Paul also mentioned Roy Redmond’s version of Good Day Sunshine, which he acknowledged was a rather obscure track. In fact, the ONLY reason I know it is because it appears on one of those Warner Brothers Loss Leaders that I collected in the 1970s. COOK BOOK, from 1977, focused “on Warner’s black acts,” which were negligible only a few years earlier.
The other single, from April 1967, was Ain’t That Terrible/A Change Is Gonna Come. Yes, the latter is the Sam Cooke song.
“Loma Records was established in 1964 in order for Warner Brothers to capitalize on the emerging soul market – but almost exclusively as a singles label. Bob Krasnow, who ran the San Francisco branch of King Records from 1958-1964, was tapped by Warner Brothers to run Loma Records from its founding until the label ceased operations in 1968.”
Redmond’s Good Day Sunshine was in the middle of three Beatles songs on COOK BOOK, codifying yet again that the effect black music had on the Beatles was reciprocated.
Randy Crawford’s version of Don’t Let Me Down appears on her 1976 album Every Must Change. The Long and Winding Road was a 1976 B-side to a song called Hurry, Hurry by New Birth, “the Detroit band that helped invent American funk music.”
Then Came You became Warwick’s first ever single to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and also became her highest-charting R&B record.
Periodically I have mentioned in this blog how irritated I was that certain black musicians were considered “not black enough” because of their genre. Charlie Pride singing country, or Jimi Hendrix doing rock and roll – and isn’t rock just blues and country mixed together? And I took some heat for listening to it.
Dionne Warwick got grief for being an MOR (middle of the road) artist, singing mostly Burt Bacharach/ Hal David tunes. So I was glad that she briefly got that particular monkey off her back when she teamed up with the legendary Spinners to sing Then Came You.
“Released during a time that Warwick’s chart fortunes were at an ebb after moving to Warner Bros. Records in 1972, the Philadelphia soul single was a rare mid-1970s success for the singer. Sung as a duet with Spinners main lead singer Bobby Smith and the Spinners, who were one of the most popular groups of the decade, the song became Warwick’s first-ever single to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and also became her highest-charting R&B record reaching number two on that chart. It was also the first number-one pop hit for the Spinners. Spinners member Phillippe Wynne took over lead duties at the very end of the song.”
Dionne spelled her last name with an E at the end during this period but switched back.
Here are songs by the Spinners, who are NOT in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and, though nominated the last couple of years, not even up for consideration this season:
I’ll Be Around -#3 for two weeks pop, #1 for five weeks soul in 1972, here or here
Could It Be I’m Falling In Love – # 4 pop, #1 soul in 1973 here or here
One of a Kind (Love Affair) #11 pop, #1 for four weeks soul in 1973 here or here
Mighty Love, Part 1 – #20 pop, #1 for two weeks soul in 1974 here or here
Then Came You – #1 pop, #2 soul in 1974 here or here
They Just Can’t Stop It (Games People Play) – #5 pop, #1 soul in 1975 here or here
The Rubberband Man – #2 for three weeks pop, #1 soul in 1976 here or here; long, album version here or here
Sam Moore was blown away, and uttered “Play it, Steve” spontaneously.
Samuel David Moore (born October 12, 1935) and the late Dave Prater (May 9, 1937 – April 9, 1988) comprised, inarguably, the most successful and critically acclaimed soul-singing duo, Sam & Dave, from 1961 to 1981. They are members of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (1992) and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. Sam Moore has continued his career as a solo performing and recording artist.
They had a complicated recording situation, signed to Atlantic Records, but leased to the soul label Stax for a time in order to get the Memphis feel. Their working relationship was also strange; “according to Moore, they did not speak to each other offstage for almost 13 years.”
A Place Nobody Can Find, written by David Porter, was their first STAX single, b/w Goodnight Baby (Isaac Hayes/Porter), both sides featured Dave Prater singing lead. It failed to chart. That would soon change.
Many of the song description narratives are from the great book Soulsville U.S.A.: The Story of STAX RECORDS by Rob Bowman. Links to all songs.
10. I Take What I Want (Hayes/Mabon Hodges/Porter), 1965 – another early song that failed to chart. Note that many of these songs were written by the team of Isaac Hayes (of “Shaft” fame), and David Porter, who also produced these and many future songs. They also wrote hits for other STAX artists.
9. You Got Me Hummin’ (Hayes/Porter), #77 pop, #7 r&b in 1967 – such nice rhythmic humming, it wasn’t the bawdy song that the writers had envisioned.
8. You Don’t Know Like I Know (Hayes/Porter), #90 pop, #7 r&b in 1965 – their first hit, due in no small part to the promotional skills of STAX’s Al Bell. It was inspired by the gospel song You Don’t Know Like I Know What the Lord Has Done for Me. Sam Moore hated the song, and about half the tunes presented to him at STAX because Hayes and Porter made him sing high in his vocal range. Dave sings the first verse, then they trade lines. Instead of a solo, Hayes and Porter put in a horn ensemble, inspired by Otis Redding’s In the Midnight Hour.
7. You Don’t Know What You Mean to Me (Eddie Floyd/Steve Cropper) #48 pop, #20 r&b in 1968 – I’m not a great fan of talking in pop songs. But when Sam & Dave do it – “Eddie FLOYD wrote the song” – it’s different. Steve Cropper is best known as the guitarist of the Stax Records house band, Booker T. & the M.G.’s.
6. Soothe Me (Sam Cooke), the live version went #56 pop, #16 r&b, #35 UK – smooth like Sam Cooke was.
5. Soul Man (Hayes/Porter), #2 pop for three weeks, #1 r&b for seven weeks, 24 UK in 1967. A Grammy Hall of Fame song. Isaac Hayes suggested Steve Cropper play a slide guitar lick, and Cropper, not having a proper slide, used a cigarette lighter. Sam Moore was blown away and uttered “Play it, Steve” spontaneously, which was kept in the mix. The success of the Blues Brothers’ cover, for some reason, made me irritable.
4. Wrap It Up (Hayes/Porter) – B-side of I Thank You, 1968. The lead vocals were recorded in Paris while the duo was on tour, because the label thought, correctly, that the A-side was going to be a big hit.
3. I Thank You (Hayes/Porter), #9 pop, #4 r&b, #34 UK in 1968 – more talk that works. Sam’s “I want everybody to get off your seat, And get your arms together, And your hands together, And give me some of that old soul clapping” sounded like church, especially the word “old.” Also love the clavinet, played by Hayes. It features background vocals by Ollie and the Nightingales.
2. Hold On, I’m Comin’ (Hayes/Porter), #21 pop, #1 r&b in 1966 – the first Sam & Dave song I was aware of. Hayes had yelled to Porter to hurry, and finish up in STAX’s washroom. Porter responded, “Hold on, man, I’m coming.” Sam is on lead vocals from the start. Little mistakes, such as Wayne Jackson missing a trumpet entrance, were left in. Often covered, never surpassed.