A couple of weeks ago, we left our steamy, sultry corner of Wisconsin and flew to San Francisco for the better part of a week.
I was promised there would be time for record digging, and there was. But as soon as I started diving into the vinyl at Amoeba Records in Berkeley, a problem popped up.
If there were records to be had, how to get them back to Wisconsin? Putting vinyl LPs in my luggage? Not really an option. Having them shipped home? Perhaps, but still a kind of a hassle.
So in a way, it was a relief to go through Amoeba and not find any LPs I had to have.
But in the soul CD bins, now there was a record I grabbed immediately.
“Two For The Price Of One” by Larry Williams and Johnny “Guitar” Watson is a soul scorcher originally released on Okeh in 1967. It was reissued last year on Righteous Records, a UK label, with 10 extra tracks (two more from the duo, plus eight from Watson alone).
Turns out, it was the only record I bought on our trip. It’s been playing constantly in the car since we got home. It’s the record of the summer, some 43 years after it was released.
I likely have disappointed some of the veteran crate diggers by going all the way to San Francisco and not making a better effort. So it goes. I can live with it. Some days, you have to take quality over quantity.
Listen for yourself.
“Too Late” and “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy,” Larry Williams and Johnny “Guitar” Watson, from “Two For The Price Of One,” 1967. The buy link is to the aforementioned import reissue.
I was tipped to these guys last year by another dynamic duo — my friends Larry over at Funky 16 Corners and Derek over at Derek’s Daily 45. All I know about them is what I learned from Larry and Derek’s posts, so I defer to them. As Larry mentioned last year …
The former is indeed a “Northern Soul fave,” one in which the fellas defiantly move on from a woman who dumped them.
The latter puts lyrics by Williams and Watson to an instrumental written in 1966 by Joe Zawinul for Cannonball Adderley’s jazz quintet. This was the first vocal version, and it was covered later in 1967 by the Buckinghams, who had a big hit with it.