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Dave Godin's column for Soulful Kinda Music. Issue 26

I was going to write and urge people to visit their local video store and see if they have a copy of THE FIVE HEARTBEATS (US/1991/Directed by Robert Townsend) to rent, but, whilst in the process of doing this, Channel 4 beat me to it and scheduled the film for transmission, probably before this appears. I hope you didn't miss it, because it is without a doubt, the most accurate and true depiction of life on the American Soul circuit I've ever seen.  

My recent guesting alongside Ady Croasdell on Richard Searling's "Soul Sauce" radio programme on Jazz FM was really enjoyable, and was just like "the old days" with a wide spectrum of Soul being played and discussed, and me reminiscing about the past, and in particular, the Golden Age of Soul Music! Richard never seems to get a day older, and it's great to know that a programme like this is in his capable hands. The three hour slot (extended in my honour apparently; they must know when they'd got a chatterbox scheduled!) just flew by, and, we only managed to play a small fraction of the piles of records we had spread out all over the place. Although we have spoken many, many times on the phone, it was the first time I'd actually met Ady in person, and his dedication and committment to the music is 100%, and everything that Ace/Kent undertake in the CD field is worthy of everyone's fullest support. Both he and Richard also gave me a nice bonus in the form of a 45 from each that I had long been after, and I mustn't overlook the contribution of Douggie who was my Soul Chauffeur for the occasion, driving me with skill and good conversation. It was particularly nice too to read letters that people had sent in, and take phone calls from people, many of whom have been on the scene for ages. I regret being unable to have made it to the Ritz All-nighter that same day, but I have to pace myself carefully these days. I didn't want to announce it on air as it seemed to me that it might be a bit of a downer and break the spell of Soul excitement we'd created, but I have had this wretched M.E. (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) for the past 8 years, and subsequently can't boogie like I used to, or perhaps would still like to! It's not life-threatening or anything like that, just an inconvenience. As we said, I'm working on some projects for Ace/Kent right now, and, when they are ready to be issued, I'll come back again with Richard and Ady and talk about them some more. The three hours of the show just flew by, and there were so many things we had meant to discuss which somehow we never managed to squeeze in, but there will, I promise, be other times in the future. Two days afterwards. David Nathan was on the phone from Los Angeles! Someone had sent him a tape of the broadcast, and he was knocked out by it, so, just goes to show, you never know who'll end up listening or where! 

BGO Records recently asked me to do liner notes on two of their CD reisses; one by Garnet Mimms, and the other from Little Anthony & The Imperials. They too have an interesting catalogue, and you can get one by writing to them at BGO Records, PO Box 22, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, IP28 6XQ. 

Sequel also have a first-rate CD policy, and their catalogue is available from Sequel Records, West Heath Studios, West Heath Yard, 174 Mill Lane, London NW6 1TB. And they have just released... 

"Buddah Deep Soul" (Sequel NEMS 781) is a great compilation, put together with his usual aplomb and skill by John Ridley, of sides taken from the Buddah catalogue, but... of the CD's 20 tracks only 4 of them actually ARE Deep Soul! However, it's a CD that's well worth getting. Standout track has got to be the sublime Eddie & Ernie's "Standing At The Crossroads" an absolute true Deep Soul scorcher that has their soul numbing harmonies in top form, and a complex, brilliant orchestral arrangement that interweaves across and away from their vocals producing a tension that is a sure-fire goose-bump-deliverer. Eddie & Ernie have made some of the greatest Soul sides ever in my opinion, and this is another top of the line heart-stopper. Another standout in true Deep Soul form is Curtis Blandon's "So Much To Give" as well as Judy White's "Satisfaction Guaranteed" which has a fine declamatory style; the sort of laying on the line that comes with inner anguish and heartache. Gentle organ, and whirling climaxes which bring a femme chorus up to help hold her together and underscore her ultimatum of love. Great, stirling stuff this, as indeed is her "I'll Cry" is just the sort of song Esther Phillips would have excelled at. But comparisons are odious, and Judy is her own woman with a penetrating vocal delivery which doesn't hesitate to deliver with some force.  

Tony Owens is hardly ever likely to top his five-star outing "This Heart Can't Take No More" for SOUL SOUND, but "I Don't Want Nobody But My Baby" is truly deep and truly good. From the troubled, worrisome instrumental intro, Tony takes it along gently to begin with, but soon works it up into a solid enough whirlwind to shake you into paying attention. Great conviction here too, and like all great Deep Soul sides, it builds and builds and then all too soon has to wave goodbye... Repeated spins should addict you for at least a month 

Of the remaining tracks, none would qualify for my designation as Deep, but that aside, there are some crackers. Vitamin E's "Sharing" is full of dream intensity sung with conviction and stylish vocal panache and has great production values. Joe Anderson's Al Green influenced "You Gotta Believe" is a mellow chanter that is winning and subtle, and he handles the vocals with exceptional virtue. Grand and convincing stuff. The late Al Perkins' "Yes My Goodness Yes" is a mid-tempo gem that is high on musicality and has an appealing coolness. He had previously recorded this for ATCO (which I have never heard), and scored his only hit with that version, but this BUDDAH re-cut is more than worthwhile, and bound to find lots of friends. 

Roshell Anderson is not the most prolific of recording artists, but his "Know What You're Doing (When You Leave" is an all-time classic, but, as those of you who listened to Richard Searling's show will know, he also made an intriguing outing "I'm Cracking Up" (also on SUNBURST). But, his talent pre-dated even these gems, and ACE's CD "The Heart of Southern Soul" (CDCHD 568) contains his superb "Snake Out of Green Grass" (Parts 1 & 2!) which he recorded for EXCELLO prior to moving on to SUNBURST. I'm a sucker for heavily mannered vocal styles; it takes nerve and when it works, it's magnificent, and Roshell is an high-style mannered as they come! 

And, talking of highly-mannered vocalists, one of my all-time personal passions is Wendy Rene. Perhaps a shade too similar to Carla Thomas for STAX to really exploit her vocal talents to the full, her issued sides are all golden, but amazingly, some really excellent stuff from her was never issued, but thanks to ACE, this has now been put onto their "You Thrill My Soul" CD (CDSXD 088). What an amazing voice she has, and this whole CD with tracks by STAX/VOLT femme singers is well worth getting. And particularly worth getting is Carla Thomas' perky mover "Same Thing"; again, and incredibly, previously unissued! 

Finally in the CD roundup, Music Club's "Northern Soul Floorshakers" plunders the RCA VICTOR catalogue to brilliant effect. All the usual suspects are there (many previously on Richard Searling's "Jumping At The Go-Go" LP), but I was particularly pleased to hear Kenny Carter on CD for the first time, ("Gotta Get Myself Together"), as well as The Exciters' "Blowin' Up My Mind". Most welcome however is the inclusion of Willie Kendrick's "What's That On Your Finger?"  which was part written by Fred Skau and Larry Banks, who also part wrote Jaibi's immortal "You Got Me". Not Deep Soul, but real Soul nevertheless. This company's record catalogue can also be had by writing to: Music Collection International Ltd., 36-38 Caxton Way, Watford, Hertfordshire, WD1 8UF.  

And finally, to close on a very sad note... 


The recently received news of the death of Jaibi may not have that profound an impact on many, but for a few, it is like the loss of a dear friend, and a friend whose full potential was sadly, never fully realised. But, particularly for fans of Deep Soul, her Kapp recording "You Got Me" was a masterpiece which many, including myself, cite as their all-time favourite side. When it was first issued in the late 60s, I spotlighted it in "Blues & Soul" as my Number 1 release of the year, and since then, this very rare and exquisite side has not diminished one jot in its brilliance or its power to move and communicate to the inner heart. Jaibi made very few records; the aforementioned for Kapp with a good flipside, but nowhere near the miraculous quality of "You Got Me", and an excellent double-header for RCA-Victor with her husband, Larry Banks, "(You're Not) Mine", and "Walk Away, Walk Away, Walk!". None of her sides were issued in the UK, and very little is actually known about her. Born Joan Bates, she married Larry Banks in the late 60s following his divorce from Bessie, but family commitments prevented her from ever fully following a recording career. Their marriage eventually ended in divorce, and shortly afterwards she was diagnosed as suffering from leukaemia, to which she eventually succumbed, tragically young, in the early 80s.

Her death is doubly sad when one reflects that although she never had any "hit" records, she perhaps never knew that over here in Britain on the strength of "You Got Me" alone, her name was held in awe and legend. Perhaps the fact that so little was known about her, that her output was so sparse, added to the mystique, but her life and death illustrate well my deep conviction that no matter what, quantity of output is no substitute for quality of output. No matter if you have only ever made one record, or written one book, or made one film, if that work is a great work of art then your name deserves to be remembered and your memory thanked equally as if you had produced dozens. For, in the creation of a masterpiece, even if it only touches the lives of a few, you have enriched life itself beyond measure, and in this respect, those who benefit in this way have been given a precious jewel of experience to add to all those other magic moments we collect as we journey through life. Without Jaibi's magnificent recording "You Got Me", my own life would have been less, and certainly Jaibi will always have a special place in my heart and memory because of it. Great artistry always endures and survives the passage of time, and great Soul music is for keeps.

Keep the faith. Right on now !