(Pictured: The Four Tops)
Wherein I put together three tunes, much like a disc jockey would. In this case, I had a couple of ’60’s R&B tunes in my head. The Sixties weren’t just a time of Beatles and psychedelic music. There was a lot of good soul and R&B and I think it’s a shame that any of these songs should be forgotten.
So let’s spin them one more time. Two of these songs were released in 1969, one in 1968. And these were all Top 40. Compare them to what’s on the radio in that space today. This is the kind of stuff we ate up in Philly.
A band called the Joe Jeffrey group had a hit in 1969 with the bouncy, infectious “My Pledge of Love.” In the little I can ascertain about him, Jeffrey was a singer/guitarist/songwriter who fronted this one-hit wonder band.
After this song, he never really regained momentum but spent years playing clubs in and around the Cleveland area. Coincidentally he died in 2016, aged 80:
Sonny Charles is the leader of a band called the Checkmates, a band not only still active but who actually toured with Steve Miller a few years ago.
“Black Pearl” is a prime example of soul, R&B – call it what you will. What I didn’t know when I first heard it was that it was a tribute to black women. And! It was co-written the by the ubiquitous Phil Spector. Go figure. Try to get this one out of your head:
A New York group called the Left Banke had a hit in 1966 with a song called “Walk Away Renee.” Apparently the writer of the song had a bad case of unrequited love for one of the other band members’ girlfriends. And so she was his Layla.
I dug both their versions but had a slight preference for the Four Tops cover. Hard to say which one was more popular: