Carol Woods – 1971 – Out Of The Woods
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A rare 70s soul set from Carol Woods – a singer who’s done a fair bit of work on the musical stage, but who has plenty to offer in this obscure debut album! The record was mostly cut in New York, yet only issued in the UK – which is part of the reason for its obscurity – and the sound is full, proud, and plenty darn soulful – almost a post-Supremes sort of vibe, but with a hipper 70s approach – very well put together by producer Beau Ray Fleming, who’s probably better known for his later work with Mandrill and Sun. Woods‘ vocals are full and rich, but never overdone – and she reminds us a lot of some of her other 70s contemporaries who’d worked the stage, but could slide into a soul session equally well – such as Melba Moore.
A1 Bigger Than I 2.11
A2 There’s Gotta Be A Way 3.03
A3 But You Know I Love You 2.33
A4 If I Let You 2.48
A5 You Must Be Good To Me 2.39
B1 Baby Don’t You Love Me 2.42
B2 Why You Wanna 3.31
B3 Can You Remember 2.57
B4 Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow 3.27
B5 The Woods Are Full 2.06
I Wonder What Will Happen 3.47
We’ll Sing In The Sunshine 2.38
Carol Woods was born in Jamaica, New York in 1943. She was deeply influenced by her grandfather, a Pentecostal minister, and her mother Marion Jones, which led her to become lead singer with the local church choir. Originally Carol only sang gospel music, but after a career as a registered nurse, her friends encouraged her to get her first club engagement.
Between 1965 and 1970, she sang with a local group which became known as Carol Woods and the Executives. Using that name the line-up recorded just one 45, Ooh Baby , on a small label run by the song’s writer Stanley Lucas, who was also guitarist for Gladys Knight and the Pips. For many years Carol continued supporting her two children by nursing while making her way up the show business ladder. Her first break came as Jeffrey Kruger, the president of UK Ember Records, was visiting the office of Nat Badger, Carol’s manager, and met her there. Jeffrey was so impressed with Carol that he immediately arranged a recording contract for her. The first session at Bell Sound Studios in New York on 15 July, 1970, with Beau Ray Fleming producing, resulted in the two tracks that formed her first Ember single, If I Let You and Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow . The follow-up was cut at the same venue and with the same producer on 15th October that year.
The a-side was a storming version of a Clarence Paul song originally recorded by Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston, Baby Don’t You Leave Me, paired with But You Know I Love You. In late 1971 she embarked on a highly successful month long tour of Europe. While Carol was in London, she also completed work on her Ember album. The four tracks on her singles were included and the rhythm section backing tracks for the remainder were put down by Beau Ray Fleming in New York. Ember s producer, Mike Berry, then added Carol’s vocals and probably the horn section here. There was also a subsequent single on Ember combining a catchy revival of We’ll Sing In The Sunshine with I Wonder What Will Happen. Since that time Carol has found success in stage musicals, such as One Mo Time where she took over the role of Big Bertha Williams, the hard drinking Vaudeville star.
She has also appeared in movies, including Eddie Murphy Raw where she played Eddie’s aunt. Out Of The Woods combines three singles and an album recorded for British independent Ember. The tracks were recorded in New York and London, late 1970 through 1972 with the best of session men from both cities. The original LP now fetches more than £60 on the internet and is a very collectable selection of seventies soul.