Category Archives: soul oldies

Blue Magic – Sideshow


Blue Magic is an American R&B/soul music group, and one of the most popular Philadelphia soul groups of the 1970s. Founded in 1972, the group’s original members included lead singer Ted Mills with Vernon Sawyer, Wendell Sawyer, Keith Beaton, and Richard Pratt. Their most notable songs included smooth soul ballads such as “Sideshow”, “Spell”, “What’s Come Over Me”, “Three Ring Circus” and “Stop to Start.”


Blue Magic was formed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1972 when former member of The Delfonics Randy Cain brought in singer-songwriter Ted Mills to do some writing with the Philly-based WMOT production company to create a new band. A short time later the group Shades of Love, featuring Keith Beaton, Richard Pratt, Vernon Sawyer and his brother Wendell, came in to audition. (According to Marc Taylor in his book ‘A Touch of Classic Soul of the Early 1970s’,[1] “although the group performed admirably, they lacked a standout lead singer”.) The execs decided to replace the Toppicks, the act Mills recorded with. They inserted Shades of Love (which they owned contractually) with Ted Mills and retitled the group Blue Magic. They were signed with Atco Records through WMOT in the same year.


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In the Rain – The Dramatics

In the Rain – The Dramatics

In the Rain” is a 1972 soul single by American vocal group The Dramatics. Released from their debut album Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get it reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and spent four weeks at number one on the Best Selling Soul Singles chart.
It sold over one million copies, and is the group’s biggest hit.
Billboard ranked it as the No. 53 song for 1972.

The song was written by Tony Hester and was released in February 1972.

The song is noted for the use of the sound of rain and thunder, first heard before the song’s introduction, as well as throughout the instrumental and chorus sections of the song.

The song’s lyrics stated that the singer wants to go out and stand in the rain, because of a broken love relationship, though he stated that it may sound crazy,

Keith Sweat covered the song on his 1987 album Make It Last Forever.

R&B group Xscape also covered the song in 1997 from the soundtrack, Love Jonesstarring Larenz Tate and Nia Long.

Smooth Jazz artist Boney James covered the song featuring Dwele on the Shine album in 2006.


Posted by on March 21, 2018 in male vocal group, r&b, soul oldies



“Wake Up Everybody – Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes”

“Wake Up Everybody – Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes”
Harold Melvin & the Blue Noteswere an American singing group, one of the most popular Philadelphia soul groups of the 1970s. The group’s repertoire included soul, R&B, doo-wop, and disco.

Founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the early 1950s as The Charlemagnes, the group is most noted for several hits on Gamble and Huff’s Philadelphia International label between 1972 and 1976, although they performed and recorded until Melvin’s death in 1997. However, the remaining members, the Blue Notes, were reunited in 2013 for the Soul Train Cruise, and will reunite again in 2015, during the fourth sailing.

Despite group founder and original lead singer Harold Melvin’s top billing, the Blue Notes’ most famous member was Teddy Pendergrass, their lead singer during the successful years at Philadelphia International.


The group formerly known as The Charlemagnes took on the name “The Blue Notes” in 1954, with a lineup consisting of lead singer Harold Melvin (June 25, 1939—March 24, 1997), Bernard Williams, Roosevelt Brodie, Jesse Gillis, Jr., and Franklin Peaker.

The group recorded for a number of labels without success from its inception into the 1960s. The 1960 single “My Hero” was a minor hit for Val-ue Records, and 1965’s “Get Out (and Let Me Cry)” was an R&B hit for Landa Records. During this period, the group’s lineup changed frequently, with Bernard Wilson leaving the act to start a group called “The Original Blue Notes”, and Harold Melvin bringing in new lead singer John Atkins.

In 1970, the group recruited Teddy Pendergrass as the drummer for their backing band. Pendergrass had been a former member of Philadelphia R&B group The Cadillacs (not the New York group that had hits in the late 1950s) and was promoted to lead singer when John Atkins quit the same year.

Philadelphia International successEdit
This line-up of the group, featuring Melvin, Pendergrass, Bernard Wilson, Lawrence Brown, and Lloyd Parks, was signed to Gamble & Huff’s Philadelphia International label in 1972, scoring several major R&B and pop hits including million-selling singles and albums over the next four years.

Among the Blue Notes’ most important and successful recordings are love songs such as 1972’s “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” (#1 Billboard R&B, #3 pop), their breakout single, “I Miss You” (#7 R&B, #58 pop), “The Love I Lost” (#1 R&B, #7 pop, 1973) and socially conscious songs such as “Wake Up Everybody” (#1 R&B, #12 pop) and “Bad Luck” (#4 R&B, #15 pop), both in 1975. “Bad Luck” holds the record for the longest-running number-one hit on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart: 11 weeks. A fourth #1 R&B hit for the group was 1975’s “Hope That We Can Be Together Soon” which featured female vocalist Sharon Paige.

A 1976 cover of “Don’t Leave Me This Way” by Motown artist Thelma Houston was a number-one hit on the US pop chart; her version is one of the defining recordings of the disco era. The Blue Notes’ version on the album,

“Wake Up Everybody”

was not released as a single in the USA at the time, but proved to be the group’s biggest hit in the UK (#5) when released there as a single in 1977. The track was finally issued as a single in the US on 12-inch in 1979, coupled with “Bad Luck”. The group recorded four albums with Gamble & Huff, all of them going gold (over 500,000 copies), according to RIAA, including “To Be True (#26, Billboard Top 40 albums) and “Wake Up Everybody” (#9), both in 1975.

“Wake Up Everybody”

and a greatest hits compilation released in 1976 called “Collector’s Item” have now sold over a million copies.

Despite success, the Blue Notes’ lineup continued to change regularly. In 1974, Melvin brought in Jerry Cummings to replace Lloyd Parks and Sharon Paige was added to the lineup at that time, providing solo performances on several recordings. While at the top of their success in 1976, Pendergrass quit after an argument over the money he earned. A year earlier, he had gained billing recognition by having the act renamed to “Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes featuring Theodore Pendergrass”, starting from the “Wake Up Everybody” album.

Pendergrass went on to a successful solo career, with four consecutive million-selling albums with Philadelphia International between 1977 and 1980. His career was almost tragically cut short by a paralyzing 1982 car accident. He made a triumphant comeback in 1984, signing with Asylum/Elektra Records, and recording the hit LP Love Language and then the platinum selling Joy LP, released in 1988, which featured the Grammy nominated title song, an R&B number 1; his comeback was cemented by an appearance at the Live Aid concert in 1985.



Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band – Express Yourself


Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band is a pioneering American soul and funk band. Formed in the early 1960s, they had the most visibility from 1967 to 1973 when the band had 9 singles reach Billboard’s pop and/or rhythm and blues Hot 100 lists, such as “Do Your Thing” (#11 Pop, #12 R&B), “Till You Get Enough” (#12 R&B, #67 Pop), and “Love Land” (R&B #23, Pop #16). They are best known for their biggest hit on Warner Bros. Records, 1970’s “Express Yourself” (#3 R&B, #12 Pop), a song that has been sampled by rap group N.W.A and others.


Charles Wright and the Wright Sounds
Charles Wright was born on April 6, 1940 in Clarksdale, Mississippi.[1] He moved to Los Angeles in the early 1950s, playing guitar and singing in several doo-wop groups including the Turks, the Twilighters, the Shields and the Gallahads. He also briefly worked as an A&R for Del-Fi Records and was responsible for the “Hit” record “Those Oldies But Goodies” (Remind me of you) by Little Caesar and the Romans in 1961. In 1962, he formed his own band Charles Wright & the Wright Sounds which included future Watts Band member, John Raynford, along with Daryl Dragon, aka “Captain” of Captain & Tennille. Over the course of the next six years, Wright would add more players to his group and these were the players who would eventually become known as the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, at least by 1968. Several of those members, namely drummer James Gadson, bassist Melvin Dunlap, trombonist/arranger Ray Jackson, and both guitarists Al McKay and Benorce Blackmon, would play on several Dyke & the Blazers charting singles, including “We Got More Soul” (1969) and “Let a Woman Be a Woman, Let a Man Be a Man” (1969).

The Wright Sounds played in several venues across Los Angeles but their best known stint was three years (ending in 1968) at Hollywood’s Haunted House nightclub. Originally located at Hollywood and Vine, the Haunted House was a popular club in the 1960s and appears in several popular culture artifacts, most notably the 1969 go-go dancing B-movie, Girl in Gold Boots.


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“It’s A Shame”


“It’s a Shame”

is a song co-written by Stevie Wonder, Syreeta Wright and Lee Garrett and produced by Wonder as a single for The Spinners on Motown’s V.I.P. Records label. The single became the Detroit-reared group’s biggest single on the Motown Records company since they had signed with the company in 1964 and also their biggest hit in a decade.

The lineup of the Spinners include original members Pervis Jackson, Henry Fambrough, Billy Henderson and Bobby Smith and lead vocalist G.C. Cameron. The quintet recorded the single in 1970.

The song, which is about a man who complains about a lover’s “messin’ around” on him, became a huge hit for the group reaching number-fourteen on the Billboard Hot 100 and number-three on the R&B singles chart, making it their biggest hit to date. The song was the first song Wonder produced for another act by himself.

Two years later, the group would leave Motown for a contract with Atlantic Records on the advice of fellow Detroit native Aretha Franklin, also an artist on that label. Cameron, who was having an affair with Gwen Gordy (sister of Motown founder Berry Gordy) decided to stay in Motown and the group hired Cameron’s cousin Philippé Wynne to replace him. Later, Cameron moved with the Gordys to Los Angeles, and stayed with Motown for over a decade.

Early recording years: 1961–71
The Spinners first hit the charts in August 1961 on Harvey Fuqua’s Tri-Phi Records, with “That’s What Girls Are Made For”, peaking at number 27. Bobby Smith sang lead vocal on this track, coached by Fuqua. (Some sources report Fuqua sang lead vocal on this track, but both Smith and Fuqua have stated at various times that it was Smith.) The group’s follow-up, “Love (I’m So Glad) I Found You”, also featured lead vocals by Smith, although again some sources credit Fuqua. This track reached number 91 that November, but none of their other Tri-Phi singles charted.

The extent to which Fuqua became a member of the group during their stay at Tri-Phi is debated. Fuqua apparently sang on at least some of the records, and at minimum considered himself a Spinner, as made explicit by the credits on Tri-Phi 1010 and 1024—the artist credit on both these 1962 singles reads “Harvey (Formerly of the Moonglows and the Spinners)”. However most sources,[clarification needed] while respecting Fuqua’s contributions to the group, do not list him as an official member.

James Edwards’ brother, Edgar “Chico” Edwards, replaced Dixon in the group in 1963, at which time Tri-Phi and the entire artist roster was bought out by Fuqua’s brother-in-law Berry Gordy of Motown Records. The Spinners were then assigned to the Motown label.

In 1964, the Spinners made their debut at the Apollo Theater and won instant acclaim, a rare feat at the time.[citation needed] But with the exception of “I’ll Always Love You” (led by Smith), which hit number 35 in 1965, success mostly eluded them during the 1960s. After “I’ll Always Love You”, they released one single a year from 1966 to 1969 inclusive, but none charted on the Billboard Hot 100, and only their 1966 song “Truly Yours” (led by Smith) hit the Billboard R&B chart, peaking at number 16.

With commercial success virtually non-existent, during much of this decade the Spinners were used by Motown as road managers, chaperones and chauffeurs for other groups, and even as shipping clerks. G. C. Cameron replaced Edgar “Chico” Edwards in 1967, and in 1969, the group switched to the Motown-owned V.I.P. imprint. (The label name is somewhat ironic, given that V.I.P. was generally considered a substandard imprint behind Motown, Gordy, Tamla, and Soul).[citation needed]

In 1970, after a five-year chart absence, they hit number 14 with writer-producer Stevie Wonder’s composition (the Cameron-led) “It’s a Shame” (co-written by Syreeta Wright), and charted again the following year with another song Wonder wrote and produced, “We’ll Have It Made” (led by Cameron), from their new album 2nd Time Around. However, these were their last two singles for V.I.P.

Shortly after the release of 2nd Time Around, as Fambrough has stated in interview,[3] has it that Atlantic Records recording artist Aretha Franklin suggested the group finish out their Motown contract and sign with Atlantic. The group made the switch but due to his contractual obligations, Cameron was unable to leave Motown so he remained with Motown as a solo artist and suggested his cousin, singer Philippé Wynne, join the Spinners as Cameron’s replacement and the group’s new lead singer. However, original lead singer Bobby Smith also retained his lead position.

The hit years with Philippé Wynne Edit
When the Spinners signed to Atlantic in 1972, they were a respected but commercially unremarkable singing group who had never had a top-ten pop hit — despite having been a recording act for over a decade. However, under the helm of producer and songwriter Thom Bell, the Spinners charted five top 100 singles (and two top 10s) from their first post-Motown album, Spinners (1972), and went on to become one of the biggest soul groups of the 1970s.

The Bobby Smith-led “I’ll Be Around”, their first top ten hit, was actually the B-side of their first Atlantic single, (the Wynne-led) “How Could I Let You Get Away”. Radio airplay for the B-side led Atlantic to flip the single over, with “I’ll Be Around” hitting #3 and “How Could I Let You Get Away” reaching #77. “I’ll Be Around” was also the Spinners’ first million-selling hit single.[4]

The 1973 follow-up singles “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love” (led by Smith), “One of a Kind (Love Affair)” (led by Wynne), and “Ghetto Child” (led by Wynne) cemented the group’s reputation, as well as further that of Bell, a noted Philly soul producer.

Following their Atlantic successes, Motown also issued a “Best of the Spinners” LP which featured selections from their Motown/V.I.P. recordings. They also remixed and reissued the 1970 B-side “Together We Can Make Such Sweet Music” (led by Smith) as a 1973 A-side. In the midst of their Atlantic hits, it crawled to number #91 US.

The group’s 1974 follow-up album, Mighty Love, featured three Top 20 hits, “I’m Coming Home,” “Love Don’t Love Nobody,” and the title track. Their biggest hit of the year, however, was a collaboration with Dionne Warwick, “Then Came You” (led by Smith and Warwick), which hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming each act’s first chart-topping ‘Pop’ hit. The song also reached the Top 3 of Billboard′s R&B and Easy Listening charts.

The Spinners hit the Top 10 twice in the next two years with the Smith-led “They Just Can’t Stop It (The Games People Play)” (Billboard #5) and the Wynne-led “The Rubberband Man” (Billboard #2). “Games People Play” featured guest vocalist Barbara Ingram (though producer Bell disputed this in a UK-based interview, claiming Barbara’s line was actually group member Henry Fambrough – his voice sped up[5]) and led to a nickname of “12:45” for bass singer Jackson, after his signature vocal line on the song.


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“Mockingbird, Inez & Charlie Foxx “

“Mockingbird, Inez & Charlie Foxx “


Mockingbird, Inez & Charlie Foxx

Inez Foxx (born September 9, 1942) and her elder brother Charlie Foxx (October 23, 1939 – September 18, 1998) were an African-American rhythm and blues and soul duo from Greensboro, North Carolina. Inez sang lead vocal, while Charlie sang back-up and played guitar.


Charlie Foxx began singing with a gospel choir as a child in the early 1950s, and was later joined by his sister Inez. In 1960 Inez traveled to New York City and recorded for Brunswick Records using the name Inez Johnston, but with little success. In early 1963, the pair introduced themselves to Henry ‘Juggy’ Murray, the owner of Sue Records, and sang him their arrangement of the traditional lullaby “Hush, Little Baby”. The song, re-titled


was released in 1963 and made the Top 10 on both the US rhythm and blues and pop charts. It was their most successful record, and was later covered by artists including Aretha Franklin, James Taylor, Carly Simon, Dusty Springfield, Etta James with Taj Mahal and Toby Keith.

The record company, keen to promote Inez Foxx as a solo singer, issued later recordings under her name alone, despite the presence of two voices on the records. Perhaps because “Mockingbird” was seen as a novelty record, the pair had difficulty following it up, although “Ask Me” and “Hurt by Love” made the lower reaches of the US charts, and “Hurt by Love” also reached the UK singles chart. In 1966 the pair joined Musicor Records and recorded for its subsidiary label, Dynamo. They returned to the pop charts in 1967 with “(1-2-3-4-5-6-7) Count the Days”, and became known for their exciting live performances. A highlight was Inez’s rendition of “I Stand Accused”, which finished with a supposedly distraught Inez singing the last verse, while being carried offstage by Charlie. They toured extensively in Europe and their music played a key role in the development of the Northern Soul movement.

Inez Foxx married songwriter and producer Luther Dixon in the late 1960s. Together they wrote, and he produced, the Platters’ mid-1960s return to hit-making with the single “I Love You 1000 Times”..Luther Dixon produced Inez and Charlie’s 1967 Dynamo album Come By Here, but the couple later divorced.

Inez also had some success recording on her own, beginning in 1969, but her popularity faded in the 1970s. Charlie was already working as a songwriter and record producer when they finally disbanded their act. Inez continued to record as a solo singer for Volt Records in the 1970s.

Charlie Foxx died from leukemia in 1998, at the age of 58.


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“Stay Just A Little Bit Longer ~ Maurice Williams and The Zodiacs”



is a doo-wop song recorded by

Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs.

[1] The song was written by Williams in 1953 when he was 15 years old. He had been trying to convince his date not to go home at 10 o’clock as she was supposed to. He lost the argument, but as he was to relate years later, “Like a flood, the words just came to me.”

In 1960, the song was put on a demo by Williams and his band, the Zodiacs, but it attracted no interest until a ten-year-old heard it and impressed the band members with her positive reaction to the tune.[citation needed] The band’s producers took it along with some other demos to New York City and played them for all the major record producers that they could access. Finally, Al Silver of Herald Records became interested, but insisted that the song be re-recorded as the demo’s recording levels were too low. They also said that one line, “Let’s have another smoke” would have to be removed in order for the song to be played on commercial radio. After the group recorded the tune again, it was released by Herald Records and was picked up by CKLW. It entered the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 on October 9, 1960 and reached the number one spot on November 21, 1960. It was dislodged a week later by Elvis Presley’s “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”.

The original recording of “Stay” remains the shortest single ever to reach the top of the American record charts, at 1 minute 50 seconds in length. By 1990, it had sold more than 8 million copies. It received a new lease of popularity after being featured on the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. The song was named as the Greatest Really Short Rock Song of all time by Digital Dream Door [1].

Stay Just A Little Bit Longer ~
Maurice Williams and The Zodiacs:



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