Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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BRINGING YOU THE STORIES BEHIND MUSIC + ESSENTIAL NEWS, REVIEWS AND INTERVIEWS...

Column

Mike Atherton's Selected 45's

Lilly Fields: Changes (Kent)
Lilly Fields: Changes (Kent)

MIKE'S ESSENTIAL 45's INCLUDE... LILLY FIELDS 'CHANGES', TWO PLUS TWO 'LOOK AROUND/'I'M SURE', GIL SCOTT HERON 'THE BOTTEL/JOHANNESBURG' & LOU COURTNEY 'I'M IN NEED OF LOVE'.

Considering that a decade ago the 45 r.p.m. single was, if not actually dead, at least receiving the last rites, its resurgence in the 21st century has been a surprise and a delight, especially for those of us who would rather own âproperâ records than those silly little shiny things. This year has seen a bumper crop of releases from a variety of labels; here are some which you may care to investigate...

Lilly Fields Changes (Kent Select CITY 013)

How Lilly Fields Changes didnât get released at the time of its creation (circa 1967) is a mystery, but producer Larry Banks decided to shelve it. Now itâs out on Kent Select CITY 013 and we can all appreciate the stomping vibes-and-piano based beat as Lilly, obviously no shrinking violet, fairly tears into her good-for-nothing boyfriend. All Kent Select singles are on vinyl for the first time ever, and the B side offers male group The Shaladons with a more optimistic slice of New York soul taken at a firm mid-tempo. Itâs pleasant enough, but the bouquet goes to Lilly. Rating: 5/3

Two Plus Two Look Around/ Iâm Sure (Outta Sight OSV 003)

Songwriter Wilbert Jackson and soul hero Steve Mancha recorded for Detroitâs Velgo label as Two Plus Two, and an original of Look Around/ Iâm Sure would set you back many pennies. Luckily itâs out on Outta Sight OSV 003 at regular price, so you can appreciate the Ric-Tic flavoured brash thrash of Look Around, hear the duo emoting the tune in high-pitched tones over (or sometimes in competition with) the beat and try to figure out whether the sax solo is out of tune. The flip moves down a gear to a crunching mid-tempo as the duo offer a derivative but energetic song.
Rating: 4/3

Gil Scott-Heron The Bottle/Johannesburg (Soul Brother SB7006)

Moving forwards in the â70s, Soul Brother Records offer what is virtually a mini-best of Gil Scott-Heron with The Bottle/Johannesburg (Soul Brother SB7006), though neither side was in fact his biggest U.S. hit. The top side finds Gil condemning the evil of alcoholism and its causes in eloquest lyrics (well, he was a poet before he was a singer) over a hurry-up beat with bubbling bass and funky flute. Gil was evidently no fan of the former South African regime, and Johannesburg finds him urging Americans to support the majority population of that country in their political struggle. Once again he blends ear-catching lyrics with a dancefloor-friendly beat, a funky shuffle embellished by Brian Jacksonâs electric piano. Two powerful sides.
Rating: 4/4

Lou Courtney Iâm In Need Of Love (Soul Brother SB7008)

Lou Courtney had been around since the mid-â60s, scoring a few hits and writing a few for other artists such as Mary Wells, when he went into the studio with producer Jerry Ragovoy to record the 1973 L.P. Iâm In Need Of Love, once described in this very publication as the best modern soul album ever! Soul Brother have selected I Donât Need Nobody Else/I Will If You Will as a single (Soul Brother SB7008). The way that Louâs warm tones snuggle into the lyrics of the A side over a sensuous, undulating rhythm have deservedly raised the tune to anthem status. The flip has an equally romantic message but a more upfront beat and with Ragovoy involved, you wonât be surprised to that that thereâs an all-happening chorus with sweeping strings, busy brass, a free-range guitarist and possibly a kitchen sink. But, with its insidious charm, the A sideâs the one. Rating: 4/3

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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