The greatest album ever?

Well to me it’s always been a toss-up between Isaac hayes – To be Continued and Lamont Dozier – Black Bach with Hayes usually winning out.

Of Course, most folk who recall Hayes will do so because of his legendary film score Shaft but he was far more than a writer of music for films.

Both the Hayes and Dozier albums are all but perfect with no duff tracks at all, but To Be Continued is just that little bit more perfect to me. It was released in late 1970 (this is confirmed by my LP copy although my CD copy says 1971) with just 4 long tracks including significant instrumental segments. The tracks?

* You’ve lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ – probably the best track – www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzj1y4cXEZk
* The Look Of Love
* Our Day Will Come
* Runnnin’ Out Of Fools

Hayes was a pioneer in bringing together strings and horns to create a deeper more soulful sound. His long instrumental segments were unique back in the day and no one has really managed to copy his style many years later.

I first heard the album in Andrew Beattie’s Pimbley Grove West, Maghull house back in 1971 or 72 and it blew me away. Andrew was a big lover of music, particularly soul but he had quite a wide range of musical tastes actually. He’s no doubt responsible for my love of soul and smooth jazz. Andrew would spend his last penny on buying albums as a teenager and well into his working years and I recall that his Mum Audrey would be telling him off for buying so many records. It led to him squirrelling new albums away so she would not know!

Anyway, back to Hayes and To Be Continued. Andrew had heard the album being played on BBC Radio 1 and it being raved about by the DJ. Of course he had to have it and it started a love of Isaac Hayes music in both Andrew and me. Andrew died in 1999 and I have his LP copy (see photo above) as a treasured momento of our friendship.

It topped the R&B charts for 11 weeks and for my money it represents Ike at his very best.

Note: I’m indebted to the book ‘All Music Guide to SOUL and Jason Birchmeier who reviewed the album

Dozier – One of the greatest song writers of all time

In August 2015 I posted about seeing Lamont Dozier live on stage at Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre. Here’s a link back to that posting:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/08/28/lamont-dozier-i-was-in-the-same-room-as-the-motown-legend/

As the middle part of the world famous soul music writing trio of Holland – Dozier – Holland he penned so many hits for Motown that it would take far too long to write them all down. However, I actually got into Lamont as a solo artist via what I think was his 2nd LP/album cut in 1974 entitled Black Bach.

I’ve always looked upon this album as one of the very few I like where every song and tune is worth listening to. So many artists released albums where there were only a couple of good tracks but for me this one ranks along with Gato Babieri’s Caliente and Isaac Hayes To Be Continued as being all good or better all the way through. Oddly whilst some Dozier fans think his later solo work was better I only took to individual songs.

I recently stumbled across this You Tube link to the Epstein Theatre performance of The Record Producers Live back in 2015:-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfcHzUWzQBE

and here’s a link to another You Tube event when Dozier was named a Fellow of the Center for Popular Music at MTSU

www.youtube.com/watch?v=iI3HPmnIfsA

And my favourite Lamont Dozier Track? All cried out and here’s a link to it:-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1TNhGbYFyc

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Lamont Dozier – I was in the same room as the Motown legend!

Last night, with old chum Keith, I went to an event at the former Neptune Theatre in Liverpool which has been renamed the Epstein.

The event was organised as part of the Liverpool International Music Festival around that great American songwriter/producer Lamont Dozier who was one third of the Holland – Dozier – Holland team which wrote so many Motown hits.

lamont_inside

It took the form of a live edition of the Radio 2 programme The Record Producers with Steve Levine , Richard Allinson. The unique event consisted of an in depth analysis and discussion of rare archive and original session tracks of some of Holland-Dozier-Hollands’ classic recordings, including Diana Ross, the Four Tops, Marvin Gaye and the Isley Brothers. Lamont Dozier talked about his songwriting and production career followed by a Q&A.

I really enjoyed it although I would rather have heard a little more of Lamont and his music and little less analysis of the way that Motown records were put together/recorded.

No photo’s were allow in the auditorium which I thought was rather unnecessary especially as this small theatre has a quite striking interior. I did manage a shot though of the unusually shaped staircase of the Epstein:-

Staircase at NeptuneEpstein Threatre r

This photo is also amongst my Flickr shots at:-
www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

In my view his best piece of work, as a solo artist, was the album Black Bach which is rare in that it does not have a duff track on it.