Monday, 14 January 2013

Gail Smith

My guest castaway this week is Gail Smith. Originally from Hull, Gail moved to Victoria, Australia in 1998 and describes herself as "a music fan, collector and presenter - pure and simple!"

Like Larry Grogan's 'funky16corners', Gail's 'Work Your Soul' podcast always strives to both inform and entertain the listener... it achieves this admirably.

"What a challenge.....especially as not two, but three tracks on my first - very long - list had already been chosen by Mr G! 

I was going to go for full-blown stompers and floorfillers but then had a re-think and decided on tracks, in no particular order, that could be on a 24/7 loop and still sound great each time around."

Johnny Sayles - I Can't Get Enough (Of Your Love)
"This list is by no means definitive but this stellar track will ALWAYS be in my top five in whatever genre.  I was just a tad too young to frequent the legendary Northern Soul venues in England and I would have loved to have witnessed the acrobatics that must have accompanied this track.  The first few bars of soft brass belie what is going to murder your senses for the next 2.31 absolute explosion of Chicago brilliance, storming vocals from Mr Sayles, exemplary arrangement from Monk Higgins and a rhythm section so tight it's about to snap.  The thing builds and builds to the bridge break and if I was capable, I'd be dropping and spinning like a pro.....instead I'm singing at the top of my voice and willing my feet to move faster."

"Cos I can never, never, aaaaaaah, get enough of your love!"

Eddie Holman - I'll Cry 1000 Tears

"This track, along with the remaining three, has something about it that is so difficult to describe. I'm no musician but I'm guessing it's something to do with certain chord changes that produce a melancholic melody - yet it's hypnotic and you end up playing it over and over again. So, Eddie, forever remembered for "Hey There Lonely Girl", yet so much more - fantastic vocal range, gifted songwriter and bringing it all together in the city of brotherly love.  Did some classic tracks (I Surrender, Hold Me In Your Arms, A Free Country, Where I'm Not Wanted) that are guaranteed floor-fillers, but this for me is Eddie at top flight."

"I'll search a thousand faces just to find you and bring you home again...."

Marvin Gaye - When I Feel The Need

"It's a crime that this track sat unreleased in the Motown vaults for the best part of 30-odd years....Marvin at his absolute best on a track tailor-made for him by Ashford and Simpson, with the might of the Motown machine as a solid foundation and Harvey Fuqua and Johnny Bristol producing.  I just love these big Motown sounds,  brass belting out, strings wailing, percussion pounding.....  put Marvin in the mix, starting all mellow then blasting into a screaming evocation of love.....makes you melt..."

"For every locked door, my baby has a key...."

Jackie Lee - Oh, My Darlin'

"Another one for the melting category.  Those chord changes again that tug at your heart-strings while you're wanting to dance up a storm  - close to tears, but your feet going ten to the dozen, on probably one of the best northern soul mid-tempo tracks you'll ever hear. 

Written by the prolific and talented Sherlie Matthews and the might of Fred Smith and James Carmichael on production and arrangement, it's got that unmistakeable West Coast sound.  Spine-tingling."

"I feel so lost and friendless, there's no solution, I've just got to have you..."

Jack Montgomery - Don't Turn Your Back On Me

"Jack Montgomery's being wrapped in black velvet and fed chocolate.... totally under-stated and effortless. It's as though he never really has to do anything except go with the flow - and what a flow it is, Detroit production at its very best, Don Mancha, Fred Bridges, Mike Theodore and Denis Coffey.  That deep moan, an inspired lead-in for the instrumental bridge.  The orchestration is  almost classical, the strings carrying the whole thing with what I think is an oboe making a cameo appearance - not often you get that in a soul record.  Add some sweet, sweet backing singers and there it is.....perfection.  The man - real name Marvin Jones - only recorded five known tracks each one of them sinking without a trace. Unbelievable."

"If you take this love from me, my love would be like a rainy day..."


If you enjoyed these choices as much as I did, you can listen to more great tracks from Gail on the latest episode of 'Work Your Soul' on Mixcloud :