Friday, August 9, 2013

40 Year Itch: Sensational Late Summer Soul

In August of 1973 Hi recording artist Ann Peebles released her biggest selling single " I Can't Stand the Rain", which peaked at #38 on the pop charts. She wrote it with future husband Don Bryant and a DJ named Bernard Miller.  John Lennon called it "the best song ever."

Another great Hi recording artist, Syl ( "Is It Because I'm Black?") Johnson hit the R and B charts in 1973 with the title track from Back For A Taste of Your Love, an album produced by Willie Mitchell who worked on all of the Al Green masterpieces. In 1975 the Mitchell-Johnson team would record the classic "Take Me To The River".

The most important thing about Rufus's low-key debut is the band's decision to record Stevie Wonder's "Maybe Your Baby." Wonder liked the way Chaka Khan sang it so much, he walked into the studio and presented them with "Tell Me Something Good". Their biggest hit would peak at #3 in 1974.

Earth Wind and Fire's fourth album, Head to the Sky, features the transcendent "Evil", one of 1973's greatest singles in my opinion. The sister on the cover is singer Jessica Cleaves who would leave after this album and eventually join George Clinton's Brides of Funkenstein. 

With Thom Bell producing, Ronnie Dyson recorded One Man Band which featured one of the Summer of '73's greatest love song " I Just Don't Want To Be Lonely" (#60 pop, #29 R and B). The Main Ingredient would make this a Top 10 hit in 1974.

One of Aaron Neville's greatest singles is a laid back funk classic. Paul Weller covered this on one of his first solo tours. Like the horns?  They're a top of the hat to John Coltrane's "Minor Blues"

The Four Tops had already left Motown and recorded their big hit "Ain't No Woman ( Like the One I Got)" in 1972. This follow-up hit #15 for ABC-Dunhill. It appeared on the Shaft in Africa soundtrack.

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