MODERNISTS-A DECADE OF RYHTHM AND SOUL DEDICATION.
MODERNISTS-A DECADE OF RYHTHM AND SOUL DEDICATION.
Since the birth of rock ’n’ roll, youth cults have come and gone. Some have proved to be nothing more than passing fads. Others however, have lasted longer. However, none of the youth cults of the past fifty years have enjoyed the same longevity as the modernists.
The modernists came to prominence in the late fifties. Their name came about because of their love of modern jazz. However, by the early sixties, the modernists had become mods.
Musically, mods had eclectic taste. Mods embraced American R&B and soul music. Especially labels like Stax and Tamla Motown. They also listened to ska and reggae. However, mods didn’t turn their back on British music. The mods enjoyed pop and rock music. Groups like The Rolling Stones, The Who, Small Faces and The Kinks were perceived as “mod” groups. However, music was only part of the mod movement.
Image was everything for mods. They carefully tried to cultivate an air of coolness. The suits they wore were often tailor made. Sometimes, their suits were made out of cashmere, with narrow lapels. They also sported button-down collar shirts, thin ties and wool or cashmere jumpers All this was de rigour for a mod around town. So were fishtail parkas, desert boots, Chelsea boots and bowling shoes. A few mods even took to wearing makeup. In sixties Britain, this didn’t go unnoticed. However, mods were unlike no other youth subculture. Mods even had their own mode of transport.
Lambretta or Vespa scooters were the mods’ choice of transport. They drove them around town, where they visited dance-halls, coffee bars, and cinemas. At cinemas, mods took to watching French and Italian films. This was all part of a sense of continental coolness they were attempting to cultivate. After all, image was everything to the mod. So was music.
Every time there’s been a mod revival in the last fifty years, at the heart of the revival has been music. Whether it was in the late-seventies or mid-nineties, music and fashion was at the heart of these mod revivals. The music being made during the mod revivals during the late-seventies and mid-nineties, was inspired by the music of the sixties. For mods of all vintage, this was a golden era for music.
So it’s no surprise that Ady Croasdell and Dean Rudland have compiled a new compilation celebrating this golden age. This is Modernists-A Decade Of Rhythm and Soul, which was recently released by Kent Soul, an imprint of Ace Records. It came about when Ady and Dean were compiling the most recent instalment in the Mod Jazz series. They spoke about compiling a compilation of rhythm and soul. The result is Modernists-A Decade Of Rhythm and Soul.
Modernists-A Decade Of Rhythm and Soul features twenty-four tracks. This includes contributions from Jeb Stuart, Lewis Clark, Clifford Curry, Mel Williams, Little Bob, The Hustlers, Lee Bernard, Timmy Wilson, Eddy Giles and Charles Hodges. Most of the tracks were released between 1963 and 1968. That’s apart from three previously unreleased tracks.
The first is Little Eva’s version of Dynamite. It was recorded in 1965 and was meant to be the reply to James Brown’s hit single Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag. By then, Little Eva was struggling to replicate the success of Locomotion. Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein and Richard Gottehrer, who penned and produced Dynamite, hoped it would replicate the success of Little Eva’s Locomotion. On its release on Amy, Dynamite failed commercially. Since then, this version of Dynamite has lain unreleased. Not any more. Now this sassy slice R&B an be heard by a wider audience. That’s also the case with Clarence Daniels and Obie Jessie’s Good Thing Going On.
From the opening bars, Clarence Daniels and Obie Jessie’s Good Thing Going On has a jazz-tinged sound. That’s not surprising. Bassist Clarence Daniels had been a fixture of the Los Angeles’ music scene since the forties. A veteran of countless sessions, Clarence had even backed The Platters. However, in the late fifties, he joined forces with vocalist Obie jessie, whose career began in the mid-fifties, when he began recording a string of singles for Modern. A few years later, Clarence and Obie recorded Good Thing Going On, where jazz meets R&B. It’s quite simply, one of Modernists-A Decade Of Rhythm and Soul highlights, and like Timmy Wilson’s Long Ways To Go, is a real find.
Timmy Wilson wrote Long Ways To Go, and recorded it on 27th November 1965, at Capital City Sound, in Columbus. It was meant to Timmy’s debut single on the 3J label. For whatever reason, the release was cancelled, and this blistering R&B track remains, a long lost, hidden gem. Long Ways To Go is just one of many hidden gems, delights awaiting discovery on Modernists-A Decade Of Rhythm and Soul.
Jeb Stuart’s Soul Jerk opens Modernists-A Decade Of Rhythm and Soul. It’s an uptempo track, that sounds as if writers Jeb Stuart, Charles Jones and Clarence Taylor were hoping it would start a dance craze. Released on King Records in 1967, Jeb vamps and hollers his way through Soul Jerk, a hook-laden dance track.
Robert Relf and Earl Nelson penned Harlem Shuffle in the early sixties. They released it as a single in 1963. For many, this is the definitive version of Harlem Shuffle. Penned by Earl Nelson. This didn’t stop Robert Moore covering Harlem Shuffle in 1968. Released on the Hollywood label, it’s one of the best covers of Harlem Shuffle. A year later, however, Bob and Earl rereleased their definitive version.
The In Crowd were a group of session musicians. They recorded Cat Dance, an instrumental that epitomises the sixties club sound. Penned and arranged by Milton Shorty Rogers, it was released on the Brent label in 1965.
Although Oliver Morgan’s Hold Your Dog is credited to Sax Kari, by all rights, Rufus Thomas should get a co-credit. It’s essentially a remake of Rufus’ 1963 hit single Walking The Dog. Released on GNP Crescendo in 1964, Hold Your Dog is essentially a homage to Rufus Thomas’ Walking Your Dog, and again, epitomises the early sixties soul, R&B sound.
Bob Calille had enjoyed a long and varied career before he wrote I Got Loaded. He played drums in Good Rockin’ Bob, and then formed his own dance band, The Lollipops. By 1965, Bob had dawned the alias Little Bob. That year, he released I Got Loaded, on La Louisianna. From the get-go, it’s obvious I Got Loaded oozes quality. Dance-floor friendly, and full of hooks, it’s a delicious R&B cut. So much so, that’s one of the highlights of Modernists-A Decade Of Rhythm and Soul.
That’s the case with John Fred and His Playboy Band’s 1959 single Shirley. This slice of Louisiana R&B is truly irresistible. Penned by Thomas Bryan and John Fred Gournier, Shirley was released on the Montel label in 1959. It’s akin to a call to dance that’s truly timeless.
Danny and The Velaires released Shaggy Dog in 1967. Penned by Daniel Matousek, Shaggy Dog was released on the Brent label. It’s another instrumental. As the arrangement unfolds, the grinding arrangement takes on a mesmeric sound. That’s until the Hammond organ, makes its entrance. It transforms the track. What follows is an irresistible instrumental. Especially, when washes of wailing harmonica are unleashed. They’re just the finishing touch, to another instrumental that epitomises the sixties modernist sound.
Leroy Harris’ Crow Baby was released on the Swan label in 1966. It was written by Leroy and Ellis Taylor, who produced Crow Baby. Accompanied by gospel tinged harmonies, Leroy unleashes a funky, soulful slice of R&B.
While singer-songwriter Eddy Giles, a native of Shreveport, Louisiana, only enjoyed a short recording career, it was a case of quality rather than quantity. A talented soul man, with the ability to bring a song to life, he demonstrates that on Tingling. Written by Jimmy Ray Johnson and Dick Martin, Tingling was released on Murco in 1968. It’s the perfect showcase for one of Southern Soul’s best kept secrets.
Closing Modernists-A Decade Of Rhythm and Soul, is Rick and Paul’s After Hours. This was the B-Side to Hen House, which was released as a single in 1967. After Hours is one of the best finds on the compilation. Written by Buddy Bruce, Buddy Feyne and Andy Parrish, it was produced by Scott Seely and Buddy Merrill. Rick and Paul drop the tempo as a smokey, late-night sound unfolds. Aided and abetted by handclaps and hollers, Rick and Paul close Modernists-A Decade Of Rhythm and Soul on a resounding high.
Modernists-A Decade Of Rhythm and Soul, which was recently released by Kent Soul, an imprint of Ace Records. is the first in what hopefully, will be a regular series of modernist rhythm and soul. Especially, if future volumes are as good as Modernists-A Decade Of Rhythm and Soul.
Modernists-A Decade Of Rhythm and Soul features twenty-four tracks. They’re an eclectic selection. B-Sides and hidden gems rub shoulders with rarities, singles and unreleased tracks. This includes contributions from Jeb Stuart, Lewis Clark, Clifford Curry, Mel Williams, Little Bob, The Hustlers, Lee Bernard, Timmy Wilson, Eddy Giles and Charles Hodges. Most of the tracks were released between 1959 and 1968. That’s apart from three previously unreleased tracks from Little Eva, Timmy Wilson and Clarence Daniels and Obie Wilson. These tracks, were, most likely, recorded between 1959 and 1968, which was the age of the modernists.
The modernists, or as they became, mods, are celebrated on Modernists-A Decade Of Rhythm and Soul. The twenty-six tracks, chosen by Ady Croasdell and Dean Rudland, will bring back memories of a musical golden age. Especially for the original mods.
Back in the early sixties, the mod about town, would dawn their cashmere suits, complete with narrow lapels. Completing the look were button-down collar shirts, thin ties and a wool or cashmere jumpers and Chelsea boots. Before climbing aboard their Vespa or Lambretta, the most fastidious of mods would dawn a fishtail park. This wasn’t so much a fashion statement, as a means of protecting their precious tailor made suit. Only then would the Modernist climb aboard, and head into town, where they’d enjoy a music just like that on Modernists-A Decade Of Rhythm and Soul. However, for many modernists, these days are long gone. Their days of dawning tailor made suits and fishtail parkas, then jumping onboard a Lambretta are long gone. So, Modernists-A Decade Of Rhythm and Soul allows them to relive the music of their youth, in the comfort of their own home.
MODERNISTS-A DECADE OF RYHTHM AND SOUL DEDICATION.