The Second Heaven of ’67: 42 Gems from the Sunset of the 60’s

It’s complete. With this particular mix, I can call conclusion to a journey that started 4 years ago. Yes, oddly, 1967 is the hole in a series of not so much hits for those Misses of Soul Music (here’s 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968 & 1969 for reference).

SHIRELLES-NICE1As we head into Fall of the last year of the 2nd decade of the 21st Century, I’m really satisfied to have a catalog of overlooked gems that survey the landscape of Soul Music as it changed and grew under the influence of women half a Century ago. The 1960’s in general set up women, especially Black Women, to take control and harness their creative power in ways that hadn’t been tangible before.

Of Course, the legwork legends like Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan had done in the 1940’s and 1950’s begot the slots that gave Nancy Wilson, The Supremes and Aretha Franklin their queenly lofts. 1967 was a year that followed all three of those more youthful acts trends. More women made sure to attune themselves to being the masters of song interpretation in the methodology of Nancy Wilson. Cover tunes and LPs became part of the process as hit singles became more sparse.

35893.previewRespectability politics and glitz became a part of the show, follow the example The Supremes really launched as they were welcomed into formerly very white performing venues. Vidal Sassoon Asymmetrical Bob Wigs and Sequined Empire Waist gowns were copied literally from the bodies of Mary, Florence soon to be Cindy and Diana and placed on all women (even elder of the field Ella, every privy to keep up with trends). In the days before Afros and Bellbottoms, the sleek, slender if you could look of The Supremes ruled the roost in ’67

18dca6eb0d6db420c9ef198599ec4f1e.jpgAnd of course, we can’t and shan’t ignore the influence of more honestly, more brutal directness and bearing of the soul Aretha Franklin had on audiences, and those in her field during 1967. On purpose, her vast influence on this year in music has been left out so you can train your ears to what others were doing. Was their resistance? Was their imitation in flattery or were their mostly revelations of the complexities all Black Women handled navigating recording and show business.

It’s a year many pioneers planned their exit, as I’ve mentioned before. Gladys Horton said goodbye to being a Marvelettes after being dethroned as the defacto front woman of the group 2 years earlier. Shirelle Doris Kenner left although her time as a co-lead for The Shirelles had ended even earlier in the 1960’s. Various groups like The Velvelettes, & The Royalettes saw their recording careers halt after this year, and their touring and bookings drop soon after.

It was still the 1960’s in the sense that home making and motherhood was still considered the desired and only end result for women, even singers. Even Florence Ballard, one of the most famous, had her heartwrenching departure from The Supremes explained away as merely her just wanting to settle down and have children.

Of course, the truth of those matters is far more complex. Sometimes those stories inform the songs these women recorded. Sometimes you can hear the cry for understanding in a bend of a lyric, a pause or the roar of a run up the scale. 1967, like any other year is full of these thrilling moments in the human condition laid down before us in the future to consume to get greater wisdom.

It was rather difficult to get to every voice that recorded and/or released that year, and this is with me extending the track list from the sort of traditional 40 to 42! So I hope, as Fall chores and more time indoors comes to beckon, you have time to sit down with the brilliance of female soul singers from 52 years in the past and all of the years that surround it.

  1. Shirley Wahls – Why Am I Crying?
  2. Patti Drew – Been Rained On
  3. Jeanne & The Darlings – How Can You Mistreat The One You Love?
  4. The Sweet Inspirations – Blues Stay Away From Me
  5. Diana Ross & The Supremes – Treat Me Nice John Henry
  6. Judy Clay – It Takes A Whole Lotta Lovin’
  7. Little Eva – Mr. Everything
  8. Clydie King – I’ll Never Stop Loving You
  9. Nancy Wilson – Mercy, Mercy, Mercy
  10. The Marvelettes – I Know Better
  11.  Barbara McNair – Lost
  12. Barbara Randolph -You’ve Got Me Hurting All Over
  13.  The Blossoms – Stoney Love
  14. Helene Smith – A Woman Will Do Wrong
  15. Chris Clark – Standing In Yesterday
  16.  The Toys – I Close My Eyes
  17. Jo Armstead – I Who Love You So
  18. Patti Austin – What A Diff’rence A Day Makes
  19. JoAnn Garrett – I’m So Afraid
  20. Ruby Andrews – Hey Boy (Take A Chance On Me)
  21. Kim Weston – That’s Groovy
  22. The Liberty Belles – Just Try Me
  23. Fontella Bass – Lucky In Love
  24. Mary Wells – Hey You (You Set My Soul On Fire)
  25. Dionne Warwick – Baubles, Bangles & Beads
  26. Patti & The Emblems – Please Don’t Ever Leave Me
  27. The Shirelles – Bright Shiny Colors
  28. Sandy Wynns – Love’s Like Quicksand
  29. Martha & The Vandellas – Leave It In The Hands Of Love
  30. Pat Lewis – I Owe You Something
  31. The Lovables – Just Beyond My Fingertips
  32. Patti LaBelle & The BlueBelles – Always Something There To Remind Me
  33. The Symphonics – She’s Just A Sad Girl
  34. Marlena Shaw – I Stayed Too Long A The Fair
  35. The Fascinations – I Can’t Stay Away From You
  36. Carla Thomas – Your Unchanging Love
  37. The Elgins – It’s Been A Long Long Time
  38. The Chiffons – If I Knew Then 
  39. The Royalettes – Something Wonderful
  40. The Glories – Sing Me A Love Song
  41. The Orlons – Everything
  42. Maxine Brown – Soul Serenade

 

 

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