“I’ve Been Chained So Long…Getting Free Just Don’t Seem Real…”
Having made two albums for Volt in the USA - “Makes A New Impression” in February 1971 ” on VOS-6012 and then “Phase II” in 1972 on VOS-6016, both of which bubbled under the USA R&B charts, but many felt should have done better - big things were expected of the Missouri lady on her 3rd album and new signing to the legendary home of soul music - Atlantic Records.
“Margie Joseph” was recorded in June and September 1972 in the Atlantics studios in New York and produced by keyboardist and legendary arranger ARIF MARDEN. It was released in early 1973 on Atlantic SD-7248 in the USA and Atlantic K 40462 in the UK. This February 2007 CD reissued on Vivid Sound out of Japan is a 5” hard-card repro of the American sleeve and is limited to 3000 copies worldwide.
The session players were:
MARGIE JOSEPH – All Vocals
CORNELL DUPREE and HUGH McCRACKEN – Guitars on 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 10 and 12
DAVID SPINNOZA – Guitar on 1, 5, 6, 9 and 11
RICHARD TEE – Keyboards on all
ARIF MARDEN – Additional Keyboards on 10
DAVID NEWMAN – Saxophone & Flute
JERRY GEMMOTT – Bass on 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 10 and 12
CHUCK RAINEY – Bass on 1, 5, 6, 9 and 11
CISSY HOUSTON, DEIRDRE TUCK, RENELIE STAFFORD, MYRNA SMITH, SYLVIA SHEMWELL, SAMMY TURNER and RONALD BRIGHT – Backing Vocals
RALPH McDONALD – Percussion on all except 3
NORMAN PRIDE – Percussion on 3 only
The CD itself is housed in a gauze inner bag (does anyone sell these?) while the fold-out page insert is entirely in Japanese on one side and blank on the other! If it weren’t for the credits on the pasted-on back sleeve on the card replica (complete with Obi), you wouldn’t have any idea of who did what and where.
Here’s a detailed breakdown (46:11 minutes):
1. I Been Down [Ron Galbraith/Marty Keener song]
2. Make Me Believe You’ll Stay [John W. Anderson song]
3. Let’s Stay Together [Al Green/Willie Mitchell/Al Jackson song; Al Green cover]
4. Turn Around And Love You [Donna Weiss song; Rita Coolidge cover]
5. I’m Only A Woman [Ben Peters song]
6. Let’s Go Somewhere And Love [Kenny O’Dell/Larry Henley song; Sandy Posey cover]
[END OF SIDE 1 on the LP]
7. You Better Know It [David Williams/Calvin White song]
8. Touch Your Woman [Dolly Parton song]
9. I’ll Take Care Of You [Brook Benton song]
10. I’m So Glad I’m Your Woman [Margie Joseph/Arif Mardin song]
11. How Do You Spell Love [Marshall Boxley, Jerry Strickland and Bobby Patterson song]
12. I’d Rather Go Blind [Ellington Jordan and Bill Foster song]
(Etta James/Chicken Shack cover)
[END OF SIDE 2 on the LP]
7” singles off the album were:
“Let’s Go Somewhere And Love” b/w “Born To Wander” was issued in 1972 on Atlantic 2907 in the USA
“Touch Your Woman” b/w “I’m So Glad I’m Your Woman” was issued in 1973 on Atlantic 2933 in the USA
“Let’s Stay Together” b/w “I’d Rather Go Blind” was issued in 1973 on Atlantic 2954 in the USA
“How Do You Spell Love” b/w “Let’s Stay Together” was issued in 1973 on Atlantic K 10313 in the UK
(“Born To Wander” is a Rare Earth cover version and is a non-album track)
There’s no reissue liner notes, but it’s obvious from the stunning funky opener “I Been Down” (lyrics at the top) that remastering has taken place – and a very sweet job has been done too. The sound is warm, full and sweetly clear.
The house band is virtually Aretha’s – and the album follows her releases at the time – a funky soulful tune followed by a torch ballad and back again. On the quieter songs like ”Turn Around And Love You” and I’ll Take Care Of You” a tad of hiss is audible – but because you’re too busy enjoying the top session work and Stevie Wonder/Donny Hathaway vibes of the songs – its not enough to detract.
If I was to point out one niggle it’s this - in the USA the album was preceded by a single, the superb Kenny O’Dell song “Let’s Go Somewhere And Love” (a minor hit for Sandy Posey as "Why Don't We Go Somewhere And Love" on Columbia in 1972). Put out on Atlantic 2907 in late 1972, its B-side was Joseph’s non-album cover version of Rare Earth’s “Born To Wander” and it’s a genuine sought-after soul rarity – a fantastically funky tune. It’s a shame it wasn’t tagged on here as a bonus track. But maybe that’s for Rhino to look into - in fact they could do with making all 4 of her Atlantic/Cotillion albums from the 1970s available domestically.
Fab stuff really – and even if it is pricey (as these Japanese imports are) – worth every bent penny & red cent you’ll need to acquire it.
PS: the other two titles in this 5” card sleeve repro series issued in February 2007 are:
1. “Sweet Surrender” on Vivid Sound VSCD-321
(her 2nd LP for the label issued in August 1974 on Atlantic SD-7277 in the USA)
2. “Margie” is on Vivid Sound VSCD-322
(her 3rd LP for the label issued in 1975 on Atlantic SD-18126 in the USA)