1. HOUSTON PERSON-"Soul Dance" Prestige 45-713 1969
Jazz sax player Houston Person cut several 45's for the Prestige label (five to be exact) and this was the first. It's a catchy sax versus B-3 instrumental (organ played by Billy Gardener) that's not as funky as the release year might lead you to believe!
2. THE FIVE DU-TONES-"The Chicken Astronaut" One-derful 4824 1964
The Five Du-Tones cut nine singles for the One-derful label from 1962-65. This tune was the flip of their seventh 45 "Cool Bird". It's an upbeat r&b grrover about a reluctant spaceman with some rollicking piano and a danceable groove throughout and a great fade out with someone yelling "I wanna go back to earth so I can shake a tail feather" (in reference to their third single "Shake A Tail Feather").
3. JON HENDRICKS-"Fire In The City" Verve VK-10512 1967
Vocalese jazz legend Jon Hendricks had an interesting career following the break up of his jazz trio Lambert, Hendricks & Ross. By 1967 he was palling around with a San Francisco act called The Warlocks (later to be known as The Grateful Dead) who backed him on this track, the flip of his final single "Sons And Daughters". "Fire In The City" is not remotely jazz but a catchy bluesy tune with lots of gospel like call and response backing vocals that almost borders on sounding like Creedence Clearwater Revival. Dig the funky guitar solo by Bob Weir!
4. LITTLE SHERMAN & THE MOD SWINGERS-"The Price Of Love" ABC 45-11233 1969
This obscure 45 was cut by a Chicago singer-songwriter named Sherman Nesbary first for the local Sagport label then reissued by ABC. It sounds a great deal like the poppy soul of Sly & The Family Stone with it's upbeat backing and chorus of sunshiney harmonies.
5. THE BRACEROS-"Sunny" Vault V-930 1966
This 1966 cover of Bobby Hebb's hit "Sunny" is an amazing Latin r&b instrumental that's trumpet led with vibes and some seriously hard hitting drumming making it my favorite version of this track that I have ever heard! I know absolutely nothing about these guys so if anyone could fill in the blanks it would be greatly appreciated!
6. LITTLE EMMETT SUTTON-"Mom, Won't You Teach Me To Monkey" Federal 45-12501 1963
This pricey slow r&b smoker on the Federal label is almost analogous to early Smokey Robinson and The Miracles but a little grittier. It's a perfect mid tempo exercise in beautiful mod/r&b. Anybody got a spare copy for under a Franklin that they want to part with?
7. THE ROOFTOP SINGERS-"Kites" Atco 45-6526 1967
US folk trio The Rooftop Singers are an unexpected appearance here but their September 1967 single is best known by a version from U.K. act Simon Dupree and The Big Sound's (issued here by them in the US on Tower two months later). The U.K. Simon Dupree version came out in October which leads me to suspect this was the original! Forget anything you might think of this band and their folky/elevator jazz muzak this number is pure pop psych brilliance! With regal trumpets, jarring organ, flutes, marimbas and above all pure sunshine pop harmony vocals it's no wonder Simon Dupree and Co. decided to cut this!
8. THE FURYS-"Parchman Farm" Lavender R-1805 1963
Not to be confused with the California R&B vocal group The Fury's, these guys were an act who hailed from Longview, Washington and cut this almost frat rock version of the Mose Allison classic. At times it sounds sloppy, but that's where it's charm lies. My favorite part of the cheezy electric piano!
9. THE GRASSHOPPERS-"Mod Socks" Sunburst SB-104 1965
Cleveland, Ohio's Grasshoppers cut this updated reading of "Short Shorts" as "Mod Socks" in 1965 on the local Sunburst label. This is a frat rock screamer that's delivered at 100 mph with a feel that would do vintage Bob Seger proud! The beat is driving and the lead singer is a total screamer. It's hard to believe this hasn't been comped anywhere before?!
10. LEE DORSEY-"Go Go Girl" Amy 998 1967
Soul/r&b veteran Lee Dorsey released this Allen Toussaint penned stormer in September '67. Punctuated with brass blasts and a chorus of "Go Go!" it's extremely catchy upon a first listen and just builds and builds. Worth seeking out!