Wax Wonders :: Soul Unknowns – Part One

soul_unknown

As a long time fanatic of ’60s soul and rock & roll, there’s no shortage of records whose information is either completely or mostly lost to history. And it wasn’t just small time/small pressing local releases – many were released on moderately large or massive labels (such as today’s offerings). Caveat lector: just because something is rare and/or obscure doesn’t automatically pique my interest; it has to be a great record. These four are very special, and records that (to my ears) had big time hit potential, or in the case of Doris & Kelley, are so unique that they defy logic and remain fascinating through the ages.

Doris & Kelley :: You Don’t Have To Worry (1967)

I am completely transfixed by the psychedelic, deep vibe of this song. Sadly, it appears as if this is the only record that these two made. A pity, but at least we have this one. This is by far one of the ‘stoniest’ soul singles I’ve ever heard; the slow tempo, the lazy (but transcendent) vocals, the droning organ all kinda make me think that this record was heavily influenced by reefer. But maybe it’s simply a coincidence…

The De Vons :: Someone To Treat Me (The Way You Used To) (1969)

It looks as though this glorious group only cut one other 45 (which I haven’t heard). That’s a shame, since they lay down a glorious last gasp of the classic girl-group sound, coming in at a time when funk was the dominant force on the horizon. Perhaps an example of too much too late? Regardless, this is an absolutely amazing song with stellar vocals. Produced by the Godfather himself, James Brown!

The Mellow Fellows :: My Baby Needs Me (1968)

Dot Records was a rather massive label that released records of practically every style of music ever cut to wax. Many of their releases were licensed from smaller labels or fledging production companies. These Mellow Fellows seem to have been either a group put together for this amazing record (likely) or a group with a massive amount of talent that was only given one chance to record (perhaps). Whatever the story, this is one of the most beautiful mid tempo soul ballads I’ve ever heard, oozing with heavenly vocals on top of a catchy, hypnotizing song.

The Other Brothers :: It’s Been A Long Time (1966)

The Modern record label was based in Los Angeles, and they released a massive amount of stellar blues, r&b and soul music; it’s safe to say that this group were probably west coast based. Like many California soul records, it’s groove oriented with upfront drumming and a horn section that’s present but mixed on the lower side. An excellent group vocal (especially dig the shout at the end), a wonderful song, and a groove that MOVES make for one hell of a great record. This seems to be the only release from this particular group.

(Derek See is a Bay area based musician who plays guitar with The Bang Girl Group Revue, Joel Gion & Primary Colours, and occasionally makes records on his own with The Gentle Cycle.)

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