Mel Brown – Son of a Preacher Man


Mr. Mel Brown


Listen – Son of a Preacher Man MP3″

Greetings all.

I sit here tonight, composing this mid-weekly post from storm tossed Maine, in the midst of one of the most unfortunate stretches of vacation weather we’ve ever experienced in the almost ten years that the Mrs. and I have been a couple.
This time out we’re on the road – for the first time – with the whole family, and I’m here to tell you that traveling with an infant and a toddler is a whole ‘nother bag my friends. The things you do, the places you eat and stay…all different. If you’re flexible and you work at it – which we do – it can be a lot of fun. If you sit around pining for the days of traveling as a couple you’re in for a very rude awakening. That said, despite the horrible weather – which we seem always to be at least one step behind – we’re doing OK. Our trip across southern Vermont and New Hampshire was beset by several detours when state roads had literally been washed out – just like in the movies – and we had to change course. In suburban NJ this wouldn’t be such a big deal. In rural New Hampshire, every new turn was a possible stranding.
We finally found our way into northeastern Massachusetts – wherein plates of delicious oysters and clams were waiting patiently for our arrival – and then on to Portsmouth, NH.
We took the long way up the coast – taking a short stop in Kennebunkport to hang a moon by the Bush compound (witnessing a truly awesome and angry Atlantic waves in the process). The Maine coast is littered with fallen trees, and in some instances evidence that the sea had reached beyond the beaches, leaving sand and rocks all over the roads.
The hotels we stayed at in Portsmouth and Portland are both hosting evacuees from the coast and islands and we’ve heard stories about major power outages.
A mess.
Anyway – unlike the last trip – I’ve managed to hook up with some excellent high speed wi-fi, and as a result am taking some time out (with the kids gone to sleep) to get some sounds up on ye olde bloggespotte…
I’ve featured a couple of cuts by the mighty Mel Brown in this space before, and while rifling through my crates to pull DJ heat in the last few months, I decided that the time was ripe for one more by the master.
Brown recorded a grip of very tasty LPs for Impulse in the late 60’s, and his final session for the label, ‘Blues for We’ was among the tastiest*. The best track on the LP was today’s selection ‘Son of a Preacher Man’.
I suppose that that tune, waxed so memorably by Dusty Springfield, falls into that category of “can’t miss covers”, though without knowing for sure I’m almost certain that there are versions out there by the Montovanis, Percy Faiths and Crappy Von Wimpsteins** of the world, so who knows. That said however, the law of averages, and the heat generated by Mr. Brown and his gee-tar, suggests to me that most of the covers out there are at least worth hearing (his especially so).
I’d even go as far as to say that Brown’s version is the best I’ve heard, vocal or instrumental. The session, arranged by Artie Butler cooks, with a very hot horn chart, funky drums and a double heaping helping of ultra-greeezy fatback axe-work by Mel.
It, like all the MB 45s that I’ve gathered in the field, is most groovy, and worth picking up if you are lucky enough to encounter one yourself.
I’ll be off the interwebs for the latter part of the week, so it’s unlikely there’ll be anything new before Monday, so enjoy, pray for sunshine, and I’ll see you then.

PS The Asbury Park 45 Sessions numero three-o will be back on Friday May 11th. Don’t miss it.

PSS No comments on the Philly mix? Anyone digging it? Anyone?

* Oddly enough the 45 label says that the album is entitled ‘Set Me Free’. ‘Blues for We’ features a track by that name, so I’ll assume that that was the albums working title.

** Not a real guy…

9 Responses to “Mel Brown – Son of a Preacher Man”

  1. outeast Says:

    Since you asked… I only got to listen to the Philly mix right through for the first time yesterday. Your mixes have become a mainstay of my listening since I found your blog, but for some reason this one didn’t quite hit the spot for me (though some tracks did). I’m sure that’s just me, though! I’d dearly like to hear the first Philly mix for comparison… hint, hint:)

    A couple of weeks ago or so you mentioned setting up an archive of the mixes. A fantastic idea – as I said, I’ve been getting a big buzz out of those I’ve got and would love to fill out the gaps. I’m sure I’m not the only one, too! Any likelihood of it happening soon? Of course hosting is a pain, but maybe Rapidshare would be an easy & cheap option.

    While I’m posting, I’d like to mention how much I enjoy those of your posts that refer to the joys and tribulations of life with young kids. You’re a year or so further down that road than I am so it’s a bit like getting sneak previews:)

    Anyway, really appreciate your blog! You make masses of great music available that I for one would never be able to hear at all otherwise (living in central Europe I do not even have the option of hunting down the vinyl). Thanks!

  2. Vincent Says:

    …It has been a while since I dropped a line, sorry…
    I did indeed enjoy the sweet Philly soul, and I probably have another cavity in my mouth to prove it :-0
    It was nice to hear a cleaner copy of “Get Out” as mine sounds like a really BAD cassette recording.
    I am trying hard to synchronise schedules with the Paradox team; it’s been rough going in the early stages but just like Aesop once said, “…slow but sure wins the race”. I must drag my lazy ass off to work now but I will keep you and Pres posted when I know more.

    Peace and blessings.

  3. fleamarketfunk Says:

    i DIG this version. i thought i stumbled upon a funky version with larry carlton, this right here is some really good stuff. thanks for starting my day off right.

  4. ollie Says:

    I didn’t have the time to listen carefully to the Philly Soul mix before today, and, well… 40% of it didn’t quite strike home for me (some of them lacked – I felt – strong enough melodic lines)… The remaining 60 being much more than what I could have wished for (… is that proper English?), Ethics’, Intrigues’ and Harold Melvin’s tunes are killers!!!
    Speaking of Philly, I came across a couple of songs by Ann Byers on a compilation (Philly Soul Girls, or something like that…), and I really fell for the performer’s liveliness and conviction as well as the “catchiness” of the compositions (Here I am and Better Without You). As it happens, I just can’t seem to find relevant facts about this artist, and and thought it’d be cool if you could impart some of your knowledge about Miss (Mrs?) Byers. Thank for contributing to the (great) soudtrack of my everyday life!!!

  5. Randy Says:

    Philly soul mix was superb! One of the better ones you’ve done. Greatly appreciated!

  6. Dan Says:

    Love the Mel Brown. I’m writing from Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. For many years, Mel has called this home. He still performs a regular weekly gig at a small club called “The Boathouse” in Kitchener. The shows are still great, but his health is failing fast.

  7. Billy K Says:

    Not my favorite mix. I hate to say that, but I also know how it feels to not get feedback on something you’ve worked on, sooo….

    A lot of the tracks seemed to lack…”vigor?” Not sure how to describe it.I just hear some lifeless quality. Strangely, there was also a strong late-Tamla feel to many of them, IMHO. I am by no means an authority here, but I would’ve never guessed this was a Philly mix if I wasn’t told so.

    Still, it’s like sex or chocolate – even when it’s just OK, it’s still great.

    Hope your vacation picked up.

    P.S. Love the Mel Brown. Thanks.

  8. Parabellum Says:

    LOVED the Mel Brown. First time I’d heard him. Thanks for turning me on to him.

    That said, the Philly Soul mix was a little flat. I think you tried a little too hard to avoid well-known tunes and artists. You were trying to stick to early Philly, so I understand your aim, just would have liked a little more oomph.

    Obscure or popular. Sometimes you can’t win. {;^)

  9. dj limb Says:

    I love this shit

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