Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Breakdown: Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes (of mind)

Righty -o.  I'm not finished with Tyrone Davis as I'm not sure I impressed upon you all my love of his biggest (and breakthrough) tune 'Can I Change My Mind'.  He recorded it in 1968 and it was the b-side to his early Dakar release 'A Woman Needs To Be Loved' but it only became a hit the next year after a Texan DJ played the 'wrong side'.  It spent two weeks in the No. 1 slot on the R&B charts in 1969 (either side of Marvin with 'I Heard It Through The Grapevine' and 'Everyday People' by Sly & The Family Stone, what a time for music!).  His voice had a unique aching, longing quality and while some of his stuff can be a bit hit or miss he was a big player in the Chicago soul scene in his day.  He was pushed as a romantic, soulful ladies man and as his album covers will attest,  he was one smoothly dressed dude.  

So anyways if you've never heard the original check it here (have always dug the way the horns work alongside Tyrone's pleading vocals) and get down with a few of my favourite cover versions...

Not to sound crude but I do like a bit of Willie.  Our man producing down at Brunswick Records alongside Eugene Record and Carl Davis, lending his touch to artists such as Young Holt Unlimited, The Chi-Lites, Barbara Acklin and of course Tyrone Davis.  Hey produced the original version of 'Can I Change My Mind' and this LP is a pretty typical producers record - a few originals and a few covers of things he has worked on.  I don't know the exact story behind his version but it's partially instrumental and almost sounds as if they have just pulled out the main vocal of the original mix, left the backing parts and just got a trombone to play the main vocal part.  There's a couple of other noteworthy tracks on the LP too - 'Funky Chicken' and 'Soulful Football' do the business no trouble at all.

Download (320kbps): Loleatta Holloway - Can I Change My Mind (General LP 'Loleatta', 1973)

This is Loleatta before Salsoul, before disco just doing her funky thang.  Awesome LP that's just a good listen front to back and with  another absolute funk-soul-sister classic 'Only A Fool' (amongst others) on it.  How good is that hair?

I really dig this version because it sounds like a perfect composite of 'Can I Change My Mind' and 'Mr Big Stuff', with just a hint of reggae skank in it.  The double tracking thing on the vocals is real nice too, maybe they could have given it a bit of width in the mix but it gives it a bit raw charm that you can't argue with.  Also Dolores is a way cool name.

Can't do covers without a reggae/soul version and can't mess with Alton and his little sis Hortense.  This was a massive hit for Alton in Jamacia and having a listen you can hear why - I love the laidback vibe of the vocals and sparse horn arrangement.  I'm also a sucker for reggae/soul covers and therefore really dig pretty much anything Alton 'Mr Rocksteady' did so again I can totally recommend anything with his name on it.  My boy Mista Savona recorded with him just before he passed last year  too so I'm waiting impatiently for the track to come out and I'll let you know when it does (check his 45's and the LP too, all killer).  Oh yeah and it's a cd rip 'cos my 45 is a bit scratchy.

There you has it.  One day I might also post up some songs from his 1970 'Turn Back The Hands Of Time' LP too but if you see it in the meantime grab it because it is one the the most beautiful soul records of all time, I shit you not.  Until next time people

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