Sunday, 15 February 2009

Margie Joseph - Hear The Words, Feel The Feeling - 1976 - Cotillion

Collector's Choice are reissuing a draft of classic 70s soul and jazz at the moment, and with everything else resurfacing on CD its getting very hard to keep up! When I was scouring the Internet and discovered that Margie Joseph's 1984 set “Ready For The Night” was being reissued (only interested in “Is It Gonna Be Me And You”), I then discovered this album which I had hitherto been aware of, but had not heard. To discover it was a Lamont Dozier production was a massive boon, so I ordered one straight away, totally on the blind. Let's see...1976...Lamont Dozier...Margie Joseph...yes, well worth the risk! Lamont was firing on all cylinders at this time and was releasing a wealth of quality, timeless soul music and to receive this CD, play it for the first time and discover a wonderful set of 9 Dozier-produced gems was just the icing on the cake! If you love his contemporaneous work with Aretha Franklin, The Originals and Ben. E. King then you will definitely want this CD in your collection.

From the very first track, the meeting of Dozier and Joseph is instantly one of magic. The quality of remastering is second to none, too – so thanks to Bob Fisher for that. There are a few reissue labels at the moment churning out quality albums but shockingly embarrassing quality – check out the Woods Empire and you'll see what I mean – so its great to have properly mastered, legitimate recordings to be proud of. Anyway, I digress a little. With this in mind, savour the sheer quality of “Didn't I Tell You” with its catchy hook and swirling strings – almost a flavour of Philly in here. Fans of Ben E. King's version of “Let Me Live In Your Life” or Aretha's “Sunshine Will Never Feel The Same” will instantly feel at home with “Why'd You Lie” (not the same as the Originals' '75 waxing.) “Prophesy” is a track we all loved over the years – one of Richard Searling's favourite spins on the radio and at Southport and here is the version cut with Margie Joseph; a little less heavier and more, dare I say it, mellow disco. However, this is an excellent version but pales to Lamont's own version. That can be found, should that be a glaring omission from your collection, on Expansion's excellent 2000 compilation.

One of my favourite songs from that particular compilation was “All Cried Out”, and a version appears here – quite different in construction in a number of ways. More of a swayer, this version, and considerably more laid back – add a steel guitar and remove the strings and this could have been a '70s country hit. The arrangement almost verges on the jazzy half way through, and from here the sweetness and softness really takes control. I love this, but prefer the 'original'. My top-dog cut, though, has to be the superb “Don't Turn The Light On”. This is Lamont at full gallop; a strident beat, the hi-hat at the foreground and the strings sweetening the groove in exactly the right place. Mmm...this is delicious stuff indeed and 70s soul at its very best. Margie closes the album with 2 quality tunes called “Feeling My Way”, one which I could hear Lou Rawls equally doing justice to, and “I Get Carried Away”. Again, the strings and arrangement owes something to the work of Thom Bell. This is seriously a CD that should be taking pride of place in your collection and is very nicely priced too. Look out for all the other Margie Joseph albums, all at a nice price. Each one is worth picking up.

Barry Towler

The Vibe Scribe

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