Thursday, July 1, 2010

Lee Moses- Bad Girl

A funky guitarist with a rough and powerful deep soul singing style, Atlanta musician Lee Moses deserved a much wider audience during his lifetime, but although he released several dynamite singles and an engaging album in the late '60s and early '70s, he is a true lost figure in the history of R&B.

Moses met New York producer and scene hustler Johnny Brauntly around 1965 and began working as a session guitarist for him (along with another session player, some left-handed guitarist named Jimi Hendrix) in the Big Apple. Moses cut three singles for Musicor Records in 1967, followed by a couple more for Dynamo Records and a nine-track solo LP in 1971 for Maple Records entitled Time and Place, which saw him backed by his own band, now called the Disciples, and various members of the Ohio Players.

The album sold little at the time but has become a revered and highly sought-after lost treasure for deep soul fans and collectors. Moses' last known release was a version of "The Dark End of the Street," which appeared as a single on Gates Records in the early '70s. He returned to Atlanta shortly thereafter and the city remained his home base for the rest of his life. He gigged locally there but apparently did not record again. He died in Atlanta in 1997. Castle Music combined all of Moses' singles with the 1971 LP tracks in 2007 and released them as the Time and Place CD, essentially creating a long-awaited collected works anthology.


I knew nothing of Lee Moses, except for the stray track that would appear on obscure soul collections, usually amidst 25 other b-level pieces of R&B. Collections like these usually sound great as a whole, but rarely have more than 3-4 gems that get repeated listening. Like yesterday's rediscovery, I have had the Lee Moses "Time& Place" collection Steve Leggett mentions above since the day it was released. And I love it. But do I remember why? Having a lot of music sometimes means having too much music.

While waiting for Al Kooper's Rockabilly Trio to start their set at City Winery on Tuesday, (a 90 minute set with Koopa on guitar that was a total blast, by the way) a song came over the P.A. that smacked me much in the same way yesterday's Hale & The Hushabyes smacked me. I knew it, but couldn't place it. With a little help from "Cooljerk1949," we nailed "Bad Girl," a raw, pleading, screamer of soul from Lee Moses.

Here are parts 1 & 2.



(And don't forget to stop by Selling Wood to see what I am unearthing from the aforementioned "too much music." Or just click on my burning face above.)


misospecial said...

sweltering. moses is new to me... you're on a roll, my friend.

Ken D said...

Great voice. But what really jumped out at me was the drum sound on these records. Every beat is just a crash!