Doré: L.A. Soul Sides

Posted: May 10, 2014 in Uncategorized

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DORÉ: L.A. SOUL SIDES

Lewis Joseph Bedinsky, better known to Soul Music lovers as Lew or Lou Bedell, and his cousin Herb Newman set up Era Records in the mid 50’s along with backing from Max Newman. In 1958, to increase airplay on radio a second label was added and it was named Doré.

Despite the closeness of Bedell and Newman they did have differences musically and these differences eventually led to an amicable split approximately a year after the formation of Doré with Newman retaining Era and Bedell Doré.

Up to 1964 the label mainly recruited and recorded white acts, there were exceptions with some of the finest West Coast producers and arrangers, Arthur Wright, Miles Grayson and H.B. Barnum for instances recording such acts as The Creators, The Symbols, The Debonairs and others.

When the Radio Stations became swamped with the Beatles and the British Invasion Lew decided to focus on the Black Radio stations to get airplay for his label.

Although the label wasn’t strictly a Soul label this CD Release from Kent, compiled by Ady Croasdell concentrates on the Soul Sides of the label, pretty obvious given the title of the compilation.

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The compilation kicks of with the vocal group The Whispers. Gordy Harmon a few months prior to this release had left The Superbs and he was joined by Nicholas Caldwell, Marcus Hutson and Wallace Scott (twin Walter Scott would join at a later date). “It Only Hurts For A Little While” is a beautiful ballad telling us that Heartache allegedly only hurts for a little while and will soon pass. Whilst not rare in comparison to some of the labels other releases it does remain highly collectable by soul music lovers the world over. Also featured on the disc by The Whispers is the original version of Dr. Love, written by group member Caldwell, not too dissimilar to the Bobby Sheen version a year later (both versions arranged by Gene Page) but has the bonus of harmonies from the rest of the group.

The Superbs, Eleanor “Punkin” Greene, Bobby Swayne, Gordy Harmon and Ronald Cook were signed to the label in 1964. They feature with two sides, a soulful ballad entitled “Baby’s Gone Away” featuring the high pitched soprano vocal fills of Greene on lead whereas “On A Day When It’s Raining” is a more up-tempo mover with male lead. The groups ability to belt out heart wrenching and soulful songs recorded fourteen 45’s for the label during their 4-year history before disbanding in 1968.

Southern Soul legend Toussaint McCall gives us two recordings, one released and one left surprisingly in the can. The latter is a delightful late 60’s dancer entitled “I’ll Laugh Till I Cry” and was left unheard until mid 2013 when discovered and given to a handful of DJ’s in the UK and quite rightly the track has caused a stir amongst soul lovers and the dance floor alike. Toussaint’s other offering is a Southern Soul style ballad that did see a release on Doré. You’d be forgiven for thinking Toussaint was still in Louisiana and not on the West Coast listening to what he has to offer from his brief spell at Doré.

Another unreleased gem is from another Bobby Swayne group (after the Entertainers IV) is The Natural Resources. “If There Were No You” is another that will find favour with the with Soul Music lovers both on and off the dance floor with a particular interest from the UK “Crossover” scene. Frances Lark, a known member of The Natural Resources gives us a mid 60’s mid tempo number entitled “Hold Back The Dawn”.

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Both unreleased tracks mentioned, Toussaint McCall and The Natural Resources are to get a release on a forthcoming Kent Select 45.

Upon leaving the Superbs Bobby Swayne formed the Entertainers IV. Here we have two offerings, a late 60’s dancer “Do It Right Now” and a mid 60’s tribute to the Temptations “Temptation Walk (People Don’t Look No More)”.

The highly sought after dancer from Ray Marchand “Your Ship Of Fools” is worthy inclusion. I know very little about Ray but the 45 was (still is for many) a huge dance floor favourite in the UK since Keb Darge unleashed it on the UK Northern Soul scene and one that commands a sum in the high hundreds.

The Creators were a group of musicians attached to the label who utilized different vocalists for some releases. The first vocalist being Little Johnny Hamilton with two releases on the label, the one included here is the dance floor winner “Oh How I Love You”. Highly collectable and commanding a figure of several hundred pounds it has been sought by DJ’s and collectors alike since gaining popularity in the mid 80’s in the UK. The other release by Little Johnny Hamilton & The Creators is the ultra rarity “Keep On Moving” with just one known original copy as far as I am aware in the UK; this is not to say there are no other copies in the States or elsewhere. Hopefully this will be included on a future compilation as I think it is far better than “Oh How I Love You” but probably suffers from its obscurity as far as dance floor action is concerned.

 

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Milton James is the second offering on this compilation that features the Creators, albeit not credited. A recent discovery in terms of the history of the UK Northern Soul scene, the record has gained in popularity and commands a four-figure fee with just a handful of copies turning up. Eventually The Creators would reform after a break and would in time become War and Milton James “My Lonely Feeling was given a reworking by the group, this time entitled simply ‘Lonely Feeling” and making an impression on the R&B charts at the time.

Another dance floor winner in the UK since the mid 80’s and again first played here by Keb Darge is a distribution deal with Crescent Records out of San Diego and a superb mid tempo dancer by Betty Turner & The Chevelles entitled The Winds Kept Laughing.

Rita & The Tiaras give us the dancer “Gone With The Wind”, another rarity and another that would set you back a four figure sum. The Tiaras had already recorded for the Seton label giving us another UK Northern Soul favourite “Loves Made A Connection”, Rita is actually Rita Graham of Tangerine fame. The record was also recorded by Betty Willis who gives us a more soulful offering than Rita and there is also, until recently an unknown take by Gloria Jones. Rita’s version however has been known by collectors and dancers alike since the mid 70’s and has been a huge dance floor favourite since then and continues to be so. Here we have the full version with the extra verse, which was omitted from the released version.

Another that has gained in popularity in recent years in the UK is Eddie Kool with “Where There’s A Will There’s A Way” with Eddie telling us he’s tired of chasing his girl but Where There’s A Will There’s A Way into her heart. The flip, hopefully another for a future compilation is the superb slower number entitled “I Look in The Mirror”, a long time favourite of mine.

Dance crazes were all the rage in the 60’s and Dore gives us Kennard Gardner giving us “Do The Skin”. Tommy & Leon give us “Your Love Belongs To Me”, like me you will probably end up wondering what else this sounds like and then end up singing Sam Cooke’s “Wonderful World”. Slim & The Twilites give us some street corner soul with “Family Man”. A sparse backing and some heavy harmonies from the group accompany Sam’s lead.

Three groups well known to UK Soul fans are The Shades Of Jade, The Fidels and The Vel-vetts. The Shades of Jade recorded the dance floor favourite “It Was Wrong on the West Coast Cenco label. The now married Eleanor Greene from the Superbs takes the lead on the Doré outing “Why Does It Feel So Wrong”. The Fidels, well known for their Keyman outing and one of my personal all time favourite records “Try A Little Harder” give us just one release on Doré, one side the up-tempo dancer “I’m Giving You Notice” and the one featured here the ballad “Take Away The Loneliness”. The group would also record for Maverick. The Vel-Vettss will go down in UK Northern Soul history with “I Got To Find Me Somebody” on 20th Century. Here we have an earlier offering, a really soulful number with the lead not realising what she’d done wrong and regretting her foolish ways on a track titled “You Really Never Know Until It’s Over”.

Starbright gives us a mid 70’s release with the male lead wishing to put “Sunshine” into the life of the woman he desires.

The disc is concluded with a track by Friday’s Child called “As I Sit Here”. A re-recording of the Whispers 1965 outing, no one is totally sure who the artist is but there are a couple of theories from Ady in the extensive sleeve notes.

There is nothing else to do now except put the CD in the player turn the volume up loud, sit down with a pint (or your favourite tipple) and read and digesting the highly informative and detailed booklet (A big help with this review) written by Ady Croasdell that accompanies this disc, worth the price alone especially when there are photos of Little Johnny Hamilton and Betty Turner included.

 

Karl “Chalky” White

May 2014

(photos courtesy of Ace/Kent Records)

Buy from Ace records with free delivery (in the UK) http://acerecords.co.uk/dore-la-soul-sides

01 It Only Hurts For A Little While – The Whispers

02 Baby’s Gone Away – The Superbs

03 I’ll Laugh Till I Cry – Toussaint McCall

04 If There Were No You – The Natural Resources

05 Do It Right Now – The Entertainers IV

06 Your Ship Of Fools – Ray Marchand

07 My Lonely Feeling – Milton James

08 Your Love Belongs To Me – Tommy & Leon

09 Family Man – Slim & The Twilites

10 The Winds Kept Laughing – Betty Turner & The Chevelles

11 Why Does It Feel So Right (Doing Wrong) – The Shades Of Jade

12 Take Away This Loneliness – The Fidels

13 You Really Never Know Till It’s Over – The Vel-Vetts

14 Sunshine – Starbright!

15 I Would Rather Have All Of Nothing – Toussaint McCall

16 On A Day When It’s Raining – The Superbs

17 Gone With The Wind Is My Love – Rita and the Tiaras

18 Do The Skin – Kenard Gardner

19 Oh How I Love You – Little Johnny Hamilton & The Creators

20 Doctor Love – The Whispers

21 Where There’s A Will There’s A Way – Eddie Kool

22 Temptation Walk (People Don’t Look No More) – The Entertainers IV

23 Hold Back The Dawn – Frances Lark & The Superbs

24 As I Sit Here – Friday’s Child

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