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The Holidays: Getting Kind Of Soulful - New Soul Junction Release.
The Holidays: Getting Kind Of Soulful. SJCD5012
Release Date: Monday May 1st 2017.Superb compilation of the Holidays and New Holidays material from 1969 through the mid 70s.
There were several groups within the Detroit music scene of the 1960’s that shared the performing name of ‘The Holidays’. But this cd compilation is dedicated to the one whose main protagonists are the brothers Jack and James Holland. Both sides of their excellent and highly collectable Soul Hawk 45 apart, it is their own productions for the Marathon, Ron-Hol and Rob-Ron labels both issued and previously unissued that has been included in this compilation.
Beginning with their 1969 ‘Popcorn’ Wylie’s produced, solitary Soul Hawk 45 “Maybe So, Maybe No” released under the group name of ‘The New Holidays’. This currently in demand 45 featured Jack and Jimmy Holland, Maurice Wise and former Motown group ‘The Contours’ ex member Joe Billingslea. The flipside of this release “If I Only Knew” is an excellent cover version of a previous Jimmy (Soul) Clark recording “If I Only Knew Then (What I Know Now)” which was recorded at a later session to “Maybe So, Maybe No” using a slightly different line up with Joe Billingslea making way for a youthful Elliot Smith.
“Maybe So, Maybe No” made sufficient noise in and around Detroit for it to be picked up for national distribution by the Westbound label. But the flipside of this release “My Baby Ain’t No Plaything” although credited as The New Holidays is definitely not them singing.
During their time at Soul Hawk records The New Holidays made several rehearsal recordings of songs that Popcorn’s partner wordsmith Tony Hester (ironically a former member of the Golden World group The Holiday’s who recorded “I’ll Love You Forever”) had composed. Songs such as “In The Rain” and “The Devil Is Dope”, which although considered for release “on Soul Hawk, never came out although they did later became hit songs for another Detroit ensemble, The Dramatics. Incidentally blue eyed singer and native Detroiter Mayer Hawthorne recorded a cover version of “Maybe So, Maybe No” during 2009.
By 1972 The Holidays although still performing in clubs were not signed to a record company, so they made the decision to form their own production company, releasing their first recording during the same year on their newly formed Marathon label. This initial release was an excellent double sider “I’m So Glad (That I Met You)/Too Many Times” (Marathon 257). A wonderfully upbeat and joyous song backed again with a ballad of which the issued and a longer unissued version are featured. Both songs were co-written by James Holland and Sylvester Potts a former member of the Motown group ‘The Contours’ and was recorded under the artist name of ‘The Fabulous Holidays. Into 1973 and their next release was the soulful ballad “Getting Kind Of Serious” (Marathon 18475) a Fritz Hale and Fredrick Charles Hawkins composition backed with an instrumental version of the same song. Followed by “Ego Tripping” (Marathon 18475) an upbeat funky little mover backed with another ballad “Lazy Day” written by James Holland, Anthony Hawkins and Fritz Hale.” Again the featured mix of “Getting Kind Of Serious” is a longer unissued version taken from the master tapes.
During 1975 The Holidays resumed their acquaintance with former record store owner Ronald Holmes a collaboration which led to the release of “This Is Love b/w The Love We Share” on the Rob-Ron (RR-75) label. Two excellent mid tempo sides, firstly the A-side “This Is Love (A Little Understanding)” to give it its full title. The “Love We Share” was recorded twice. Firstly as the issued 45 version under the shortened title of “The Love We Share” and as an unissued longer version under the title of “(Been Together Too Long) The Love We Share” but with slightly different lyrics, both versions have been included on this compilation. During 1976 a further Holland/Holmes collaboration saw the release of the message song “Procrastinate (Why Do We)” (Ron-Hol 76) recorded as both vocal and instrumental versions, with the Holland brothers cousin, James ‘Jay’ Reid joining them for this release only, Maurice Wise by then having quit the group. After this release Ronald Holmes and the Holidays parted company.
During late 1976 into 1977 Jack and James Holland wrote and produced two further songs which they recorded with Charles Hawkins. The up tempo dance track “You Make Me Weak” and the less frenetic “Lost Love” although never issued at the time both songs gain their initial release on this compilation. Following a period of inactivity musically The Holidays did have one last roll of the dice in the record industry during 1980 when they re-released a 45 featuring two of their previous recordings “Getting Kind Of Serious” backed with “(Why Do We) Procrastinate” (the vocal version), under the artist name of just ‘Holiday’.
Throughout the production and recording of the Holidays 1970’s output there has always been both a strong friendship and working relationship between the Holland and Hawkins families. Brothers Anthony (Wolf) and Charles Hawkins alongside bassist VC Lamont Veasey and drummer Tyrone Hite are better known as the founding members of the 1970’s Detroit Psychedelic Rock and later Funk band ‘Black Merda’ ( Merda being an African-American slang spelling of the word Murder). Between circa 1974-1977 the Holland and Hawkins brothers operated their own production company ‘HHH Productions’ releasing two 45 singles on their Amtonac label. Their first release was cut on the Hawkins brothers elder sister Linnie Walker “People Let Me Know/Darn Well” (Amtonac 001) while their other release was recorded on a blue eyed group of musicians called Bland Allison (taking their name from Bland Allison Act of 1878) The title of the recording was “Can’t Get Back To You Again” (Part1 & 2) (Amtonac 18476).
Following Jack Holland’s sudden death due to a brain aneurysm on the 21ST of January 1985 (his 40th birthday), James Holland was so sadden by this loss of his younger brother that he quit the music business for good only returning recently to collaborate on this project.
Available via :- http://www.souljunctionrecords.co.uk/SJCD5012.html
Robert Montgomery A lost Georgian Soul Treasure Rediscovered.
Robert Montgomery , one of the Peach States more obscure recording artists, at one time having only been known to the most diehard 70’s soul collectors for his solitary Crescent label 45, “I Need You Girl”.
Press Release: Robert Montgomery & Chain Reaction “I Need You Girl” SJ1007
Sound file :- http://www.souljunctionrecords.co.uk/SJ1007.html
Release Date: Monday January 30th 2017
Robert Montgomery is a Singer, Songwriter, Producer, Performer, Keyboard and Organ Instrumentalist, who began his music career in his early teens jamming with local bands in his small hometown of Rome, Georgia. His most exciting experience in those early days was with the formation of a band called “The Sons of Aries.” They performed a good blend of rock, soul, and jazz, keeping them very busy performing throughout the southeastern states of the US for a considerable time. However, they never gravitated to recording any original material, with the group eventually disbanding.
It was then that Robert began to write his own songs. One such tune was the soulful “I Need You Girl,” a song based on personal experience with his lady and future wife Emma. By now in his early 20’s Robert was intent on becoming that solo artist that he always aspired to be. Hooking up with a crafty local businessman named Jeffrey Jackson Jr, He entered the studio and recorded “I Need You Girl,” using guys from his former group who were by that time called ‘Chain Reaction’. So the song was released on Jackson’s label, Crescent Records, but because of a shoestring budget the 1000 copies pressed were poorly distributed and the song never really achieved any great level of success.
At that point, to get more experience, Robert took an opportunity for the large part of a year to go on the road with a group from the mid-west called Villaruz. They majored in performing dance sets of pop, rock, and soul music in the mid-west and eastern parts of the country and played big events like the Kentucky Derby often settling down in large hotels with nightclubs for a month at a time, thus making their road life more palatable.
Still not satisfied with the direction of his music career, Robert during 1978 with his wife moved to Atlanta where he soon heard a band rehearsing in an apartment complex. They sounded good but at that time they didn’t have a keyboard and organ player, so Robert introduced himself and asked if he could sit in. The band in question being the funk group “Ripple,” originally from Michigan, who themselves had moved to Atlanta upon signing with GRC Records. Ripple recorded several hit singles for GRC including “I Don’t Know What It Is, But It Sure Is Funky”. Later followed by the seminal album “Sons Of The Gods” for Salsoul Records in 1977, which featured their perennial disco/hustle classic “The Beat Goes On And On”. The group by now was being reconstructed by their band leader percussionist Brian Sherrer. They liked Robert’s playing and vocal abilities, so they invited him into the group and began gigging together. They were also creating new material and thinking of collaborating together on a new album. Although Robert’s main dream remained to be a solo artist, he was willing to give this a try in the event it might finally work out.
It was during this time, that Robert using musicians from Ripple entered the studio and recorded four self penned songs as a vanity project and a further two songs written by other group members. Being cautious, they recorded the music together but kept the business affairs separate, for they all had experienced many prior disappointments. The output from this recording session remained unissued ( a situation soon to be rectified on future Soul Junction projects) Robert was hoping that this might finally be his chance to make it, but sadly it didn’t happen, and by this time being 28 years old and married, he decided to put more emphasis on settling down and building a family. Turning his back on a career as a full time musician he began a new career in the insurance business, which would lead to him working as an insurance agent for the next 30 years, although he did continue to dabble with his music where and when he could.
Robert remained oblivious that through the insatiable appetite of European record dealers and collectors alike in their quest to find Black America’s lost soul treasures, his 1976 melodic piano driven outing “I Need You Girl” had been rescued from total obscurity to become a highly appreciated and sought after modern soul favourite. Some circa 15 years after it was initially spun original 45 copies are still hard to come by. It was during his own quest to obtain himself a copy that respected German DJ Lars Bulnheim tracked down Robert Montgomery’s whereabouts and passed the lead on to us at Soul Junction, hence the release of this very hard and desirable 45. A scenario that has made Robert Montgomery a very excited man about this renewed interest in his music.
Words by: David Welding & Robert Montgomery
Photographs courtesy of: Robert Montgomery
Label Scan Crescent 45: David Welding
For further information please contact Soul Junction at:
Tel: +44 (0) 121 602 8115 or E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
Sound file and direct order from the Soul Junction Records website via the attached link :-
Press Release: Energy MC2 “If You Break It" / "Other Side Of The Mirror” SJ536
2 highly recommended soulful uptempo group sounds .
Release Date: Monday December 12th 2016
Sound files :- http://www.souljunctionrecords.co.uk/SJ536.html‘Energy MC2’ began as an energetic bunch of 10 and 11 year old neighborhood kids, who initially formed a band under the name of ‘Congressional Funk’ while still attending elementary school. The founding members were Vincent Bonham, Opelton Parker (the brother of Ray Parker Jr) and brothers Ufuomo and Eric Wallace, with the later addition of a further member Fred Gordon. A little over a year later, they initially became the backing band for local Detroit recording artists Mad Dog & The Pups going on to feature on some of their earliest Magic City releases “Hep Squeeze” (MC-007) (which they provided the horn section on) and the follow up release “Funky Monkey” (MC-009). A name change to ‘The Soulful Hounds’ followed which they are credited as on the instrumental flipside of Mad Dog & The Pups vocal version of “Why Did You Leave Me Girl” Magic City (MC-012).After leaving Magic City, the band went through several changes in both name and personnel and became one of the biggest bands on the local Detroit music scene. At this point the band hired a bass player Ben "Rat Bass" Adkins, who brought with him the name of his former band, ‘Energy’. By then borrowing Albert Einstein’s formula for special relativity (E=MC2) and adding it to their inherited name ‘Energy’ they finally became ‘Energy MC2’ (a move deemed necessary to distinguish themselves from Adkins former band).As Energy MC2 the band soon began to seriously record original material which included the previously unissued 70’’s track “If You Break It”. The group line up on “If You Break It” included Vincent Bonham, Ufuoma Akill-Wallace, Arnell Carmichael, Ernestro Wilson, Opelton Parker, Gordon Carlton, Eric Wallace, Leon Lopez, Marvin Carlton and Marlene Rice. While an earlier session had too yielded a further two previously unissued songs firstly the flipside of this 45 “Other Side Of The Mirror” which featured the same line-up of musicians as “If You Break It” but with the addition of a second female vocalist Gwen Laster, while the second song “Juliane” a beautiful mellifluous ballad can be found on the ‘We Got A Sweet Thing Going On’ volume 2 SJCD 5011 cd album.A later collaboration with Opelton Parker’s brother, Ray (Parker Jr) would see Energy MC2 members Vincent Bonham and Arnell Carmichael leave to become part of the Band ‘Raydio’later to be known as ‘Ray Parker & Raydio’. While other Energy MC2 musicians became part of the band ‘Parlete’ (part of the P-Funk family) helping George Clinton land the Mothership!.For Further information please contact Soul Junction at:Tel: +44 (0) 121 602 8115 or E-mail: email@example.com