zaterdag 21 februari 2015

* Curtis Mayfield --> Lloyd Charmers *

Here's more Lloyd Charmers, as promised in the Secret Museum-post about Alton Ellis 3 weeks ago.

Jamaican music in the 60s and 70s was heavily influenced by USA-soul. A nice example is this ’67-cover by The Uniques of ‘Gypsy Woman’, originally a ’61-hit by Chicago-soulgroup The Impressions with Curtis Mayfield, who wrote the song.

                                                          The Impressions 1961 line-up

                                                       The Impressions-'Gypsy Woman'
                                                             The Uniques-'Gypsy Woman'

                                                              L-R: Lloyd, Slim, Jimmy

At this time vocal trio The Uniques consisted of Slim Smith, Jimmy ‘Buster’ Riley and Lloyd Tyrell (real name). The latter had earlier been one half of vocal duo The Charmers. This explains the origin of his later stagename: he became known as keyboardplayer, producer, songwriter and singer Lloyd Charmers. In 1975 he covered another Curtis-composition, found on CM's first solo-album (1970). ‘Darker Than Blue’ demonstrates that Jamaican music had been moving forward as much as Mayfield, from sweet vocal-group-harmonies to upsetting black power.

Curtis Mayfield-'We The People Who Are Darker Than Blue
Lloyd Charmers-'Darker Than Blue'; released on LP/CD in 2001 by Steve Barrow's Blood & Fire-label, on a compilation called Darker than Blue: Soul from Jamdown 1973-1980. Since Blood & Fire folded, the album's sadly out-of-print. Get a copy if you can. Also out there, even more rare, is a (vinyl only) 10"-record with this vocal take of 'Darker Than Blue' by Lloyd Charmers plus an instrumental version. On both the melodica is played by Charmers himself, while he's accompanied by the band Third World.

P.S.: Tyrell/Charmers also recorded some X-rated material (adults only!). One of those tracks, 'Birth Control', was released in 1969/70 under his own name Lloyd Tyrell and also in his disguise as Lloydie & the Lowbites. Ten years later the song was adapted by The Specials as 'Too Much Too Young', singing "Ain't you heard of contraception…" 

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