domingo, 21 de junio de 2009
Jean Plum & Veniece: Bluesoul Belles Vol.3 - The Hi Recordings (1965-1978)
This is an outstanding 21-song excavation of Willie Mitchell's vaults for the masters of Hi Records obscure deep soul artists Veniece Stalks and Jean Plum. Chicagoan soul diva Jean Plum arrived at Hi Records in 1975. No newcomer, she had previously recorded using her real name Betty Jean Plummer for Checker in 1967. Singles for the Salem and Bell labels followed in the early ‘70s. With her appellations foreshortenend at the suggestion of new mentor Willie Mitchell, she debuted for Hi with the remarkable “soft-deep” double-header ‘Look at the Boy’ and ‘Back to You’. Talking to the British publication Blues & Soul the following year, the singer expressed her excitement at the completion of sessions for her first album. The inclusion of treasures like ‘Loneliness’ and her supremely soulful interpretations of Aretha Franklin’s ‘Today I Sing the Blues’ would surely have ensured a top quality se but, sadly, the LP was never released. The 1976 single ‘I Love Him’ was Jean Plum’s only other release until her final platter two years later. As for ex-fashion model Veniece Stalks, she joined Hi Records in 1965, released two singles pdq and promptly disappeared from the recording scene for six years. Minus her surname, she returned form that hiatus with the driving downhome saga ‘Stepchild’, prompting a trip to England, Germany and Switzerland supporting Wilson Pickett. A further three year silence preceded her next release ‘Every Now and Then’, the title of which seemed to sum up her career momentum. A revival of Otis Clay’s ‘Trying to Live My Life without You’ in 1975 proved to be Veniece’s farewell disc. Taken from the liner notes of Troubles, Heartaches & Sadness – Hi Records’ Deep Soul Sisters (1966-1976). Thanks to Daniele for sending me this so hard-to-find compilation of one of my favourite soul sisters (Jean Plum).