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Brown, James - Tell me what You're gonna Do
(Ember EMB-3357 UK-64 VG+ 375:-)

Well on his way to becoming soul brother number one, James Brown's recordings are exhilarative, which can be attributed to his urgent delivery. His ability to bring excitement to his upbeat songs goes without saying, but his serenading side is as majestic as some of the best melodramatic groups of the day.

1964 UK mono LP on a rough textured red & yellow Ember label, front laminated flipback picture sleeve. The sleeve shows a little wear with age - the vinyl is graded VG+.
Floyd, Eddie - California Girl
(Stax STS-2029 US-70 EX 275:-)

Edward Lee Floyd is best known for his work on the Stax record label in the 1960s and 1970s including the number 1 R&B hit song "Knock on Wood".

Eddie Floyd got the '70s underway in fine form with this release. The title track and two other singles, including a good version of "My Girl," made their way into the charts.

Original US pressing. The sleeve has a cut-out hole in the lower right corner; the vinyl is graded EX.
Four Tops - Reach Out
(Tamla Motown STML-11056 UK-67 EX 350:-)

A classic 60s album by the Four Tops – really one of their better efforts of the period – a record that finds the group working some soulful magic on a couple of their best known tunes, as well as adding a dose of deeper emotion to some hit songs of the time! Like other Motown success stories from that time, this set features some pop tunes and standard chart material, done by the group in their inimitable harmony style!

Original UK pressing; the sleeve is graded VG+ - the vinyl is graded EX.
Four Tops - Second Album
(Tamla Motown STML-11021 UK-66 EX 700:-)

The Four Tops' second album – and quite possibly the most hitbound of all their early Motown work! The album's overflowing with classic numbers – and features the perennial favorites "I Can't Help Myself" and "It's The Same Old Song" – as well as a totally winning batch of other tunes, all produced to perfection by the Holland/Dozier team! The sound is classic Motown all the way through – still some nice rough edges on the group's vocals – and killer lead work from Levi Stubbs!

Original UK STEREO pressing with "Sold in the UK" labels; both sleeve and vinyl are graded EX.
Gaye & Kim Weston, Marvin - Take Two
(Tamla TS-270 US-66 VG+ 275:-)

Best known as a duet partner of Marvin Gaye, Agatha Natalie Weston signed with Motown during the company's early days, scoring a minor R&B hit in 1963 with "Love Me All the Way." The following year, she recorded her first duet with Gaye, "What Good Am I Without You".

One of the most gifted, visionary, and enduring talents ever launched into orbit by the Motown hit machine, Marvin Gaye blazed the trail for the continued evolution of popular black music. Moving from lean, powerful R&B to stylish, sophisticated soul to finally arrive at an intensely political and personal form of artistic self-expression, his work not only redefined soul music as a creative force but also expanded its impact as an agent for social change.

Though most listeners best remember his duets with Tammi Terrell, Kim Weston was his first ultra-successful collaboration with a female singer. Their voices were magic together, as evident on their hit 'It Takes Two'.

Original US pressing; both sleeve and vinyl are graded VG+.
Grandmaster Flash - The Message
(Sugar Hill SH-268 US-82 VG+ 275:-)

The classic debut album by Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five – one of the pioneering groups in hip hop-history! With prototypical party jams and the original conscious rap landmark "The Message", all over old school grooves laid down under Sylvia Robinson's watchful eye by the Sugar Hill rhythm section; that funky depth keeps it fresh to this today!

Original US pressing. The sleeve has some minor creasing - the vinyl is graded EX.
Harrison, Wilbert - Let's Work Together
(Sue SSLP-8801 US-69 VG+ 300:-)

Kind of a "revival" record for Wilbert – cut during the big R&B comeback years of the late 60s, recorded with a sound that's almost rawer than his original 50s work! The style is pretty laidback and more bluesy than you'd expect – Wilbert working with a small combo that features rough guitar and harmonica, singing sad little versions of tunes that include "Let's Work Together", "Blue Monday", "Soul Rattler", "Stagger Lee", "Stand By Me", and "Tropical Shakedown".
Harrison, Wilbert - Let's Work Together
(London SH-8415 UK-70 EX 400:-)

Kind of a "revival" record for Wilbert – cut during the big R&B comeback years of the late 60s, recorded with a sound that's almost rawer than his original 50s work! The style is pretty laidback and more bluesy than you'd expect – Wilbert working with a small combo that features rough guitar and harmonica, singing sad little versions of tunes that include "Let's Work Together", "Blue Monday", "Soul Rattler", "Stagger Lee", "Stand By Me", and "Tropical Shakedown".
Hearts of Stone - Stop the World
(VIP VS-404 US-70 EX 300:-)

Soaring soul from Hearts Of Stone – a group who only ever cut this one album for Motown, but who really use the best of the label's talents to hit the same sort of groove as The Originals! Like that better-known group, these guys have a sound that really bridges the 60s and 70s – not as heady as other Motown groups of the period, but still with some modern funky soul touches in the mix – and a real old school sense of harmonies that makes the vocals breathtaking throughout.

The Sleeve has a small cut-out hole in the upper left; the vinyl is in Excellent condition!
Ice - Afro Agban
(MusiDisc 30-CV-1325 Fra-74 EX 500:-)

Ice was formed originally as The Bobby Boyd Congress in Long Island, New York in 1970. Upon deciding that the funk scene in the United States was too saturated for them to viably compete in, they relocated to France in 1971; there recording one album before Bobby Boyd would return to America. It was then they named themselves Ice.

In 1973, Manu Dibango scored a big hit with "Soul Makossa", so, at the urging of their producer Pierre Jaubert, they changed their name to The Lafayette Afro Rock Band and began recording songs with African sounding names, some of which would not be released until 1974 under the Ice moniker on the album entitled "Afro Agban".

Original French vinyl; both Sleeve and Vinyl are graded Excellent.
Ingram, Jim - Drumbeat
(Respect TAS-2606 US-74 EX 300:-)

Jim Ingram was a self-taught musician, a DJ & newsman for WJLB-FM where he ran a twice-daily show called "Drumbeat Commentary" during the 1970's and 1980's.

He produced a Soul/Spoken-word LP in 1974, which feature the self-titled track "Drumbeat". This track, although not a huge success at the time, would later be sampled by the Chemical Brothers in their classic "It Began In Afrika".

Original US pressing. The sleeve has a cut-out hole in the lower right corner.
J.B.'s - Doing it to Death
(People PE-5603 US-73 VG+ 500:-)

An incredible album – a landmark piece of funk that nobody should be without, funk fan or not!

The album is the second to feature James Brown's famous backing combo of the early 70s. This album has the group playing hard, long, and loud, in the free funk improvisational mode that was James' real contribution to the music at the time - some of the best funk ever recorded!

Original US pressing; the vinyl has some discolorations on side 2; the sleeve is graded EX.
Jackson 5 - Boogie
(Natural Resources NR-4013T1 US-79 VG+ 800:-)

In a bid to cash in on the post-Motown successes of the Jackson 5 - this ten-song odds and ends collection actually turned out to be a rarity due to its brief shelf-life. The contents consist primarily of previously unissued tracks, although there are also remixes of the early Jackson Five smashes "ABC," "Never Can Say Goodbye" and "Dancing Machine".

Very Rare Original US pressing. The sleeve has a few creases - the vinyl is graded EX.
King, Anna - Back to Soul
(Smash SRS-67059 US-64 SS 800:-)

In the years before Marva Whitney, Lyn Collins, and Vicki Anderson, Anna King was James Brown's major female singer – and she was a killer! This is her only album, on which you find "Baby Baby Baby", a great track done as a duet with Bobby Byrd and "If You Don't Think", a hard wailing soul number, in the manner of James' best work in the style.

Original US pressing; Still Sealed!
Lance, Major - Live at the Torch
(Contempo COLP-1001 UK-73 VG+ 500:-)

Blessed with a warm, sweet voice, Major Lance was one of the leading figures of Chicago soul during the '60s and the top-selling artist for OKeh Records during the decade.

This recording by Major Lance is widely regarded to be the greatest live Northern Soul recording put to wax! Just listen to the party vibe...bonkers! The venue reached full capacity that night, apparently there were as many people outside the club as inside, still trying to get in. Not a gig to forget if you were lucky enough to gain entry.

Original UK pressing. Both Sleeve and Vinyl are graded VG+.
Last Poets - Right On!
(Juggernaut LP-8802 US-71 EX 300:-)

One of the wildest albums ever by the mighty Last Poets! Billed as "a woodstock in poetry", this is the soundtrack to the obscure film RIGHT ON!, which was shot using the first version of the Last Poets that included Felipe Lucianao, David Nelson, and the wild card Gylan Kain.

Most of the record is spare percussion, with the band shouting over the top – and the sound is even rawer than the group's first LP on Douglas. The titles should say it all – as the record features "My Pretty N*gger", "Tell Me Brother", "Die Nigga!", "James Brown", "Soul", "Poetry Is Black", "Into The Streets", and "Library".

Original US pressing; both sleeve and vinyl are graded EX.
McDaniels, Gene - Wonderful World
(Liberty LBY-1179 UK-63 EX 375:-)

Gene McDaniels had some early-'60s success with a pop-flavored R&B style. Born in Kansas City, he sang in Omaha choirs during the '40s and attended the Omaha Conservatory of Music. McDaniels led his own band in the '50s, then signed with Liberty. He had a Top Ten pop and Top 20 R&B hit in 1961 with "A Hundred Pounds of Clay," but the follow-up single, "A Tower of Strength," was his biggest.

Original UK MONO pressing; both sleeve and vinyl are graded EX.
Natural Four - Natural Four
(Curtom CRS-8600 US-74 EX 400:-)

Sweeeeet soul from the 70s! The Natural Four were one of the greatest soul harmony groups of the 70's – and their work on the Curtom label has an amazing "rough with the smooth" quality that really sets them apart from east coast groups of the time! Part of the strength of the set has to do with Leroy Hutson – who arranged and produced the whole album, and gives it a superdope quality that makes it stand proudly with the best work on Curtom Records of the time. The sound is full and polished, yet also honest, earnest, and personal – in that great mix of moods that Hutson and Curtis Mayfield could bring to their own work of the time. The whole set's a classic!

Original US pressing; both sleeve and vinyl are graded EX.
Naughty by Nature - Naughty by Nature
(Soul Power SPLP-0003 Hol-91 VG+ 300:-)

There was not a bigger, more contagious crossover radio smash in the autumn of 1991 than Naughty by Nature's "O.P.P.," a song that somehow managed the trick of being both audaciously catchy and subversively coy at the same time. All the tracks on this, their debut album, are as street as they are club astute, trimming the funk loops with live keyboards and saxophone and sanguine, soulful melodies. A must-have album for fans of East Coast rap.

Original Dutch pressing; the sleeve shows minor storage wear - the vinyl is graded EX.
Parliament - GloryHallaStoopid
(Casablanca NBLP-7195 US-79 VG+ 500:-)

An overlooked later gem from Parliament – a set that's very tight and funky, and which really picks up the groove first laid down on "Flashlight"! There's a tightly snapping approach here that rivals the best late 70s work by Funkadelic – the later P-Funk mode that's even more focused on rhythms than before, and which gets away from the sloppy stuff to really hit home with the groove! Tunes are steeped in horny horns, wah wah guitar, and lots of electric keyboards!

Original US pressing. The sleeve shows very minor shelfwear; the vinyl is graded EX.
Sharp, Dee Dee - Cameo Parkway Sessions
(London HAU-8514 UK-78 EX 350:-)

Dee Dee Sharp hit the biggest with her first record for the Cameo/Parkway label, a blessing that pigeonholed the Philly songstress as a teenybopper forever to be identified with her number one smash from 1962, "Mashed Potatoes Time."

Born Dione LaRue on September 9, 1945, she played piano from an early age, and directed choirs at her grandfather's and other churches in Philadelphia. After her mother suffered debilitating injuries from a car accident when LaRue was only 13, she gained a job as a background singer and developed the skills to work on sessions by Lloyd Price, Frankie Avalon, Fabian, Bobby Rydell, Jackie Wilson and Chubby Checker.
Soul Searchers - Salt of the Earth
(Sussex SRA-8030 US-74 EX 500:-)

The amazing second album from The Soul Searchers – even harder, funkier, and rarer than the first! This one blows away everything else the group have ever done – as the record has an angular approach that has the band taking a lot of weird twists with the grooves, creating these dark jazzy edges that have forever made the album a favorite with fans of deep-thinking funk! The massively funky sound of the group's debut are further increased here by a hipper, more sophisticated approach to rhythm and soul – one that's got the group flowing through warm moments one minute, then cutting things into deeper, sharper tones the next.

Original US pressing; both sleeve and vinyl are graded EX.
Sugarhill Gang - Sugarhill Gang
(Sugarhill SH-245 US-80 EX 275:-)

Although the Sugarhill Gang didn't invent hip-hop, they were the first rap act to have a huge international hit. Released in 1979, "Rapper's Delight" was millions of listeners' first exposure to hip-hop -- before that, very few people outside of New York even knew what hip-hop was. The Sugarhill Gang were also among the first rap acts to record a full-length LP; when this self-titled debut album came out in 1980, the vast majority of old-school MCs were only providing 12" singles. So The Sugarhill Gang is a historically important album even though it is a bit uneven.

Original US pressing: both Sleeve and Vinyl are graded EX.
Supremes - A bit of Liverpool
(Motown 623 US-64 VG+ 300:-)

Even though it is named "A Bit of Liverpool", this album actually contains cover versions of various bands from the British Invasion Era.

Original US STEREO vinyl; both sleeve and vinyl are graded Very Good+.
Supremes - Merry Christmas
(Motown S-638 US-65 VG+ 275:-)

Christmas albums are usually done to appease recording artists who have had some success; they rarely sell well because the holiday season is short, but some disprove the stereotype and sell seemingly forever -- like this one. The Supremes put their warm harmonies on 12 classic Christmas songs, everything from "White Christmas" to a rousing "Joy to the World." Diana Ross' angelic, sweet, innocent voice is a perfect match for favorites like "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town".

Original US pressing; both sleeve and vinyl are graded VG+.
Terrell, Tammi - Irresistible
(Motown MS-652 US-7? EX 300:-)

An irresistible solo album from the great Tammi Terrell – the Motown singer who's best remembered for her duets with Marvin Gaye, and who hardly ever got a chance to work on her own! Despite that lack, though, this album's a standout classic – a slightly different take on the female Motown sound of the 60s, with production by Harvey Fuqua and Johnny Bristol – in a vibe that's maybe just hinting a bit at the sound to come – which makes us wonder how much Terrell would have given us in the 70s, if she hadn't passed from this planet all too soon!

US 2nd Pressing on the "A Product of Motown" label.
Tolbert, Israel - Popper Stopper
(Warren/Stax STS-2038 US-71 300:-)

Blind Israel Tolbert had a genuine surprise smash with “Big Leg Woman” in 1971. It’s a great party record, a throwback with rural image lyrics that recalls blues songs of long ago, a feeling reinforced by the subdued slide guitar fills, superb keyboard work and some funky drumming and horns.

Original US pressing: Still Sealed!
Walker, Jr - Soul Session
(Tamla Motown STML-11029 UK-66 VG+ 500:-)

Motown's skilled but mostly anonymous instrumentalists very rarely stepped out on their own. The lone exception to the rule was tenor saxman Autry DeWalt, whose rough-and-ready, old-school R&B was a marked contrast with the label's typically smooth, polished product.

Released to ride "Shotgun's" back "Soul Session" is uncut, polyunsaturated Junior Walker & the All-Stars, loaded with tight grooves!

Original UK pressing; both sleeve and vinyl are graded VG+.
Whitney, Marva - Live and Lowdown
(King KS-1079 US-69 VG+ 500:-)

Amazing female funk! Years after James Brown first rocked the Apollo Theater with his own live recordings, he returned to the Harlem showplace with the sock-soul diva Marva Whitney – one of his greatest singers ever! This album's a monster all the way through – hard and heavy funk, of the type that's been the blueprint for countless singers to come, especially most of those in the Desco/Daptone/Soul Fire mode. Backing is by the JBs, James produced, and the music is fantastically funky!

Original US pressing; both sleeve and vinyl are graded VG+.
Wonder, Stevie - Uptight
(Tamla Motown STML-11036 UK-66 wos VG+ 350:-)

Stevie Wonder began demonstrating his production skills and compositional acumen on his first of two albums in 1966. Although still just a teenager, Wonder was already anxious to do more than simply grind out love tunes. He covered Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind" and also contributed "Pretty Little Angel" alongside the monster hits "Nothin's Too Good for My Baby" and the title song. It was also a signal Wonder had moved beyond simply paying homage to Ray Charles and now wanted to establish his own musical identity.
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