Sunday Gospel, #5

Today’s recommended listening material, the Gospel Stars No. 2 of Charleston Heights, South Carolina (“play” button located at bottom of post), from 1979.

While we’re on the topic, might these be the Gospel Stars (No. 1)?

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“Judgement Day” by the Gospel Stars No. 2

Carolina Soul jukebox tags, part 1

The month of March came and went, with Jon Kirby and myself both on the road seemingly as much as we were home, and then when we had some downtime, we both watched too much March Madness. (Even though our Tar Heels weren’t where we wanted them to be, I suppose that some measure of civic pride can be found in the championship going to a fellow Tobacco Road team.) So there you have a couple excuses for our lack of posts these last few weeks, and we’re now ready to ease back in with what will hopefully be the first of many images of vintage Carolina Soul jukebox tags. Those pictured above are the only ones I can recall having, and I’d like to propose that you, our audience, submit scans of any that may be in your possession.

If you’re wondering about provenance, I’m sure I found that first handwritten Anthony Burns tag at the house of kind and helpful IBM employee turned record dealer Mike McKinley (R.I.P.) in maybe 2005, and the typewritten version came in the last year from a jukebox vendor that had been based in Greenville. Even though the deep soul two-sider “Try Me” b/w “Do Right Man” (Atlanta AT-4466) is quite obscure these days, the existence of the tags adds some weight to Mr. Burns’s claim that upon its release, his debut record was a hot commodity in the towns along South Carolina’s I-85 corridor, say from Anderson (his hometown) to Greenville. As for the “Doing What You Need To Do” tag, I’m pretty sure that a buddy found it in Burlington, NC, where Mr. Burns stayed briefly in the mid 1970s, cutting that great bass and drums-heavy funk (as heard on “Carolina Funk”) in Charlotte before moving to Durham and then back home to Anderson. 

On that day at Mike McKinley’s, the James (Mr. Soulfingers) Arnold tag also came my way. Mr. Soulfingers Arnold, we’ve never managed to track you down, so if you’re out there in Internet land, please drop us a line. We do know that the label of the Je-eeca Records release “Someone New” (a deep ballad) b/w “Your Chain of Love” (a mid-tempo groover) credits Melvin Burton—one-time husband of none other than Southern Soul heroine Ann Sexton—as “Arranger of Horns”, which is a start, but we’re still curious.

Can’t recall where the Tams jukebox tag originated, and that’s all for now, but please do let us know if you can share anything for a future post.

Oh! One more note, speaking of Ann Sexton, I just remembered that over at Paradise of Bachelors, a site that I’m a part of, we have an almost complete sheet for her 1971 debut on Impel Records. Check it out here, and you’ll also be rewarded with a candid photo from the collection of her original producer David Lee, along with many images of him.

The Lady With The Plan - LadyJam!

This week’s Sunday listening comes a few hours late, apologies. We’re featuring the 1987 release of Reverend LaDana Clark, aka LadyJam “The Lady With The Plan”, on JAM Records out of Hanahan, South Carolina. An interesting mix of electronics, soul, Christianity, and inspiration, to these ears it keeps sounding better and better. The spacey music breathes a little more on the instrumental side, which is also recommended, and another reason to look out for a copy of the 45. Clark has a strong web presence, and for more reading start with her myspace page, the “about” section of which is shown below. Sadly she reported in an online conversation on January 31st that no more copies of the original 45 are available.

Meet Reverend LaDana Clark aka The Lady With The Plan - LADYJAM!—-Devoted, Sincere and a Black Lesbian Christian Woman on a Mission to Save Lives! The Reverend LaDana Clark is a rare blend of cleric, energetic creator and spiritual guide who has pledged her mission and her ministry to uplifting, enhancing and ultimately, saving lives. Her “Professional Music Ministry” is rooted in her desire to make a difference. Her own personal story of triumph over some of the most despicable, terrifying and life-threatening circumstances is an absolute inspiration to all who listen to her as she speaks, raps and sings from her heart with an authentic faith in her Lord and Savior. Audiences quickly discover that there is not an insincere cell in her body—- from heart to Heaven, her motivation is unimpeachable and her drive—- unconquerable. Reverend Clark is the founder of NJ’s, Inclusive “Hip-Hop 4-Life!” Outreach Ministry! The much-heralded, CHURCH-N-THE-HOOD!; a ministry specifically designed to reach out to young people and the young at heart, in their milieu and at their most open level of understanding. Even those that don’t “want to” hear, find themselves involved, uninhibited, unafraid, open and grateful to hear so much of what they’re feeling put into a delivery that encapsulates their own fears and feelings, questions and concerns in a manner that they embrace. The Reverend is driven not to ‘preach’ , per se, but to ‘reach’ those who would listen. She challenges the participants not to settle for anything less than their absolute best—- never to compromise one’s self-worth and dignity and to consider walking with a life rooted in Faith. We are completely humbled and honored to represent the Reverend to sponsors, presenters, producers, congregations and corporations worldwide. A stirring, energetic, truth-telling, non-threatening messenger is dedicated to this mission. Her desire—- to offer help to the disenfranchised, the uninspired and those who have been treated as outcasts and feel that they have little hope to see the light of a better day. You can rely on the Reverend LaDana Clark aka LADYJAM to achieve your goals of uplifting and inspiring those that you serve each day! Team up with the Reverend and let her help make a difference in the lives of the people you want or need to reach. Let’s get her on your inspirational events calendar or intervention programing schedule for this year. For bookings or further information send a message today! Please also check out CHURCHNTHEHOOD.org

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“Thank The Lord” by LadyJam

King Clyde Perkins, The Cosmic Angel

While we are on the topic of Florence, South Carolina, and because only yesterday, after several years of searching, I finally secured a copy of “The Lowdown On Crack”, here’s a tribute to its maker, the late King Clyde Perkins. Exactly five years ago today, on February 16, 2005, Mr. Perkins’ name came up in conversation with a Florence radio disc jockey who was chatting with me about 1960s- and 1970s-era bands from the area. I had previously never known anything about a record I had by a Soul Impossibles band (but check the songwriting credits):

Musicians traveled from all over the state to record in Columbia, so the Impossibles could have been from anywhere, and I was grateful that the DJ remembered them and was still in contact. The next day I spoke with Mr. Perkins himself and learned that in 1963, when he was fresh out of Wilson High School in Florence, he formed his first group, the Royal Scots, who lasted for only a year. In 1967, he formed the Impossibles, who made the record near the end of their tenure in 1971, and who toured as far north as New York, playing gigs there for a week straight. Trumpeter Ivory Joseph has held onto these photos from a break in the action on Atlantic Beach, back in the Carolinas:

After constantly being on the road for four years, Mr. Perkins wanted to do something different, and in 1975, he started disc jockeying himself, using the handle “Cosmic Angel”. In 1977, he opened up his own club, the Celestial, and then in 1979 moved it to a bigger spot, the former Po Boy Club, which he renamed the Celestial II and kept open for six years. Billboard was hip to his sound-system activities in the Florence area, including a trademark innovation dubbed “Live Style”, and this small feature was printed in 1981:

Eighteen years in the making, 1989 saw a follow-up release to “Soul Power No. 1”. Mr. Perkins penned and rapped “The Lowdown On Crack” and released it in conjuction with the Columbia label Samarah, which was owned by members of one of that town’s most successful ‘80s R&B outfits, Midnight Blue. I’ve only ever heard about this record from the artist himself, but he didn’t have a copy on hand, and it was exciting to finally find and hear one elsewhere. We hope you enjoy what sure seems like an extension of his socially-conscious message first put forth in the ‘70s.

Meanwhile that first document “Interpretation - Soul Power No. 1” can be heard on the Jazzman/Now-Again “Carolina Funk” compilation. The cover image of the domestic version also came from Ivory Joseph’s archives. Mr. Perkins and Mr. Joseph met with us in the summer of 2006 to reminisce, lend us photos, and license the Soul Impossibles track, but sadly Mr. Perkins passed away before its reissue. We dedicate this posting to you, King Clyde Perkins, the Cosmic Angel.

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“The Lowdown On Crack” by King Clyde

Sunday Love from Lake City

As Valentines Day has up and fallen on a Sunday, we offer “Jesus Loves Me,” a declarative love song piloted by Wallace Graham. Recorded in Florence, South Carolina, the hearts make a nice touch for this loveliest of Sunday offerings. Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all.

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“Jesus Loves Me” by the Gospel Songbirds


The Carolina Soul website serves as a living encyclopedia of soul music made in North and South Carolina. We strive to share Carolinian songs and stories of the last half century, and we invite the input of musicians and fans. We hope you will contact us if you have information on bands or recordings from the region.