Episode 74 – Vivian Reed & Maxine Weldon

Welcome to this week’s episode of Sisters Sing Soul.

This week’s episode features songs from Vivian Reed & Maxine Weldon.

Vivian Reed Sisters Sing Soul

Vivian Reed

Here’s where you can find the songs in this episode.

Vivian Reed

‘Walk On My Side’ and ‘Unbelievable  — From the album “Vivian Reed: Yours Until Tomorrow” — Soulmusic Records

‘Save Your Love For Me’  — From the album “You Better Believe It” — Warner Music UK

‘Hello It’s So Nice To Make It Again’ and ‘There Was You  — Found on YouTube

Maxine Weldon Sisters Sing Soul

Maxine Weldon

Maxine Weldon

‘Nobody Wins’, ‘Loving Arms’ and ‘Born To Love Me  — Available on Vinyl album “Some Singin’ ”


Please feel free to comment below with any questions or observations.

We’ll be off for a few weeks, but will be back with an all-new episode soon featuring more music from the incomparable Candi Staton.

Thanks for listening!

Episode 73 – Sandra Feva & Alder Ray

Welcome to this week’s episode of Sisters Sing Soul.

This week’s episode features songs from Sandra Feva & Alder Ray.

Here’s where you can find the songs in this episode.

Sandra Feva Sisters Sing Soul

Sandra Feva

Sandra Feva

‘Stay Here With Me’ (as Sandra Richardson)  — Found on YouTube

‘Three Times A Man’ & ‘Chokin’ Kind’  — From the album “Sandra Feva: The Need To Be” — Venture Records

‘Let The Roses Die’  — From the album “Sandra Feva: Savoir Faire” — Shout Records


Alder Ray Sisters Sing Soul

Alder Ray

Alder Ray

‘A Little Love’, ‘Love Will Let You Down’, and ‘Just Because The Package Has Been Unwrapped And Opened’  — Found on YouTube

‘He Gave Me Love’ (as The Delicates) — Found on YouTube


Please feel free to comment below with any questions or observations.

Next week’s episode will feature the music of Vivian Reed & Maxine Weldon.

Thanks for listening!

Episode 72 – The Staple Singers, Part II

Welcome to this week’s episode of Sisters Sing Soul.

This week’s episode features more songs from The Staple Singers.

Here’s where you can find the songs in this episode:

Mavis Staples Sisters Sing Soul

Mavis Staples

The Staple Singers

‘I’m Coming Home’ — From the Album “The Staple Singers: Swing Low Sweet Chariot” — Soul Jam Records

‘The Dock Of The Bay’ & ‘Got To Be Some Changes Made’ — From the Album “The Staple Singers: Soul Folk In Action” — Stax Records

‘Give A Damn’ — From the Album “The Staple Singers: We’ll Get Over” — Stax Records

‘You’re Gonna Make Me Cry’ & ‘You’ve Got To Earn It’ — From the Album “The Staple Swingers” — Stax Records

‘Touch A Hand, Make A Friend’ & ‘Heaven’ — From the Album “The Staple Singers: Be What You Are” — Stax Records

Please feel free to comment below with any questions or observations.

In next week’s new episode, we’ll feature the music of Sandra Feva & Alder Ray.

Thanks for listening!

Episode 71 – Esther Phillips

Welcome to this week’s episode of Sisters Sing Soul.

This week’s episode features songs from Esther Phillips.

Esther Phillips Sisters Sing Soul

Esther Phillips

Here’s where you can find the songs in this episode:

Esther Phillips

‘Release Me’, ‘Some Things You Never Get Used To’, ‘Cheater Man’, ‘I’m In Love’, and ‘Woman Will Do No Wrong’ — From the Album “Esther Phillips: The Country Side Of Esther Phillips/Set Me Free” — Collectables Records

‘Home Is Where The Hatred Is’, ‘Til My Back Ain’t Got No Bone’ and ‘I Can Stand A Little Rain’ — From the Album “Esther Phillips: The Kudu Years 1971-1977” — Raven Records

Please feel free to comment below with any questions or observations.

In next week’s episode, we’ll feature more music from The Staple Singers.

Thanks for listening!

2017 – New Programs For The New Year

Starting Sunday, January 15 the Sisters Sing Soul will kick off the new year with more great soul music.

The first program will feature the utterly distinctive and brilliant singing of Esther Phillips, with the emphasis on her soul-oriented recordings.

A week later we’ll return to the incomparable Staple Singers with a second episode featuring more of their finest recordings for Stax Records from the late 1960’s until the mid-1970’s.

The program right after that will pick up on a recurring theme of this series, namely showcasing the wonderful work of little known artists. In this case it will be the songs of Sandra Feva and Alder Ray who both deserved greater success.

I’m looking forward to bringing you these three programs and many more during 2017.

Stay tuned, and thanks for listening.


Review Of “Betty LaVette: Child Of The Seventies”

“Betty LaVette: Child Of The Seventies” was released in 2006. It contains all of Betty LaVette’s recordings for Atlantic records including the 12 brilliant tracks that were intended  to make up her first album, “Child Of The Seventies”. Inexplicably the album was shelved prior to its planned release in 1973. Nevertheless, the songs are among the very finest that Betty ever recorded.

Betty (later Bettye) LaVette is one of soul music’s greatest and most enduring artists. She employs her distinctive, rough-edged voice flawlessly to produce a wide range of tonal colours amidst breathtaking dynamics. She has a gift for conveying the deepest of human emotions, forging a powerful empathetic bond with her listeners.

Betty LaVette was born Betty Haskin in Muskegon, Michigan in 1946. Unlike most soul singers she didn’t learn to sing in church, but instead with her family in Detroit. Betty began her recording career as a teenager for Atlantic Records, and had singles released on a number of labels throughout the 1960’s. In 1972 Betty signed once again with Atlantic Records, and two singles came out on the company’s Atco label.

The second Atco single emerged from nine days of recording at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in Alabama in November, 1972. Brad Shapiro produced the 12 tracks that were supposed to make up the album, “Child Of The Seventies”. But, as I mentioned in the opening paragraph, Atlantic decided not to release the album.To this day no one really seems to know why. Given the superb quality of the recordings it was quite plainly an ill-considered and inexcusable decision.

Through the heroic efforts of French soul music aficionado, Giles Petard, the missing master tapes were located in Atlantic’s New York vaults in 1999. Giles licensed the 12 tracks plus the remainder of Betty’s Atlantic releases, and put it all on a CD that came out in 2000 under the title, “Souvenirs”.

In 2006 the CD, “Child Of The Seventies”, was released. It included all of the material on “Souvenirs” along with two previously unreleased tracks and mono versions of two songs. The first 12 selections on the CD are the ones that were to be included on the unreleased album. Brad Shapiro is masterful in the producer’s chair, and the Muscle Shoals Sound Studios band accompanies Betty with a deft and sensitive touch.

“It Ain’t Easy” is a mid-paced slice of southern soul that is an ideal vehicle for Betty’s vocal skills. It’s followed by a country soul ballad, “If I Can’t Be Your Woman”, that demonstrates Betty’s exceptional versatility. Next up is “Fortune Teller” which gives Betty a chance to gently express a sense of hopeful longing.

Then comes the song that was released as a single in 1973. “Your Turn To Cry” ranks among Betty’s greatest performances. The depth of sadness and heartache that she expresses so sensitively makes this a certifiable deep soul classic. The contrasting flip side, “Soul Tambourine”,  is a catchy, bouncing serving of joy that amply benefits from the LaVette treatment.

“All Of The Black And white Children” is a message song notable for its lack of sanctimony. Betty’s treatment is pleasingly sincere and uplifting. In “Our Own Love Song” Betty takes the listener into a world filled with the sweet tenderness and unshakable bond of true love.

Betty shows a spirited toughness in “Ain’t Nothing Gonna Change Me” before offering some woman to woman advice in the southern flavoured “Outside Woman”. Then she takes charge of things with the funky “The Stealer”. “My Love Is Showing” gives Betty the chance to express the vulnerability  and helplessness of real devotion.

The twelfth and final selection from what should have been Atlantic’s release of “Child Of The Seventies” is, in a word, sublime. “Souvenirs” is an absolute gem of a deep southern soul ballad. Betty infuses every word with the pain of longing and loss.

Rarely have I heard an album’s worth of songs of such high quality. Betty emerges as a complete singer with a range and depth of expression that elevates her to the top level of soul artists.

The remainder of the CD includes the rest of Betty’s recorded work for Atlantic records. First come two tracks produced by Clarence Paul at Bolic Sound Studios in Los Angeles in late 1973. Neither cut saw the light of day until the 2006 release of the CD.

“Waiting For Tomorrow” was written by Betty herself. She is in top form in this searing tale of frustrated hope. Once again I am flabbergasted that Atlantic declined to release this sensational track. The hard-edged “Livin’ On A Shoestring” would have made a worthy B side.

Following mono versions of 1973’s “Your Turn To Cry” and “Soul Tambourine” we’re taken back to Betty’s 1972 Atco single. Both sides were recorded in Detroit. Betty’s cover of Neil Young’s “Heart Of Gold” is a pleasantly soulful take on the original while “You’ll Wake Up Wiser” is a rather commercial latin flavoured track.

The last four songs on the CD come from a decade earlier when Betty was still in her teens. The single with “Here I Am” and “You’ll Never Change” was recorded in Detroit and came out in 1963 as a follow-up to Betty’s first release a year earlier. Neither cut is terribly memorable. However, that first single, also recorded in Detroit, is another matter entirely. In “My Man – He’s A Lovin’ Man” the 16 year old Betty delivers a performance worthy of a woman of the world. Unsurprisingly it made it into the top ten on the R&B chart, a feat that Betty was never able to duplicate again. Go figure. The flip side, “Shut Your Mouth”, is a more commercial pop outing.

After her second and final stint with Atlantic Records in the 1970’s Betty LaVette never stopped trying to make it. Hers is a story of incredible determination and resilience. At long last, after more than four decades of striving, Betty began to get the recognition and appreciation for her vocal artistry that she deserved. The emergence of the long-buried Atlantic album  cemented her position as one of soul music’s greatest singers. The CD, “Betty LaVette: Child Of The Seventies”, is a must for every soul enthusiast’s collection.


Episode 70 – Blue Eyed Soul Singers & “Promises Should Never Be Broken”

Welcome to this week’s episode of the Sisters Sing Soul.

This week’s episode features a collection of “blue-eyed” soul singers and two artists’ interpretations of “Promises Should Never Be Broken”.

Here’s where you can find the songs in this episode:

Brenda Patterson

‘How Many Times’ — Found on Vinyl Only

Jewell Ausbon

‘Running Back’ — Found on Vinyl Only

Marcia Ball

‘Love’s Spell’ — From The Album “Hot Tamale Baby” — Rounder Records

Bonnie Raitt

‘Good Enough’ — From The Album “Home Plate” — Rhino Records

Chris Hamilton

‘I’ve Got To Cry’ — Found on YouTube

Sammi Smith

‘Saunders Ferry Lane’ — From The Album “Help Me Make It Through The Night” — Acrobat Records

The song “Promises Should Never Be Broken” can be found on:

Mary Gresham — From The Album “Mary Gresham: Voice From The Shadows” — Soulscape Records

Annette Snell — Found on YouTube

Please feel free to comment below with any questions or observations.

We’re off for the holidays and would like to wish our listeners the very best during the holiday season. We’ll be back in the new year with many more all-new episodes.

Thanks for listening!