Rare Soul, Sunshine Pop And Duos Highlight September Edition of “C’est La Mode”

Planning a radio show isn’t always easy, but I had plenty of inspiration for this latest edition of “C’est La Mode.”

Freda Payne’s “Band of Gold”

Freda Payne Band of Gold
Freda Payne circa 1970

I’d been listening to a lot of early ’70s soul from Freda Payne. Gotta love her work for Holland-Dozier-Holland’s Invictus label, especially her Grammy-nominated 1971 album “Contact.” Ms. Payne also celebrated a birthday September 19!

I kicked off the show with a rare alternate version of her big hit “Band of Gold,” that features additional instrumentation and verses. Then I book-ended the first set with the hit version of the song, just for comparison. I’m a bit of an audiophile–I love to hear the differences in lyrics, sounds, instruments, vocals–you name it!

Bones Howe and Wrecking Crew on Sunshine Pop

The Association Birthday album 1968
Birthday, The Association/courtesy of Discogs.com.

I hunt for vinyl in South Florida in a number of places, including Record Rack in Pompano Beach. On a recent jaunt there, I picked up a used copy of The Association’s 1968 album “Birthday.” The disc opens with a spirited track entitled “Come On In.” The sound is fresh and engaging–and it’s no wonder–West Coast-based sound engineer Bones Howe produced the album! Howe served as sound engineer for a number of late ’60s pop acts, with instrumentation handled by L.A. studio musicians known as The Wrecking Crew.

I highlighted Howe’s work with the Wrecking Crew focusing on sunshine pop tracks by The Mamas and the Papas, The Fifth Dimension and obscure Latin-influenced vocal ensemble The Carnival.

It Takes Two

The Everly Brothers Sing 1967
The Everly Brothers Sing/Courtesy of Discogs.com

Do we still have duos these days? The ’60s sported a number of them, and they weren’t necessarily all romance-styled singing partners. Record-shopping back in Cleveland, my friend Emma brought to my attention a 1967 album by The Everly Brothers, simply called “The Everly Brothers Sing,” it includes their last Top 40 hit “Bowling Green.” Although considered past their commercial peak at the time, the album is chock-full of great harmony-laced, pop-psych tracks, and some cool fuzz-tone guitar riffs. I selected the track “Mary Jane” to anchor a set of ’60s duos that looked like this:

  • “Two for the Price of One” — Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart
  • “Mary Jane” — The Everly Brothers
  • “Little Ole Girl, Little Ole Boy” — Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
  • “Lovers of the World Unite” — Nina and Frederik
  • “Some Velvet Morning” — Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood
  • “Wrong from the Start” — Peter and Gordon

Listen to “C’est La Mode” on Mixcloud

Have I sufficiently wet your appetite for more sounds of the ’60s? Listen to the complete September 20 edition of “C’est La Mode below. Next show is October 18 on Jolt Radio!