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Otis Clay

The Only Way IS Up / Messing With My Mind

"The Only Way Is Up” has long been regarded as a dancefloor anthem and with its uplifting lyric couldn’t be more appropriate as the soundtrack to current times as we slowly return to a more normal way of life. It has taken 40 years for this magnificent, original version of the song to finally see a reissue and our thanks go to Otis Clay’s daughter, Ronda, for helping to make this possible. The song was written by George Jackson and Johnny Henderson and originally recorded by Otis Clay in 1980 on his own Echo imprint. Incredibly it was a non-hit at the time and came towards the end of a long and prolific career for the Chicago R&B singer. Clay had previously recorded for the Leaner brothers at One-derful!’before moving on to Cotillion, Atlantic and Hi (amongst others). George Jackson also worked as a staff writer for Hi, after a successful run at Goldwax, but it was while he was with the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio that he wrote “The Only Way Is Up” for Clay. In 1988 Jackson hit paydirt when his song was reinveted by the dance duo Coldcut for Yazz and the Plastic Machine. It was an immediate hit and spent five weeks at the top of the U.K. pop charts. It also became a No.1 hit across Europe although barely scraped into the Hot 100 in the U.S.A. In recent times it has been used as the theme to the popular TV show The Only Way Is Essex. But, of course, it is Otis’ soulful original that we all want to hear and it is still packing the dancefloors across the country as witnessed at last years fabulous ‘International Soul Festival’ at the Blackpool Winter Gardens! With prices in 3-figures and rising its time to grab a bargain… ‘the only way is up’!

Jackie Edwards / Del Davis

I Feel So Bad / Baby Don't Wake Me

Rocksteady and reggae have long been a part of the rare soul scene, since its inception in the early sixties. It’s easy to hear the influence of early American R&B in the development of ska and as soul music took over as ‘the sound of young America’, in the mid-sixties, it too tinged the sound of Jamaica. No more so than our dance floor anthem “I Feel So Bad” by the legendary Jackie Edwards. Edwards was born Wilfred Gerald Edwards in Jamaica in 1938 and by the age of 22 had already scored a No.1 record on the island. He’d had four chart-topping hits before signing to Chris Blackwell’s new Island imprint in 1962. He became an integral part of Island Records, as a prolific artist, songwriter, producer and general helper. He wrote “Keep On Running” and “Somebody Help Me” for the British R&B band The Spencer Davis Group, both of which went to No.1 on the U.K. pop charts. “I Feel So Bad” was released on the distinctive red and white Island logo in 1967 and was adopted by the burgeoning U.K. underground soul scene, most notably at the Twisted Wheel club in Manchester. It has been played on the ever evolving Northern Soul scene ever since and, a half-century on, commands a price tag of £700+ for a mint original. Fortunately our devastingly good-looking official reissue can be bought for a more modest sum. Jackie Edwards is also responsible for flip-side “Baby Don’t Wake Me” which he wrote and produced for reggae singer Del Davis at the turn of the Seventies. The combination of Jackie’s well-honed soul-induced musicianship and Davis’ gravelly soulful vocals create the perfect Northern / crossover dancer. Two fabulous reasons to make this one of the top reissue 45s of 2020!

Patrice Holloway

Stolen Hours / Love And Desire

    PATRICE YVONNE HOLLOWAY was born in Los Angeles and is perhaps best known as the younger sister of Motown’s Brenda Holloway, the darling of the Northern Soul scene, particularly in recent years. Patrice also signed to Motown and recorded an unreleased version of “The Touch Of Venus” made famous by Edna Wright (aka Sandy Wynns).

    In the mid-sixties Patrice signed to Capitol records and recorded “STOLEN HOURS”, arranged by the great Gene Page and written and produced by his brother Billy Page – she was only 15 years old at the time. It failed to hit Stateside but some thirty years later it became a Northern Soul anthem of the nineties, although it was originally played in the early days of Wigan Casino.
    Our chosen flip-side, the follow-up single, “LOVE AND DESIRE”, was also penned, produced and arranged by the Page brothers. It failed to even get a commercial release in the U.S. although it was released in the U.K. and commands big money in today’s collectors market. Her final 45 for Capitol came in 1972 and was a credible version of the Sam Nesbit classic “Black Mother Goose”. Sadly, ill health, forced Patrice to step back from performing and she died before her time of a heart attack in 2006.

    Patrice was also known as ‘Valerie’, singer with the animated girl-band Josie And The Pussycats produced by Hanna-Barbera and aired on CBS in 1971. She would beome the first black character to regularly appear on U.S. commercial TV.

    Jerry Butler

    Moody Woman / Stop Steppin' On My Dreams

      Jerry Butler needs no introduction to UK soul fans and is a hero to the Northern Soul scene, not least for his stirring lead vocals with The Impressions alongside his school yard buddie Curtis Mayfield. After a successful solo career with Vee-Jay records Buter joined Mercury, on the advice of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, and embarked on his Philly career. He was christened ‘The Ice Man’ by WDAS Philadelphia radio jock Georgie Woods and his Gamble–Huff produced album The Ice Man Cometh spawned the R&B #1 hit “Hey, Western Union Man” in 1968. The album Ice On Ice followed in 1969 and delivered the now iconic Northern Soul anthem “MOODY WOMAN” reissued here on 7-inch vinyl for the first time since 1972, almost 50 years ago! Our chosen flip-side, “STOP STEPPIN’ ON MY DREAMS”, is no slouch either. It first captured the imagination of the UK rare soul scene on the 1972 double-vinyl album The Spice Of Life produced by the ‘Iceman’ himself. It has been a firm favourite of the modern room ever since and is released here on 7-inch vinyl for the very first time!

      Roy Hamilton / H.B. Barnum

      Earthquake / It Hurts Too Much To Cry

        Outta Sight’s collectable ‘Classics’ series continues with two real heavyweight’s of the rare soul scene, face-to-face for the very first time. Together, these two icons helped define, not only Northern Soul, but the soul music genre… and now, almost sixty years on, they go head to head.

        In the blue corner is former commercial artist and amateur heavyweight boxer Mr Roy Hamilton who set the dancefloors trembling across the North of England when his 1962 “Earthquake” was finally unleashed on the Northern Soul scene. Hamilton was already a huge star in America scoring two R&B No.1’s in 1954 and ’55 with the standards “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and “Unchned Melody”. But, he will forever be remembered in the U.K. for his Northern anthems “Crackin’ Up Over You”, “The Panic Is On”, “You Shook Me Up” and the explosive “Earthquake”.

        In the red corner is the multi-talented actor, pianist, arranger, producer, songwriter and singer Mr H. B. Barnum who’s early belter “It Hurts Too Much To Cry” belies its 1962 recording date. Barnum also scored on the rare soul scene with “Three Rooms With Running Water”, “The Record” and the awesome “Heartbreaker”. But his contribution far exceeds his personal output with writer, producer and arranger credits on a slue of floorfillers inlcuding Judy Street’s “What”, Earl Wright’s “Thumb A Ride” and The Magnificents’ ”My Heart Is Calling You”, to name but a few.

        Various Artists

        The Only Way Is Up

          WE ARE TRULY BLESSED! Pastor Smokie Norful, two-time Grammy award winner, leads proceedings with the FIRST EVER UK release of his Motown Modern Soul Anthem “I’ve Got What You Need”. DeeJay’s stand up and take note, if you subscribe to “OVO” (original vinyl only) this is your opportunity to pack the floor –

          Side 1, Track 1 – it couldn’t be simpler!

          You really don’t need any other reason to buy this album, but, how about our title track, the original version of “The Only Way Is Up” by the late great Otis Clay – Side 2, Track 1 – another guaranteed floorfiller. It is of course familiar to everyone for the chart-topping 1988 cover-version by Yazz and the Plastic Popualtion.

          Another sure fire winner is the Cornelius Brothers’ Gold Disc “Too Late Turn Back Now” which caught the imagination of the rare soul scene in the Nineties and remains a firm dance floor favourite today. We must also be grateful for the first ever independent license of Jerry Butler’s awesome “Stop Steppin‘ On My Dreams” which first came to light on his 1972 ‘Spice Of Life’ album.

          And we haven’t even mentioned Jesse James, Jackey Beavers, Alice Clark, Gloria Scott and the original and best version of the ‘Cleopatra Jones’ song “It Hurts So Good” by Katie Love. “The Only Way Is Up!”

          Cornelius Brothers And Sister Rose

          Too Late To Turn Back Now / Big Time Lover


            Hot on the heels of our New Year’s smash, “Someday” by The Tempests, Outta Sight proudly presents the Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose with their two most requested sides… back-to-back for the very first time!!! The group formed in 1970 in their home town of Dania Beach, Florida. Original members were siblings Carter, Eddie and Rose Cornelius and friend Cleveland Barrett who was tragically killed in a car crash before they hit the charts. In mid-1970 they released their first single “Treat Her Like A Lady” which went to #3 on the U.S. Hot 100 earning the trio a Gold Disc. The follow-up single, “Too Late To Turn Back Now” (featured here), faired even better, hiting #2 on 22nd July 1972 scoring a second Gold Disc. Both tracks featured on their self-titled debut LP, a top 30 Pop hit in ’72. Despite the huge Stateside success of “Too Late To Turn Back Now” it failed to hit in the U.K. and even at the time, it resonated more with the easy-listening MOR audience than the soul fraternity who were tuned in to the harder-edged funky grooves of the likes of Isaac Hayes and Curtis Mayfield. It wasn’t until the Nineties that the Cornelius family finally caught the imagination of the U.K. rare soul scene and have remained a turntable favourite ever since. Our chosen B-side, “Big Time Lover”, is the title track from the group’s second album released in 1973 and, wonderful as it is, it failed to break the Hot 100, and only dented the R&B Charts peaking at #88. Again, it was completely ignored by the U.K. and yet today it is the more popular of the two sides. Ironically, both original United Artist singles are actually quite hard to find in the U.K., despite the Gold Disc status of “Too Late To Turn Back Now”. A quick look on ‘discogs’ reveals only one copy currently available and zero copies of “Big Time Lover”!

            Betty Lavette / Nella Dodds

            (Happiness Will Cost You) One Thin Dime / First Date

            o celebrate this historic landmark Outta Sight proudly present a unique 45 featuring two stunning sides by rare soul legends Betty Lavette and Nella Dodds. First under the spotlight is Betty Lavette with her 1964 recording of “One Thin Dime”, popularised on the Northern scene by Holly Maxwell. Ms. Lavette’s version, unreleased at the time, with its haunting brass and upbeat production is hands-down the superior version. It first came to light in 1993, thanks to Kent Records, on the rare sixties’ soul CD ‘Living The Nightlife’, and is now available, for the first time, on the premier division format… 7-inch single. Next up is Sixties Soul sweetheart Nella Dodds with her Philly dancer “First Date” produced by the legendary Dyno-Dynamic production team for Wand Records. It was written by James Bishop and originally intended for a mid-Sixties album entitled ‘This Girl’s Life’. The album was rejected at the time but finally surface on a Kent CD in 2007. However, like the A-side, “First Date” makes its first ever appearance on a much anticipated 7-inch single.

            Lee Moses

            Pouring Water On A Drowning Man / Never In My Life

            There are few better sounds on this dying planet than Lee Moses' gruff and gravelly voice in a full howl of passion. This Outta Sight 7" pairs a total rarity, the Southern soul lilt of standard "Pouring Water On A Drowning Man" (which adds a few extra belts of bourbon to Drew Baker and Danny McCormick's standard), with the fat and funky roll of the Atlanta musician's 1967 debut 7" "Never In My Life".

            The Soul Twins / N F Porter

            Quick Change Artist / Keep On Keeping On

            The Soul Twins, real life siblings Hal and Harold Degraffenreid, were Detroit’s answer to Sam and Dave. “Quick Change Artist” thundered onto the U.K. Northern Soul scene at the Torch All-nighters in Stoke-on-Trent and little wonder since it was recorded by Johnny Griffith for Ollie McLaughlin’s Karen label and features the Funk Brothers on backing. N F Porter was born Nolan Frederick (NF) Porter in Los Angeles in 1949 and is best known for “Keep On Keeping On” his third and final single for Gabriel Mekler’s Lizard label. It was released in America in 1971 and found its way on to the U.K. Northern Soul scene via The Torch all-nighters in Stoke-on-Trent where it was first played as a new release, and later at the legendary Wigan Casino.

            Joe Tex / Little Willie John

            Pneumonia / Fever

              Joe Tex, born Joseph Arrington Jr, needs no introduction to the rare soul fan having enjoyed dance floor action over the entire history of the scene – who could forget the enormity of “Show Me” at Wigan Casino and the ever-popular “Under Your Powerful Love”. So, it is ironic that he would have to wait almost fifty years for one of his earliest recordings, “Pneumonia”, to be finally appreciated! It is of course an answer-song to “Fever” which was recorded earlier in the same year, 1956, by Little Willie John earning him a Gold Disc for a million-seller and a #1 on the R&B Chart. Peggy Lee would go on to popularise the song world-wide with her hit cover in 1958.

              Stanley Mitchell

              Get It Baby / Quit Twistin' My Arm

              Stanley Mitchell was born in Detroit in 1935 and performed with a number of local bands in the mid to late fifties cutting wax for Chess and Gone records. But it is thanks to Richard “Popcorn” Wylie that his presence was ever felt on these shores when, in 1973, his atmospheric “Get It Baby” was championed in the early days of Wigan Casino by DJ Richard Searling. The song was originally relegated to the B-side of the altogether more catchy “Quit Twistin’ My Arm’, arguably the more popular side today. In the late seventies another track emerged from Detroit, “Down In The Dumps” by Tony Hester, which shared the same backing track as “Get It Baby” which further cemented the record in the annals of Northern Soul history.

              Charles Sheffield / Prince Conley

              It’s Your Voodoo Working / I’m Going Home

              Charles Sheffield was born in the appropriately named town of ‘Lake Charles’ in Louisiana and is best known for his regional hit “It’s Your Voodoo Working” released on Excello records in 1961. Little could he have known that some fifty years later his modest release would change hands for over £1,000 and attract over 350,000 views on YouTube!!! Prince Conley was a little known Memphis blues singer who exploded onto the U.K. rare soul scene with his R&B dancer “I’m Going Home” released on the fledgling Satellite imprint in 1961. The label would adopt the more familiar and now legendary Stax logo soon after its release. Of no significance at the time, the recording features a young Steve Cropper on his first session for Stax.

              Tiny Topsy / Jo Ann Henderson

              Just A Little Bit / Baby Please Don't Go

              Tiny Topsy was a big-voiced Chicago Blues singer born Otha Lee Moore in 1930. She signed to Federal records in 1957 and released 5 singles, the last and finest being our top choice “Just A Little Bit”. Roscoe Gordon would take the song to #2 on the R&B Chart in 1960. Jo Ann Henderson was also based in Chicago, but leant more to Jazz than the aforementioned Blues style. Little is known about her apart from her lone 45 for Paul Geallis’ short-lived Phonograph imprint featuring the mid-tempo jazzy “Just Leave Me Alone” and the thumping “Baby Please Don’t Go” which went on to become a U.K. hit for the group ‘Them’ in 1964.

              Barbara Dane / Betty O'Brien

              I'm On My Way / She'll Be Gone

              Barbara Dane was born and raised in Detroit in the late 1920s against a backdrop of deep depression and race riots, little wonder that she became a political activist. She used her folk/blues musicianship to spread her message in the coffee-houses of San Francisco where she relocated in 1949 and founded her own Blues Club… Sugar Hill. Betty O'Brian currently residing in Fort Worth, Texas, was managed by Clyde Otis who hit the big time with fellow Liberty artist TimiYuro. Unfortunately for Betty that was her only claim to fame until, finally, out of the blue, the big-voiced Country singer stole our hearts with this thumping slab of dancefloor R&B. It only took six decades to catch on!

              Candy & The Kisses / Val Simpson

              Are You Trying To Get Rid Of Me Baby / Mr. Creator

                Candy & The Kisses burst onto the Northern Soul scene with "The 81". This storming dancer was unreleased until released on a CD compilation, making this a first time 7" vinyl release. The B side is by Val Simpson, one half of Valerie & Simpson

                Cody Black was born and raised in Cincinnati in the shadow of King Records where he cut this landmark Northern Soul 45 “I’m Slowly Molding” in 1968. However, it didn’t impact on the UK soul scene until the mid-Eighties when, at last, it finally hit at the ground-breaking ‘Top Of The World’ club in Stafford. Still a mainstay of the All-Nighter scene to this day and commanding prices in the region of $1,000. Black recorded a string of 45s for as many labels including the highly prized “It’s Our Time To Fall In Love” on ‘GIG’ and the sublime “Mr Blue” on ‘D-Town’. Charles Spurling was a fellow Cincinnati music hustler working as an A&R man at King Records when he cut this pounding Northern Soul dancer in 1967.

                Soul Brothers Six / Willie Tee

                I'll Be Loving You / Walkin' Up A One Way Street

                The Soul Brothers Six hailed from Rochester, New York and have played a part on the Northern Soul scene for over 50 years. Their first recording, for Lyndell Records in 1966, is now a 3-figure rarity, but it is their debut disc for Atlantic, “I’ll Be Loving You”, that first graced the decks at the Twisted Wheel, The Pendulum et al and has become a perennial Northern Soul favourite. At the time of release it was the B-side to “Some kind Of Wonderful” which took the disc to No.91 on the R&B charts. Willie Tee has also been a familiar figure on the rare soul scene since the early Mod clubs with his archetypal New Orleans mid tempo soul sound. His early recordings on Gatur rank as some of the most collectable 45s to emanate from the Crescent City. Here we feature his club classic from 1964, the anthemic “Walkin’ Up A One Way Street”.

                Little Richard

                Poor Dog / A Little Bit Of Something

                Little Richard needs “little” introduction the UK soul fan having enjoyed a string of Northern Soul collectables on Vee-Jay, Kent, Modern, Brunswick and, of course, Okeh. These two swinging Northern Soul classics are filled with all the nostalgia and groove to transport anyone back to the dancefloor. Both “Poor Dog” and “A Little Bit Of Something” have cult status having originally been spun on the embryonic Northern/Mod scene at the legendary Twisted Wheel club in Manchester. Wigan Casino DJ Dave Evison revived “Poor Dog” as a Mr M’s Oldie before taking it downstairs to the main ballroom where it cemented its ‘Hall Of Fame’ legacy.

                This unique set brings together a treasure trove of R&B rarities enshrined by the $3,000 “Lookin’ For My Baby”, recorded by The Nightriders in 1959 for Juggy Murray’s Sue imprint. Murray had co-founded Sue Records two years earlier with fellow New Yorker Bobby Robinson whose Fire label provides us with the equally compelling “Keep A’Calling” by Paul Perryman (side 1, track 1), a snip at only $300! The set bursts into life with Vernon Harrell’s hot dance ticket “Slick Chick”, currently commanding a cool $400 on its original Lescay label. Northern Soul fans will be interested to know that Harrell co-wrote “Seven Days Too Long” with J R Bailey (aka Chuck Wood) and “Sweet Sweet Lovin’” for The Platters. Mike Robinson (“Lula”) also has a tenuous Northern Soul connection, he was originally in Bobby Thomas’ Vibranaires before joining the Orioles alongside the legendary Sonny Til. BOTH Earl King’s make the playlist: Earl “Connelly” with his hard “Every Whicha Kinda Way” and the New Orleans native Earl King with “Darling Honey Angel Child”, an early prototype of the standard “Come On”. Look out too for rare soul sweetheart Baby Washington, “Medicine Man”. A Collection to Treasure…
                Over $6,000 worth of original vinyl now available - for the first time - on one collectable Long Play vinyl album

                Porgy And The Monarchs

                Hey Girl / My Heart Cries For You

                PORGY WILLIAMS and his Monarchs recorded a handful of singles in the mid-sixties on almost as many labels. They made their debut in ’63 on Mala Records before moving to Musicor where they scored two singles: “That Girl” / “If It’s For Real Baby” and “My Heart Cries For You” / “Think Twice Before You Walk Away”. Produced by Teddy Randazzo, all four sides are excellent but incredibly didn’t see any chart action at the time. Fortunately all was not lost and, almost a decade later, “My Heart Cries For You” became a much cherished dance floor anthem in the U.K. Our topside “Hey Girl” was recorded in New York for Musicor but was not released until 1975 when, quite by accident, it was wrongly pressed as the B-side to a reissue of “My Heart”. Musicor, realising the error, withdraw the disc… UNTIL NOW!!!

                Billy Thompson / Clarence Reid

                Black Eyed Girl / I'm Your Yes Man

                BILLY THOMPSON’s solo outing “Black Eyed Girl” was pressed twice in 1965, on the local Boston label Columbus and for national distribution on Wand. Despite the quality of the song, written by Barry Richards and “Boston’s No.1 Soul Man” Herschel Dwellingham, it came to nothing, leaving once again the U.K. soul scene to come to the rescue.

                By contrast CLARENCE REID recorded a slue of 45s from 1963 to ’76 including our mega rarity “I’m Your Yes Man”, produced by Buddy Killen.

                • All time Northern Soul Classic - Two fabulous sides

                • Over £1,000 of original vinyl 

                Booker T &The MGs / The Mar-kets

                Green Onions / Balboa Blue

                Booker T & The MGs will be forever synonymous with the sound of Memphis soul, as defined by Stax Records for whom they were the house band. In 1962 they made it to No.1 in the R&B charts and peaked at No.3 in Billboards Hot 100 with “Green Onions”. The classic 12-bar blues anthem features Steve Cropper on a Fender Telecaster and Booker T Jones’ rippling Hammond M3 organ. It's the ultimate R&B / mod soul instrumental, and one of the most recognisable tracks ever.The Mar-Kets (later The Marketts) were a California instrumental surf band best remembered for their 1963 million-selling album 'Out Of Limits'. “Balboa Blue” features on their debut LP 'Surfer’s Stomp' and first appeared on the northern soul scene at Manchester’s Twisted Wheel club.


                I've Got The Need / Nine Times

                Next in their northern soul 45s reissue series Outta Sight feature two all-time classics from the New Jersey trio, The Moments, aka Harry Ray, Al Goodman and William Brown. The top-side, “I've Got The Need” is an original album-only cut taken from their 1975 Sharp LP on Joe and Sylvia Robinsons Stang label. The song, a massive Blackpool Mecca spin at the time of release, also enjoyed popularity at Wigan Casino by Chuck Jackson and Cleethorpes by Spooky & Sue.

                The flip side is no slouch either. “Nine Times” from 1976 is a true club-classic with its unforgettable “telephone” intro calling you onto the dance floor. Both sides remain floor fillers today and are available for the first time back-to-back.

                Al Wilson

                The Snake / Show And Tell

                Outta Sight herald the new year with two fabulous floor-packers from the glory days of northern soul.

                Second on the list comes Al Wilson’s “The Snake”, perhaps THE most played northern soul oldie ever! It first came to prominence at Manchester's famed Twisted Wheel Club and is now embedded in the scene along with patches, talcum powder and baggy trousers. It has graced many a TV and film soundtrack and is currently on rotation in every TK Maxx store in the country. Love it, hate it, you can’t ignore it!

                Little Arthur Mathews / Willie Wright

                I'm Gonna Whale On You / I'm Gonna Leave You Baby, And I’m Goin’ Away To Stay

                Who needs the summer when the next three Outta Sight R&B collectables are as hot as these?

                The Northern end of R&B continues to pack the dancefloors across Europe and it is showcased - at its best - in these in-demand cuts. Six top tunes that would set you back a month’s wages if you’re lucky! All hard to find on their respective original labels which, incredibly, date from as early as 1952.

                On side A Little Arthur Mathews hooks up with the Johnny Otis Band for the horn honking skiffle-like cut "’m Gonna Whale On You". On the flip Willie Wright belts it out on rhythm & blues roller "I’m Gonna Leave You Baby, And I’m Goin’ Away To Stay".

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