Lucky choice

by Chris Bertram on November 17, 2003

Brian’s post has set me off reminiscing about the first album I ever bought – and one of the best. In Loughborough, the nondescript market town where I lived, Boots the Chemists was just about the only place you could buy records back in 1972. And most albums were just beyond my means (or certainly required deferring gratification through saving for longer than I could bear). But one day there appeared on the racks some samplers from Atlantic at 99p each. The one I settled on, though I’d never heard any of the artists, had a bright yellow cover with a dragster and was called _It All Started Here_ . My urge to possess overcame the irrationality of buying something I knew nothing about and so this 13-year-old came back home with the following tracks:

Aretha Franklin – Spanish Harlem

Brooke Benton – Shoes

The Persuaders – Thin Line Between Love and Hate

DeDe Warwicke – Suspicious Minds

Otis Redding – Give Away None Of My Love

King Curtis – Changes: Part 2

Clarence Carter – Slipped, Tripped and Fell in Love

Wilson Pickett – Don’t Knock My Love part 1

Little Sister – Somebody’s Watching You

Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway – You’ve Got A Friend

The Beginning of the End – Funky Nassau

The Drifters – Up On the Roof

Sam & Dave – Don’t Pull Your Love

King Floyd – Groove Me

The best 99p I ever spent, though the record is badly worn after 31 years of listening. I’ve got various CDs with some of the content, but some tracks, such as Brooke Benton’s Shoes don’t seem to be available anywhere. A victory for the uninformed consumer.



John Isbell 11.18.03 at 12:16 am

I’ve got an Atlantic box set. I’ll check if it’s got “Shoes.” Nope. It has Brooke Benton, “Rainy Night In Georgia”, Clarence Carter, “Patches”, Betty Wright, “Clean Up Woman”, Arthur Conley, “Sweet Soul Music”, Archie Bell & The Drells, “Tighten Up”, Roberta Flack, “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”, Rufus Thomas, “Walkin’ the Dog”, The Capitols, “Cool Jerk”, William Bell, “You Don’t Miss Your Water”, Ray Charles, “Mess Around” (used in Trains, Planes and Automobiles, on the freeway), The Chords, “Sh-Boom”, and lots of obvious stuff.
Beautiful music, soul, and Atlantic made some of the best.
Maybe google would turn up “Shoes.”


neil 11.18.03 at 12:31 am

You could try to download the missing songs from Soulseek. Since you’ve already purchased a record with these tracks you have the right to a copy.. that particular IP knife cuts both ways.


Richard Bayley 11.18.03 at 1:40 pm

About time a blow was struck for black popular music on CT’s pages, after the incredibly dull lists of whiney white kids with guitars that appear on the post below. I suspect that none of the posters can dance…..
Neil is right about using Google, BTW. British soul fans will probably be able to sell you the original vinyl, for a hefty sum!


coder 11.18.03 at 2:41 pm

Oh man, good story! It reminds me of the very first album I ever bought for myself.

I was about 12, I guess. It was a beat up old second-hand record, called “Chicago: The Blues Today! Vol 1”. I mainly bought it because of the sleeve notes, which are easily the best I’ve ever read. As soon as I got home and put the needle down on that sucker, I knew I had lucked out big time. Through the hissing and scratches came the most amazing mournful song, “Help Me (A Tribute to Sonny Boy Williamson)”, by Junior Wells. By the end of the album, I was a blues fan for life.

These days I have the three volume set on CD, and I miss that hiss, and those scratches. On the other hand, I saw Buddy Guy (who played guitar on that first track) a month or two ago, and it was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to.


dave heasman 11.18.03 at 2:55 pm

You might have better luck looking for “Shoes” if you spelt Brook Benton’s name right.

You probably won’t believe this, but the first record I ever bought was in a second-hand shop in Colchester. An EP on Sun ( ex-jukebox, probably from one of the US bases) ; Jerry Lee Lewis “Whole Lotta Shakin'” “Breathless” “Mean Woman Blues” , “I’m Feelin’ Sorry”.
1/9d. in 1959, that too is the best record I ever bought.


dsquared 11.18.03 at 3:03 pm

I always like to pretend that the first record I ever bought was the seminal electronica/house track “Pump Up The Volume” by M/A/R/R/S, but it was actually “Crazy Crazy Nights” by KISS, which came out the week before.


John Isbell 11.18.03 at 4:05 pm

“Help Me” may be my favorite Sonny Boy Williamson song. I’m guessing you’ve heard the original, coder, but if not I recommend it. I also like “Mighty Long Time.”
First LP I ever bought was Dylan’s “Desire.”


coder 11.18.03 at 4:52 pm

Actually, to my shame, I haven’t heard the original. I have a couple of records that feature SBW, but not that song. I shall certainly search it out though!

Kudos on Desire as a first album, BTW. I just saw Dylan play Wembley on Saturday. Probably the best Dylan concert I’ve been to, despite the awful venue. I’m really looking forward to seeing him play the Apollo and Brixton Academy next Monday and Tuesday though (they are pretty small venues, for someone like Dylan – and I intend to be at the front of the queue!)

I’m a big Dylan fan :)


John Isbell 11.18.03 at 6:16 pm

Hey Coder. Personally, if I had five bluesmen on disk, SBW would be one, with Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Robert Johnson, and B.B. King. I’ll call Bessie Smith jazz. “She Brought Life Back To The Dead”, “Don’t Start Me To Talkin'”, “Fattening Frogs For Snakes.” That harmonica. I also like the moment when he refers to someone onstage as a motherfucker.
Dylan’s my favorite artist. I saw him one time, he was great. I like when he messes with the lyrics.
Listening to Wilson Pickett sing “Midnight Hour” right now.


coder 11.19.03 at 2:45 am

Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson I love, Howlin’ Wolf I don’t know so well. BB King I’ve just never liked much, I’m sorry to say. My list would probably include Junior Wells (playing with Buddy Guy), Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, John Lee Hooker, and Elmore James.

If you like blues harmonica you should definitely check out Junior Wells, if you haven’t already. The live album “Drinkin’ TNT ‘n’ Smokin’ Dynamite” is probably my favourite, although “Hoodoo Man Blues” is great too. Also the compilation I originally referred to, “Chicago: The Blues Today!”, especially volume 1 (which has him on it).

I’m glad to meet a fellow Dylan fan! He is my favourite artist too. I’ve been to three of his shows now, and I’ve enjoyed them all. They are always different, and as you say, you never know what he might do with the songs. I can understand how people who aren’t fans might not enjoy them though. He certainly doesn’t seem to take much notice of what other people want him to do, and his voice is definitely a love it/hate it sort of thing.

The highlight of the concert the other night for me were incredible versions of “Mr Tambourine Man” and “It’s Alright Ma”. He spoke the words slowly and distinctly, spacing out the sentences, totally changing the rythme of the songs. It was almost like hearing them for the first time. Wonderful!


John Isbell 11.19.03 at 3:40 am

I think that’s how Dylan keeps himself interested. It’s been decades.
I have blues anthologies with your other guys. John Lee Hooker was my oversight, he’s brilliant. I like Guy and Wells and James, but never bought an album. I’ll play some again. If you don’t know much Howlin’ Wolf, I suggest the rocking chair album (Howlin’ Wolf), with “The Red Rooster”, “Wang-Dang-Doodle”, “Back Door Man”, and “Spoonful”, which they’re now using
in a VW commercial – all around the street pople are humming it.
B.B. King sang “Why I Sing The Blues”, which may be my favorite blues song, all 8″39′ of it:
“Now I look around, it seems like everybody’s got the blues –
But I’ve had ’em a long time,
Lord I’ve really paid my dues.”
Everyone loves “How Blue Can You Get”, with “I bought you a brand new Ford – but you said ‘I want a Cadillac.'” I also like “Nobody Loves Me But My Mother”, which starts: “Nobody loves me but my mother/ And she might be jivin’ too.” Even if you don’t like B.B., I think you should check these songs out if you don’t know them.
Listening to Superfly right now, what an album:
“And I don’t think he’s going to make it – this time.”


dave heasman 11.19.03 at 1:35 pm

People encouraged to look for “Chicago – The Blues Today” might be interested to know that has the 3 CDs – and a shedload of other Vanguard albums – for sale at 3.99 euros each. Postage in the EU is a flat 8ish euros.

I saw Sonny Boy once, in a club backed by Gary Farr’s T-Birds. Very good he was. I’d also recommend, for harmonica playing, Sonny Boy I.
Oh, and Little Walter. And Jerry Portnoy.


Mike 01.08.04 at 3:27 am

I once had an LP by Brooke Benton and the titlt or at least one of the songs was “The Sun’s Gonna Shine In My Door One Day”
Anyone know anything about this LP/ Let me know, please


muggsy 01.19.04 at 12:32 am

Damn – It All Started Here is easily one of my top 3 favourite albums of all time, and I’ve lost BOTH COPIES which I owned (both bought in charity shops, naturally). I am so desparate to hear Shoes again, and I can’t find it on Soulseek…

Comments on this entry are closed.