August 14, 2006

Not Just Another Soul Singer

"Just Another Morning" (Charles Brimmer)
Charles Brimmer, Chelsea 3039, 1975

My friend, Red Kelly, put up an outstanding, informative post on the B-Side last Monday, August 7, featuring New Orleans soul singer, Charles Brimmer. As I’ve had several of Brimmer’s recordings on the back burner to post here for some time, I thought I’d just save some bytes and put one of them up at the same time as Red's excellent overview on this singer’s career, which I highly recommend.

Though not well-known nationally, Charles Brimmer was extremely popular in New Orleans and the South from the late 1960’s to the mid-1970’s. His primary calling card was his deep soul balladry, of which Red provides a good example with “ God Bless Our Love”, his biggest hit. Brimmer’s tenor is not of as exceptional vocal quality as Johnny Adams or Aaron Neville, two of New Orleans finest male soul singers; but he’s a very respectable, often quite moving vocalist; and he also has songwriting talent.

“Just Another Morning” appeared on Brimmer’s 1975 Chelsea LP, Expression of Soul, and as a Chelsea single, backed with “Please Let Me Come Home”, a soulful slow-burner written by Elijah Walker, who produced many of King Floyd’s early sides for Chimneyville. Raymond Jones (a/k/a Ray J), who was the musical director in Brimmer’s band at the time, arranged most of the songs on the album, including today’s featured track; and the entire project was a Senator Jones production. But it is not entirely clear where it all was recorded. Jeff Hannusch’s book, The Soul Of New Orleans, quotes Brimmer as saying that “God Bless Our Love”, his first and by far biggest Chelsea single (initially released on Jones’ JB’S label as “The New God Bless Our Love”) was recorded at Deep South Studios in Baton Rouge; but it is unclear whether all the tracks on Expression Of Soul, which also contained that hit, and the two follow-up singles, were recorded there. It is at least possible that some of them were done at Sea-Saint; but, there’s no telling, since neither studio nor session player information is listed on the album sleeve.

It’s my modus operandi here to go for the groove; and the Brimmer-penned “Just Another Morning” caught my ear when I first heard the single. It’s not really a New Orleans funk thing, having a more general mid-tempo Southern soul feel to it; yet it does kind of sound like a tune King Floyd could have done. While the arrangement is fairly straightforward, with a mid-song modulation, it’s the comfortably loose, in-the-pocket drumming that makes this number a fine ride. Brimmer’s voice sounds just a bit thin and strained here; but I still enjoy his performance. These sessions may have been rushed to get an album out after “God Bless Our Love” sold so well regionally, and even nationally.

Like I said, I’ve got another number from Charles Brimmer that I’ll try to get posted in the near future. My earlier post on the instrumental side of a single credited to him,
“Kung Fu Man”, which was just a goofy novelty tune, did not do the man justice. I hope “Just Another Morning” and Red’s B-Side tribute will help to show that he’s not just another soul singer.

Charles Brimmer c. 1975


Blogger Tuwa said...

Yeah, that's a good track.

6:30 AM, August 15, 2006  
Blogger Larry Grogan said...

Cool tune Dan. Remember also that Brimmer wrote Eldridge Holmes last 45, 'An Open Letter (To My Love)'.

2:04 PM, August 15, 2006  
Blogger Dan Phillips said...

Thanks, Larry. If I knew that, I forgot it!

9:08 PM, August 16, 2006  

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