Bold Soul Sisters - top soul singles by female artists mid 60s to early 70s

By willyrobinson willyrobinson
updated 11 months ago

  1. Ike & Tina Turner - I Know / Bold Soul Sister

    5 For Sale from $19.00

    Ike at his tightest, Tina at her loosest and they manage to get a real Sly And The Family Stone vibe going on - fantastic.

  2. Bettye Swann - I Think I'm Falling In Love / Don't Take My Mind

    21 For Sale from $3.99

    Any of her singles on the Money label are money in the bank, but this one has fantastic tracks on both sides. Bettye has a really sweet voice that's just a joy to listen to, but allied to that she's got, like Barbara Lynn, amazing vocal control, switching between hard and soft delivery in the blink of an eye. Her delivery is always very measured - every word of every song is crafted, even in up-tempo numbers.

  3. Betty Lavette* - Let Me Down Easy / What I Don't Know (Won't Hurt Me)

    19 For Sale from $10.00

    Great song, great arrangement. Here's a singer with just about everything: power, range, timing, nuance...

  4. Barbara Lynn - I'm A Good Woman / Running Back

    7 For Sale from $99.00

    Probably my all-time favourite singer for a whole bunch of reasons. An excellent guitar player, I get the feeling she came to sessions (much like Aretha at her piano) dominating the arrangement and knowing exactly how her singing would fit in. There's footage on youtube of her playing three songs live on 'The Beat' with an impressive bark in her voice. In general in the studio she was more subtle - the key being her ability to sing with either a hard or soft edge to her voice (and how quickly she could navigate between them). This track is just a belter with some very tight drumming indeed. It's worth checking out the version on the Crazy Cajun recordings for a pared-down arrangement with no horns.

  5. Big Maybelle - Mama (He Treats Your Daughter Mean) / Keep That Man

    9 For Sale from $13.19

    While some of her Savoy recordings are equally good, the quality of Big Maybelle's songs on Rojac is very consistant - there's kind of a mix of compression and reverb in the sound that they make their own. I love the B-side on this one.

  6. Ann Peebles - Breaking Up Somebody's Home

    13 For Sale from $1.99

    Incredibly confident Hi Records sound on both sides - the arrangements are simple and bang-on in every way. It's the B-side again though that blows me away, Ann Peebles at her very best.

  7. Inez And Charlie Foxx - (1-2-3-4-5-6-7) Count The Days

    18 For Sale from $1.65

    Inez Foxx's voice breaks up in a very interesting way when she pushes it hard. You can hear it better perhaps on Hurt By Love, but somehow I prefer this one. It's my list...

  8. Gloria Taylor - Deep Inside You / World That's Not Real

    2 For Sale from $50.00

    There are two versions of Deep Inside Of You, with or without an insistant Purdie-ish high-hat lick. I can't choose between 'em - guess it depends whether I'm feeling like dancing or not. GAT's voice is highly produced and double-tracked by Walter Wizenhunt, but it's no less remarkable for that. Sounds kind of brittle but never breaks (if that makes sense). Amazing B-side too.

  9. Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & The Trinity - Take Me To The Water / Let The Sunshine In

    5 For Sale from $5.49

    Definitive version of Let The Sunshine In, playing to Julie's strengths. I don't want to be too critical because this is an incredible song, but it seems to me that JD was classically trained rather than gospel trained, and she got found out from time to time on other material.

  10. Aretha Franklin - I Can't See Myself Leaving You

    10 For Sale from $4.39

    My favourite Aretha single, subdued but excellent, led by her piano slowly into a richer arrangement (how good were Atlantic back then?).

  11. The Fascinations - Girls Are Out To Get You

    19 For Sale from $4.90

    Girl groups are not my thing, but there's got to be exceptions to every rule. I'm a huge fan of Curtis Mayfield and I'm constantly surprised by the size and quality of his contribution to music. This tune is kind of sweet-sounding yet dark at the same time, with some complicated rhymes thrown in there. It's also interesting that it was so much more of a hit in the UK than in the US.

  12. Jean Wells - Sit Down And Cry / Can't You Feel It

    16 For Sale from $2.61

    Apparently the Calla label was just a money-laundering front for the mob. I absolutelty love the fact that they ended up making so much good music.

  13. Fontella Bass - Home Wrecker

    11 For Sale from $5.00

    Got so famous for an earlier hit that this release almost sneaks by under the radar. The A-side is good, but the B-side is dynamite.
    'I'm a woman with a whole lot of Soul
    And I need a man with a whole lot of soul'
    Slays me every time (it's all about the delivery). Nowadays people sing about sex far too directly, and it's just not necessary...

  14. Betty Wright - Girls Can't Do What The Guys Do

    40 For Sale from $1.99

    Really kind of old-fashioned and moralistic message, but what can I say? The tune just rocks like a motherf***er.

  15. Kim Weston - Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me A Little While)

    39 For Sale from $3.00

    An example of the Motown sound at its best (thankfully no strings)

  16. The Apollas - You're Absolutely Right / Lock Me In Your Heart

    I guess Lock Me In Your Heart is a typical old-school cheesy Motown-style tune, but the band rocks and the girls just belt it out in spectacular style.

  17. Denise Lasalle - A Love Reputation

    3 For Sale from $84.91

    Cracking song, driving beat, fantastic vocal delivery with excellent timing.

  18. Betty Lavette* - He Made A Woman Out Of Me / Nearer To You

    24 For Sale from $1.65

    Kind of a dirty version of Son Of A Preacher Man. Over time I've come to prefer the B-side, a truly epic torch song. BL sings them like nobody else can.

  19. Big Maybelle - Turn The World Around The Other Way / I Can't Wait Any Longer

    3 For Sale from $54.95

    They say 'good things come in small packages'. Well, sometimes downright f***in' amazing things come in big packages. Beside her sheer vocal power, Big Maybelle had the uncanny ability to turn a phrase. I guess like Della Reese or Ernestina Anderson, she was a true jazz singer working within the format of soul. I Can't Wait Any Longer is an incredibly bold minor chord arrangement.

  20. Du-Ettes* - Please Forgive Me / Lonely Days

    15 For Sale from $5.00

    Tight little tune, short and perfect.

  21. Lucille Mathis - Am I Asking Too Much / I'm Not Your Regular Woman

    I'm Not Your Regular Woman is just an impossibly perfect song. For just a little over two minutes this band were totally on fire. I'd love to know what bulls**t was number 1 while this record didn't even chart.

  22. Bettye Lavette - Your Turn To Cry / Soul Tambourine

    6 For Sale from $11.11

    Rare-groove torch song from the always excellent BL. Packs a punch.

  23. Alice Clark - I Keep It Hid / Don't Wonder Why

    3 For Sale from $24.99

    I Keep It Hid is for me the best song on Alice Clark's only (and fomidably expensive) album, and it's still more or less accessable at the moment. It somehow jumps from a 1960s northern soul verse to a fully 1970s (and by that I mean all that is good about the early '70s) slowed-down double-tracked chorus that focuses every last bit of vocal power in her mighty voice. Great song and handy b-side too.