Yank still impressed upon me that there’s a basic human kindness and warmth that is stronger and less transitory than all of that.  The kind of goodwill that individualist Americans reserve only for their family and friends (or church congregation) seems to spill forth from every city street and village corner to embrace you.  Yes, I know there are more people “sleeping rough” (that’s British for “homeless”) than there ought to be in any so-called civilized place, there are forces trying to gut the NHS, and the isles have their fair share of socioeconomic problems, racism, and moral contradictions.  But when Theresa bloody May has to publicly chastise the child-tyrant of the USA for retweeting fraudulent Islamophobic propaganda made by fascists, perhaps you can indulge me in a bit of fantastic romanticizing that at least some remnants of British society hold fast to a more humane, compassionate, less-batshit-crazy worldview than what currently prevails in the land of my birth.  Since I won’t be able to take in evensong at St. Paul’s Cathedral, at least I can put on this record, though certainly less grandiose than a choir or pipe organ, and keep myself in good ale.

Once again, if you’re feeling the holiday spirit and have anything left over from your gift fund, consider becoming a patron of the blog via Patreon, using the links at the footer of each post.  It would help us with some site ‘remodeling’ and with enough patrons I can actually run some of the fun features like opinion polls and requests.

 


password: vibes

The Three Suns – A Ding Dong Dandy Christmas! (1959)

The Three Suns – A Ding Dong Dandy Christmas!
Original release 1959, RCA Victor LSP-2054
2015 reissue, Real Gone Music: RGM-0395

 

01 Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town (2:04)
02 Skater’s Waltz (2:56)
03 The Chipmunk Song (2:03)
04 White Christmas (3:06)
05 Ding Dong Dandy Christmas (2:54)
06 The Christmas Song (2:31)
07 Russian Sleigh Song (2:39)
08 Jingle Bells (2:41)
09 Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! (2:20)
10 Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (2:00)
11 Jingle Bell Rock (2:12)
12 Sleigh Ride (2:57)
13 I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (2:21)
14 Winter Wonderland (2:44)

Guitar Al Nevins
Accordion Morty Nevins
Organ, Vocals Artie Dunn
Arrangements Charles Albertine
Other Performers Uncredited

Producer Al Nevins
Engineer Ernie Oelrich
Liner Notes Art Whitman; Joe Marchese


Tubas! Bells!  Rockin’ jazzed-up guitar solos! Accordions! Did I mention bells?  After I first heard this Three Suns Christmas album (one of several they made), I began picking up every Three Suns LP I came across in the charity shops in the hopes of finding one as fun and exciting as this one.  So far that quest has ended in failure, nothing comes close.  This toe-tapping, zany sleigh ride through a set of old chestnuts will bring a smile to even the most jaded humbug hater of Christmas music.  Sure, most of these tunes are so worn out that they should be classified as noise pollution during the month of December, but you’ve rarely heard them this animated.  This is what the future sounded like in 1959!  If you were trapped in a fallout shelter for a hundred years with only one holiday record, this would have been the one to choose.  Thanks to my friend Y. for supplying the secure audio extraction.  He also supplied this blurb from the Dusty Groove record store, which I will include below solely because it includes the word tintinabulation.

A hell of a great record from the Three Suns – upbeat, playful, and everything we love about an unusual Holiday set! In fact, the record may well be better than most of the group’s other RCA work – as their usual groove is inflected here with lots of hip percussion, which creates an extra flourish amidst melodic lines on accordion, guitar, tuba, and organ – all romping around in a mighty nice way! There’s lots of bells, especially – and they add this tintinabulation to the record that’s really wonderful – ringing out on titles that include “Skater’s Waltz”, “The Chipmunk Song”, “Ding Dong Dandy Christmas”, “Russian Sleigh Song”, “Jingle Bells”, “Sleigh Ride”, and “Let It Snow”.


So do yourself a favor, put on that smoking jacket and fix a drink from that oak sideboard with the built-in speakers holding your hi-fi equipment, and let your mind relax while your eyes wander across that patterned wallpaper in your den.  I’m not inclined toward any insightful socio-musical commentary during these busy holiday weeks, but I am inclined to post a few more light-hearted albums that are only good once a year, so stay tuned to this station.  Also if you are brimming with holiday generosity,  consider becoming a patron of the blog via Patreon – if we get enough patrons, we can get a Mega Pro account, because hosting direct links on this site is no longer a viable option going forward.  Also, more than 3 patrons (our current number) would allow me to actually run the fun activities like opinion polls and the occasional request fill that are set up as ‘member rewards’ currently.

Careful with that eggnog!


passw3rd: vibes