It was last summer. I was privileged enough to hear the iconic (and prolific) arranger Tom Tom Washington play a few chords of the tune “There’ll Come a Time” on a piano stationed at a Recording Studio on 80th and Stony Island, where in the vacant lot next door they grew cabbage.
It was electric, especially because Betty Everett’s “There’ll Come a Time” (released in 1969 on Uni Records) was one of the first Chicago Soul albums I ever owned. It was also exciting because Tom Tom Washington arranged some of my favorite cuts on the album (we both agreed on our favorite: “1900 Yesterday” (below), sort of an off-kilter swinging 60s dance cut).
On the album, Betty’s sassy-yet-classy salty mezzo-soprano voice was perfectly augmented by swirling strings, staccato horns, shuffling doo-wop background vocals, and rollicking piano. Featuring compositions by Eugene Record (of the Chi-Lites), Curtis Mayfield, and Eddie Sullivan (of the Classic Sullivans), the album serves as a snapshot of Chicago Soul at the time.
Above, listen to Betty Everett’s classic “There’ll Come Time”. You can hear the cut “1900 Yesterday”, by clicking the “continue reading” icon below… Jive on!
Here’s a follow up to yesterday’s Jerry “The Ice Man” Butler post. Below, 1969’s “Walking Around in Teardrops”.
Before Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes and the O’Jays hit the soul stratosphere, there was the late sixties Philly/Chicago fusion that was Gamble/Huff/Martin/Bell/Butler. Always one to use his starpower to help up-and-comers in the Music Business craft their talents, Jerry Butler proved to be an early Hitmaker for the producing/songwriting team of Gamble & Huff, producer/arranger Thom Bell, and for producer/arranger Bobby Martin (orchestrators of the Philly Sound in the decade that was to come).
A B-Side gem, I love the hypnotic vibe of “Teardrops”, coupled with the electric sitar and trippy female back-up vocals. Co-written by Jerry Butler, this cut was arranged by Thom Bell, then riding high of a string of hits (including “La-La (Means I Love You)” and “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)“) that he had written and produced for the Delfonics.
Here’s a tasty slice of funk from the Duke of Earl himself, Gene Chandler. Masterfully dapper, ever-so-smooth, Chandler gets funky on this Checker side from 1969. An early version of the Curtis Mayfield-penned track titled “Hard Times”, the record manifests a ‘creature feature’ vibe that’s fits this time of year like a rubber mask.
An alumnus of Englewood High School, Chandler is one of the founding fathers of Chicago Soul, having begun recording around 1960. Click here for my interview with him. You can’t see it, but that day he wore an O.G. diamond encrusted pinky ring that read “Gene”. Smooth.