November 14, 2005

Tommie Testifies

"Everybody's Got A Little Devil In Their Soul" (Jerry Strickland & Bobby Patterson)
Tommie Young, Soul Power, 1972

Check out that CD

Just in case you hadn’t guessed, there’s a lot I still don’t know about the music of this region; so, much of the process here at HOTG involves learning as I go, adding to what I already know, or realizing what I thought I knew is wrong, and so on. I am new to the vocal delights of Shreveport's Tommie Young and know precious little about her. So, let’s hear one of her sides and see what we can find out. If you have anything to add, feel free to share your comments.

I have been trying to collect and learn more on Shreveport labels. This and the Ted Taylor cut I featured last month are direct results of the effort. When I found “Everybody’s Got A Little Devil In Their Soul” b/w “Do You Feel The Same Way” among the thousands of 45s I came into this summer, I pulled it out because of the label alone. What a treat it was to find an artist new to me with such a voice. It’s hard not to invoke Aretha when hearing Tommie Young, as they have similar vocal qualities in tone, strength, flexibility, and evident gospel roots. This song is probably not the best for a study of her voice, as it doesn’t demand much of her; but it’s mid-level funk factor made me pick it. The deep soul flip side certainly makes more clear the high quality and expressiveness of her voice. Having now heard her, I’ll be seeking out more, although she had a scant six singles released on Soul Power, most, if not all, of which were on her one LP for the label, I believe. These have been
comped on CD by Westside. The few shreds of information I’ve picked up on Young confirm that she began in gospel music and went back to it after her brief 1970’s fling with secular soul, including being featured on the l978 MCA soundtrack album, A Woman Called Moses.

Produced and co-written by Bobby Patterson, originally from Dallas, TX, who did a lot of work for the Jewel stable of labels in the 1970s, “Everybody’s Got A Little Devil…” has a simple structure and melody, but the funky rhythm section and great horns keep the tune afloat. Since my Ted Taylor piece, I’ve learned that the backing band on many of the Shreveport Jewel sessions during that period was the
African Music Machine, led by bassist Louis Villery, which also had several instrumental singles issued on Soul Power. They are likely playing here.

While Tommie’s testimony on the little devil in everybody’s soul is all too common knowledge, this record still had good things to tell me. Hope you got something out of it, too.

Update 11/16/2005: I just got the Tommie Young CD on Westside linked above (great service from Dusty Groove) and learned from the notes that Tommie was a Dallas based singer who Patterson discovered there singing in a club. He signed her to Soul Power and brought her back to Shreveport to record. She is still singing and recording gospel music in Dallas. What a voice this woman has! If you like this track, I highly recommend the CD to hear her on both deep soul and more uptempo material.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Dan-

You right on w/Tommie. Never heard of her, but glad I have! Within seconds, I thought "Aretha" but not in a knock-off sort of way. (If she was doing that, she'd be leaning more toward over-sing, prb'ly.)

Very nice groove--always fun to find somebody like this that's this good but totally unfamiliar.

BTW, if you haven't got the Cooke bio yet, I've got a reading copy I'd be glad to send you. I heard Guralnick yesterday at the Country Music Hall of Fame (nice place, and great presentation) and splurged on the hardback for signing.

Peter's such a wonderful person--very giving of his time and knowledge. Always excellent insight. I've finished the book, and the more I consider it, the more I think it's as good as anything he's written.

And the more I KNOW Sam Cooke is the greatest of the many "live hard, die too young" losses we've suffered in popular music. What an amazing talent and human-being on so many levels! (Surprising for some reason, but Sam was quite the intellect--reading everything in sight. On Aretha's first "cavalcade of stars" tour w/Sam, he was reading the 1,600 pg. RISE AND FALL OF THE THRID REICH and smoking Kents. Smitten and star-struck, Aretha switched from Kools to Kents, and went right out and got a copy of RISE AND FALL and carried it from city to city. Never read a word!)

(I'll send you an -e_ off line if you wanna pass along a mail address.)

Thanks as always for the boss blog.


4:27 PM, November 14, 2005  
Blogger Dan Phillips said...

Thank you, dc!

1:39 AM, November 16, 2005  

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