The other day I was down in the dungeon (ARC’s basement where we keep the 45s) searching for Sly & the Family Stone singles for a Vanity Fair project. While there, I found these four groovy records:
The first was “The Mash” by Bud Spudd & the Sprouts. This is basically the exact same song as “Mashed Potatoes” by Nat Kendricks & the Swans. But this version is slowed down and really, really greasy sounding. In fact, I will go on record as saying that this record is the greasiest record I’ve ever heard. It was so greasy that I had to wash my hands after hearing it! We better keep it in a plastic sleeve.
Have you ever heard a cover of a song you know well and you swear that this version sounds as if it is the original version, even though you KNOW it is not? Big Maybelle’s version of “96 Tears” is an excellent example of this. Her rendition of the ? & the Mysterians original is so raw and funky that it just HAS to be the first version–but it’s not. This can be said of the item at hand. “Foxy Lady” by Soul Agents. If the songwriting wasn’t credited to Jimi Hendrix, one would think that the famous guitarist ripped it off the Soul Agents. Like Bud Spudd, Soul Agents take the song in a much slower tempo, yet it exudes a soulfulness and, yes a sufficient amount of grease, that is only alluded to the Hendrix original. Plus, instead of any guitar solo, there is a sick-sounding alto saxophone solo that really adds to this record’s cool factor. Dig it.
Charlie Singleton was an un-sung R&B bandleader. Some of H-Bomb Ferguson’s best records contained the backing of Charlie Singleton & His Orchestra. This musical unit is the artist on this record, “Alligator Meat.” The song is a solid and swingin’ jump blues number with a great message–“Alligator meat is really all reet!” Obviously, Singleton had been paid several hundred dollars by lobbyists from the alligator meat industry to record this track. The songwriter, Joe Swift, also wrote at least two other songs about food: “Chicken Leg Chick” and “Crazy About Your Cookin’.”
Lastly is a wonderful uptempo soul record by Sandi Sheldon called “You’re Gonna Make Me Love You.” This record is just a gas from start to end–the kind of record that our British friends often refer to as Northern Soul. The song was written and produced by Van McCoy–who wrote and produced hundreds of records, many of them nearly as fabulous as this one–before he had his 1975 Number One hit with “The Hustle.” Sheldon’s real name was Kendra Spotswood, and her story is told very well in an interview on the Spectorpop website.
The ARChive of Contemporary Music consists of about two million pieces–records, cassettes, CDs, etc. From time to time we will shine a spot light on some of them. None of these records are for sale.
–Phast Phreddie Patterson