I have an embarrassingly large CD and record collection – spread across two flats (not both mine, in case you were wondering) and occupying everything from shelves to suitcases. Courtesy of YouTube, I thought I’d share some of the choice items – particularly some of the less well known ones.  Think of it as a slowly evolving, digital mixtape...

There’ll be a new song most days (at least that’s the plan) so keep checking back and please post your comments and suggestions as well.

You may think you've never heard Ronnie Dyson before but if you own the original Broadway cast recording of Hair then you have – his is the voice that begins the show as he leads off Aquarius. He signed with Columbia records shortly afterwards and enjoyed some US chart success in the early 70s before his career tailed off later in the decade. A move to Cotillion Records in 1981 failed to restore his fortunes.

His first recordings are amongst his best and have recently been repackaged by Soul Music Records.  It's a brave singer that covers Laura Nyro but Ronnie does a great job on this song from Eli and the Thirteenth Confession.

 

Another largely unsung singer, Joe Lee Wilson was born in Oklahoma, moved to New York in the 60s - where he played with Sonny Rollins and Miles Davis - and ended his days in Brighton. 

Along the way he recorded a handful of albums including Feelin' Good on Candid from which comes this gorgeous version of Hal Hopper and Tom Adair's There's No You.  There's a few cracking versions of this song out there - Frank Sinatra, Shirley Horn - but this is the equal of any.  The beautiful piano playing is Kirk Lightsey's.

 

Gospel singer Marie Knight enjoyed considerable success in the 40s and 50s, often as a duet partner with Sister Rosetta Tharpe.  She also made some secular recordings in the 50s and 60s although her career waned shortly thereafter.

This song is hardly obscure but I love how she turns it into something completely different from the original. Surely this was the inspiration for Joe Cocker's more famous version from 1970?

 

Carl Anderson is best remembered for playing Judas in the film of Jesus Christ Superstar.  He recorded a brace of albums in the 80s and 90s for Epic and later GRP where he did his best work.

From his third album for the label comes this beautiful take on Brad Cole's  setting of Robert Herrick's 17th century poem To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time.