24 Sept 2021

Memphis, Tennessee

The highlights and magical moments from this deeply revered 60s soul label.
Best ever soul album!

'Atlantic and Stax can't compete with Goldwax. This is southern soul at it's most down home, grits and gravy best. James Carr, with three tracks on this compilation, competes with Solomon Burke, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, and others as the greatest soul singer of all time, and Spencer Wiggins, with four tracks, isn't very far behind. The latters version of "Uptight, Good Woman" just about defines southern soul to me in the same degree as James Carr's "Dark End Of The Street" and "Pouring Water On A Drowning Man". The Goldwax story was short, lasting for about six years, but like the story of other gréat Memphis labels such as Sun, Hi, and Stax it will stand. For sheer quality, if not for commercial succes.
This is the best soul compilation I've ever heard in my life.
Buy it and feel sanctified.' -Amazon


...All I needed was to find some talented artists. My dreams came true [with] a knock on my front door one night at midnight, and when I answered there stood [songwriter] Roosevelt Jamison with James Carr and OV Wright. They told me that Jim Stewart of Stax Records had sent them. They had with them a small tape recorder, and wanted me to hear what they had. Though (the tape) was somewhat crude, I could not believe my ears when I heard all that talent coming from this small recorder. I signed them to Goldwax...and began to search for songs...

Unbelievable to think that one of the most beloved imprints in the history of soul - not to mention some of the genre's most-favoured talents - got started thanks to the 'generosity' of an extremely-prominent Memphis label head and the musical passion of a local songwriter-producer, whose career-to-date had been spent working mostly within the boundaries of hillbilly music. But that's exactly how Goldwax Records was born in 1964 - as the label's co-founder and chief arranger Quinton M Claunch is happy to confirm above!

Some might say that Claunch's fellow fiddle-playing, hillbilly music-loving, McLemore Avenue-based contemporary dropped a 'guitar-groups-are-on-the-way-out-Mr-Epstein'-sized clanger by referring two of the greatest voices of our time to a soon-to-be-competitor. And to be fair to Jim Stewart, with a roster that already included both Otis Redding and William Bell, Stax probably didn't need OV Wright or James Carr just then. But Claunch and Goldwax most certainly did need 'em, and The Rest is indeed History as far as soul music is concerned.

The 60+ singles and handful of albums subsequently released on Goldwax between 1964 and 1971 represent the musical apex of Southern soul. Almost all of the catalogue is highly collectible. To that end, The Goldwax Story Volume 1 is merely the hors d'oeuvre of a feast of fantastic music that will be coming your way between now and 2003.

Claunch kept his roster small, with repertoire tailored to suit the artists who recorded for him. (Who better to write for James Carr than Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham, for instance?) But although James was the rightful mainstay - nay, the backbone - of the catalogue, his was by no means the only great voice to spring from the grooves of a Goldwax 45 during the label's lifetime. Overton Vertis Wright's seminal original version of That's How Strong My Love Is would be a highlight of any deep soul collection, just as it is here. And the underrated Spencer Wiggins (represented by four of more than a dozen killers he cut for Goldwax) is the recipient of one of Penn & Oldham's most compelling slowies. Solomon Burke was barely in the ballpark when he tried (and failed) to better Wiggins on Uptight Good Woman, barely a year after the original was cut at Sam Phillips' studios on Memphis' Madison Avenue. And the awesome QM Claunch composition The Power Of A Woman offers a performance that will leave you shocked, stunned and staggered that Wiggins' name isn't up there with the all-time greats of his genre...

...all this, and we haven't even mentioned the Ovations yet. Legendarily visited by the ghost of Sam Cooke with a message to carry on his legacy, lead singer Louis Williams is by far the most uncanny Cooke-alike anyone's ever heard or is going to hear. Listen to the opening bars of Penn & Oldham's I'm Living Good - later exquisitely revived by another Cooke disciple, Arthur Conley - to confirm that for yourselves.

Lesser-known names on GS1 are no less talented. George (Jackson) and (Dan) Greer was a nom-du-disque for two of Memphis' seemingly inexhaustible stockpile of superior songwriters, and their driving You Didn't Know It, But You Had Me was subsequently revived by that man Carr. Wee Willie Walker cut great music all over Memphis without scoring a hit of any consequence, but his riveting revival of There Goes My Used To Be (previously seen inhabiting the down deck of OV's That's How Strong...) shows that he - like other Memphian label-hoppers here such as ex-Volt distaffer Dorothy Williams, former Sun man Jeb Stuart and arranger/saxblaster-about-town Gene Bowlegs Miller - deserved the kind of contemporaneous appreciation that they'll now be afforded thanks to this release. Ditto blue-eyed soul brother Ben Atkins, whose fine and hitherto-unissued rendition of I've Been Loving You Too Long confirms what any sane person knows i.e. that skin colour and soul are not mutually exclusive.

About the Lyrics and the Five C's I can tell you nothing, other than that the former's Darling was Goldwax's first release and that both tracks uphold standards set elsewhere. But Eddie Jefferson and Percy Milem actually had their excellent sides released here on Stateside, back in the days when forward-thinking label managers like Bob Killbourn and Ace's own Trevor Churchill were not afraid to take a punt on something so severely specialist. Likewise, Barbara Perry's plaintive Unlovable also found its way, rather belatedly, onto a UK 45 when it came out here via reggae specialists Pama in 1970. Nobody released Timmy Thomas singles over here, but Why Can't We Live Together broke him worldwide. Before this, though, he cut a handful of fine vocal and instrumental sides for Goldwax.

The loving care and attention that Quinton Claunch put into the creation of these two dozen soulful statements is enhanced by our usual first-rate remastering and packaging. Volume 2 and other future releases aim to continue to preserve the Claunch legacy with similar affection and attention to detail. For the record, Quinton himself is very thankful...that Ace Records has acquired all the old Goldwax masters and will be issuing them in years to come, as it will give future generations a chance to hear my music when I am no longer around. Here is the perfect place for those future generations to start, and a perfect record for them to start with... -Tony Rounce


1. The Ovations Featuring Louis Williams - I'm Living Good 2:47
2. Wee Willie Walker - There Goes My Used to Be 3:01
3. Spencer Wiggins - I'll Be True to You 2:38
4. James Carr - I Don't Want to Be Hurt Anymore 2:25
5. O.V. Wright with the Keys - That's How Strong My Love Is 3:00
6. Barbara Perry - Unlovable 2:26
7. Gene (Bowlegs) Miller - Here It Is Now 2:24
8. Percy Milem - Call on Me 2:21
9. Dorothy Williams - The Well's Gone Dry 2:29
10. Spencer Wiggins - He's Too Old 2:12
11. Eddie Jefferson - Some Other Time 1:58
12. James Carr - Pouring Water on a Drowning Man 2:43
13. The Ovations - Rockin' Chair 2:13
14. Jeb Stuart - Will I Ever Be Free 2:32
15. The Lyrics - Darling 2:20
16. Spencer Wiggins - The Power of a Woman 3;35
17. Ben Atkins & the Second Hand - I've Been Loving You Too Long 3:00
18. Timmy Thomas - Liquid Mood 2:29
19. The Ovations - Don't Cry 2:38
20. George & Greer - You Didn't Know It, But You Had Me 2:16
21. The Five C's - Love Is a Tricky Thing 2:47
22. The Ovations - It's Wonderful to Be in Love 3:15
23. Spencer Wiggins - Uptight Good Woman 2:44
24. James Carr - The Dark End of the Street 2:32

Notes
Incl. booklet

23 Sept 2021

Jamaica

SHOCKS '71!

'The Complete UK Upsetter Singles series is an incredible collection of all of the 7" singles that were relased on the Upsetter UK label between 1969 and 1973. Volume Three rolls on with more great tunes, this time combining very esoteric tracks ("Big John Wayne", "Never Had A Dream Come True") with better known songs such as Bob Marley's "Small Axe" and "Kaya". A very valuable set for collectors, as most of these tracks can't be found anywhere else. Highlights include The Wailers' haunting "Mr. Brown", "Shocks 71" by Dave Barker and Charlie Ace (a fun DJ version on the "Small Axe" rhythm) and the beautiful "Dreamland" by Bunny Wailer. As with the other sets in the series, highly recommended.' -upsetter.net

'The third instalment in Trojan's series of singles from Lee "Scratch" Perry's Upsetter label picks up in late 1970, where Volume 2 left off, and takes the series into 1971. As with the first two volumes, the two-disc digipack includes a booklet with lots of very cool photos and extensive notes on each song; and also like the others, this one is chock full of great songs by artists both famous and obscure, all of them colored by Perry's trademark brilliant (if always quirky) production style. The 47 tracks include some familiar favorites, such as Junior Byles' strangely moving "Place Called Africa," Bob Marley's epochal herb anthem "Kaya," and the inevitable four or five takes on the "Small Axe" rhythm. But there are also some wonderful obscurities, including Hortense Ellis's delightful rock steady renditions of "Take a Little Piece of My Heart" and "Suspicious Minds," and Stranger Cole's scornful "Run Up Your Mouth." The Upsetters' dub version of "Dreamland" is, thankfully, not the horrendous organ showcase previously featured on Perry's Africa's Blood album. Like the other two volumes in this series, this one should be considered an essential purchase for Perry aficionados, but any reggae fan will get lots of pleasure from it as well.' -Review by Rick Anderson


Disc 1
1. Dave Barker & The Upsetters - Tight Spot  2:42
2. The Untouchables - Knock On Wood 2:47
3. The Upsetters - Heart & Soul 2:48
4. The Upsetters - Zig Zag 3:00
5. Teddy & The Upsetters - Elusion 3:05
6. Val Bennett & The Upsetters - Big John Wayne 2:02
7. Bob Marley & The Wailers - Mr. Brown 3:35
8. The Upsetters - Dracula 2:55
9. The Untouchables - Confusion 3:06
10. The Upsetters - Confusion Version 3:02
11. Bob Marley & The Wailers - Kaya 2:36
12. Bob Marley & The Wailers - Kaya Version 2:43
13. Bob Marley & The Wailers - Small Axe 4:00
14. Bob Marley & The Wailers - All In One (Medley): [A) Bend Down Low B) Nice Time C) One Love D) Simmer Down E) It Hurts To Be Alone F) Lonesome Feeling G) Love And Affection H) Put It On I) Duppy Conqueror] 3:39
15. The Hurricanes - You’ve Got To Be Mine 3:03
16. The Upsetters - You’ve Got To Be Mine Version 3:02
17. Dave Barker & Charlie Ace - Shocks 71 4:17
18. Charlie Ace - The Creeper 3:10
19. The Upsetters - Creeping Version 3:00
20. U. Roy & The Upsetters - Copasetic 2:57
21. Little Roy - Don’t Cross The Nation 2:11
22. Dave Barker - Groove Me 4:25
23. Dave Barker & The Upsetters - Screwdriver 2:58


Disc 2
1. Dave Barker & Bunny Livingstone - What A Confusion 3:26
2. The Upsetters - Confusion Version 2:54
3. The Upsetters - Earthquake 3:24
4. Junior Byles - A Place Called Africa 2:41
5. Stranger Cole - Run Up Your Mouth 2:51
6. The Upsetters - Mouth Version 2:52
7. Glen Adams - Never Had A Dream Come True 3:27
8. Glen Adams & The Upsetters - Never Had A Dream Come True Version 3:29
9. Carl Dawkins & The Wailers - Picture On The Wall 2:53
10. The Upsetters - Picture On The Wall Version 2:59
11. Bob Marley & The Wailers - More Axe 3:31
12. The Upsetters - The Axe Man 2:47
13. The Upsetters - Dark Moon 3:19
14. David Isaacs - You'll Be Sorry 2:56
15. Bunny Livingstone - Dreamland 2:44
16. The Upsetters - Dreamland Version 2:37
17. Dennis Alcapone - Well Dread 3:01
18. The Upsetters - Well Dread Version 3:00
19. Hortense Ellis - Piece Of My Heart 3:30
20. The Upsetters - Piece Of My Heart Version 3:29
21. Hortense Ellis - Suspicious Minds 3:15
22. U. Roy - Earthquake Version 3:07
23. The Stingers - Give Me Power 3:16
24. The 3rd & 4th Generation - Give Me Power Version 2:17

Notes
Incl. booklet with 48 pages of liner notes, track credits and pictures.

Nigeria

Great Afemai and their unforgettable music.

'Sir Waziri the only philosopher of the moment and a true legend of etsako music. Long live Waziri.'


Sir Waziri Oshomah & His Family Traditional Sound Makers – S/T

Label: Decca – WAPS 207
Series: Decca West African Series
Format: Digital, Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: Nigeria
Released: 1974
Style: Highlife, African

1. Egbemhenyemho 3:21
2. Igechemho 3:46
3. Amoi Ma Dumhamhaegbe 4:47
4. Wazogwere 3:04
5. Okhala Oviokhala 2:03
6. Rhagwu Wenwgwe 2:51
7. Alhaji Col. F.A.Z. Shelu 4:29
8. Egwili Ozagboa II 4:29
9. Alhaji Inu Umoru 4:24
10. Oberaireghe 4:51

See also

USA

Spencer Wiggins (born January 8, 1942) is an American soul and gospel singer. He is an exponent of so-called "deep soul" and is considered one of the best kept secrets of soul music.

Spencer Wiggins was one big hit away from being a R&B God

'If Spencer Wiggins had that one big fat hit single he would have been up there with the Wicked Pickett and James Carr but alas he never did. I heard this in a friend's car driving along Mulholland Drive one L.A. afternoon in January 2014 and about wept it was so groovy in places.

If you dig 1960s Deep South R&B and miss Otis Redding to this day go buy this and then thank me for giving you such sound advice. If you dig Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, and you should, listen to this collection of perfection and hear where they got the knowhow to know now how to host a pow-wow. Do you dig?' -Sid Griffin

A Lonely Man

'When the soulful tenor of Spencer Wiggins slips into his falsetto, we’re immediately convicted of the almost criminal ignorance the he and other soul artists have suffered while we are inundated with the sounds of highly processed ‘soul’ singers of the modern age. Putting the studio-producer creations up against the lives wrung out in song of Wiggins and his label mates James Carr, Willie Walker and Barbara Perry demonstrates again and again that you can’t have soul music without soul.

This collection of Wiggin’s tracks collected by the British Kent Soul label represents tracks largely distributed by the southern Goldwax label. The range of material spans the soulful to the silly (He’s Too Old) but on every track Wiggin’s voice draws you in to life through his eyes. Songs of love, whether illicit (Once in a While, Who’s Been Warming My Oven) or longing (I’ve Never Loved a Woman), form the foundation of the soul experience, and when they find a home in our hearts, they are our experience as well.' -Warren Rachele

'Although Spencer Wiggins first made the R&B charts with his Fame 45 ‘Double Lovin’’ in 1970, it is his eight Goldwax singles, released in the latter half of the 60s, for which he is most famous among soul fans. Veering from deep melancholic ballads to raucous uptempo groovers, those 45s epitomise southern soul...'

'Spencer Wiggins was Goldwax's third most recorded artist after James Carr and the Ovations. He is considered one of the very best Southern Soul singers. He also had a great blues voice so several of these tracks will appeal to Ace's blues aficionados too. This CD contains 22 tracks from his most productive era, digitally remastered to give the best sound ever.' -Kent


'This CD seems to have been on the back burner for some time, but now it has come to the boil with the explosive intensity of Spencer Wiggins’ vocals.

I recall back in the early 70s meeting a guy in Brighton who was returning home who had decided to sell his 45 collection. Whilst picking through them I came across Spencer’s Uptight Good Woman and asked naively “What’s this like?” After a few seconds on the turntable, I was smitten and had discovered “real soul”, or to be more specific the kind of soul cooked up on the banks of the Mississippi or down in Muscle Shoals in the 60s. Uptight Good Woman still sends shivers down my spine as Spencer sings over the haunting organ and tells us of his desire for “a good little woman who will stay by my side” before the band break into full power.

This 22 track CD collects together all the sides from the Goldwax period. Some of the later masters recorded by Goldwax at Fame and subsequently sold to Fame are not included; they were erroneously issued as Goldwax sides in the 70s and 80s. This CD is the very best of Spencer Wiggins from his golden period in the mid-to-late 60s.

When I first started on the quest of finding out more about Goldwax artists, Spencer Wiggins was at the top of my list. None of my sources knew what had happened to him. Then a series of contacts began, starting with UK collector Nick Sands, who gave me Dan Greer’s telephone number, who then gave me Spencer’s brother Percy’s number. The singing soul brothers were still in touch, and I was able to speak to the Spencer, then recently retired. Our conversations are the basis for the notes which accompany this CD. There are also previously unpublished photos courtesy of Percy Wiggins and Goldwax producer and co-owner Quinton Claunch.

Spencer has been overlooked by the popular press, and even by some soul commentators, in favour of James Carr. Hopefully this first UK collection will demonstrate that he has a place up there with the greats. Spencer accepts that if he had had management he may have been more successful in the 60s, but like many artists he decided to drop out of the business when there weren’t enough gigs to pay the bills. He left Memphis and re-located to Florida in the 70s and though he tried gigging at weekends, he soon gave up as the live music clubs closed during the disco boom. He continued to sing at his local church, where, following in his father’s footsteps, he became deacon. When I last spoke to him he had just released a gospel CD. Unfortunately he was adamant that he would never sing secular music again; so we are just left with this legacy of classic songs from the lost age of southern soul.

All the songs here are the product of a multi-ethnic mix which had been sown in the soil of Memphis and Muscle Shoals and washed up on the banks of the Mississippi over several generations. When you listen to the songs you can hear a multitude of styles, from the rocking R&B beater Soul City USA to the country soul of Once In A While and through to the bluesy Sweet Sixteen. Spencer can also take a song which we know so well like I Never Loved A Woman and add his own special ingredients. Just listen to the way he lets the notes roll away from the title before the guitar run. His interpretation of the lyrics of songs such as That’s How Much I Love You make you feel every ounce of the emotion wrung out by him as he interprets great songs from George Jackson, Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham, among others.' -Colin Dilnot


'Although Spencer Wiggins is nowadays, widely recognised by critics as one of the finest exponents of deep soul, sadly, he’s still one of soul music’s best kept secrets. Spencer Wiggins at the peak of his powers, had the ability to breath life, meaning and emotion into the lyrics of a song. Sadly, talent alone didn’t guarantee commercial success and critical acclaim for Spencer Wiggins, whose singles failed to find the audience they so richly deserved. Meanwhile, James Carr and Bobby Bland who grew up in the same part of Memphis, were enjoying successful careers while he struggled to make a breakthrough first at Goldwax and then Fame. However, it’s The Goldwax Years that are celebrated on a compilation that was recently released by Kent Soul, an imprint of Ace Records. It documents  The Goldwax Years when Spencer Wiggins released the best music of his career. His story began in Memphis in 1942.

Spencer Wiggins was born on January the ‘8th’ 1942, in Memphis, Tennessee, and for much of the forties and fifties, the Wiggins’ family lived in Homer Street. That was where Spencer Wiggins’ love of music blossomed, which his parents encouraged in the hope that it would save their son from getting into trouble. 

Both parents wanted their young family including Spencer Wiggins to embrace different types of music, and in the evening they settled down and listened to jazz, gospel and R&B on the radio. However, it was gospel music that Mrs Wiggins was particularly interested in, as she regularly sung in the choir at the New Friendship Baptist Church. Soon, she was encouraging her family to attend services on a Sunday,  and succeeded in doing so.

Before long, the choir at the New Friendship Baptist Church was a family affair, with Spencer and Percy Wiggins plus their sisters all joining their mother. By then, Spencer Wiggins had been introduced to Sam Cooke, who for a while was his favourite singer.

Soon, Spencer Wiggins who was still a high school student, decided to start singing outside of the confines of the New Friendship Baptist Church. Before long, he had discovered BB King Bobby Bland and Ray Charles who Spencer Wiggins quickly became his favourite singers. By then, he had introduced songs by BB King Bobby Bland and Ray Charles into his sets. This was fitting.

Bobby Bland was one of a number of singers who grew up in the same part of Memphis as Spencer Wiggins. Others included James Carr, Homer Banks, Maurice White and of course Spencer Wiggins’ brother Percy. All of these singers would go on to enjoy different degrees of success during their career.

Meanwhile, music was a constant throughout Spencer Wiggins’ schooldays. He sung at elementary school and then at Booker T. Washington High School which produced many famous musicians. During Spencer Wiggins’ time at Booker T. Washington High School, Booker T. Jones, Carl Hampton, David Porter, Gene Miller, Homer and James Banks, The Mad Lads, Maurice White and William Bell. Many of these singers, songwriters and musicians would become part of the Memphis music scene. That was all in future.

Before that, Nat D. Williams a history teacher Booker T. Washington High School started arranging talent nights for amateur musicians in Beale Street, which was situated in downtown Memphis. For aspiring musician including Spencer Wiggins, this was an opportunity to a make a breakthrough.

It was around this time that the Wiggins family formed a new five piece gospel group, the New Rival Gospel Singers. Initially, they played at the New Friendship Baptist Church before playing in churches across Memphis. Then in 1957, the New Rival Gospel Singers made their radio debut on Bless My Bones, but never got as far as recording a single or album.

During this period, Spencer Wiggins was a member of the Booker T. Washington High School’s sixty strong Glee Club, which featured his brother Percy, David Porter and Dan Greer. Three of this group Dan Greer, Percy and Spencer Wiggins were close friends from the early fifties right through to the early sixties. However, in 1961 nineteen years old Spencer Wiggins who had been held back a year, graduated high school. Now he had to decide what to do with his life.

Spencer Wiggins had no doubt about what he wanted to do with his life,…become a singer. Not just any singer, but one who enjoyed success coast to coast. Initially, Spencer Wiggins started singing on the local Memphis club scene, where he soon became a popular draw  at venues like The Flamenco Club. He worked five nights a week, and earned $9 a night, which soon rose to $15. Before long, Spencer Wiggins was sharing the bill with Al Green, and other nights, opened for Elvis Presley. For Spencer Wiggins the whole experience was a roller coaster, but one he was thoroughly enjoying.

Some nights when he finished at 2am, Spencer Wiggins headed to another venue like the WC Handy Club where he and has friends would shoot the breeze. Then as a new day dawned, Spencer Wiggins and the band wold practised for anything up to three hours. Spencer Wiggins was determined to make a career out of music, and was already making an impact in Memphis’ vibrant soul scene.

One night when Spencer Wiggins appeared at The Flamenco Club, he met Quinton Claunch the founder and owner of Goldwax Records after he had finished his set. By then, Spencer Wiggins was a regular performer in Memphis’ clubs, and it was possible that someone had told Quinton Claunch about the young soul singer Spencer Wiggins who many thought had a bright future ahead of him. So must have Quinton Claunch who offered Spencer Wiggins his first recording contract.

Soon, Spencer Wiggins was in Sam Phillips Madison Avenue studio, where he recorded his debut single for the Bandstand imprint. This was the Isaac Hayes composition Lover’s Crime which featured a hurt-filled vocal. On the B-Side was What Do You Think About My Baby an Isaac Hayes and Gene Miller song. However, when Lover’s Crime was  released in April 1964, it failed to trouble the charts.

In the spring of 1965, Spencer Wiggins returned to Sam Phillips’ studio on Madison where he recorded his sophomore single Take Me Just As I Am which was written by Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham. It features one heartfelt and emotive vocal from Spencer Wiggins whose at his most soulful performance. Considering Spencer Wiggins was just twenty-three, he shows a remarkable maturity on Take Me Just As I Am. For the B-Side, Spencer Wiggins recorded the catchy and soulful The Kind Of Woman That’s Got No Heart, which was penned by his old friend Dan Greer. When Take Me Just As I Am was released as a single, lightning struck twice and the single failed to trouble the charts.

Despite his first two singles failing commercially, Spencer Wiggins continued to play the clubs around Memphis where he was still a popular draw. If anything, his popularity was rising, so Quinton Claunch sent him to Madison to record his third single.

The song that was chosen was Old Friend (You Asked Me If I Miss Her a collaboration between Jimmy Webb and George Jackson who wrote the B-Side Walking Out On You. When Old Friend (You Asked Me If I Miss Her was released on Goldwax Records,  in December 1966, it featured Spencer Wiggins’ best performance on this soul-baring slice of spine tingling deep soul. Despite oozing quality, the single failed commercially and Spencer Wiggins was no nearer that elusive hit single.

Four months later, and Spencer Wiggins returned with his fourth single Up Tight Good Woman, which was written by Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham. It’s a song that could’ve only been recorded in Memphis in the late-sixties, as Spencer Wiggins delivers an impassioned vocal while elements of Southern Soul and Deep Soul melt into one. Tucked away on the B-Side was Anything You Do Is Alright which was penned by Quinton Claunch and Randolph V. Russell. It sees the tempo rise as Spencer Wiggins delivers an emotive vocal where he uses a much wider vocal range. Sadly,  when Up Tight Good Woman was released in April 1967, it too, failed commercially and Spencer Wiggins’ search for his first hit single continued.

Another five months passed before Spencer Wiggins returned with his fifth single which the soul-baring ballad The Power Of A Woman which was penned by Quinton Claunch. He also wrote Lonely Man with Randolph V. Russell which featured on the B-Side. It’s one of the hidden gems in Spencer Wiggins’ back-catalogue and finds him breathing life, meaning and emotion into the lyrics. This time around, both sides were recorded in Memphis by a band that featured some top musicians, while Quinton Claunch and Randolph V. Russell took charge of production. They were partly responsible for one of Spencer Wiggins’ finest singles, which sadly, wasn’t the success that everyone hoped. Still, Spencer Wiggins was looking for his breakthrough single.

Five months later, and Spencer Wiggins released the Quinton Claunch composition That’s How Much I Love You on Goldwax Records in February 1968. I’m A Poor Man’s Son Spencer Wiggins’ impassioned vocal bristles with emotion as horns and harmonies accompany him on a song that could’ve transformed his fortunes. Hidden away on the B-Side was the uptempo I’m A Poor Man’s Son which Quinton Claunch had written with Claude Dante. Again, both sides were recorded in Memphis, and were produced by the Quinton Claunch and Randolph V. Russell production partnership. Sadly, and despite their best efforts That’s How Much I Love You passed record buyers by.

After the commercial failure of That’s How Much I Love You, Quinton Claunch seemed in no hurry to release the followup single. Nine months passed before Spencer Wiggins released Once In A While (Is Better Than Never At All) as his seventh single for Goldwax Records. However, the single doesn’t feature on the compilation, and instead, an  extended version that was only released in 2006 features. Tucked away on the B-Side was the stomping He’s Too Old which was funky, soulful and featured a much more contemporary sound. It’s a hidden gem that show another side of Spencer Wiggins, whose seventh single That’s How Much I Love You failed to find an audience in November 1968. For Spencer Wiggins this was just the latest disappointment. Surely things couldn’t get any better?

As 1969 dawned Spencer Wiggins was preparing to release a cover pf Ronnie Shannon’s I Never Loved A Woman (The Way I Love You) as a single in February 1969. On the B-Side was Quinton Claunch and Carmol Taylor’s Soul City USA. Both sides were produced by Quinton Claunch and Randolph V. Russell who hoped that I Never Loved A Woman (The Way I Love You) would give Spencer Wiggins his belated breakthrough. Sadly, it wasn’t to be and it was the end of the line for Spencer Wiggins and rest of artists at Goldwax Records.

Later in 1969, the two owners of Goldwax, Quinton Claunch and Randolph V. “Doc” Russell decided to dissolve the label. They had been unable to agree on the future direction of Goldwax Records,  which drove a wedge between the pair. However, James Carr’s increasingly erratic behaviour caused by a worsening in his mental health problems was the final straw. The two friends decided to dissolve Goldwax and Spencer Wiggins and rest of artists at Goldwax Records were left without a label. 

Next stop for Spencer Wiggins was Fame, where he released Love Machine in November 1969 and Double Lovin’ in July 1970. When neither single was a commercial success, Spencer Wiggins was left without a label. Adding to Spencer Wiggins’ problems was that he never employed a manager. This was a decision that would cost Spencer Wiggins dearly.

Nearly three years later, in February 1973, Spencer Wiggins released I Can’t Be Satisfied (With A Piece Of Your Love) as a single on MGM Sounds Of Memphis. However, when the single failed to find an audience this was Spencer Wiggins’ eleventh single that that had failed commercially and caused Spencer Wiggins to rethink his future.

Spencer Wiggins wasn’t making a living singing soul, and when he left MGM Sounds Of Memphis he decided to reinvent himself as a bluesman in Florida. However, his career as a bluesman was short-lived and when his band failed to turn up for a show in Memphis in 1973, Spencer Wiggins called time on his career as a bluesman. For the next two years his life headed in a different direction.

For the next couple of years, spent most of his time working in a local church, and made his swan-song as a bluesman in 1975. A year later in 1976, and Spencer Wiggins ‘found’ god, and from 1977 onwards started singing gospel music. 

The same year, 1977, the Japanese label Vivid Music released an album of songs Spencer Wiggins recorded for Goldwax, Soul City USA. This includes Sweet Sixteen, My Love Is Real, I’ll Be True To You and Who’s Been Warming My Oven which made their debut on Soul City USA. It was also Spencer Wiggins’ debut album, as he had previously, only ever released singles. It was almost ironic that Spencer Wiggins’ debut album, Soul City USA was only released after her turned his back on soul and blues, and began recording gospel music. It was the end of era.

Sadly, Spencer Wiggins never enjoyed the commercial success and critical acclaim that his talent warranted. Despite that, Spencer Wiggins is nowadays, widely recognised by critics as one of the finest exponents of deep soul, but sadly, is still one of soul music’s best kept secrets. Even many soul fans haven’t heard of Spencer Wiggins, but after hearing his music once, they’re fans for life. 

The best place to start is The Goldwax Years which features Spencer Wiggins at the peak of his powers as he breathes life, meaning and emotion into the lyrics of fourteen songs. These songs are a mixture of singles, B-Sides, album cuts, unreleased songs and hidden gems from the Spencer Wiggins during  The Goldwax Years. It’s a reminder of one soul music’s best kept secrets, Spencer Wiggins, who during The Goldwax Years had the potential and talent to become a giant of soul.' -https://dereksmusicblog.com/


1. Once In A While (Is Better Than Never At All) 3:33
2. Old Friend (You Asked If I Missed Her) 2:47
3. The Kind Of Woman That's Got No Heart 2:43
4. Lonely Man 2:12
5. He's Too Old 2:10
6. I'm A Poor Man's Son 2:08
7. What Do You Think About My Baby 2:46
8. Anything You Do Is All Right 2:16
9. I'll Be True To You 2:36
10. Take Me Just As I Am 2:44
11. That's How Much I Love You 2:53
12. I Never Loved A Woman (The Way I Love You) 3:02
13. Who's Been Warming My Oven 2:40
14. Walking Out On You 2:35
15. Soul City USA 2:02
16. Sweet Sixteen 2:41
17. Uptight Good Woman 2:42
18. Lover's Crime 2:11
19. My Love Is Real 2:44
20. The Power Of A Woman 3:34
21. I'm A Poor Man's Son 2:14
22. That's How Much I Love You 3:00

Notes
Incl. booklet

22 Sept 2021

Jamaica


''I build all my records.
After the musicians have finished, I do my thing.
Sometimes they ask em if I do the records over again.
I say, no, but they don't believe me. I couldn't tell you my secrets,
but...Sometimes I use even my mouth to make music
And you wouldn't know, unless you see me doing it.''
Lee Perry 1975

'Someday I'm gonna have to explore the other volumes in this series because this thing is put together in a much more logical and professional manner than most Scratch comps. But for now, this is the only one I've heard. Great period for Scratch so this features a few of my favorite cuts and having everything chronological with B-sides is pretty satisfying. I love my janky oddball Scratch comps but if I had it to do over again, I'd probably start with this entire series and go from there.' -hellaguru

'The Complete UK Upsetter Singles series is an incredible collection of all of the 7" singles that were relased on the Upsetter UK label between 1969 and 1973. Trojan saved some of the best for last: the series concludes with some truly dynamite numbers, including the Stingers' "Preacher Man", some nice Dennis Alcapone DJ shots, and the last of the Wailers singles. Also notable are the full-length versions of the mind-bending "Cow Thief Skank" and its insane version, "7 & 3/4 Skank". Other highlights include Ansel Collins wonderful "Black Supreme", the Righteous Flames' "One Love One Heart", and the raucous "Jungle Lion". Perhaps the strongest set in the series.' -upsetter.net

'This is the final installment in Trojan's monumental reissue series covering the entire output of its Upsetter subsidiary, the imprint under which Trojan distributed singles produced by Lee "Scratch" Perry in the U.K. between 1968 and 1973. The sound quality is somewhat improved over the earliest singles (documented in Vol. 1 of this series), but all of the basic elements remain essentially the same: the effortlessly propulsive skank of Perry's studio band, the Upsetters, the A-list vocalists and instrumental guests (who include top DJs like Dennis Alcapone and Big Youth, as well as organist Ansel Collins, singer Junior Byles, and even Bob Marley), and Perry's own signature vibe, which manages to be mystical, rootsy, vulgar, and sanctified all at the same time. Highlight tracks include Wesley "Germs" Martin's brilliant "Whiplash" (chatted over the ubiquitous "People Funny Boy" rhythm), the classic version of the Wailers' "Keep on Moving," and Junior Byles' "Beat Down Babylon." As always, the packaging includes an informative overview essay and extensive track-by-track notes. Inevitably, some of this material is duplicated elsewhere in the Trojan catalog; however, for hardcore Perry fans, the combination of rare material and chronological presentation makes this entire set a must-own.' -Review by Rick Anderson


Disc 1
1. Dennis Alcapone - Alpha & Omega 3:00
2. Junior Byles & The Upsetters - Beat Down Babylon (King Alpha) 2:35
3. Winston Wright, The 3rd & 4th Generation & The Upsetters - Example Part 1 3:01
4. The 3rd & 4th Generation & The Upsetters - Example Part 2 3:12
5. Lloyd Parks - Mighty Cloud Of Joy 3:08
6. Lloyd Parks & The Upsetters - Mighty Cloud Version 3:00
7. Shenley Duffus & Soul Avengers - Bet You Don't Know 2:49
8. The Upsetters - Babylon Chapter 5 (Ring Of Fire) 2:50
9. Dennis Alcapone & Dave Barker - Wonder Man 2:29
10. Dennis Alcapone & Junior Byles - Africa Stand 2:52
11. King Iwah & The Stingers - Give Me Power No. 2 3:10
12. Max Romeo - Public Enemy Number One 3:18
13. Prince Tallis & The Challis - He Who Feels It 3:15
14. The Upsetters - He Who Feels It Chapter Two 3:12
15. Neville Grant - Black Man's Time 3:05
16. Ansel Collins & The Upsetters - Black Supreme 3:39
17. Lee Perry & The Upsetters - French Connection 4:11
18. Lee Perry & The Upsetters - French Connection Chapter Two 4:04
19. Maxie, Niney The Observer & Lee "Scratch" Perry - Babylose Burning (Babylon Chapter 8) 2:24
20. Shenley Duffus & Soul Avengers - (I Forgot) To Be Your Lover 3:13
21. Junior Byles - (Festival) Da Da 3:31
22. Lee Perry & The Upsetters - Da Da Version 3:18
23. Dennis Alcapone - Master Key 4:10


Disc 2
1. Dennis Alcapone & The Upsetters - Key Hole 3:05
2. Dennis Alcapone & Lee Perry - Back Biter 2:54
3. Dennis Alcapone & Lee Perry - Back Biter (Version) 2:47
4. Wesley Germs - Whiplash 2:57
5. The Upsetters - Whiplash Part Two 3:16
6. Alva "Reggie" Lewis - Natty Natty 3:07
7. Alva "Reggie" Lewis & The Upsetters - Natty Natty Version 3:09
8. Bob Marley & The Wailers - Keep On Moving 3:08
9. Bob Marley & The Wailers - African Herbsman 2:25
10. The Righteous Flames - One Love, One Heart 2:46
11. Big Youth - Moving (Version) 3:00
12. Lee Perry - Waterpump 2:53
13. Lee Perry & The Upsetters - Pumping (Version) 2:52
14. The Stingers - Preacher Man 2:41
15. The Stingers & The Upsetters - Preacher (Version) 2:41
16. Lee Perry & The Upsetters - Puss-See-Hole 3:20
17. Winston Groovy - Want To Be Loved 2:27
18. Lee Perry & The Upsetters - Jungle Lion 3:26
19. Lee Perry & The Upsetters - Freak Out Skank 3:19
20. Charlie Ace & Lee Perry - Cow Thief Skank 3:32
21. Charlie Ace & The Upsetters - Seven & Three Quarters Skank 3:33
22. Leo Graham - News Flash 3:18
23. Leo Graham & The Upsetters - Flashing Echo 3:15
24. David Isaacs - Stranger On The Shore 3:06
25. Dillinger - John Devour 2:25

Notes
Incl. booklet with 52 pages of liner notes, track credits and pictures.

USA

 
UPGRADE

"All the major themes of black religious folksong are explored here, and the album is a virtual primer of rural gospel."

'Awesome. Doors creaking, kids crying in the back ground, these recordings have the feel of life being lived in real time. I've heard some better field recordings of this kind but to find this many great performances in one place is like hitting the mother load. This is a treasure. You'll be hard pressed to find a better collection out there. Don't hesitate to put your money down on this one. Glory Hallelujah!' -Jeremy Marshall

'A collection of spiritual and gospel songs performed in informal non-church settings between 1965 and 1973. Most are guitar-accompanied and performed by active or former blues artists. "Most records of black religious music contain some form of gospel singing or congregational singing recorded at a church service. This album, though, tries to present a broader range of performance styles and contexts with the hope of showing the important role that religious music plays in the Southern black communities and in the daily lives of individuals." --David Evans, from the liner notes. David Evans is an ethnomusicologist and director of the Ethnomusicology/Regional Studies program at the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music in the University of Memphis, where he's worked since 1978.'



'Sometimes it’s not about the belief so much as the believing. That’s the primary takeaway regarding Sorrow Come Pass Me Around: A Survey of Rural Black Religious Music. Originally issued in 1975 on Advent Records, this fine collection is bona fide classic. Long out of print, the assembled recordings are once again widely available via Dust-to-Digital who re-issued the album on vinyl in April.

Inside the gorgeous tip-on sleeve are detailed notes from producer David Evans, who traveled the American South (with a stop in California), with Marina Bokelman, John Fahey, George and Catchy Mitchell, Marc Ryan, Cheryl Thurber, and Alan Wilson (archivist Bill Koon also contributes a recording) between 1965-1973 with the goal of documenting sacred music removed from Sunday mornings services where it’s often recorded. “Most records of black religious music contain some form of gospel singing or congregational singing recorded at a church service,” Evans writes in the album’s notes. “This album, though, tries to present a broader range of performance styles and contexts with the hope of showing the important role that religious music plays in the Southern black communities and in the daily lives of individuals.”

So here you’ll find blues singers like Furry Lewis, Robert “Nighthawk”  Johnson, and Babe Strovall singing sacred music, though they are primarily known for their secular songs, on “the principal that the devil shouldn’t have all the best music,” right alongside Reverend Rubin Lacy, the mixed denominational trio of Annie Lee Crawford, Annie Mae Jones, and Oscar Crawford, and church soloist Katie Mae Young. The recordings are relaxed and often celebratory. “Blind Pete” Burrell’s rendition of “Do You Remember Me” floats on easygoing charm. Johnson’s “Can’t No Grave Hold My Body Down” is strident, a confidant boast in the power of the resurrection. Even the songs most concerned with matters of repentance — like “You Got to Give an Account” (“Of your sins,” the lyric continues) — sound like a party.

Evans draws little distinction between the blues — a music that was every bit as rebellious and hell raising as its eventual child, rock ‘n’ roll — and the plaintive spirit of rural gospel. “The average person who attends church irregularly usually sees little harm in the blues,” Evans writes, going on to state that preachers “rarely condemn the blues singers as much as they do the liars, gamblers, drinkers, adulterers, hypocrites, and backsliders,” even if those blues singers might very well fall into the categories mentioned. Instead, he argues that the preachers enjoyed a special kinship with blues singers, not only in the matters of speaking to the broken nature of humankind, but also in the celebration of its spirit, of lifting up as much as warning or ministering to. It’s a link that still exists in popular music, though rarely is it displayed as nakedly or as raw as it is here.' -words/ j woodbury

'That southern gospel, when mixed in with country and blues, became a powerful ingredient in what would become R&B, soul, rock and most of modern pop music, is hardly a secret. It took Saturday night and Sunday morning to put all of that together, so to speak, but gospel music, or spiritual and religious music, anyway, was hardly off limits to blues performers working southern juke joints and rent parties, and church music and the blues spent a lot more time together than most folks realize. This compilation of field recordings proves the point. Recorded between 1965 and 1973 by a team headed by David Murray (a team which also included guitarist John Fahey), it features 16 gospel and spiritual songs performed in living rooms, back porches and other non-church settings, most of them done by musicians generally assumed to be blues players. At the field level featured here, the difference between the blues and gospel is shown to be slight, and that difference is mostly lyrical. One can't help but be reminded that it is generally critics, researchers, and scholars who insist on categorizing such things into separate tropes, when, after all, musicians and their audiences are more concerned with how it sounds than what it is. This rough, engaging, and revealingly rustic set of field recordings was originally released on LP in 1975 by a small label called Advent Productions, and was reissued years later on CD in the digital era by Dust-To-Digital in 2013.' -AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett


1. Ephram Carter and His Fife & Drum Band - Sorrow Come Pass Me Around 2:34
2. Willard Artis “Blind Pete” Burrell - Do Remember Me 2:24
3. Babe Stovall - The Ship Is at the Landing 3:14
4. Annie Lee and Oscar Crawford with Annie Mae Jones - You Don’t Know What the Lord Has Done for Me 2:00
5. Reverend Rubin Lacy - Talk About a Child That Do Love Jesus 1:36
6. Robert “Nighthawk” Johnson - Can’t No Grave Hold My Body Down 2:24
7. Dorothy Lee, Norma Jean and Shirley Marie Johnson with Robert “Nighthawk” Johnson - You Got to Give an Account 1:49
8. Katie Mae Young - By the Grace of My Lord, I’ve Come a Long Way 3:08
9. Eddie Lee “Mustright” Jones - My Sun Don’t Never Go Down 1:44
10. Robert “Nighthawk” Johnson - Climbing High Mountains 2:52
11. Chester Davis and Congregation / Compton Jones and Group / Furry Lewis - Glory, Glory Hallelujah 6:00
12. Willard Artis “Blind Pete” Burrell - A Little Talk with Jesus Makes it Right 1:29
13. Pattie Rosemon with Frank and Odie Rosemon - I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say 3:53
14. Babe Stovall - When the Circle Be Unbroken 2:52
15. Napoleon Strickland - Motherless Children 1:41
16. Willard Artis “Blind Pete” Burrell - I Shall Not Be Moved 2:22

AKA

Notes
1 recorded in Waverly Hall, Georgia, August 21, 1970.
2, 12 and 16 recorded in Bogalusa, Louisiana, March 31, 1969.
3 recorded in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 26, 1966.
4 recorded in Como, Mississippi, August 29, 1973.
5 recorded in Ridgecrest, California, February 15, 1966.
6, 7 and 10 recorded in Skene, Mississippi, August 26, 1967.
8 and 13 recorded in Senatobia, Mississippi, August 31, 1973.
9 recorded in Lexington, Georgia, August, 1965.
11a recorded in Ridgecrest, California, March 18, 1966.
11b recorded in Senatobia, Mississippi, August 28, 1973.
11c recorded in Memphis, Tennessee, March 21, 1969.
14 recorded in Franklinton, Louisiana, January 27, 1966.
15 recorded in Como, Mississippi, March 25, 1969. 

Incl. 32-page booklet

Nigeria

''Her Majesty Queen Oladunni Decency And Her Unity Orchestra''

She sounds so much like a female "Sunny Ade" -Levi Natty

'The first woman, and probably the only one, to venture into the seemingly exclusive men's juju 'club' which usually required an extensive knowledge of the guitar instrument. What a spectacularly rare talent! May her soul rest in perfect peace with the Lord. Amen.' -Olu Akingbade

'Atunpa Mai Ku-Mummy Juju'
'This was her last album. What irony that she sang this song! pleading that the flame not go out  until she has done exploits....Well, she did exploits and the flame went out! O ma se o, Ile nj'eniyan...' -Adedamola Olumegbon

'Serifatu Oladunni Oduguwa, popularly known by her stagename Queen Oladunni Decency or Queen Mummy Juju, was a Nigerian singer and guitarist who specialized in the Jùjú genre of music. Regarded as the first female guitarist in Nigeria, she was the founder and leader of a Jùjú music band called Her Majesty Queen Oladunni Decency and Her Unity Orchestra. She recorded many hit songs until her death at the age of 28.'



Nigeria's women bandleaders

By Uchenna Ikonne

“No place for a woman.” That’s what was said about any number of spheres of Nigerian social life, whether it was the corridors of political power, the church pulpit, a sports field, and definitely the nightclub bandstand.

Actually, nightclubs in general were not viewed as a place that any “decent” woman would ever be found, the common assumption being that a woman socializing in a club, unaccompanied by an upstanding male escort must by definition be of dubious virtue. Since the nightclubs functioned as the primary site for the production and consumption of popular music, this prejudice essentially excluded women from contributing significantly to the arena of music.

Oh yes, there was the occasional girl singer who might warble a few tunes with one of the more established orchestras, but her time in the spotlight was usually brief as she almost invariably exited the stage as soon as she got married. Singing could be tolerated as an innocent distraction for a young girl before she settled down to the serious work of raising a family but music was definitely not a viable career course for a respectable woman.

The notion of a woman leading a band on a professional level was ludicrous to even imagine. Even more so was the idea that women could play musical instruments. In indigenous music genres such as waka, egwu ekpili or mkpukpo, a female vocalist might accompany herself with some sort of basic rattle, bell or gourd, but women were not expected to do so much as lay a finger on the formidable brass and rosewood instruments of the Western-oriented dance ensemble.

Playing the trumpet required a capacity of lung and resilience of lip regarded as far beyond the scope of the fragile feminine constitution. Dainty distaff fingers could hardly hope to bow the rigid catgut strings of the bass fiddle or display the digital dexterity to successfully navigate the fretboard of the guitar. Mastering the musical scales that served as the lexicon for an assortment of tuned instruments demanded a mental acuity that was not the stuff of the flighty female mind. All of this was conventional wisdom, of course, incontestable by any reasonable person. That is, until Hubert Ogunde appeared on the scene.

The contribution of Herbert Ogunde

Ogunde (1916-1990), a policeman with a keen interest in opera, established in 1945 the African Music Research Party: Nigeria’s first modern, commercially-driven professional theatre group. Ogunde’s troupe was innovative for a number of reasons, chief amongst them being the inclusion of several young women as performers. This, at a time when no sensible girl would openly strut her stuff on stage in the barely-there costumes Ogunde designed—no girl who hoped to one day find a good husband, anyway. (The polygamist Ogunde would eventually remedy this problem by marrying all his female troupers himself, thus rewarding them with the social respectability denied them by participation in his productions.)

In time, Ogunde recognized that his girls were the main attraction of his act but he was interested in utilizing them as more than just sex objects. As such, he had them learn orchestral instruments. The sight of voluptuous beauties manning the trap drums and saxophones to kick out swinging jazz numbers was a marvel to behold for audiences in the nineteen fifties.

The introduction of Victoria Iruemi

Around the time Ogunde was showing that women could play in the band, a young woman named Victoria Iruemi (1938 - ?) was getting ready to take things a step further. Intending to train as a seamstress, Iruemi left her native Sapele (in present-day Delta State) for Lagos in 1952 - the exact moment when dance bands from the Gold Coast were starting to infiltrate Nigeria’s nightspots and airwaves, stirring up a craze for highlife music. Nigerians were especially mystified by the skill of the Ghanaian guitar players; Iruemi found herself falling in love with the sound of the instrument and vowed to master it herself. Her first teacher was a Ghanaian guitarist identified only as “Ben,” who instructed her in the rudiments. When Ben went back home, she continued her tutelage with Papa Jay of Roy Chicago’s Abalabi Dandies.  

By late 1963, Iruemi had become good enough to join one of the top bands in Lagos, the Cool Cats Orchestra (led by Kobina Biney). It was on the Cool Cats bandstand that she was spotted by Kole James, proprietor of the Roadhouse Hotel in the Idi-Oro section of Lagos, who promptly installed her in front of the nine-piece Roadhouse Dance Band, making her Nigeria’s first woman bandleader.Predictably, Iruemi faced harsh criticism and discouragement, mostly from members of her own sex who saw a gross degradation of womanhood in her public exhibition of herself in clubs (usually dressed in trousers - insult upon injury!). Still Iruemi expressed the hope that she could inspire enough women to pick up instruments so that she could lead an all-female band.

Vic Iruemi didn’t remain on the scene long enough to see her dream come to fruition; she seems to have disappeared by the mid-1960's, presumably to get married. But her pioneering work was already inspiring followers. The Sunflowers were a razor-sharp ensemble of young soul musicians, mostly male; the lone woman in the group was also its leader, singer Mona Finnih (b. 1949). Finnih was not an instrumentalist but she approached running the Sunflowers with a hands-on verve. All the group’s gear was bought and owned by her. She handled the development of repertoire and booking of engagements. She produced and promoted shows featuring The Sunflowers and other soul and pop acts. Shortly thereafter, in Benin City an all-female band finally did emerge: The Originators, played a rousing repertoire of highlife, rumba and pop music, led by guitarist Maggie Aghomo.

The effect of the Civil War 

Perhaps tellingly, the musical rise of these women coincided with the Nigerian civil war, which raged from 1967 to 1970. Wartime has historically afforded women opportunities for social mobility: The men march out to the battlefield, the women take on the roles in society they leave behind. Sometimes they have to join the armed forces themselves (even if it is in a non-combatant capacity). During the civil war, many Nigerian musicians were conscripted into military bands that entertained the troops, and the ladies were not left out. Aghomo was recruited by the Army Medical Service in Lagos to form a new all-girl group called The Tranquilisers.

Erstwhile Originator, organist Roselyn Golliey formed The Diamond Girls, who were a major draw at the renowned Caban Bamboo Nite Club in Lagos. (Other members of The Originators and The Tranquilisers such as Grace Ogbodu and Grace Ekpenyong would also go on to lead their own bands in the nineteen seventies). Even in the ancient northern city of Kano, traditionally a stronghold of Islamic conservatism where good Muslim women veiled their heads with hijab, the nights were animated by the blaring rhythms of the all-female Metropolitan Band, founded by order of state administrator Audu Bako.

Even the association of performance and bandleading with “loose” single girls would wither away. One of the most hippest stars of the Yoruba juju genre in the aftermath of the war was Queen Oladunni Decency, the stylish singer and guitarist who fronted the popular Unity Orchestra.

Revered as “Mummy Juju” amongst her ardent fans, offstage Decency was Serifatu Oladunni Oduguwa, a young wife and devout muslimah who performed with full support from her husband - quite literally: he played percussions in her band! Likewise, Igbo singer Miss Helen Williams found no good reason to disrupt her leadership of the Young Timers highlife band when she became Mrs. Helen Nkume. Only when she transformed to Prophetess Helen Nkume of the Eternal Sacred Order of the Cherubim & Seraphim did she give up the highlife - at which point she switched to helming the Galilee Gospel Band.

Women leading bands would have their golden age in the 1970s and early 1980s, but their visibility has dwindled in recent decades - largely due to the fact that preponderance of computer-based recorded production and the decline of live music culture have led to the decline of Nigerian bands in general. But in music, most things tend to be cyclical. The bands might very well make a comeback. And when they do, we will have no doubt that they can be led by the ladies.


Queen Oladunni Decency – African Mummy Juju

Label: African Songs UK – CDAS 89713
Format: CD, Album, Compilation
Country: UK
Released: 2003
Style: Jùjú

"Original Vintage Release 1974 - 1979"

Complete 3 Song Medley (18:29)
1. Ijesa Progressive Union (Kano)
2. Emi Yio Ma Yin O Logo
3. Chief S.B. Ajasa Oluwu (Isikalu)

Complete 3 Song Medley (19:02)
4. Atunpa Mai Ku
5. Mummy Juju Fans
6. Pegan-Pegan

Complete 3 Song Medley (18:19)
7. Ninu Igbagbo Lemi O Ma Yan
8. Alafia Logun Oro
9. Odun Yin San Wa Sowo
10. Metric System

Notes


Born Serifatu Oladunni Oduguwa
1949
Noforija, Epe, Nigeria

Died 1978

Nationality: Nigerian

Spouse(s): Gilbert Kayode Oduguwa

Musical career
Also known as: Queen Oladunni Decency
Genres: Jùjú
Occupation(s): singer, guitarist
Instruments: vocals, guitar
Years active: 1966 to 1978

21 Sept 2021

Japan


“The abundant folk music of Japan may be classified under several major headings, religious songs, work songs, ballads, children’s songs, and dancing songs sung at festivals.” This album introduces the listener to all of these different styles, featuring the singing of temples monks, coastal villagers, and city geishas. Also on display is the variety of musical instruments including the samisen, the bamboo flute, and others. -Folkways

Part One: East Japan
1. Group of Japanese men and women - Soran Bushi 2:51
2. Japanese singers with accompaniment - Ezashi Oiwake 3:43
3. Group from Hokkaido - Dance songs at Bon in Hokkaido 2:47
4. Group of women from Yamagata - The song of the rice husking 3:58
5. Group from Miyagi Prefecture - Saitara Zinku-Toshima Zinku 3:18
6. Group from Yamagata - Songs of picking safflowers 2:11
7. Group from Sawauchi - Sawauchi Zinku 3:58
8. Group from Akita - Dyamako Bushi 2:48
9. Group from NIkko - Dance Song at Nikko 3:06
10. Group from Kusatsu - Songs of Kusatsu the hot spring 1:49
11. Group from Joban - Coal miner's songs of Joban 2:44
12. Chichibu man - Chichibu Ondo 3:41
13. Japanese man - Yagi Bushi 3:14
14. Hakone man - The hack-driver's song of Hakone 3:12
15. Group from Sado Island - Sado Okesa 2:38
16. Group from Kiso - Kiso Bushi 3:52
17. Woman from Ina - Ina Bushi 3:56

Part Two: West Japan
1. Group from Sasayama - Dekansho song 3:23
2. Oki Island woman - Shigesa Bushi 2:49
3. Kitaki Island man - Songs of the stonemason 2:49
4. Group fom Tottori Prefecture - The song of the shellfish-gatherer 2:38
5. Group from Iwai - The song of bathing in the hot spring 3:29
6. Group from Okayama Prefecture - Shimotsui Bushi 3:42
7. Group from Izumo - Yasugi Bushi 5:06
8. Group from Tosa - Yosakoi Bushi 3:31
9. Group from Fukuoka - The coal miners's song in Kyushu 2:14
10. Japanese ballad - Shintaro San of the mountain 3:18
11. Group from Kyushu region - Kuroda Bushi 2:43
12. Group from Miyazaki Prefecture - The mower-'s songs 3:32
13. Group from Miyazaki Prefecture - Hie-pounding song 3:15
14. Group from Kumamoto Prefecture - Songs of Kumamoto 2:09
15. Japanese woman - Lullaby of Itsuki 2:03
16. Group from Kagoshima Prefecture - Kagoshima Ohara Bushi 2:50
17. Group from Okinawa - Hatoma Bushi 2:12
18. Group from Okinawa - Asadoya Yunta of Okinawa 2:07

Notes
Incl. Pdf