Daily Discovery - Never Give In b/w I'll Give My Love by Mr. T - Northern Soul 45 on T-Ball Records #1968
He excused himself, "I'll be right back. I want to show you a record that I can't find any information about anywhere". As he walked into the house, my mind started working, what record could it be? Would it be an obscure but known 45? Better yet, would it be a monster tune yet to be discovered? Had we come across a record that had been in obscurity for years, waiting to be brought to the light and brought to the worlds open ears? At least that's the dream of a historian or expert.
I stood at the end of a long driveway protected by the shade of a towering tree, a pine that only allowed a few rays of shifting sunlight to peek through and reach the ground because of the slight wind. Protected by its massive overhanging branches that reached out like a morning stretch, I didn't have to worry about the records warping and twisting in the heat. While I waited I listened to a few records that I pulled from boxes my friend brought out before the mystery record conversation began. Digging through boxes of 45's that I have never seen before is one of my favorite things to do in the world. This time, distracted by the mystery, my heart wasn't in it. I was simply going through the motions that I had made a million times before. Under normal circumstances I would be alert to the tiniest of details. Not this time. My thoughts were floating like the clouds that were above the records, above me and above the tree that was keeping me and the records cool. Just as quickly as the speculation began he walked out, and I was only a few footsteps away from knowing what mystery tune was coming my way. I stood upright, no longer hunched over getting a better listen to the record spinning on my trusty portable turntable. He was walking toward me but it may as well have been floating because my eyes were focused on one thing, the record. I was trying to get a better look, to make out what label it was by looking at the color, the plain typical late 60's or early 70's independent label font, and of course trying to read the words written on the label. He extended his arm toward me, and by instinct I reached out to take the hand off. Finally the record was in my hand, Mr. T on T-Ball!! "Do you know it?" he asked. "Nope, I've never seen it. Do you mind if I play it?" I asked anxiously. "Not at all".
I reached down to carefully place the still mysterious disc on the turntable. I pushed down on the back of the arm of my plastic children's Fisher Price turntable using my middle finger, controlling the placement with my thumb and placed the needle on the record. What came next were the sounds of a groovy piano and guitar, a nice bass line and smooth laid back but powerful vocals that climbed through the air and up to my ears. Not only was it good but I had never heard it before and I found myself getting excited. It was easy to move to and I found my head bobbing to the music and the beat. A Northern Soul sound with a touch of blues. The title "Never Give In" tells a tale of a man on a mission to have his relationship with his girl be back the way it was. Mr. T's heart is on a string and his unnamed girl is in control...for now. The flip side wasn't really was my style so I picked up the platter and started looking for clues to help me find information that could lead to a break in the case. After inspection I unwillingly handed the record back and asked, "Is it for sale?", though I suspected what his response would be. "Not till I find more information. Sorry". There was the Mr. T 45 in front of my nose, and I felt like a rabbit with a carrot tied dangling at the end of a stick just out of reach as I secretly drooled over it. With no information to give him he decided he would keep it. I didn't leave empty handed though, in fact I left with boxes of goodies that I was very pleased with. Except for the piece of paper with my notes, and memory of the record I was walking away from I was left with just as many questions, if not more than before I saw the mystery record. Who are the writers, the producers, the publishers? the pressing plant and most of all who is Mr. T? I did some research and called some friends about the record, and nothing. No leads, only dead ends. No one had ever heard of it. Was it unknown?
Two weeks ago, I found myself at a different friends house looking through 45's in his garage. Having gone through a few boxes of records without finding anything worth playing, I decided to take a step out of the garage for a moment. Ready to resume, I was about to go back to the middle where I had been looking before the break. Instead I stopped to look through the stack of records where my friend puts new finds from time to time. Since I didn't recognizing the top record I was eager to go through the fresh batch of tunes. I picked up the top record and what's the next record I see? Mr. T on T-Ball records!!! This is why I dig! It feels so good to find that elusive want and to share my finds from the crates of Los Angeles. Why the long story? The funny thing is that here it is 5 years after initially learning the record and I'm no closer to an answer than I was the day I first learned about it. The only thing I know to do is to take this opportunity to reach out to you, the community, for help. Does anybody know anything about this record?
Daily Discovery - That Was Yesterday b/w Wake Up by Primbrock Skiggs - Northern Soul b/w Funk 45 on Pzazz Records #049
Here I go again, sharing an amazing record on the Los Angeles Soul/Jazz label, Pzazz. The guitar hook grabbed me right away then the powerful vocals and horns to match. Yes! I'm talking about the Northern Soul tune, "That Was Yesterday". "Wake Up" is killer, again little known, Funk record with a message. The message? Listen and you will hear the same thing you may be thinking our world is going through currently. As much as things change, things remain the same.
Daily Discovery - It Hurts To Be In Love by Yvonne Fair & James Brown Band - R&B Soul Mod 45 on King Records #5687. Flip side "You Can Make It If You Try". What a great double sider, one side is a dancer the other a mellow ballad with James Brown backing Yvonne Fair's powerful vocals. It hurts to be in love, OWW!
Daily Discovery - Leave Me Alone by Ray Agee - Hot R&B Soul dancer 45 on Celeste Records #615. Flip side is "You Messed Up My Mind". Leave Me Alone is a killer R&B dancer with a cool sax break at the midway point. The hook, chorus is so simple yet so meaningful, where all the instruments stop except the drum and powerful vocals.