Nat Turner Rebellion – Laugh To Keep From Crying (2021)

Nat Turner Rebellion – Laugh To Keep From Crying
Vinyl rip in 24-bit/192 kHz | |  Soul, funk
Philly Groove Records, Chrysalis – PGRV101

The Nat Turner Rebellion – the musical act, not the historical event – was a promising group from Philly that imploded before they ever really got off the ground, featuring vocalists Joe Jefferson, Major Harris, Ron Harper and Bill Spratley. With only a pair of singles issued while they were together, their planned debut record got shelved and sat collecting dust among the holdings of label Philly Groove Records before ending up in a stash of donated material at Drexel University, waiting almost half a century to finally be released. Continue reading

Nina Simone – Nina Simone’s Finest Hour (2000)

Nina Simone – Nina Simone’s Finest Hour
2000 Verve Records (314 543 604-2)

I thought I would make a quick blog post to commemorate International Women’s Day and pay tribute to one of my heroes, the great Nina Simone.  Superlatively gifted and inspired as both a pianist and vocalist, courageous and visionary, groundbreaking, tenacious, mercurial — I could keep throwing adjectives at this woman all day and never run out of them.  Is this collection her “finest hour”?  Continue reading

Isaac Hayes – Hot Buttered Soul (1969, 2011 High Resolution Remaster)

Isaac Hayes – Hot Buttered Soul
Original release 1969 on Enterprise Records

I’ve posted about this album before, in the early days of this blog, and will probably post about it again.  It’s just a class act through and through.  I had originally wanted to prepare something romantic for Valentine’s Day, even though I don’t personally care about it, and then considered one of Dione Warwick’s albums to commemorate the passing of Bacharach.  But bad luck and trouble came knocking again, with yet another school shooting in the U.S., this time at a place that I have a personal connection.  So, I don’t especially feel like doing blog posts and the work that goes into them right now. Continue reading

The Manhattans – The Manhattans Sing For You And Yours (1968)

The Manhattans – The Manhattans Sing For You And Yours
Reissue CD on Collectables (COL-CD-5136)
Original release Carnaval Records CLPS 202

The Manhattans were a soul vocal group from New Jersey who stayed true to that format through thick and thin, while incorporating new elements into their sound.  Sometimes those elements clashed – for example, some tracks on this collection feature utterly unnecessary congas, played rather poorly. They get props from me for keeping their visuals on point: matching suits, maybe some white gloves (as in this cover photo), coordinated dance moves on stage.  They could have easily decked themselves out in paisley and big floppy hats and gotten away with it, but they didn’t.  Continue reading

Barbara and Ernie – Prelude To… (1971) Day 11 of FV’s 12 Days of Xmas

Barbara & Ernie – Prelude To…
Original release 1971 Atlantic
Reissue, 2013 Real Gone Music

I almost headed off to bed without posting Day 11 of this 12 Days of Xmas thing.  It’s only the fifth day of the year and I’m already exhausted with stress.  Too tired and strapped for time to give this album a proper tip of the hat.  This record pushes all my buttons in all the right places.  It’s a shame that Barbara Massey was relegated to background vocals for most of her career.  Ernie Calabria had done lots of session work with the likes of Harry Belafonte and others.  With Deodato doing the arranging, this is a treasure of soulful-psychedelic-folk-rock. #autoharp Continue reading