Soul Fantasy

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Gary Bartz - Bartz 1980 Lp

I have wanted to present this album since I started to operate my blog. As I remember it was about in 1996 when I found this album in Athens on Ipokratous Street. I noticed immediately that producers on the album were James Mtume and Reggie Lucas. I said: "Oh my god !". I had already another album entitled "Love affair" by Gary Bartz which was released in 1978 on Capitol Records. I was very curious to go to my home, so as to hear this album. I could not hear it in the shop.
Two hours later I said: "This album is not only one of the best soul/jazz/funk albums but also the best album !!!". I was really amazed.

What can I say about Gary Bartz ? I need many days to describe everything about him. I have recently read an article describing Gary Bartz when someone saw him in a club in Baltimore. He said that "Gary Bartz play two solos on every song, one at the begining and one at the end".

Gary Bartz is an alto and soprano saxophonist and clarinetist. He was born in 1940, Baltimore, Maryland. He graduated from the Baltimore City College high school and The Juilliard School. He has collaborated with great jazz musicians such as Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Max Roach, Jackie McLean and many others.
In fact, the collaboration between James Mtume and Reggie Lucas with Gary Bartz began in 1979 when Gary Bartz played saxophone on the albums of Phillys Hyman entitled "You know how to love me" and Rena Scott's entitled "Come on inside". In both of these albums Mtume and Lucas were producers.
In 1980 Gary Bartz recorded an album with the help of team James Mtume and Reggie Lucas. The team consisted by Basil Fearington on bass, Reggie Lucas and Ed "Tree" Moore on guitars, Harry Whitaker, Hubert Eaves and Mtume on keyboards, Mtume on percussion, Howard King on drums and Tawatha Agee on vocals. The album entitled "Bartz" was released on Elektra Records in 1980.
Produced by James Mtume and Reggie Lucas. String and horn arrangements by Wade Marcus and Sinclair Acey. String and horn contractor by Gene Bianca. All rhythm arrangements by J.Mtume and R.Lucas. All vocals arrangements by J.Mtume, R.Lucas and Tawatha. Backing vocals by Tawatha, Cindy Jordan, J.Mtume and R.Lucas.
I have chosen three tracks entitled "After Glow" , "Need your love" and "Keep goin' on". I want to note that solo flugel horn on "After Glow" is by Danny Coleman.

Vocals on "Keep goin' on" by Tawatha. It was written by Tawatha and Howard King. I think this is the best song Tawatha has ever sung.

"Keep goin' on" was also released as a single on Arista Records. It was also included on the CD called "The Best Of Mtume & Lucas" which was released in 2004 on Expansion Records.

Recently the album "Bartz" was released in CD. Of course I bought it.

Note: The above posted tracks are not played in full

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Big George Collier - Free at last 1984

Big George Collier is an unknown singer with a great voice. He was lead singer of the group called Columbians, from Columbia, South Carolina in the late 60s. The most known song from the group was entitled "Forever More" in 1968. The short-lived group (1966-1969) consisted of 10 members.

After the Columbians, he worked as an actor and as a "hired voice". He has performed in films including “The Ride” and several others. He also appeared as Ludacris’ father in one of his music videos and participated in numerous local and national radio and TV commercials. He did appearances in various night clubs, hotels and festivals with his band. One of them was the club "Scarlett O'Hara" in which he appeared in the mid 70s. He sings at church, he has appeared with the Savannah Symphony and did guest appearances around GA, NC and SC.

In 1984 he released a single entitled "Free at last" on Imagery Records.
''Free At Last'' is a ballad which was written by Orlandoan Ellis Haraka and was getting a lot of play on area radio stations. Arranged by Steve Carey.

Finally I want to note that until nowadays he sings in various clubs.

Note: The above posted single is not played in full

#    I want to thank Big George Collier for his info and his photos.
##  I also want to thank Dennis Fassuliotis founder of Charleston Jazz Club

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sir James Randolph as Jimmy Randolph

Last year many people learnt about the great singer Sir James Randolph. Almost all the people are looking for his album which was released in 1981. I had the pleasure to present this album on my blog. However some real collectors know and the singer Jimmy Randolph who became known from the late 50s to mid 70s.
Recently I bought the record "You have to lose love" by Jimmy Randolph which was released on Honey Bee Records in 1978. I want to mention that I heard this song for the first time by Paul Collins Radio Show some years ago.
In fact when I learnt about Jimmy Randolph, I did not know anything about Sir James Randolph. When I bought the album "The Sophisticated Funk Of Sir James Randolph" in 2009 by Sir James Randolph, immediatelly I started to looking everywhere about Sir James Randolph and Jimmy Randolph, so as to get more info about them.

I understood that he was the same artist but I needed confirmation. I managed to come in contact with the niece of Sir James Randolph. She told me that Jimmy and Sir James Randolph is the same person. At the same time I found a few photos about him from magazines.

Jimmy Randolph 1958
Jimmy Randolph is a versatile artist. His true love was the music but he was also involved with the theater, film and  television.
He started to become known, singing in night clubs throughout the city. His strong voice did not go unnoticed. On January 1956 he signed with Mercury Records. Jimmy Randolph also did appearances in the famous Cotton Club in the late 50s. At that time, he also sang for the Duke Ellington and his orchestra along with Barbara McNair at the Copa City in Miami Beach. Then he continued to do appearances in various clubs and hotels as well as to releasing 45". In 1966 he did first appearance on TV (Porgy in Wien). He played along with Robert Guillaume.
He made a five-month tour throughout France in the late 60s. He tried to promote his songs through this trip in France. In 1971 he received one of the highest honors to noncitizens by Liberian Government, because he composed a special song, titled "Liberian". 

1972 at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas (Jimmy Randolph, Nancy Wilson, Sammy Davis Jr, Harry Belafonte, Billy Ekcstine and many others)
He continued to sing in various clubs and hotels such as "Riviera" in Las Vegas 1972 and "Stardust" with Lionel Hampton in 1974. He also did appearances in a few TV series.

In 1976 is the big moment of Jimmy Randolph's career, using the name James Randolph. He participated at the Broadway Theatre in a Broadway revival of "Guys and Dolls" with an all black-cast as Sky Masterson along with Robert Guillaume as Nathan Detroit, Norma Donaldson as Miss Adelaide, Ernestine Jackson as Sarah Brown."Guys and Dolls" is a musical and was directed and choreographed by Billy Wilson. The show closed on February 13, 1977 after 239 performances and 12 previews.

While in 1978 he was singing in Cotton Club, he released a single entitled "You have to lose love (to love love) / A man named Paul" on Honey Bee Records. He worked with Horace Ott and Jay Ellis. With Horace Ott he had collaborated again previously at the Broadway Theatre, on Guys and Dolls. Horace Ott and Danny Holgate did orchestrations.
"You have to lose love (to love love)" was written and arranged by Horace Ott. Produced by Jay Ellis. Enjoy it !!! My copy includes stereo/mono versions of "You have to lose love (to love love)".

Jay Ellis had collaborated with the group Showdown previously Jive Five on the same label, releasing a disco single entitled "Keep doin it" in 1977.

Discography as Jimmy Randolph

A band of angels on Wing Records  1956
The Little Boy / Fallen angel on Mercury Records 1956
I want you to know / Wagon wheels on Mercury Records
Shangri-La / Summertime on Mercury Records
Where shall I go / Way beyond the hills on Decca Records  1957
Show me the way to go home / You have given this to me on Decca Records 1959
Let's work together on Decca Records 1960
This is my love / Don't Talk on Decca Records
Everybody needs something to believe in / All that I want on Jeff  Recording Co
Let's work together / What color is the love in your heart on Rama Rama Records
Donna's been kissed / The act  on Sylvia Records 1960
Silver Earring (Island) / My love will come by on London Records 1961
Mr.Groundhog / Walk the chalk line on  Harmon Records 1962
Gonna sit and cry / In the garden on Arlis Records 1965
Caravan of lonely man / Miracle after on Felsted Records
Plainsville. USA  on Motown Records 1973
You have to lose love (to love love) / A man named Paul on Honey Bee Records 1978

In 2008 it was released CD "Philadelphia Soul Rarities" which contains two songs of Jimmy Randolph. Both of these songs were produced by the great producer, songwriter Weldon Arthur McDougal III and probably they are unreleased. These songs entitled "No more beautiful days" and "All that I want" were recorded at Sigma Sound Studios in the early 70s.
I chose the track "No more beautiful days".

Note: The above posted tracks are not played in full

Did Jimmy Randolph release any other records?  If you know then please email me at the address above.
## This article is dedicated only for those who love the music.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Montage - Project One 1978 Lp

Montage was an obscure jazz group from Wisconsin which was formed about in 1975. The group started to play at the local jazz nightclubs. In 1977 they had a prestigious collaboration with The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. They played in Jimmy Sardino's jazz club in the late 1977. It was then that they decided to record an album. For this reason, they came in contact with David Dillon who was a local investor, so as to back them financially. David Dillon wanted to help the group release an album but he also wanted to promote the group through jazz festivals. To prepare for the forthcoming album and tour, Montage strengthened with the guitarist John Zaffiro. Zafiro was an excellent addition. He played more into straight ahead jazz than jazz-rock. He joins keyboard player Tom Sandquist, sax player Bob Rebholz, drummer Paul Reedman, percussionist John Seydewitz, bassist Tom McGurr and vocalist Marcia Cunningham. 

The album is already in the making. Finally they released the debut album in 1978, but I don't know why at the last moment the bassist Tom McGurr was replaced by other bassist called Joe Dolister.
The members on the album were Tom Sandquist on piano, Bob Rebholz on sax and flute, John Zaffiro on guitar, Marcia Cunningham on vocals, Joe Dolister on bass, John Seydewitz on percussion and Paul Redmann on drums.
The album was recorded at Shade Tree Studios, Lake Geneva Wisconsin, May and July, 1978. They recorded one of the best soul jazz albums in my opinion.
In this album also participated Tom Baker, Rick Chitwood, Tom Schlueter on trumpets, Harry Kozlowski and Dave Ruck on trombones. Backing vocals by Judy Watermann and Suzanne Falcone. Produced by M.L.Productions.
I have chosen three tracks, two with vocals entitled "We weave a lullabye" , "Wonderfull love" and one instrumental entitled "Bahia honda". It is worthy to note that Marcia Cunningham has a fantastic voice. She was also a great composer because she wrote the songs "We weave a lullabye", "Just me" and "Wonderfull love". The music of "Wonderfull love" was co-written by guitarist John Zaffiro.

We weave a lullabye (sample)

Wonderfull love (sample)

Bahia honda (sample)

After that album three members left the group and tried to follow a new musical direction with a group called Rainbow's End. Guitarist John Zaffiro, singer Marcia Cunningham and drummer Paul Redmann were the musical "refugees" in this new band which appeared at Sardino's Bull Ring Ltd. Since Zaffiro and Cunningham left Montage, they were replaced by guitarist John Northurp and vocalist Pam Duronio.

Cunningham and Zaffiro continued with Rainbow's End. The group performed throughout the Milwaukee and Mid West at venues such as Summerfest, Rainbow Summer, Jazz in the Park and various Night Clubs and Private Events. In the mid 1990’s the group became known as the rbe Jazz Quartet and was a regular performer at the Red Mill East and Red Mill Jazz Club.
Today two members of the group Montage, guitarist John Zaffiro and percussionist John Seydewitz play for the band called George Busateri Band from Milwaukee.

Note: The above posted tracks are not played in full

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ira Watson - Shining Star 1982 Lp

All people know this singer mainly from the album "Shining Star". Ira Watson is a great talented musician and a multi-instrument player. How many people know that Ira Watson appeared in the mid 70s as bassist when he played for the group called Skip Mahoaney and the Casuals?
In 1974 Ira Watson participated on the album "Your funny moods" which was released on DC International Records. He also co-wrote a song "I'm looking away from my past". Two years later Ira also participated as a bassist on their second album entitled "Land of love" which was released on Abet Records.

At that time Ira Watson also played bass for the group called Exceptions from Washington. Member of this group was Mark Greene who previously was original member of the group The Moments. Exceptions recorded an album but unfortunately it was never released.
In 2007 Mark Greene released these songs on CD as "The Moments Featuring Mark Greene - Urban Legacy".

In the late 70s he played bass on the gospel album of Teddy Grover entitled "Standing on the promises".
It is worthy to note that Ira Watson was a member of the gospel band called Kenneth Copeland Band as bassist, guitarist, vocalist and producer for five years.

Ira Watson with Ronnie Pierce singer of gospel music
Keneth Copeland formed a label called Sozo Records in 1981. Next year Ira Watson released one and only album entitled "Shining Star".

This great album was recorded in different sound studios starting at the famous Sigma Sound Studios (Philadelphia,PA), Bias Recording Co (Springfield,VA), Central Sound Studios,Inc (Auburndale,FL), Sonrise Sound (Fort Worth, TX) and Cecca Sound Studios (Dallas,TX).
Great musicians participated such as the famous guitarist Norman Harris who was a founding member of MFSB, Hilton Felton keyboartist known from the 70s with his album entitled "Man for all reasons".  Harrold Sutton on keyboards, Tim Eyermann on saxophone.

I have already presented two albums of Tim Eyermann on my blog. I presented one year ago the self-titled album which was released in 1984 and the second album entitled "Walkin' with you" which was released in 1985. As far as Ira Watson's album, Tim Eyermann featured on all solo saxophones especially on the tracks "Are you runnin" and "You belong to me".
Also participated Don Renaldo on strings, Ricky Wellman who later was the last drummer in a Miles Davis Band. Johnny Ingram on drums who today is the lead singer of The New MFSB. Of course and many other artists participated, but it is worthy to mention that Ira Watson played bass, guitar, percussion and keyboards. Unbelievable !!! 
Backing vocals by Barbara Ingram with her cousins Evette Benton and Carla Benson. Produced by himself.

Are you runnin'(Sample)

Breakin' away (Sample)

"Breakin' away" was also released as a single on the same label in 1982.

Shinning star (Sample)

You belong to me (Sample)

Next year Ira Watson participated on the album "Living in your love" which was released by Cheryl Ingram on the same label (Sozo Records).

He co-wrote two songs with Cheryl Ingram entitled "Follow the light" and "What would I do". He also helped on rhythm arrangements. I presented this album six months ago.
The same year he collaborated again with Skip Mahoney. Ira Watson and Skip Mahoney wrote a song called "I love you so". Mahoney released a single entitled "I love you so / Power of the mind " on IP (International Productions) Records. The next years Watson and Mahoney continued to compose music.

Note: The above posted tracks are not played in full

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Duke Jones Projects

Albert "Duke" Jones was born in 1952. Trumpeter Albert Jones is known to all friends as "Duke". He began playing trumpet at the age of nine. In elementary school and through White Plains High School, "Duke" played and formed a band. In the beginning Duke Jones and Porter Carroll formed a band called "Newban" and they released two albums on Guiness Records. Later they changed their name to Atlantic Star.
I want to mention for the history that founding members of the Newban and later Atlantic Star were only Duke Jones and Porter Carroll.
Allthough he was a founding member of the famous group Atlantic Star he went to a solo career. He joined to The Starship Orchestra. In 1979 he played for Norman Connors on the album "Invitation" on Arista Records.
He also played on the self-titled disco funky album by Fingers. In fact Fingers (Chris Adams and Michael Ford) released an album on RCA Records in 1979. It was recorded at Minot Sound Studios, White Plains, New York.

Duke Jones played solo trumpet on the track "On my way back home". It is a great song whose music was written by Chris Adams and lyrics was written by Chris Adams and Michael Ford.

2005: Albert "Duke" Jones, Chris Adams and Michael Ford
At the same time he collaborated with Lonnie Liston Smith and played on his album entitled "Love is the answer" which was released in 1980 on CBS Records. The same year he appeared on the Atlantic Star album "Radiant" on A&M Records.

In 1981 he appeared on the Norman Connors album entitled "Mr. C" with The Starship Orchestra. He and saxophonist Marion Meadows did arrangement on horns of the self-titled track. Composed by Starship Orchestra. Arranged and conducted by Norman Connors and Jacques Burvick.

In 1982 he formed a band called The Duke Jones Project and released a single entitled "Topaz / I'll never stop" on Charlie Records from New York. It was distributed by TSOB (The Sound of Brooklyn Records). Produced by Albert Duke Jones, Cooper & Fulton.

"Topaz" is a great funky jazz instrumental. Composed by himself and G.Pablis.

The other song "I'll never stop" is a mid-tempo in which appears an unknown female singer.

The same year he participated on the Atlantic Star album "Brilliance" on A&M Records. A few years later he played again for Atlantic Star and the album "All in the name of love" which was released in 1987 on Warner Bros.Records.

Albert Duke Jones has toured to Japan, Europe and Africa working with musicians such as The Temptations, Angela Bofill, Larry Coryell and Marion Meadows.
In 1992, Duke served as Vice President of Creole Records, a label started with the band mate August Darnell (Kid Creole). The label, distributed by Nippon Columbia, released seven CD’s in Japan and the U.S.

In 1994 he released his debut album (CD) entitled "Thunder Island" on Three Brothers Music under the help  of David Lewis from Atlantic Star and Norman Connors on production.

In 2005, he formed CafĂ© Soul All-Stars and recorded their debut CD “Love Pages” in which featured George Benson, Roy Ayers and Kenny Garrett among other great musicians.

Note: The above posted tracks are not played in full

Monday, November 28, 2011

Randy Cone - Angel

Randy Cone is lesser known but very good singer and songwriter. His real name is Acey 'McCone. He has written many songs. One of them was entitled "Honey I don't mind" which was released by John Byrd on 20th Century Records in 1974. Two years later the same song was re-recorded by John Edwards. In 1976 he wrote one more song for the Canadian singer Norris Vines and his band The Luvlines. Norris Vines released a single "Give In / Feel The Warm" on Smile Records which is sought after between the collectors. Acey McCone wrote the song "Give In" as Randy Cone.

In the 80s he released a single under the name Randy Cone on Harbor Records. Two songs were included in this single named "Nobody (Makes me feel like you do)" and "Angel". Both songs were written by himself. Produced by Thaddeus E.Williams. I chose "Angel" which is accompanied by nice saxophone.

Today he continues to write music. You can see more info about him here.

Note: The above posted single is not played in full

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Charles Anthony Stewart - Stepping out

Charles Anthony Stewart is an obscure artist who released a single "Bingo / Stepping out" on his own label called Charles Anthony. Probably it was released in 1984 because the vinyl doesn't mention anything about the year of release. FAQS mentions that date of creation is 1984.
"Stepping out" is a fantastic song which was written by himself. Produced by Jim Schrader and James Hargrove.

Note: The above posted single is not played in full

Thursday, November 17, 2011

J.J.Nichols - Dancin' lady 1975

J.J.Nichols is an unknown singer who released the single "Dancin lady" in the mid 70s on NAMI (North American Music Industries).
This label from New York was owned and organized by Lou Guarino in 1972 with the purpose of acquiring the EMI/Capitol Records. Lou Guarino became known the years 1959 through 1962, when he and Lenny Martins were responsible for producing and marketing many of the groups from the Pittsburgh area.

Lou Guarino

Lou Guarino wrote this song along with Phil Lipati. Lou Guarino was also producer and co-arranger. Lou Hemsey was co-arranger as well.

Lou Hemsey

Lou Hemsey is a composer, orchestrator, mastering engineer, editor, screenwriter, film director and producer. I came in contact with Lou Hemsey but he doesn't know anything about J.J.Nichols. He told me that he was the sole arranger but Lou Guarino put his name down after discussion. Lou Hemsey loved working with Lou Guarino.

Note: The above posted single is not played in full

#  I want to thank Lou Hemsey for his info

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Freddie Gorman - Love Has Seen Us Through 1980 (Long version)

I had the pleasure to present Freddie Gorman and this fantastic song four months ago. As I remember when I heard the song "Love has seen us through" on the forum "soul-source" some years ago, I said oh my god and I started listening to it non stop. I tried to find the long version of "Love has seen us through". Finally I managed to find it. It was released only by Rene Records in 1980. It was also included on the EP on Airwave Records which was released by Freddie Gorman under the name Freddie Gee.

There is a strange thing. Some guys pay $300 to buy this EP. Unbelievable !!! They don't know the real name of the artist. They think that he is an unknown artist.

Sample (Long version)

Note: The above posted single is not played in full

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Nora - Mister 1983

Nora Bernstein is an unknown singer from New York who appeared in the early 80s when she released two singles on The New York Music Company. The first single is entitled "November / Mister" and the second is entitled "Matter of time / Bound to love" which were released in 1983.
"Mister" is a great song with nice arrangement and fantastic vocals. It was recorded at Sigma Sound Studios, New York City. Composed by Nora Bernstein and Marsha Bernstein Lee

In the single "November / Mister" great musicians appear such as Horace Ott on piano, Bernard Purdie on drums, Hiram Bullock on guitar and Wilbur Bascomb on bass. Also Jack Cavani on guitar. Background vocals by Maretha Stewart, Ullanda McCullough, Barbara Massey and Terry Textor. Produced and arranged by Horace Ott.
Enjoy "Mister" !!!

One year later Nora released an album on the same label entitled "Foreign legions". However the song "Mister" was not included on the album.

Note: The above posted single is not played in full

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ace Spectrum - Sweet music, soft lights and you 1976

Ace Spectrum were formed in the early 70s by Elliot Isaac and Ed "Easy" Zant. The two other members of the group were Aubrey Johnson and Rudy Gay. They started to record at RCA Studios in New York, on August 23. Between 1974 and 1976 the group released three (3) albums entitled "Inner Spectrum" in 1974, "Low Rent Rendezvous" in 1975 and "Just Like In The Movies" in 1976 respectively.

The last album "Just Like In The Movies" was recorded at Atlantic & Media Sound Studios, New York in 1976. The members were Elliot Isaac and Ed "Easy" Zant. The two new members were Lawrence "Dee" Coley and Frederick "G" Duff.
The musicians were Jerry Friedman, Jeff Mironov and Jesse Cox on guitars, Derek Smith and George Butcher on keyboards, Dwight Brewster on synthesizers, Bob Babbitt on bass, Jimmy Young and Herb Lavell on drums, Carlos Martin on congas and Phil Kraus, Ted Sommers on percussion.
Produced by Ed Zant and Tony Sylvester. Arranged and conducted by Patrick Adams. My favorite song is entitled "Sweet music, soft lights & you".

However the original recording was released the same year by the songwriter, producer and singer Kenny Williams. Kenny Williams released a single "Sweet music, soft lights & you" in 1976 on Creem Records.

"Sweet music, soft lights & you" was written by Ken Williams, Mel Kent and J.R.Bailey. Arranged by Paul Griffin & Ken Williams. Produced by DeLano.

Ken Williams became known as songwriter when he wrote along with J.R.Bailey the song "Love, love, love" which was released as a single by J.R.Bailey in 1972 on Toy Records. This song was also sang by Donny Hathaway in 1973 and had a great success.

Note: The above posted tracks are not played in full