Sunday, April 23, 2017

10 essential Salsoul Records gems

10 essential Salsoul Records gems10 essential Salsoul Records gems… Like always, a selection is per definition limited, and God knows how there is plenty to find on the repertoire of this label responsible for standards (still in use nowadays) that have changed the history of both music, DJing and, as a result, clubbing. From the commercialization of the first 12″ to the establishment of the remix and therefore the one of the DJ’s as potential post-producers which was far from being an evidence back then. And the best of it is that nothing got planned in advance, but happened to be more of an accumulation of things which would get its creators – Ken, Joe and Stan Cayre – as the initiators of a brand new episode in the maturation of music with the launch of their Salsoul Records label back in 1974, as beautifully narrated on Disco-disco.com.
No need to say how this selection is way from being exhaustive, most likely due to find its part 2 any day. Nevertheless, you should find thereafter a pretty much illustrative sample of jams which have contributed making Salsoul Records one of the most significant and exciting ventures in the establishment of music as we’ve known since then…

In lovin’ memory of MFSB and The Salsoul Orchestra guitarist TJ Tindall who sadly passed last Tuesday at the age of 65…

10 essential Salsoul Records gems / Skyy – Here’s To You (Salsoul Records)
Taken from the 1980 released ‘Skyyport’ album. A WBLS classic back then (as heavily programmed by the late Frankie Crocker) with production work by the likes of Solomon Burke, Jr. and Randy Muller of the Brass Construction fame. Licensed in UK on Excaliber Records, although under the New York Skyy guise for legal reasons…
10 essential Salsoul Records gems / Instant Funk – I Got My Mind Made Up (Salsoul Records)
Philadelphia-based 9 piece-band Instant Funk got their name from their ability to catch a groove started as the backing musicians of Bunny Sigler before turning into an act on their own. Their debut on the TSOP label, back in 1976, didn’t get much of an echo, and after a lot of difficulties to find a new home they finally got a deal with Salsoul Records which released their self-titled album 3 years after. Co-arranged and produced by Sigler, it’s the remix that made the song though, speaking of which Larry Levan got credited by the label, although this has been the subject of disputes back at the time…
10 essential Salsoul Records gems / Double Exposure – My Love Is Free (Salsoul Records)
Formerly known as United Image, Philadelphia-based fortet James Williams, Joseph Harris, Charles Whittington and Leonard ‘Butch’ Davis aka Double Exposure paved the history of the record industry while putting out the first ever 12″ for commercial release back in 1976. As a matter of fact, the title track from their ‘Ten Percent’ album which marked their debut on the label with remix courtesy of the late Walter Gibbons. From the same package came the Allan Felder and Bunny Sigler co-penned ‘My Love Is Free’ with production work by the likes of Ron Baker, Norman Harris and Earl Young, standing as one of the definitive highlights of the Philly Sound, later on remastered courtesy of Tom Moulton. A song that would (also) be the subject of a top class remix by the late Frankie Knuckles
10 essential Salsoul Records gems / First Choice – Doctor Love (Gold Mind Records)
Put together by Rochelle Fleming and Annette Guest with various members along with time, Philadelphia-based female trio First Choice first came to fame back in 1973 with ‘Armed And Extremely Dangerous” as written by Allan Felder and Norman Harris. They would naturally follow the latter on his Gold Mind label 4 years after, opening their new account with the ‘Delusions’ album, surrounded by luminaries such as Earl Young, Ron Kersey, Bruce Hawes and Vincent Montana, Jr. among others. An album which spawned the classic ‘Love Put Asunder’ and its opening track – ‘Dr Love’ – which, according to Bill Brewster on djhistory.com, gave Tom Moulton one of his hardest times ever in terms of remixing work…
10 essential Salsoul Records gems / Loleatta Holloway – Hit And Run (Gold Mind Records)
Loleatta Holloway rose to fame though in the mid-70’s when top Philadelphia arranger and producer Norman Harris came to sign her on his newly formed Gold Mind Records label, in partnership with Salsoul Records. The opening cut to her 1976 released ‘Loleatta’ album which marked her debut for the label, ‘Hit And Run’ stands as one of her signature cuts (as mixed by the late Walter Gibbons who completely restructured it), along with ‘Love Sensation’, ‘Run Away’ which she recorded with The Salsoul Orchestra, and ‘Relight My Fire’ with the late Dan Hartman
10 essential Salsoul Records gems / Candido – Jingo (Salsoul Records)
The most recorded conga drummer in the history of Jazz, Cuban-born percussionist Cándido de Guerra Camero, better known as Candido, made a notorious foray into Disco back in 1979 with the release of his ‘Dancin’ And Prancin’ album on Salsoul Records. A package that featured the classic ‘Thousand Fingered Man’ later given a cover version by the likes of Louie Vega, but also a brilliant rendition of the aforementioned. A cut written Nigerian percussionist Babatunde Olatunji, taken from his 1960 released ‘Drum Of Passion’ album, itself considered as the first recording to popularize African music in the West…
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4 Comments on 10 essential Salsoul Records gems

  1. Very nice selection of songs, representative of the quality product that this label put out back in the day. As the article states, the list is by no means exhaustive, There is a number of other titles on the Salsoul label that could be included in a greatest songs list, songs that sometimes became massive hits. Let’s not forget the instrumentals such as Bebu Silvetti’s “Spring Rain” or The Salsoul Orchestra’s version of the Earth, Wind and Fire classic “Getaway”. The Salsoul Orchestra itself should be noted for producing a wide selection of quality Disco tracks that would become classics, tracks such as “Nice and Nasty” and “It’s Good for the Soul”. The Salsoul Orchestra’s Christmas album is one of the finest Holiday albums ever made and it remains a classic and a party staple more than 30 years after its release. Any DJ who plays Dance/House music and who is serious about his or her craft should explore the history of the music and find inspiration from it. The Salsoul label is definitely a rich source of material.

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