Absolutely Right! The Complete Tiger, Loma And Warner Bros Recordings CD
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* The Apollas were much, much more than the Northern Soul divas familiar from their records `You're Absolutely Right' and `Mr Creator'. On a remarkably consistent five-year span of singles from 1963 to 1968, this Bay Area-born gal trio indulged equally in searing balladry, gritty gospel laced-R&B, and infectious pop, mastering them all with soulful aplomb.
* "Absolutely Right! The complete Tiger, Loma and Warner Brothers Recordings" proves this in spades, with a tracklisting that covers every single release by the Apollas and adds four sides by their earlier incarnation the Lovejoys, as well as the fine 1967 solo single by lead singer Leola Jiles. There is also the bonus of four excellent unissued tracks, including Leola's heartrending masterpiece `I've Got So Used To Loving You'.
* Gems such as `Jive Cat', `Who Would Want Me Now' and `Just Can't Get Enough Of You' are presented in top notch master-tape sound, showcasing the superb arrangements by Gene Page and H.B. Barnum, production by Dick Glasser and of course the incomparable performances of the Apollas themselves. Featuring a 28 page colourful booklet and produced in full co-operation with the ladies, "Absolutely Right" is a long-overdue appraisal of one of 60s souls classiest acts.
* Compilation and note by Alec Palao.
Top customer reviews
In fact the only real missteps on this CD are firstly a couple of subpar tracks towards the end, particlarly the closer "Why Was I Born" which is a full on orchestrated power ballad that is more MOR than soul and could easily be from a Barbra Streisand album (!), but out of twenty five songs two duds is easily forgivable. Secondly some studio dialogue has been left on the end of a couple of tracks, which is OK to listen to once but repeatedly (?) I think not, therefore a small error of judgement on the part of the compilers and hopefully not to be repeated in future. Overall though a must buy for fans of 60's soul and absolutely one of the better KENT compilations of recent years.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
First off, Alec Palao's liner-notes are amazing - some of the best I've ever seen. They are chock full with backstage color photos of the group all throughout their career and different lineups. The notes also include thorough testimonies from Leola Jiles, Ella Jamerson, and Billie Barnum. It is almost worth buying the CD alone for the booklet, which is a very rare thing for me to say.
Secondly, the sound quality is great as well. With the exception of their Tiger sides, and `Just Can't Get Enough of You' b/w `Nobody's Baby (Am I)', every single track is presented here in clean STEREO. Even previously unissued cuts from the Warner Bros vaults are presented here in STEREO.
The Northern Soul fans purchasing this CD may not be very interested in the Bluesy-rockers the trio recorded for Tiger Records as the Lovejoys, but they will no doubt enjoy the rest.
The Apollas were extremely talented, and their voices were amazing...Their version of Tina Britt's "You're Absolutely Right" is the definitive version of this early Ashford and Simpson composition, and a rightful Northern Soul classic. `Lock Me In Your Heart,' `Just Can't Get Enough of You,' and the energetic gospel-pop of `Mr. Creator' are all strong tracks as well...Unfortunately, Warner Bros' Loma Records was the company's attempt to break into the Soul and Black music market...And it wasn't a very successful venture. The heavy gospel-leanings of many of the Apollas' recordings made their singles less commercial than the more `poppy' performances of Motown Record acts. Despite fantastic arrangements via H.B. Barnum and Gene Page, the production for their songs often sounds very `Vegas-y', particularly on cuts like `Jive-Cat,' `Pretty Red Balloons,' and their cover of Felice Taylor's `I'm Under the Influence of Love.' This sound certainly didn't make the best accompaniment for songs that were supposed to cater to the Soul audience. Incidentally, the Apollas never charted on the R&B charts (or Pop charts) and this may have been because Warner Bros didn't quite know what they were doing at Loma. ((Other Loma acts included the hard-edged Rhythm & Blues/Rock & Roll of Ike and Tina Turner, and the even more gospel-influenced soul of Lorraine Ellison - neither of which were acts who were likely to experience the type of Pop-cross over success Motown Acts had during the mid sixties.)) In fact, it takes until the Apollas' final single, the Aretha Franklin-ish "Seven Days," before they combine their soulful vocals with a song just as soulful.
Warner Bros cut solo sides for Leola Jiles with the Blossoms on backup, the best of these is the previously unreleased "I've Got So Used To Loving You." The giant orchestration is on the same grand-scale as any Bond-theme and Jiles' vocals are on par with Shirley Bassey...The Leola Jiles recordings are devoid of the gospel influence used in most of the Apollas tunes, and they are recorded in more of an easy listening-pop vein ("Keep It Coming" and "Why Was I Born"), almost as if Warner Bros was keen on marketing Leola as a black Barbara Streisand.
If you are a fan of the Apollas recordings, then get this CD. The booklet is fantastic, the sound quality is superb, and the Apollas were great singers. The only problem is that the majority of the Loma and Warner Bros songs are mediocre ("My Soul Concerto", "You'll Always Have Me") and sometimes even whiney ("All Sold Out," "Jive Cat," "Nobody's Baby (Am I)"). But the good tracks outweigh the bad, and "Mr. Creator" and "You're Absolutely Right" both should have been big hits...and are two Northern Soul classics.
TRACK PICKS: "You're Absolutely Right," "Who Would Want Me Now," "I've Got So Used To Loving You," "Mr. Creator," "Just Can't Get Enough of You."
Their recording career kicked off in 1961 with the Galaxy subsidiary of Fantasy Records, both owned by Max and Sol Weiss of San Francisco, with the former started in 1951 and the latter in 1949 dealing mainly with Jazz. In 1961, Galaxy was reactivated following a dormant period as a Gospel/R&B outlet, and among their initial stable of artists were The Apollas, an all-female quintet from Los Angeles comprised of Ella Jamerson, Augustine Jackson, Gloria Beverley, Shirley Brown and Connie Wye. They recorded the unmistakable Gospel tunes I Can't Believe It/Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child (Galaxy 707) and Lord Lord Lord/Say A Prayer (Galaxy 708), but neither side is included here, nor is the Jazz-tinged 1963 release Since I Fell For You/When I Fall In Love, billed as Ella Jamerson (with The Vince Guaraldi Trio) on Galaxy 724.
It was also in 1963 that Louisiana-born (April 2, 1942) lead vocalist Leola Jiles joined with Ella and some of the others as Leola & The Love Joys to cut several sides for Tiger Records, founded by the legendary songwriting team of Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller - He Ain't No Angel/Wait 'Round The Corner (an adaptation of Wade On The Water on Tiger 101) and, in 1964, It's Mighty Nice/Payin' (For The Wrong I've Done) on Tiger 105. All four sides are here - none made any national impact.
Then, in 1965, Jiles and Jamerson hooked up with Billie Barnum (sister of H.B. Barnum) and Connie Wye, once more as The Apollas, and this time got a recording deal with the Warner Brothers subsidiary, Loma. But despite some varied and interesting sides, national recognition continued to elude them as none among You're Absolutely Right/Lock Me In Your Heart (Loma 2019) in 1965, 1966's Nobody's Baby (Am I)/Just Can't Get Enough Of You (Loma 2025), Pretty Red Balloons/You'll Always Have Me (Loma 2039) and Sorry Mama/My Soul Concerto (Loma 2053), and 1967's All Sold Out/Mister Creator on Warner Bros. 5893 did anything nationally. All are here, as are Keep It Coming/Why Was I Born, a 1967 solo by Jiles on Warner Bros. 7015.
After Wye dropped out the remaining trio cut I'm Under The Influence Of Love/Jive Cat (Warner Bros. 7060) and Who Would Want Me Now?/You'll Always Have Me (Warner Bros. 7086) in 1967 and, in 1968, Open The Door, Fool/Seven Days (Warner Bros. 7181).
A few sides presented here were previously unreleased and this is all detailed in the 28-page booklet, along with notes and comments by va 5rious members of the group, written by Alec Palao. The sound quality is excellent.
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