Various Artists “A Deep Dip Into Florida Soul Vol.2”
(Soul From The Vaults SFTV #12)
by Pete Nickols
Jackie Moore with the Dixie Flyers ~ Wonderful Marvelous ~ Atlantic 2798; Little Beaver & The F.W. Rocketeers ~ Blind Man ~ Saadia 2331; Gwen McCrae ~ Ain’t Nothing You Can Do ~ Columbia 45448; Peggy Scott & Jo Jo Benson ~ Too Far Gone ~ GCS 1202 & Avi 83155; Lonnie Youngblood ~ Let My Love Bring Out The Woman In You ~ Calla CAS 109; Laura Lee ~ Separation Line ~ Cotillion 44054; Mr. Percolator ~ I Need Your Love To See Me Through ~ Wax-Wel 001; Jackie Moore with the Dixie Flyers ~ Sometimes It’s Got To Rain ~ Atlantic 2798; Bobby & Clyde ~ My Day is Comin’ (Part 1) ~ Blue Candle 1495; Vicki Anderson ~ You And Me Together ~ Dash 460 (12”) & Dash 5066 (7”); John ‘Rootman’ Henry ~ Love Is Not A Stranger Anymore ~ Dig 907 & Amber Antique 5501; Buddy Grubbs ~ I’m Telling You ~ Bell 772; Bobby Williams ~ Morning Of Love (sic) ~ R.R. LP 330; Laura Lee ~ But You Know I Love You ~ Cotillion 44073; Ray Marco ~ A Man And His Woman (Togetherness) ~ Moon Soul 3312 (12” & 7”); Latimore ~ Life’s Little Ups And Downs ~ Dade 2026; Lew Kirton ~ Let Me Up Off My Knees ~ Alston 3739; Sam & Dave ~ My Love Belongs To You ~ Roulette 4445; Nadine Brown ~ Let Me Take Back The Things I Said ~ Awesome 1904; Little Beaver ~ Do Right Man ~ Saadia 5283.
The fact that a couple of the tracks here first emerged on 12-inch 33 rpm singles is an indication that not that many of the offerings stem from what we tend to think of as the classic soul era and not too many of them are genuinely deep either, albeit most have some soul appeal.
Both sides of Jackie Moore’s Atlantic 2798 single are featured, the impressive mid-paced “Wonderful Marvelous” being reminiscent of the hit-song it was issued to ‘follow-up’, namely “Precious Precious”. Indeed I think it’s even better. However it was the other side, the Laura Lee-like “Sometimes It’s Got To Rain”, which made the charts.
We also get two Saadia sides from Little Beaver (Willie Hale). The first is a fine moody re-make of Bobby Bland’s great “Blind Man” while the other is the slow-to-mid-paced funker, “Do Right Man”.
Gwen McCrae is one of the great ‘underrated’ soul-thrushes for me and she too takes on board a Bobby Bland number, namely “Ain’t Nothing You Can Do”, on which Beaver plays guitar. It’s funkier than the great Bland version but very appealing nonetheless.
In the 80’s Peggy Scott & Jo Jo Benson briefly re-united for a GCS album, “Nothing Can Stand In Our Way”. From that (and a GCS and later Avi single as well) is the meandering but emotive ‘contemporary’ soul offering “Too Far Gone”.
Saxman Lonnie Youngblood could certainly sing as well as he could play. There’s a strong vocal from Lonnie on the nice lilting Calla mid-pacer included here and some great Junior Walker-like sax playing too.
Laura Lee also offers up two fine Cotillion sides. The superb deep storyline item “Separation Line” is outstanding and “But You Know I Love You” (unusually for a Lee recording, somewhat on the country side of soul) is very nearly as good.
The Mr Percolator track “I Need Your Love To See Me Through” is the first of five sides which you can also hear on this web-site and is an impressive ‘stone deep’ winner. Another deep classic is Bobby & Clyde’s superb Blue Candle version of “My Day is Comin’” with its outstanding lead-vocal and lovely organ backdrop. This song was also very well cut, at a slightly faster pace, by Bobby Marchan.
Vicki Anderson’s 1981 12-incher is good for its era but hardly essential listening. Meanwhile, we’re back to some more classic-styled soul with John ‘Rootman’ Henry’s offering, which is a slowish lilting item but very well and deeply sung.
Buddy Grubbs’ good mid-pacer is very reminiscent of “Every Day I Have To Cry”, while Bobby Williams’ extended ‘lurv’ song comes from his 1974 “Funky Superfly” album but sounds even later than that and does nothing for me at all. Ray Marco’s side is from a circa-1979 12-incher and again is just ‘smooth contemporary’ soul which is not greatly to my taste. In Florida, Latimore did this kind of stuff much better and, talk of the devil, Benny is next up on the CD with an enjoyable, potent piece of country-storyline-soul in “Life’s Little Ups And Downs”.
It’s on to 1978 for Lew Kirton’s good Alston offering with its shades of “If Loving You Is Wrong…”, while we’re next thrown way back to the early 60’s and a track from Sam & Dave’s formative Roulette years. This blues-ballad with its doo-woppish musical accompaniment is OK of its type but doesn’t really compare to the duo’s later work at Stax.
Finally, Nadine Brown shows that a deep vocal approach could still sound impressive well into the 80’s on her fine Awesome outing.
A real mix of styles is on offer here from funk to country-soul, from genuinely deep offerings to lay-back 1980’s slow-burners and even a slice of primordial soul from Sam & Dave. I have to say that overall it’s quite enjoyable but it’s certainly not one of the stronger sets in this continuing series.