All Albums

with reviews

Rufus & Chaka Khan – 1977 – Ask Rufus

This is a wonderful slice of underrated late seventies soul gold. It has a fantastic funky edge too with just a hint of a disco feel on the more uptempo tracks. This LP is the perfect blend of Rufus’ songwriting and production and the stunning…

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Bobby Caldwell – 1978 – Bobby Caldwell

Bobby Caldwell is one of only a handful of white vocalists (Van Morrison and Simply Red’s Mick Hucknall, to name a couple more) who legitimately transcended the blue-eyed soul tag. Caldwell’s genuine mix of R&B and jazz signatures as well as his bittersweet yet buttery vocal tones conjure up images…

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Margie Joseph – 1974 – Sweet Surrender

A truly excellent Soul album, sumptuously produced, arranged and orchestrated by Arif Mardin. It sounds on par with the best Aretha Franklin’s albums, due to the musicians involved: Cornell Dupree, Richard Tee, Chuck Rainey, Bernard Purdie, Ralph MacDonald … The back singers include artists who recorded their own solo albums: Cissy Houston, Judy Clay, Gwen…

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Barbara Acklin – 1969 – Seven Days Of Night

An excellent second album by Barbara Acklin – and a perfect demonstration of her really unique Chicago soul talents! Acklin’s really at the cusp of two generations here – at one level still with some of the sweetness of the earlier style of 60s girl…

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Eugene Mc Daniels – 1971 – Headless Heroes Of The Apocalypse

A monster album that’s gone onto influence a generation – but which was barely recognized at the time! Singer Eugene McDaniels had scored big with some pop hits in the 60s under the name Gene McDaniels – but here, he steps out in a righteous…

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Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – It’s a Holiday Soul Party

Holiday albums are a longstanding pop tradition, from crooners like Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole taking on “O Holy Night” to more modern reinventions by Willie Nelson, James Brown and Bob Dylan. Now, following up their Grammy-nominated 2014 LP, Give the People What They Want, Sharon…

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Curtis Mayfield – 1970 – Curtis

This is undoubtedly one of the most important albums of seventies soul. Besides the awesome opener, Curtis isn’t making stuff as funky as he does on Superfly, but I feel this is about on a par. This is probably the most sophisticated Chicago soul I’ve…

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Nancy Wilson – 1968 – Welcome to My Love

In Her Loving Memory Most of Nancy Wilson’s late ’60s releases contained four or five good tunes and the rest would be filler from the day’s batch of B-grade pop material. Her 1967 date Welcome to My Love, though, is an exception. It offers a…

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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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