Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tuesday's Twosome # 12

Atlantic LP # SD 8301
Why they never made it completely eludes me: Between 1968 and 1981 they had three LPs out, plus several 45s, and all and everything they did is, in its very entirety, great artwork, starting from their '68 Imperial album and continuing in their following LPs. I am speaking of Jimmie & Vella Cameron, a husband & wife duo active from the late '60s. Often they have been categorized as »folk singers« but they actually transcend all categories by their sheer creativity and incredible musical feel.

In May 1972, their second (self-titled) LP was released, Atlantic # SD 8301. What a formidable effort, unjustly ignored in its time and by an ungrateful posterity! All the songs are originals; styles and moods flow from soft folk to what has been called »folk funk« ... and much more besides. If you have the chance, get this album for yourself, you won't regret it! There are sacred tunes on this LP (»To The Master Of Every King«), protest and freedom songs (»Lord Abide With Me«, »Then I Woke Up«, »Do You Really Know How I Feel«), melancholic love songs (»Just Hasn't Been The Same«, »Rain«) and don't-know-what-to-call-them tunes with a heavy beat like »Chica Boom«. At the Soundboutique blogspot, there is a very considerate and rather enthusiastic review of Jimmie & Vella's work. Let me quote some passages here (and I very much agree with what the author is saying):
Success might have eluded them, but milestones are what they left us on all three of these LP's. They bounced around on a different label for each decade (...). In 1971 Jimmie and Vella expanded and deepened their sound with 'Jimmie And Vella' released on Atlantic Records. They turned away from commercial stresses, explored more folky grooves and wrote about social issues and injustice. In 'Lord Abide With Me' they came with a heavy gospel and revolutionary feel. This 'self-titled' LP is a fine crafting and example of 'hippie soul' or 'folk funk'. At times laid back and delicate and at other times empowering, passionate and furious. Just a well rounded work.
Atlantic LP # SD 8301, gatefold sleeve (inside)
Jimmie & Vella's Atlantic LP features several songs in the 6 or 7-minute range, and each of these is a masterpiece. However, each a bit too long for today's post. So I chose two of the shorter tunes, »Just Hasn't Been The Same« and »Chica Boom«. They perfectly illustrate the range of what you can, musicallywise, expect from this LP. And if you get taken away by listening to Jimmie & Vella, you're not the first! So beautiful ...

Jimmie & Vella: »Just Hasn't Been The Same« / »Chica Boom« from the Atlantic LP # SD 8301 (1972):

For the record: The album was recorded at the Electric Lady Studios, NYC, in August 1971, with the exception of »Chica Boom« (rec. at Island Studios, London, UK); producer: Ralph Moss. The song »Chica Boom« was also released on Atlantic # 45-8277 (to no effect whatever chartwise).

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