Texas Soul 1967-Record Store Day Edition.

Label: History Of Soul.

Every Record Store Day, record companies big and small release a myriad of limited edition releases, often in coloured vinyl or picture discs which are welcomed by record buyers young and old. Usually, the older record buyer is wanting to add theses release to a large and lovingly curated collection that has been built up over several decades. For many of these older record buyers, their record collection is  their pride and joy and something that has bought them lots of pleasure. This is very different to a new breed of record buyer.

For many of the new breed of hipster record buyers, vinyl is no more than a fashion accessory and is the latest must-have item. They make a beeline for coloured vinyl and picture discs in record shops, and online have a preference for limited editions. Some of the hipsters record buyers don’t even open the albums they’ve bought, just in case they devalue the “vinyl.” This type of hipster just loves Record Store Day.

It’s the one day of the year when they can buy lots of limited edition coloured vinyl and picture discs which they add to their burgeoning vinyl portfolio. This type of record buyer takes a scattergun approach, hoovering up releases by any artist that they recognise, and this year,  and tend to gravitate towards David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac and The Doors, which they believe will be the most collectable and valuable in the future.

That is until someone points out that there’s 10,000 copies of the available of the limited edition that the hipster record buyer has bought. This burst their bubble, and suddenly, it’s highly unlikely that this Gordon Ghekko of vinyl will be able to live a long and happy retirement by selling his limited edition Record Store Day releases. However, this begs an important question, above what amount does a Record Store Day release cease to be a limited edition?

Certainly 5,000 or 10,000 can no longer be regarded as a limited edition. It’s even debatable if  2,000 albums  fails within the definition of a limited edition, and given who litigious society has become, it’s a surprise that nobody has challenged the claims of 10,000 albums being a limited edition? Maybe they will in the near future and that will clear up the confusion that currently exists?

The problem that exists is originally, the definition of limited edition related to works of art, including  prints and  books, which were usually “printed in very small numbers.” The only problem with this definition in terms of a limited edition LP, is it wouldn’t be commercially viable to produce a very small number  of albums like artists do with prints. As a result, some leeway must be given when defining what a limited edition is when it comes to vinyl.

For Record Store Store Day 2018, a couple of the smaller labels decided to release limited editions of 500 just albums. This is what many record buyers and interested observers, including the fabled: “man on the Clapham omnibus” would define as  a  limited edition release. One of the record companies that released these limited editions of 500 was the History Of Soul label who released a triumvirate of releases, including New Orleans Soul 1967, New York Soul 1967 and Texas Soul 1967.  In releasing true limited editions it seems that the History Of Soul label is  sticking to original ethos of Record Store Day, as well as releasing some quality compilations, including Texas Soul 1967.

It features sixteen soulful songs from the Lone Star State which were released during 1967. By then, Texas had a thriving and eclectic music scene, and was home to a number of record labels and recording studios which were staffed by many talented session musicians, arrangers and producers. They worked with many of the local bands and singers who were forging a musical career in 1967. This includes the sixteen artists who feature on Texas Soul 1967.

This includes The Van Dykes, Bobby Adeno, Bobby Paterson, O.V. Wright, Clarence Green, Lee Watson, Buddy Ace, Jean Knight, Joe Medwick, Barbara Favorite and Bobby Williams. They’re just some of the names on Texas Soul 1967, which features contributions from some well known and what will be new names to many people. They contribute ballads and dancefloor fillers which are a mixture of singles and B-Sides. However, all the songs on Texas Soul 1967 have two thing in common, their quality and their soulfulness. 

Side One.

Opening Texas Soul 1967 is The Van Dykes’ Save My Love For A Rainy Day which was penned by Norman Whitfield and produced by Charles Stewart. It was released on the Mala label in December 1967, but failed to find an audience. That is despite The Van Dykes’ cover of ave My Love For A Rainy Day being an irresistible, stomping dancefloor filler.

Bobby Adeno only released four singles during his career, including I’ll Give Up The World, which was released on Back Beat in 1967. Tucked away on the B-Side was the sensual and soulful Treat You Like A Queen where rasping horns accompany Bobby Adeno on what’s one of his finest recordings and a favourite on the UK Northern Soul scene.

Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Bobby Patterson was only twenty-two when he released Long Ago as a single on Jetstar Records in February 1967. On the B-Side was one of Bobby Patterson’s own compositions Till You Give In. It had first featured on the B-Side You Just Got To Understand which was released by Abnak Records in May 1966. Till You Give In which is an uptempo dancer returned for a well deserved encore on the B-Side of Long Ago, and takes a bow one more time on Texas Soul 1967.

One of soul music’s best kept secrets is O.V. Wright, who recorded and released the best music of his career whilst signed to Hi Records. Producer Willie Mitchell seemed to bring out the best in the man from Leno, Tennessee, who is remembered as one of the finest  Southern Soul singers of his generation.  However, way before O.V. Wright signed to Hi Records, he spent several years signed to the Back Beat label, which was based in Houston, Texas. In November 1967, O.V. Wright released the Don Bryant composition What About You as a single. On the B-Side was What Did You Tell This Girl Of Mine, where O.V. Wright delivers a hurt-filled vocal full of frustration and anger. It’s a tantalising taste of what was to come from O.V. Wright. 

In April 1967, Lee Mitchell released his debut single Where Does Love Go on the Sure-Shot label. Sadly, nothing came of the single, which was Lee Mitchell’s only release for Sure-Shot. However, hidden away on the B-Side was the beautiful ballad You’re Gonna Miss Me where Lee Mitchell lives the lyrics which are akin to a mini soap opera.

Clarence Green and The Rhythmaires released a trio of singles for the Duke label between 1966 and 1968. This included I’m Wondering which was penned by Charles Green and released as a single in February 1968. It features a soul-baring, hurt-filled vocal from Clarence Green while The Rhythmaires add a dramatic and soulful backdrop during this outpouring of emotion. 

Kim Tolliver was born in Lebanon, near Nashville, but grew up in Cleveland and started her career at Don Robey’s Sure-Shot label in Houston, Texas. However, Kim Tolliver only released one single on Sure-Shot, In Return For Your Love which was released in April 1967. On the B-Side was the dancer Get A Little Soul which is now a favourite on the UK Northern Soul scene. 

In 1967, Les Watson and The Panthers released Occasionally I Cry which was the first of two singles they released on Pompeii Records, which was a Dallas based R&B label. Sadly, when Occasionally I Cry was released, it failed to find the audience it deserved as Les Watson and The Panthers were a talented group. Proof of this is the B-Side Teardrops On Your Letter, which is another tale of heartbreak that closes side one of Texas Soul 1967.

Side Two.

Buddy Ace’s Hold On (To This Old Fool) opens side two of Texas Soul 1967. By the time it was released as a single on the Duke label in January 1967, Buddy Ace was an experienced artist who had been releasing singles since 1957. Hold On (To This Old Fool) is a bluesy, soulful and hook-laden tale of betrayal where Buddy Ace is accompanied by a band that features some top Texan session musicians.

Singer, songwriter and producer Al “TNT” Braggs was twenty-nine when he released That’s All A Part Of Loving You in August 1967.  On the B-Side of the single was Home In That Rock where horns and harmonies accompany Al “TNT” Braggs who vocal is veers between tender and powerful and between hopeful to needy. It’s a reminder that it’s aways worth checking out the B-Side of a single as there may be a hidden gem awaiting discovery.

Way before Jean Knight enjoyed a hit single with Mr Big Stuff on Stax in 1970, she had recorded for Tribe Records and Jetstream. An oft-overlooked song from Jean Knight’s pre-Stax back-catalogue is Don’t Want You No More which features a defiant vocal from the New Orleans born singer.

Many people won’t have heard R.L. Griffin who was a regular on the Dallas club scene during the sixties, and released Believe In Me as a single on a small, independent label R&P in 1967. Sadly, copies of the single are almost impossible to find nowadays and the only way to hear this bluesy, soulful song is on Texas Soul 1967.

Joe Medwick was born in Houston, Texas, which was where he embarked upon a career as a singer-songwriter using a variety of aliases. This included Joe Veasey which was the name he used where he wrote Just Be Yourself with Huey P. Meaux who produced the single. It was released on Boogaloo Records and features a heartfelt vocal from Joe Medwick who was a vastly underrated singer-songwriter.

By the time Ernie K. Doe released Dancin’ Man as a single on Duke in February 1967, he was a vastly experienced artist. He had released his debut single Do, Baby Do under his own name Ernest Kador on Speciality in November 1955. Since then, the New Orleans born singer had released another twenty singles. This includes the funky, soulful and dancefloor friendly Dancin’ Man was one of his finest hours and has stood the test of time.

Barbara Favorite only released the one single, Then I’ll Be True on Back Beat in 1967. It features a vocal that veers between tender and powerful, but is full of emotion and sincerity against a carefully crafted arrangement. Sadly, Then I’ll Be True failed to find the audience it deserved and Barbara Favorite never recorded another single.

Closing Texas Soul 1967 is Bobby Williams’ I’ll Hate Myself Tomorrow which was released on the Sure-Shot label in February 1967. It’s an uptempo dancer that features a vocal from Bobby Williams that is a mixture of guilt, regret and despair. Sadly, this hidden gem wasn’t a commercial success when it was released, but makes welcome return on Texas Soul 1967.

By 1967, the Texan soul scene was certainly thriving, and there were many talented local artists local and embarking upon a musical career. This includes some of the artists that feature on Texas Soul 1967, which was released as a limited edition of 500 by the History Of Soul label for Record Store Day 2018. 

Other artists that feature on Texas Soul 1967 came from outside of the Lone Star State, and had travelled to Texas in the hope of embarking upon a successful career. Some were looking for a new start, and were hoping that they could kick-start their career. Sadly, many of the singles that feature on Texas Soul 1967 weren’t the commercial success that the artists, producers and record companies had hoped. However, this wasn’t a reflection on the music on Texas Soul 1967.

Many of the labels that released the music on Texas Soul 1967, were small independent labels, and neither had the budget nor marketing expertise to promote a single and turn it into a nationwide hit. Instead, many of the artists, producers and record companies were hoping that the single would be a regional hit, and might be picked up by a major label. Sadly, that didn’t happen often, and many of these singles disappeared without trace.

In some cases, the record company had chosen the wrong side. and the B-Side was stronger than the single. That is the case with the B-Sides that feature on Texas Soul 1967, which are oft-overlooked hidden gems that are welcome additions what’s one of the best soul  compilations released for Record Store Day 2018. That is not all.

Texas Soul 1967 is the perfect primer to mid-sixties Texan soul, which is often overlooked in favour of the soul music that was being released in Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, New Orleans and New York. That is a great shame as there were many talented singers recording in Texas during 1967. Sadly, not all of them enjoyed the success that their talent deserved, which is a familiar and oft-repeated story. It was a similar case with some of the artists who featured on New York Soul 1967, which was also released by History Of Soul as a limited edition of 500. 

Just like New Orleans Soul 1967, which is the third of the trio of compilations released by History Of Soul for Record Store Day 2018 they document the state of soul in 1967, during one of the most important years in the history of modern music. However, these three limited compilations, show that soul music was still in rude health, and that there were still many talented soul singers everywhere from New Orleans to New York and the Lone State of Texas, which is celebrated on Texas Soul 1967 which like New York Soul 1967 is a worthy addition to any record collection, even a hipster who might even be tempted to pop open the shrink-wrap and play this wonderful compilation of ballads and dancers. 

Texas Soul 1967-Record Store Day Edition.

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