Saturday, 28 September 2019

Tommie Young

Tommie Young was a soul singer from Texas who recorded most of her music in Shreveport, Louisiana in the early seventies. Her voice was strong, soulful but gospel-influenced, like Betty WrightShirley BrownFreda Payne and Candi Staton. She has been relatively forgotten, which is a shame cause she laid down some seriously quality seventies soul.

Shreveport Soulstress: Backbeats Compilation

That's How Strong My Love Is/Everybody's Got A Little Devil In Their Soul/You Came Just In Time/Hit And Run Lover/Midsummer Dream/Do You Still Feel The Same Way?/You Brought It All On Yourself/That's All A Part Of Loving Him/She Don't Have To See You (To See Through You)/Do We Have A Future?/You Can Only Do Wrong So Long/Take Time To Know Him/Get Out Of My Life/I'm Not Going To Cry Anymore/One Sided Love Affair/You Can't Have Your Cake (And Eat It Too)  

This is an excellent compilation from the impressive, reliable Backbeats label. The sound quality is superb.

The horn backing is dominant throughout the material as are the churchy backing vocals. I think you can get the picture - powerful vocals, emotive songs, big brass backing - all the usual ingredients from the era.                 

That's How Strong My Love Is is very different-sounding to the version that is more commonly heard - by Otis Redding and The Rolling Stones for example. Young's version is slowed down to walking pace and it becomes a late night soul ballad, although some horns are still there on the backing, they are not as "hooky" as on the more popular version. It is, however, a bit of a cult hit among soul music fans, apparently.

Everybody's Got A Little Devil In Their Soul is a marvellously catchy, upbeat piece of gospelly soul with lots of call-and-response vocals and fast, funky guitars. It is a rousing track.

You Came Just In Time is a very typically early seventies soul number - mid-pace, attractive melody, sumptuous horns and an uplifting vocal. It is a bit reminiscent of some of The Supremes' seventies output. Hit And Run Lover is a Betty Wright-esque punchy number. 

Midsummer Dream sees the pace slow down for a classic-sounding soul ballad. Do You Still Feel The Same Way? is a stately, heartfelt piece of horn-powered gospel soul. It was a hit on the US soul chart.

A gem is the delicious slow burning groove of You Brought It On Yourself. Its lyrics are familiar ones of male fecklessness and infidelity. That is all forgotten about in That's All A Part Of Loving Him as Tommie forgives her man anything on an attractive funky, grinding and bassy number. It has a bit of a Northern Soul feel to it, although the beat is probably just a bit slower. It also features some nice flute enhancements. It is the type of track that Paul Weller might have covered during his Studio 150 phase. Ok he didn't but he just may have...I'm sure he would have liked the track.

She Don't Have To See You (To See Through You) has Tommie warning other women off her no-good man. Man, he is a no-good low-down whatever. Do We Have A Future? is a deep, lively and pulsating number with a funky vibe to it. 

You Can Only Do Wrong So Long is another Betty Wright style song and it is a most infectious one too, with an addictive rhythm and a killer vocal. This is absolute quality soul and really deserved more critical credit than it ever got.

Take Take To Know Him is a Percy Sledge cover and it has that irresistible organ-driven slow Atlantic groove that Sledge gave us on When A Man Loves A Woman. Check out that beautiful bass line and backing vocals on the "I didn't listen to mama.." part. Sublime soul. "Girls can you dig this..." sings Tommie. Ummm hmmm. Sure we can, sister.

Get Out Of My Life has the first sings of a bit of a disco beat creeping in with its punchy horns and "chicka-chicka" guitar riff backing. Tommie copes with the demands of disco/soul admirably. I'm Not Going To Cry Anymore is a Detroit Spinners-style orchestrated fast-ish soul number. One Sided Love Affair is a big production but slow paced ballad. The strings are being used a lot more on these last few tracks.

The familiar Memphis, Stax-ish sound returns on the cookin' soul of You Can't Have Your Cake (And Eat It Too). This is a fine end to a very impressive and uplifting collection of seventies soul. The fact so much of this material slipped under the radar is a pity.

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