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REEL PEOPLE TELL US WHY ...

Monday, 31 January 2011 15:08 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

reelWith Valentine's Day just around the corner, REEL PEOPLE have just issued a lovely romantic dance floor swayer – 'Tell Me Why'. The cut is taken from the band's upcoming 'Golden Lady' album and features a fabulously engaging vocal from the wonderful TONY MOMRELLE. TONY has worked with people like GLORIA ESTEFAN, SADE, WHITNEY HOUSTON, TAKE THAT and , of course, INCOGNITO. He's been providing vocals for REEL PEOPLE since 2007 and 'Tell Me Why' is one of his best efforts with the smooth song perfectly suited to his warm, soulful tones.

REEL PEOPLE'S 'Tell Me Why' (featuring TONY MOMRELLE) will be available on Reel People Music from February 14th.

 

GLADYS HORTON DIES ...

Friday, 28 January 2011 17:21 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

Gladys3GLADYS HORTON, co-founder of Motown girl group THE MARVELETTES, has died at the age of 65. Her son, VAUGHN THORNTON, said she died on Wednesday January 26th in a nursing home in Sherman Oaks, California, where she had been recovering from a stroke.

GLADYS formed the group at high school in the Detroit suburb of Inkster with friends WANDA YOUNG, KATHERINE ANDERSON, JUANITA COWART and GEORGINA DOBBINS. Originally called the CASINYETS ("Cant Sing Yet"!), they soon became the MARVELS and were signed to the fledgling Motown empire. Soon dubbed the MARVELETTES, they provided GORDY with his first no.1 pop single – 'Please Mr. Postman' and during their time at Motown different line ups of the MARVELETTES achieved a further 23 pop hits ... yet , sadly too many people see the group as Motown second stringers!

In 1962 COWART and DOBBINS left the outfit, leaving the MARVELETTES as a s trio. In the mid 60s SMOKEY ROBINSON took over responsibility for the group and he insisted that new member WANDA YOUNG take over lead vocals from GLADYS because he wanted their records to have a softer, more sophisticated sound. Then in '67 Ms. HORTON quit to look after her disabled son, SAMMIE. "I didn't want to travel," she said in a 1985 interview... "I had to spend my time caring for my son. I'm an orphan, so I don't have any family I could leave him with while I was carrying on with my singing career."

GLADYS eventually moved to the Los Angeles area and performed periodically in the 1980s and '90s, though for complicated legal she couldn't use the MARVELETTES' name. RON BREWINGTON of the Los Angeles chapter of the Motown Alumni Assn. said in tribute , "I never heard her say anything about frustration. It was always 'Sammie, Sammie, Sammie. What does he need? What's he doing? What can I do for him?' That's a mother, a real mother....She loved people, loved to sing. That was her pride and joy was to sing. She just loved to sing and to make people happy."

TheMarvelettes1966"GLADYS was a very, very special lady, and I loved the way she sang with her raspy, soulful voice," Motown founder BERRY GORDY said in a statement. "We will all miss her, and she will always be a part of the Motown family."

GLADYS HORTON, who was born May 30, 1945, is survived by her sons, SAMMIE COLEMAN and VAUGHN THORNTON; and two grandchildren.

 

DISCHARGING THE DISCO...

Thursday, 27 January 2011 19:50 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

discoA few years back Harmless Records launched a brave new series of Disco compilations. Brave, because the compilers eschewed the usual suspects and dug deep to find the real treasures that properly defined the heart and the soul of disco. As important was the fact that the label wanted to treat the releases seriously, not in the throwaway way that most labels treated their dabbles into the phenomenon. So, all the albums in the DISCO DISCHARGE series were packed and presented lavishly and were properly annotated with worthwhile and eminently readable sleeve notes.

February sees HARMLESS unleash the latest tranche of DISCO DISCHARGE albums – four in total – and all true to the original concept. The themed albums are 'Disco Fever USA', 'Mondo Disco', 'Euro Beats' and 'Cruising The Beats'. The titles are self-explanatory and each double album is free standing. What links them together is the quality of the music. All the tunes are from the 70s and the first half of the 80s and all the cuts are either 12" mixes or the long album version of the particular song.

Some cuts, like PATRICK JUVET'S 'Got A Feeling' and VOYAGE'S 'Souvenirs' , appear on CD for the very first time while the series boasts dozens of rare and eminently collectable tunes - like the TOM MOULTON mix of CLAUDIA BARRY'S 'Why Must A Girl Like Me'. There's also plenty of oddities – RAQUEL WELCH'S 'This Girl's Back In Town' and JOHNNY MATHIS' 'Begin The Beguine' for starters - but sequenced alongside music from the likes of TEDDY PENDERGRASS and CISSY HOUSTON it only serves to underline what a magical and infectious hotch potch real disco was.

 

MORE SOLO SMOKEY...

Monday, 24 January 2011 14:28 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

smokey3Universal/Hip-O Select continue their celebration of SMOKEY ROBINSON'S solo work with a third release that brings together the great man's fifth and sixth albums without THE MIRACLES... January '77's 'Deep In My Soul' and June '77's 'Big Time' – the music to a movie that SMOKEY had financed, produced and acted in.

The eight tracks of 'Deep In My Soul' were recorded while the film was being made and SMOKEY couldn't find the time to write any new songs, so he turned to Motown staffers like KATHY WAKEFIELD, and MICHAEL and BRENDA SUTTON. Between them they did a great job coming up with a set of tunes that could all have been ROBINSON originals. The delicious 'There Will Come A Time', in particular, is vintage SMOKEY and never mind that it copies the opening from 'You Really Got A Hold On Me', it's still a beautiful piece of work. Other goodies include JEFFERY BOWEN'S 'You Cannot Laugh Alone' and the upbeat 'Vitamin U'.

'Big Time' was a different affair. Inspired by BERRY GORDY'S film success, SMOKEY believed he could be a movie mogul too so he found what he thought was a decent comedy/crime caper script and resolved to film it using his own money. Sadly, the movie bombed with one critic writing "They don't come more small time than 'Big Time'"! Smokey lost a fortune and steadfastly refuses to talk about the project and he's not even that enthusiastic about the music. The sound track, though, boasts some pretty ballads – notably 'So Nice To Be With You' and an energetic main title theme featuring some nifty guitar from WAH WAH WATSON.

Both albums are available here for the first time on CD and there's a couple of bonus cuts – 'Mother's Son' – which has only ever been out on the 'Pops We Love You Album'... and the title cut to the LP, that, of course, was a tribute to BERRY GORDY'S father. The cut also features DIANA ROSS, STEVIE WONDER and MARVIN GAYE.

SMOKEY ROBINSON: The SOLO ALBUMS 3 is out on 21st FEBRUARY

Last Updated on Monday, 24 January 2011 14:33

 

TASTING THE HONEY

Friday, 21 January 2011 12:00 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

tasteof_honeyA TASTE OF HONEY are one of soul's great misunderstood and neglected bands. To too many they are no more than a flash in that flashiest of pans – disco. Most people perceive A TASTE OF HONEY as a female duo with just one big hit – the still infectious 'Boogie Oogie Oogie'; in reality things are different.

The band were actually a mixed gender self-contained four piece - who after gigging on cruises and in and around Southern California came to the attention of the Mizell Brothers who duly signed them to Capitol. There, in 1978, they scored a huge hit with the romping 'Boogie Oogie Oogie' and on the back of their debut album they won a Grammy as 'Best New Artists'. They waited till 1981 to hit again – with a gentle, quiet storm version of an old 60s Japanese hit 'Sukiyaki'. That one was produced by GEORGE DUKE, no less . Then, after a charming version of SMOKEY ROBINSON'S 'I'll Try Something New' failed to ignite, the band split with the two main girls – JANICE JOHNSON and HAZEL PAYNE trying solo careers - unsuccessfully.

You can catch up with the TASTE OF HONEY story via a couple of reissues on the bbr label. They've just released the band's first two Capitol LPs – 'A Taste OF Honey' and 'Another Taste' and though they've both stuffed with disco dancers (it what the people wanted in '78 and '79) they also offer some sweetly soulful moments – like the lovely 'Sky High' and with the MIZELLS and WADE MARCUS involved, you know we're talking quality throughout. Sadly no 'Sukiyaki' or 'I'll Try Something New'... maybe they're to follow! More details ... www.bigbreakrecords.co.uk  or www.cherryred.co.uk

 

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