Befitting the label’s name, DAVID NATHAN’S soulmusic.com label (through its link with Cherry Red Records) has just issued a trio of fabulous, proper soul music from three scions of the famous New Jersey Houston/Warwick clan
First up, there’s a 21 track look at the work of the wonderful CISSY HOUSTON. Ms HOUSTON, of course, needs no introduction to soul collectors. The mother of WHITNEY, she’s enjoyed a varied musical career. Star of the gospel group THE DRINKARD SINGERS, leader of THE SWEET INSPIRATIONS and part of one of the best backing vocal teams ever to grace New York’s famed Broadway studios, she went solo in 1969. By 1970 she was signed to Commonwealth United Records and released the album ‘Presenting…’ Sadly that label soon went bust and CISSY’S contract ended up with Janus. Janus quickly reissued the LP and had her record a whole clutch of new songs. That original LP and those “newer” Janus recording are the focus of this brand new CD. From the original album you can enjoy spellbinding, soul-packed versions of ‘I’ll Be There’ (a song usually associated with BOBBY DARIN), ‘This Empty Place’, ‘The Long And Winding Road’ and much more. Amongst the Janus tracks is the original version of ‘Midnight Train To Georgia’…. listen and decide for yourself whether the hit version from GLADYS KNIGHT is better!
The second essential soulmusic.com set is ‘Foolish Fool’ from DEE DEE WARWICK. With her elder sister, DIONNE, DEE DEE was part of that fabulous early 60s New York studio bv team we’ve just mentioned but like big sis, a solo career soon beckoned. This new CD offers her 1969 Mercury LP – ‘Foolish fool’, named for her Grammy-nominated, no. 13 R&B hit. That tense and charged ED TOWNSEND song kicks things off but there’s also some great Philly recordings – ‘It’s Not Fair’ and ‘When Love Slips Away’ and a song-defining version of ‘Alfie’. The collection also features five bonus cuts including the Thom Bell/Kenny Gamble song ‘Ring Of Bright Water’ and a dramatic reading of ‘I Who Have Nothing’.
The soulmusic.com hat trick is completed by ‘A Man And a Woman’ – a 1977 joint venture from DIONNE WARWICK and ISAAC HAYES. When the duo teamed up for a series of live shows, many commentators expressed surprise but in retrospect it’s clear it was a good career move for both parties. HAYES and WARWICK were in mid-career doldrums and the publicity offered a degree of revitalisation. The music on the album – which was recorded live – is mix of their respective hits and covers of things like THE O’JAYS’ ‘Unity’ and PAUL McCartney’s ‘My Love’. Outstanding is a mélange of ‘By The Time I Get To Phoenix’ and ‘I Say A Little Prayer For You.’