Ted Taylor- Somebody’s Always Trying

It’s been way too long since I’ve posted on this blog, but there’s no better return than writing about the greatest Soul singer you’ve never heard of. Ted Taylor was chronically unappreciated throughout his career. He had a fairly large hit with the amazing track “Be Ever Wonderful” and found success amongst Southern Black audiences. Somehow most serious record collectors these days don’t even know about Ted Taylor, but to me the guy is a King.
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Structures For Sound: Musical Instruments by Francois and Bernard Baschet

Here’s something you don’t see every day. This 10” LP features the music of 12 invented musical instruments. These are largely constructed with rods, cones & strings made out of a variety of materials: metal, plastic, aluminum, steel and copper primarily. These instruments sound like the soundtrack to a circus being held in outer space, a throwback to earlier mechanical constructions, yet highly modern & avant garde. At its best moments this music features drones that are supremely eerie and loaded with resonance. The layers of sound created here can reach some marvelous, impressive levels. There’s definite horror soundtrack potential here, but these constructions can also create some very lovely sounds.
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Dinah Washington- Unforgettable

Since today is Dinah Washington’s birthday, it’s only fitting to pay tribute to her. You can call Dinah’s voice & style incomparable, but in reality, she’s probably the only artist who could rival Billie Holiday. Billie had her marvelous style, and she could repeatedly just kill you with a song. Dinah could easily kill ya too, but she was a complicated soul. You got the sense that she was capable of doing it all.
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Roscoe Holland- For A Piece

Dirty Rhythm & Blues records can be a bit tough to find. And oftentimes, like with Doug Clark & His Hot Nuts’ records, they can be a bit bland & disappointing. There have been plenty of obscene gems in the genre released as singles, classics like Bullmoose Jackson’s “Big-Ten Inch Record” (I have this 78 for sale by the way), The Clovers’ “Rotten Cocksucker’s Ball” and Boozoo Chavis’ “Uncle Bud”. But a full-length dirty R&B release is a pretty rare thang. And this LP by Roscoe Holland fits the bill. Holland’s vocals are wild & loose, and he also plays a very nice R&B/Boogie Blues style piano, accompanied by some minimalist blues drumming. This isn’t flat out obscene, but it’s certainly dirty. Released in 1961 on Dootoo Records, this is like Redd Foxx meets Little Willie Littlefield.
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Alabama Country Blues 1927/31 (OJL, 1967)

Alabama is nowhere near as famous for churning out brilliant musicians as its neighbor Mississippi. It’s well known that the Mississippi Delta Blues formed under a repressive social structure & horribly oppressive conditions. This Delta Blues was famous for its great talent but also its deep pathos, and its Alabama brethren seems to reflect an even more tortured, oppressed soul. There’s also a one-of-a-kind eccentricity to this music that reflects a world of both isolation & the influence of traveling medicine shows & tent revivals. Jaybird Coleman’s and The Two Poor Boys’ styles can’t really be compared to anyone else’s.
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The Wilson Brothers- Preach The Word

I have a rule of thumb when it comes to album covers that look like this: if it’s from the South or Appalachia, buy it. 9 times out of 10 I’m not disappointed. You’ll see some covers that kinda look similar out west, but usually it’s the most horrendous Christian pop fodder you could ever imagine.

My level of being a head is that I geek out over Southern Country Gospel records, even the bad ones. I’m a sucker for the twang. There’s also something in that Southern water. There must be. It’s unreal how much amazing music has come out of that greater region.

Now this album has the look of your of standard Southern Gospel private press LP (embarrassing 1970’s outfits, a simple cover photo, stoic stares, etc). But this one sets itself apart. First of all, there’s a Banjo, meaning that this is Bluegrass Gospel, a style of music that is pretty much always absolutely wonderful. Secondly, this is on Old Homestead Records, a label well known for its many quality releases of American Roots music. So this is a no brainer. You should buy it.
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Mickey & Sylvia- Love Is Strange / I’m Going Home (Groove, 1956, 78rpm)

I love Rock ‘n’ Roll records on 78. There’s something so marvelous & strange about their intersection, the teenagers’ music on the old folks’ format. I imagine many kids in 1956 only had their parents’ 78rpm players and were forced to buy all their new music on 78. Some 4-5 years later, 78rpm records were no longer being produced in the Western world. So if you want to find The Beatles on 78, you’re going to have to get one that was made in India. But Mickey & Sylvia’s timeless classic? You can find that here at Folk Arts for $15.

This song was written by one Ethel Smith. Sounds like an old lady, don’t it? She was actually Bo Diddley’s wife! He wrote the tune and credited it to his wife. Mickey & Sylvia’s version is an all-time classic. Mickey Baker’s guitar licks are so tense yet so playful here, doing some kind of strange R&B hybrid of ‘chicken pickin’. His guitar solo on the flip “Going Home” also kicks ass.

This wonderful 78 is available here for $15, and it’s in really nice shape. That’s a deal. I’ve got a nice 78rpm set up here in the shop. Currently have my Rega pumping out of 6 speakers, 4 inside & 2 outside. Got some really nice shellac in the shop too.

Troy Ramey & the Soul Searchers

Every since I discovered it, I have been head over heels in love with Gospel music. Some people get turned off by the religious content, but it doesn’t bother me one bit, even though I don’t consider myself to be a religious person. This music is intoxicated with great spirit, reminding you of the power of humanity. Gospel music can be a nice antidote to feeling jaded. The whole function of this music is to feel lifted up & elated in spirit, and I can’t get enough of it.
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