Awe­some mu­sic from the ar­chives – Love Ap­ple’s epony­mous al­bum

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - STUBS - Donal Di­neen

The Chicago based Numero la­bel has been an end­less source of qual­ity reis­sues since its in­cep­tion in 2003. The la­bel’s fo­cus has been to re­search and pre­serve ob­scure record­ings by artists who found lit­tle com­mer­cial suc­cess upon their ma­te­rial’s ini­tial re­lease. The light they shine into ne­glected corners is an in­valu­able aid for seek­ers of the pure drop.

To trawl their ex­ten­sive discog­ra­phy is to take a voy­age of dis­cov­ery through vast quan­ti­ties of un­her­alded Amer­i­can soul, blues and gospel mu­sic. The Bod­die Record­ing la­bel in Cleve­land is an ex­am­ple of the kind of lo­calised en­ter­prise which re­leased phe­nom­e­nal amounts of great mu­sic to lit­tle ac­claim. The la­bel was set up by Thomas Bod­die in the early 1970s. Lou Ragland was one of Cleve­land’s soul mu­sic sven­galis and Bod­die’s res­i­dent pro­duc­ers. In 1978 he dis­cov­ered a group called Love Ap­ple, com­prised of Lily Pear­son, An­nette War­ren and Aveta Henry. Un­like the pre­fab singing com­bos of the day, the three ladies swapped lead du­ties as the sit­u­a­tion de­manded. Ragland or­gan­ised a ses­sion and six songs were recorded. Soon though, the re­la­tion­ship soured and the tapes lay undis­cov­ered in the Bod­die vaults un­til Numero in­ter­vened in 2012.

The sparse ar­range­ments are an in­di­ca­tion of why the record­ings were never in­tended for re­lease, but you get the feel­ing that the magic in the sound would have been hard to cap­ture as per­fectly again. It’s a joy to lis­ten to. The sweet vo­cal har­monies on the funky mid-tempo bal­lads are ut­terly dis­arm­ing in ev­ery way. There is some­thing so ef­fort­less about the blend of the three-part vo­cal in­ter­play and Ragland’s lan­guid in­stru­men­ta­tion.

This record is in­struc­tive in many ways. It’s a snap­shot of soul mu­sic’s essence and an in­ti­mate les­son in how great sounds are con­jured.

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