Harry Ray, Al Goodman & Billy Brown
“Listen -You Just Don’t Know – MP3″
I’m getting my third weekly post up a day early to mark Valentine’s Day.
I hadn’t originally planned on doing a V-day post, but inspirado snuck up on me and I dipped into the stack of digi-ma-tized tracks in search of a serious love song.
The track I chose, is something that I was holding in reserve for something a little more long-form, that being a survey of Jersey Shore soul (which will probably happen anyway, sometime in the not too distant future).
A while back, while digging for information on local garage punk groups of the 60’s I stumbled upon a discography that indicated that the Selsom label (run by local legend Norman Seldin) had released soul sides by two local groups, the Valtairs and the Uniques.
Up until that point, though I had assumed there had been R&B/soul groups at the Shore – Asbury Park having been a thriving city in the 60’s with a large African-American population – I had no idea that any of these groups had recorded.
I started out looking for records by the Valtairs and the Uniques and quickly discovered that they were not only rare, but in the case of the Uniques 45, very, VERY expensive*.
I dod however manage to locate one of the two Valtairs 45s on Selsom. The more research I did, the more interesting the story became.
The Uniques, formed in the early-60s in Asbury Park was in fact an integrated group whose members included Harry Ray and Billy Brown**, later of the Moments and Ray Goodman and Brown.
A few years later, Brown, along with Ronnie Coleman and Leon Trent reformed as the Broadways and recorded two 45s for MGM (both prized by collectors of Northern Soul). I discovered the both of these 45s (this one in fact) could be quite expensive, but fate stepped in and a few weeks later a good friend of mine – who also happens to be a record dealer – included copies of both Broadways 45s on his list. They were graded a little lower than I like, but since this cat is probably THE most conservative grader I’ve ever encountered (and an all around righteous dude), I took a chance and grabbed both of the records.
It was a good thing I did, because they were both excellent and (as expected) in excellent shape.
That all said, I’ll save further detail (and the Valtairs side) for a later date.
However, in the spirit of amore, and in dedication to my wife, who I happen to love very much, I bring you today’s selection, the Broadways’ blissful ‘You Just Don’t Know’.
‘You Just Don’t Know’ is one of those records that ought to be kept ready for whenever someone asks you just what Northern Soul is.
Backed with a solid dancers beat, a wonderful melody, sweet harmonies, vibes, strings and baritone sax accents, the Broadways’ ‘You Just Don’t Know’ is a slice of absolute perfection. It’s one of those sweet, upbeat soul 45s that seems to physically lift you out of your seat. You just want to close your eyes, sway to the beat and clap your hands; a little bit like the feeling of being in love.
So, in dedication to my wife Jenny – who even though I’m a crabby bastard sometimes, still loves me – I say ‘You Just Don’t Know (How Good You Make Me Feel)’.
Peace (and LOVE)
*The Uniques 45 on Selsom – which, when it turns up sells for hundreds – is prized by doowop collectors. Oddly enough, though I haven’t been able to score a copy of the 45, there’s one hanging on the wall of the office of the Advertising VP where I work, who just happens to have been a member of the Uniques. Small f*cking world!
**I have yet to confirm that Ray, who was definitely in the Valtairs actually recorded with the Uniques