This has to be one of the most impassioned vocals of all time, Nelson Sanders’s sobbing, heartfelt interpretation of the song title – I’m Lonely.

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I don’t think I ever heard the name Levi Stubbs until Billy Bragg wrote and sang a song in the mid-Eighties called Levi Stubbs’ Tears. Even then I doubt I realised who he was.

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How great is this soul ballad?! That organ! Those vocals! You can just picture a disco at the end of the night in the late Sixties with young men awkwardly trying to smooch embarrassed girls on the dance floor as the DJ drops this tune.

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Earl Van Dyke was never a household name but he was one of the key figures in the success of Motown in the Sixties.

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The Tonettes – No Tears

27th January 2023 · 1960s, 1962, Music, Soul

I first heard The Tonettes on a vast box set anthology of Stax/Volt singles… though they were called The Charmels at that point. This was their first single – and the second to come out on Volt in early 1962.

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The Undisputed Truth were Norman Whitfield’s Motown laboratory for his psychedelic soul constructions, testing out songs that would end up with The Temptations. This was their only hit.

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James Brown – The Bells

25th January 2023 · 1960, 1960s, Music, Soul

When it comes to emotionally intense vocal performances, you don’t need to look much further than James Brown singing The Bells.

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This should be terrible. It’s a cover of a rock’n’roll standard by a one-hit-wonder known only for a novelty song half a century ago.

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There are few aural pleasures greater than accidentally stumbling across an old song you used to love that had somehow slipped from your memory. That’s what happened this weekend when I found an album comprising the early recordings of Kimmie Rhodes.

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Joe Ely – Boxcars

21st January 2023 · 1970s, 1978, Country, Music

Country music was so uncool in the Seventies that I never went near it in my youth. Until I came across Joe Ely. There was something about his debut album in 1977 that struck the same sort of chord as the ramshackle thrashings of punk. But in an American way – specifically a Texan way.

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