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MELODIES INTERNATIONAL

Bobby Wright

Blood Of An American

    It is Melodies International’s greatest pleasure to bring forth its latest reissue comprising two stripped-back, reflective pieces of US folk soul.

    Largely forgotten for the past forty-odd years, Bobby Wright (now Abu Talib)’s "Blood Of An American" and "Everyone Should Have His Day" resurface as politically-infused works that shine bright and still hold meaning to this day.

    The 60s and 70s constituted an exceptional era for its unique blend of popular culture and political radicalism. Household names such as Sly Stone, Marvin Gaye and Gil Scott-Heron used art to express their discontent with the current state of affairs, namely the US government’s involvement in warfare and their inability to deal with critical social issues of the time. Though not a musician, Muhammad Ali (born Cassius Clay Jr) was advocating a similar anti-government stance in the boxing ring, and his objection to serving in the Vietnam War sealed his status as an icon for the wider counterculture generation.

    Meanwhile in Queens, New York City, Abu used to work several jobs as a construction worker and cab driver – but still found time to play with his band in clubs for $100 a night to support his family. Against the backdrop of international conflict and violence, most of his surroundings failed to listen to how he felt. However, he considered music to be the greatest form of communication with the world and it was his belief that a positive message should be spread to future generations.

    After one band member was killed in Vietnam and another went into the service, Abu resolved to pick up his guitar and record these songs as a duet in 1974 with his bassist – the only other remaining band member. Combining guitar, bass and a voice that quavers with emotion he self-released the record in 1974, one which holds its own alongside the all-time greats.

    These songs of introspection remind us of the beauty there is in simplicity and how moving art can be when the feelings expressed come from the heart. MEL009 will be released in its original 7” format alongside a 16-page Melozine, featuring words from Abu Talib, social studies professor Paul Rekret and much more.

    Melodies International proudly moves forward with an elusive piece of mid-tempo Chicago soul originally performed by Gloria J. Jennings in 1977.

    Gloria was signed to Stage Productions as a gospel singer with pure and raw talent she had developed in the choir of her father's Southern Baptist Church. She was 16 years old at the time. To tutor her for R&B vocals, Willie C. Nance of Stage Productions spent 3 months taking the artist back and forth for vocal training 25 miles each way, 3 days per week.

    At the time, Mr. Nance had made plans to work with singer and songwriter Theresa Eagins to record “Know What You Want”. However, two days before the recording was set to begin, Ms. Eagins refused to move forward with the recording as she chose to take her religious faith more seriously and forgo the singing of secular music. Hence, Stage Productions turned to Gloria Jay to perform a song that would go on to move people thousands of miles away, many years later.

    One of them was Patrick Forge: “Back around 1990 I had a residency upstairs at the Wag Club on a Friday night alongside Paul Martin (he was Gilles P’s A&R right hand man at Talkin Loud), the night was called Respect and we played mainly Soul, Boogie and Jazz-Funk. Many years later I bumped into Paul at a record shop and he quizzed me about a tune I used to play at the end of the night at Respect. Hhe described it as being an independent Soul seven inch on a red label, slow to mid tempo... and more to the point a bullet of a record. It piqued my curiosity so much I burrowed through my seven inches and even made Paul a compilation of likely contenders; his response was “lovely selection, but it’s not on there!”. Damn, a mystery! Many moons later whilst I was living in Japan, my tenant in my London flat said she’d found an old mixtape I’d done for her way back when and was desperate to know the identity of something she was calling the “choo choo song”. Eventually when I was back in London she played the mixtape and I quickly identified her tune as “Fabrica” by Cesar Mariano, however letting the tape play some time later a familiar descending chord sequence catapulted me back to those Friday nights at The Wag, and Gloria Jay’s plaintive vocals reminded me of a record that had been absent from my life for far too long. I’ve no idea what happened to my original copy, I hunted another one down straight away, and I’ve kept it close ever since. “Know What You Want” is a song that goes deep in such a simple, unaffected, almost naive way, Gloria's voice is both sweet and raw, it’s built on simple chords and obvious instrumentation, but it’s so much greater than the sum of its parts.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Millie says: Gloria Jay swings us into a soulful haze of funky beats and heavenly vocals which just make you wanna groove! Charmingly simple yet filled with beautifully composed aspects which bring this to life with soul.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    7" Info: 7” comes with a 14” by 14” fold out poster.

    A few years ago, Melodies family members Floating Points and DJ Red Greg got their hands on a couple of original 70s obscurities. While these standout records shone brightly in their own right, the two DJs saw the potential to create their own edits behind the scenes, finely attuning the original versions to modern-day dancefloor standards. Of these new recordings, they cut only five copies for themselves and a few DJ friends of theirs. Fast forward to today and Melodies International have fully licensed & lovingly mastered to the highest possible standards before carefully editting the tracks to dial up that dancefloor enjoyment. Maurice Moore’s ethereal Hammond bass soul anthem “Everything That Shines Ain’t Gold”, is pressed as a 12-inch, with parts 1 and 2 from the original 7-inch merged on one side, and the FP edit on the flip. A multi-instrumentalist, the talented Moore grew up in Chicago listening to music from the local scene, including the likes of Etta James, Boe Diddly and Chuck Berry. Unable to pay for guitar lessons, Moore learned what a major, a minor and a 7th chord were from his uncle and went from there.  After opening for legendary acts such as James Brown, Parliament, Funkadelic and Kool & the Gang, Moore and his band went on to record their debut album in 1976 before he took a back seat in the 80s to focus on the business side of things – a period when he fell in love with the process of bringing amazing music to the world. To this day, this record holds true to his passion. Written in 20 minutes, “Everything That Shines Ain’t Gold” gains a new lease of life on MEL7 - exactly 40 years after its original 1977 release.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Ltd 12" Info: Limited edition 12" and 16 page 'Melozine'.

    Melodies International proudly expand their catalogue of rare soul gems with another carefully crafted reissue, complete with full 16 page Melozine. This time it's the spellbinding Tomorrow's People album, "Open Soul". Deep in South Chicago, a band of four brothers raised on doo-wop and flea-market instruments made a record during the mid 70s that did not only mark a seminal point in their youthful careers, but would go on to become a true collector’s favourite. "Open Soul" is quite simply one of the best examples of raw, stripped down soul in its purest form, and for this reason has become a highly sought after rarity. The album has been carefully reproduced and will be officially available for the first time in 40 Years, this time accompanied by an interview with one of the original brothers, various Tomorrow's People memorabilia and a number of other contributions from Melodies' friends around the world.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Patrick says: The Melodies crew follow up that essential Aged In Harmony 7" triple pack with another killer example of rare soul, Tomorrow's People's "Open Soul". Switching between stripped back and delicate soul strollers and raw and racous fuzz box funkers (inc. the epic 20 min B-side title track) this is a masterpiece. Buy it now before you miss the chance.


    Latest Pre-Sales

    207 NEW ITEMS

    PREORDER: Mr. Fingers 'Cerebral Hemispheres' https://t.co/7vorF2MqxF Larry Heard follows up that spectacular 12" w… https://t.co/iX5u0MECij
    Sat 17th - 2:56
    A definite hit here @PiccadillyRecs Gonna be on the shop player for some time to come I think..... https://t.co/z203CuoY0F
    Fri 16th - 1:54
    We also got this today, what a lovely surprise with our 7's, thanks @courtneymelba, and @Milk_Records xox https://t.co/Ue6K7DLMVQ
    Thu 15th - 2:42
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