The theme this month is: obscure modern soul.
Jed takes us through December’s mix. We give thanks to the uploaders of YouTube, without which this wouldn’t have been possible (due to the fact that some of these records are long out of print/are prohibitively expensive). Enjoy!
- Keni C. – Find Someone (To Love You)
Insanely rare 45 which will set you back about $300 if you ever come across it. There’s hardly any information on this release online, so I’ve pieced together what I can and made a few educated guesses.
It was released on Space City Records at some point in the 1980s. Space City is a nickname for Houston, so it’s possible that this record was released there.
The label states that it was produced by Tom Burton III – who also appears, according to Discogs, as a horn player on another record in 1982 (released by The Sound Of Brooklyn). So, about 1982 would be my best guess as to the year of release for this.
The label also states that it was produced by Robert ‘Baba’ Lyles, who could be Bobby Lyles, the keyboard player with Young-Holt Unlimited. He currently resides in Houston so it wouldn’t be out of the question to assume he was involved with this record’s production.
- Marc Reed – One Body
Released on London-based 20/20 Records in 1986. Apparently this is Marc Reed’s only release – a 12” single (surely there’s an album out there?)
Produced by Lenny Fearon, who had some success with the Brit-Funk group Galaxy in 1982 with ‘Head Over Heels’ and in 1983 with ‘Dancing Tight’.
The bassline is reminiscent of Steve Harvey’s classic ‘Tonight’, which you should totally check out.
- UDM – To Please You
Not, in fact, the Union of Democratic Mineworkers, but a track written by three members of the disco/boogie group Rhyze (check out their classic ‘Just How Sweet Is Your Love’). Those guys were Leon Stuckey, Roscoe Taylor and Ellsworth Anderson. I have no idea why they’re called UDM…anyone else?
Released on Kadabra Records in 1983, this is apparently the only release on that label. Not sure why, because Rhyze were pretty well-known on the scene by this point and were signed to SAM Records and then 20th Century Fox Records.
Maybe they couldn’t handle the funk.
- Tchukon – Too Late
According to Discogs:
“Canadian modern soul group … one of the finalists for the televised Star Search talent contest in 1986. Tchukon is Warren ‘Slim’ Williams, Kathleen Dyson-Oliver, Harold Fischer, Ingrid Stitt and Eric Roberts”.
So there you go.
‘Too Late’ is a track from their album ‘Here and Now’, released in 1987 on Aquarius Records.
- Vickie McKisic – Burnin’ Hot
Released in 1986 on Atlanta-based HoMark Records.
Discogs has a good inventory of their releases, going back to the early 70s, so it seems that this is a soul label that moved with the times and went electro in the mid-80s.
This seems to be Vickie McKisic’s only release, although she is still performing around the Atlanta area today.
- Smoke City & Starr – Lots of Love
Chicago-based soul band Smoke City released this in 1986 on Empie Records. Previously they’d had a couple of releases on Epic Records, and they released an album on Epic in 1985.
This was meant to be from a second album, but was never released. The marvels of Facebook mean that we can now find out why, from former bass player Mike Sterling:
“The Epic contract was only for the one LP. Before I left the band in 1986 (the LP was released in 1985), [manager] Emmet Gardner told me that the next Smoke City project would be focused on the female lead vocalist, Starr.
“He said that it is much easier to promote one person instead of a band and at that time many well-known groups were pushing their lead vocalists to solo projects”.
Sadly that second album never came out, and the band appear to have split shortly after this track was released.
- The Connection – Keep Your Front Door Open
Three-piece vocal group The Connection hooked up with songwriter John Glover (The Four Tops, The Dells, The Supremes) to produce this soulful slow jam.
Released on Detroit-based R&R Records in 1986.
- Monica Mason – No More Weekend Girl
Produced by singer/songwriter Harvey Scales, this track has all the hallmarks of a smash hit.
Released on Georgia-based Gunsmoke Records in 1986, its small-label distribution might help explain why this didn’t get the exposure that it clearly deserved.
Monica Mason is still performing in the Atlanta area today, though, and this track is testament to her vocal skills.
- William Bostic – What You Do To Me
Released on SOR Records (Sound of Richmond Records) in 1983, this is a lo-fi boogie banger. And that’s Richmond, California. Not Yorkshire.
- The Futures – Let’s Get To It
Another super-expensive record. Currently, there’s one for sale on Discogs going for just under £500. Which is daft. So here it is on this mix, instead.
Released in 1982 on Warped Records (not Warp!), this features a lot of session musucians who were active in the Philly Soul scene in the mid-70s through to the mid-80s, including some of Dexter Wansel’s backing band.
The ridiculous price is because this has never been repressed, and released on a minor label despite it featuring some big names. It’s also dope. Supply and demand!
- Clarence Jackson – Wrap It Up
Like The Connection (track 7), this was produced with Detroit-based songwriter John Glover.
Released on R&R Record’s sister label RR Records in 1984, it’s all about THAT BASS. So deep!
- Pause – It’s Just Amazing
It’s just amazing that this was never released on anything beyond a white label. A white label! Can you believe it?
Anyway, this is great soulful jam from the London-based Pause. There’s no information about them anywhere, so here’s a picture of what they looked like in 1987.
13. Ken Chaney – Ready For Your Love
Rapid drum machines, lo-fi production. Released in 1985 on Philly-based Tempre Records. Co-written by Eugene Curry, synth player in Redd Holt Unlimited (before they changed their name to Young-Holt Unlimited).
It should be noted that Eugene Curry, as well as playing on this record, also appears on the classic ‘Love Sensation’ by Loleatta Holloway.