All Albums

with reviews

The Staple Singers – 1962 – The 25th Day of December

Recorded in 1962 but then out of print for decades, this is a forgotten classic: Christmas-themed gospel sung by three amazing sisters (the mighty Mavis Staples was only 23), backed with just organ, drums, and “Pops,” their father, playing funky electric guitar. The Staples’ first…

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Jimmy Smith – 1964 – Christmas Cookin’

As cookin a Christmas album as you’ll ever find! Jimmy works with Billy Byers to craft some sublime instrumentals that have his Hammond interpreting Christmas classics like “We Three Kings”, “White Christmas”, “Silent Night”, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”, and “Santa Claus Is Coming To…

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Lee Dorsey – 1970 – Yes We Can

Massive work by Lee Dorsey, recorded years after his classics in the 60s, and even funkier overall! Lee’s really cooking on all burners here, working with the production team of Allen Toussaint and Marshall Sehorn, and getting some incredible backing from The Meters – who…

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Christmas Albums on FMS

Click on every picture

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William Bell – 1967 – The Soul of a Bell

William Bell‘s history illustrates just how singles-oriented soul was in the 1960s. Though he’d enjoyed a hit in 1961 with “You Don’t Miss Your Water,” it wasn’t until 1967 that Stax finally released his first album, the magnificent The Soul of a Bell. From that classic…

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Candi Staton – 1970 – Stand by Your Man

Two labels, were the home to some of the greatest artists who during the sixties and seventies, released some of the greatest Southern Soul music ever recorded. These were Hi Records, home to Al Green, Otis Clay, O.V. Wright and Ann Peebles, all produced by…

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Bettye Swann ‎- 1969 – The Soul View Now!

Where to begin when speaking of Bettye Swann… The Louisiana-born soul chanteuse is one of my all time top 5 female vocalists (she’s in the company of Aretha Franklin, Betty Wright, Candi Staton and Mavis Staples), and it’s a shame she never made it big…

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Midnight Movers – 1970 – Do It in the Road

I’ve slept long on these cats… way too long…  Led by saxophonist George Patterson Jr., the Midnight Movers started out as Wilson Pickett’s backing band. They were consequently picked up by The Isley Brothers (which may have been the cause for the Wilson Pickett-Isley Brothers…

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Ollie & the Nightingales – 1969 – Ollie & the Nightingales

Ollie & the Nightingales… such a shame they aren’t as well-known as other stellar Southern Soul acts, or, for that matter, all those huge soul harmony groups of the day.  Fronted by the amazing Ollie Nightingale (née Hoskins), who sadly departed in 1998 at the…

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James Govan – Wanted: The Fame Recordings

A ‘jump for joy’ release for Southern Soul buffs!  James Govan, the Mississippi-born, Memphis-bred soul singer, only released three singles in the 1970s and one latter-day album in the early 80s. Among connaisseurs, his rare 45s for FAME have long been regarded as some of…

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Buddy Miles – 1970 – A Message To The People

The prolific drummer’s most creative album, ‘A Message to the People’ can well be seen as the artistic completion of Buddy’s search for perfect funk-rock-folk-soul fusion.  Retooling Joe Tex’ “You’re Right, Ray Charles” into a frenzied, hard driving, brass drenched instrumental, Miles pays hommage to…

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Etta James – 1966 – Call My Name

It’s extremely difficult for me to pick an album other than “At Last!” by the incomparable Etta James to jump-start what will most definitely be a series of Gems Of Jams to follow.  In choosing, I decided to go with one of my personal favorites…

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Sly & The Family Stone ‎- 1967 – A Whole New Thing

In truth, this is Sly’s best album, an unrecognized wonder, a great lost album. After this bold new work, his music became simpler, here it begins at its most clever and ambitious. What sets it apart from his subsequent output is how eclectic and highly…

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Boscoe – 1973 – Boscoe

One of the hippest records ever to come out of Chicago – the sole recording by Boscoe, a group who was even more obscure and experimental than contemporaries like The Pharoahs or Artistic Heritage Ensemble! Like those groups, Boscoe has a very unique, very visionary…

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Sonny Sharrock – 1969 – Black Woman

  Picked by WIRE magazine as one of the 100 records which set the world on fire, 1970s-era Miles Davis guitarist Sonny Shamrock’s LP was released in 1969 is an album of ecstatic music and produced by Herbie Mann, who loved Sharrock’s uncompromising blasts of…

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Tyrone Davis – 1970 – I Had It All the Time

Whereas Tyrone Davis would never reach the same dizzying pop heights after “Turn Back the Hands of Time”, the man remained a R&B hitmaker, and a very consistent one at that. He was, by the time of the release of ‘I Had It All the Time’, truly…

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Mighty Flames – 1978 – Metalik Funk Band

The Mighty Flames never sound too metallic here – at least not in any way that’s cold or harsh, or heavy metal too! Instead, these guys have a warm groove that’s on the tighter side of African funk – that point when the sound was…

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Mavis Staples – 1969 – Mavis Staples

Standout solo work from Mavis Staples, a set that really expands the Stax sound nicely with a bit of strings to sweeten up the groove! Steve Cropper’s at the production helm, and there’s still enough grit in the grooves to remind us we’re down in…

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Shuggie Otis ‎- 1974 – Inspiration Information

Shuggie Otis ‎ (son of legendary balladeer Johnny) is quite simply a musical genius. Of the first order. A brillant,imagantive one-mand band who ranks up there with Stevie Wonder,Prince,and the late,great Curtis Mayfield. But sadly didn’t. Unfourtnaly, Shuggie never achieved the great feats that those…

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Stephanie Mills – 1979 – What Cha Gonna Do with My Lovin’

When Stephanie Mills enjoyed a major commercial breakthrough with her third album, What Cha Gonna Do with My Lovin’, the singer often found herself being described as a disco diva — and it wasn’t a description that she agreed with. Mills saw herself as primarily a romantic R&B traditionalist,…

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