Well, we made it through the week. I hope you were nodding your head to “The Bus Stop” from the mid week post. I know I was. There was a bit of confusion with the link for Oliver Sain, so I apologize. I have no idea why it disappeared, but at any rate it was back up a short while after that. I was definitely busy this week, managing to finish up my exclusive mix for an upcoming issue of Vault Magazine, and do a guest editorial for REVOLT Magazine. It’s out NOW, so go to here and check it out. If you have been following this blog, you know I’ve been on a Soul kick, and this song today I can not get enough of. I was lucky to pick up an original copy from DJ Bluewater’s never ending, bottomless doubles 45 box, otherwise known as: “a way to make DJ Prestige broke”, or “how I spent my lunch money on Soul 45s”. Let me get right into this piece of dynamite Soul: “I Don’t Know Nothing Else To Tell You, But I Love You” by Monica on Toxsan Records.
I do not know a lot about this record, and had even less luck digging up information about the parties involved in this slice of Soul heaven. What I do know, is that Toxsan Records is a Philadelphia label (which released Funk, Soul, and Disco), championed by one Wally-O (Wally Osbourne). This man was responsible for the Toxan and Womar record labels throughout the 60’s and early 70’s. He went on to produce and put out some mighty fine Funk and Soul in his day. Try getting your hands on The Herb Johnson Settlement’s “Damph F’Aint” on Toxsan (ok better yet get the reissue, the OG might set you back a few) to see what I mean. The Monica record was written by composer and saxophonist Morris Bailey, Jr. A native of Philadelphia, his songs were recorded by some of music’s greatest R&B artists spanning 3 decades. He wrote songs for Blue Magic, The Spinners, Patti LaBelle, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, The Stylistics, and Nina Simone among others. It was produced by Wally-O, and the backing band was a band called The Impacts, who coincidentally, Herb Johnston recorded with as well. This band was around before Herb, and had released a few sides on the Marmaduke label, most notably “Thunder Chicken” (which has a cool Go Go Gophers looking Indian on the record label). They continued to record with a variety of different members, and were the Toxsan house band. That’s all I could dig up until I sent an e mail to Larry Grogan inquiring more about this record. He was in touch with a reputable collector, Haim Kenig , who was able to shed some light on this mysterious Soul singer for me. Apparently her last name is Burrus. So Monica Burrus, or Monica Pege as she was known later on, went on to be a back up singer for Barry Manilow’s all girl band Lady Flash. She was a featured vocalist on Name that Tune, and tried her hand at acting as well in the 1980’s, landing parts in a variety of television shows and movies. She also put out the ultra rare record “Chaueffer”, which Hiam sent a scan of.
Record Scan Courtesy of Haim Kenig
I’d love to hear from Monica herself, and get her side of this record’s story. So if you stumble upon this, please send me an e mail and shed some light on the subject, maybe even a photo from that era so my readers can put a face to the name.
“I Don’t Know” starts off fairly slow, with Monica cooing some acapella sweet nothings. What happens next is nothing short of a perfect Soul song. The Impacts as a backing band are tight, and the bass line is quite nice. (Reminds me of a Tighten Up style, a bit slower, and more Soulful). There are some subtle horn stabs along with some funky guitar, but the highlight is Monica’s voice. It’s some sweet stuff (we still do not know if she was a Philly girl or not) , but it sounds like it’s coming right off a Philly street corner. This upbeat Soul number does not disappoint, I can assure you. The guy she is singing to is a lucky man. This sweet Soul Sister’s voice never grows tiresome. If she knows nothing else to tell you, and wants to sing about it all day, I can live with that. Play this thing often and play it loud. It’s in HEAVY rotation in the FMF household, and until my wife screams to turn it off , it’s staying there. Before I sign off, I’d like to give a shout out to a huge supporter of the Asbury Park 45 Sessions, Bob Shannon, (husband of resident DJ Connie T. Empress). Congratulations to him and WCBS 101.1, as they are back on the air, playing all the Funk and Soul we love. Good Luck!
** This record will be on the Vault Magazine Mix by DJ Prestige, available through mail order from them in the UK in about a month or so. To get some instant gratification (as if the MP3 wasn’t enough) the mighty Funky 16 Corners included this in his Bold Soul Sisters Mix . Thanks again to Larry Grogan and Haim Kenig for sharing their record knowledge on this piece.