Tag Archives: The Dells

The Jazz-Soul of Chess Records

chess checker

Chicago’s Chess Records may be best known for its blues artists such as Howlin Wolf, Muddy Waters, and Little Walter. But in the 1960s, they also had a wealth of hip Jazz and Soul artists, many of whom recorded for Chess’ Cadet subsidiary. On this installment of Reclaimed Soul, host Ayana Contreras featured the Jazz-Soul side of Chess, with music from artists including Clea Bradford, The Dells, McKinley Mitchell, Dorothy Ashby, Ahmad Jamal, The Soulful Strings, and much more.

Catch fresh installments of Reclaimed Soul Thursdays at 8pm (CST) on vocalo.org or over the air in Chicagoland on 89.5fm (NWI) and 90.7fm (CHI)

Advertisements

Terry Callier: You Goin’ Miss Your Candyman.

We lost Terry Callier on Sunday. He was an artist who melded Soul, Folk, and Jazz seamlessly. My first experience with his music is detailed below.

This portion of the post was originally posted on Darkjive on October 17th, 2009:

I remember where I was when I first heard [“Dancing Girl” by Terry Callier]: the local round-the-way record store [back when  I was in high school].  The carpet was checkered with the maytag logo in bittersweet on brown (harkening back to the store’s past life).  There we stood in a communal experience that began with the shop owner saying, “You’ve got to hear this record”. We stood waiting.  Waiting melted away to awe.  Nine minutes later we knew life was a bit different…just wait for the progression of the track.  It blossoms and eventually bursts.

“Dancing Girl” is from the album, “What Color is Love” (Cadet, 1973).  A great record for a chilled autumn day.

Terry Callier was a childhood friend of Curtis Mayfield and co-wrote numerous Chicago Records for artists as diverse as the Soulful Strings, The Dells, and Garland Green.  He spent much of the eighties and nineties as a single father, raising his daughter, Sundiata, and working at the University of Chicago.

He returned to recording in the late nineties to critical acclaim, and released “Hidden Conversations” (his fifth album in 10 years) this year[2009].  It features Massive Attack.

Jive on…. Jive on.

2009 was to be his last appearance on record. Since I first discovered him, I’ve fallen in love with a number of his compositions,

such as: “Ordinary Girl”, “You Don’t Care”, “You Goin Miss Your Candyman”, and others.

I’ve also realized that he co-wrote a few of my old Chicago favorites, including: “You Can’t Get Away that Easy” (as performed by Lee Charles and, later, by Garland Green), “The Love We Had Stays on My Mind” (as performed by The Dells), “I Don’t Want to Lose Your Love” (as Performed by Billy Butler & Infinity), and “I’d Rather Be With You [performed by the Dells].

Below, Terry singing You Goin’ Miss Your Candyman. Because I do.

 


The Mighty Mighty Dells: i miss you.

I love the Dells.  Formed in 1952, their career is simply epic.  But my favorite period for them was ushered in with Charles Stepney.  Unfortunately, as Chess Records (their label from the mid-sixties till the mid-seventies) crumbled, their hits (which include “There Is”, “Stay in my Corner”, “The Love We Had Stays on My Mind”, “Oh What a Night” and more) were harder to come by. 

By 1973, The Dells, still at Cadet Records (a Chess Subsidiary), were recording work with a Detroit/Memphis lean.  Tony Hester, who came from Detroit to Memphis, wrote and produced The Dramatics’ biggest album (“Whatcha See is Whatcha Get”) and subsequent Dramatics outings.  Don Davis is a legend, producing for various Detroit acts (some of which, like Darrell Banks, were released on Memphis’ Volt Records), and ultimately working throughout the world of Soul. 

With such a team behind them, The Dells (with lusciously gruff Marvin Junior on Baritone Lead) couldn’t help but come up with this gold.  Jive on!


Stay in My Corner…for a long, long time

dellsThe Mighty Mighty Dells are by far the most enduring music group to ever come out of Chicago (Harvey, to be precise), performing with their original line-up since 1952.  “Stay in My Corner”, their 1968 pop and R&B smash, was one the longest singles ever released at the time, breaking the 3 1/2 minute barrier established by the 45rpm single.  In fact, it was the first RIAA certified million seller single to clock in at over six minutes (the 45rpm version clocks in at around 5 minutes).  The track is loping, larger than life, and beautiful.  Here’s a 1975 live version of the track (check the collars).


Maybe the oldest rap music you’ll ever hear…

Cadillac Jack by Andre Williams

Andre Williams rapping about the Southside of Chicago with doo-wop backing by the Dells back in 1968.  Produced by Charles Stepney. Local Chicago Chess Records magic. Dig it.


There is….Soul in Chicago

I love the Dells… Great group originally from Harvey, Illinois.    They’ve recorded on various Chicago-based labels, including the Chess Records subsidiary Cadet Records.  In 1967, the Dells issued the album, There Is, and the title track, a cut of baroque soul (produced by Charles Stepney) which showcased the gritty baritone of Marvin Junior and the harmonies with the four other Dells. Together since 1952, the song was also their first top 20 pop hit. Highly recommended….

the-dells