DEAR JERRY: As a fairly new collector of 1960s and '70s soul records, I am curious about one thing.
Which label made the soul records that are the most sought after? Obviously, King, Volt, and all the Motown labels issued tons of soul records, but might there a lesser known, more obscure outfit that I don't know of yet?
If so, what would be some values of those records?
Bernie Pennington, Eau Claire, Wisc.
DEAR BERNIE: If you are looking for a label so in demand that anything on it is bound to be valuable, the one that first comes to mind is Shrine.
Unlike the companies you list, all of which had numerous hits on the pop and soul charts, Washington D.C.-based Shrine had no nationally charted hits whatsoever. It is also likely that you have never heard of any of their artists. However, they did record some of the '60s best soul music.
Eddie Singleton and his wife, Raynoma Liles Gordy, brought Shrine into existence. Raynoma, known professionally as “Miss Ray,” was Motown founder Berry Gordy's second wife. Miss Ray later wrote the tell-all book, “Berry, Me and Motown.” On some Shrine labels we see “Arranged by Miss Ray.”
The short-lived company began in the spring of 1965 and ceased operations in late '66.
As with any type of collectible, the combination of scarcity and demand adds up to value. For Shrine issues all of which are 45 rpms that value is much great than most other releases of the mid-'60s.
In order of value, here are some examples of Shrine numbers that you should be on the lookout for, along with their years and predictable prices:
1. Jay Dee Bryant (No. 108) “I Won't Be Coming Back.” ($4,000 to $5,000), 1966.
2. Cautions (No. 115) “No Other Way.” ($400 to $500), 1966.
3. D.C. Blossoms (No. 112) “Guess Who Loves You.” ($300 to $400), 1966.
4. Bill Dennis (No. 113) “I'll Never Let You Get Away.” ($300 to $400), 1966.
5. Enjoyables (No. 118) “Shame.” ($250 to $350), 1966.
6. Sidney Hall (No. 109) “The Weekend. ($250 to $350), 1966.
7. Les Chansonettes (No. 114) “Deeper.” $200 to $300), 1966.
8. Linda and the Vistas (No. 100) “She Went Away.” ($200 to $300), 1965.
9. Counts (No. 117) “My Only Love.” ($200 to $300), 1966.
10. Jimmy Armstrong (No. 102) “Mystery.” ($200 to $300), 1965.
11. Leroy Taylor & the Four Kays (No. 101) “Taking My Time.” ($200 to $300), 1965.
12. D.C. Blossoms (No. 107) “I Know About Her.” ($200 to $300), 1966.
13. Ray Pollard (No. 103) “No More Like Me.” ($150 to $250), 1965.
14. Epsilons (No. 106) “Mad at the World.” ($150 to $250), 1966.
15. Cautions (No. 104) “Watch Your Step.” ($150 to $250), 1965.
16. Cairos (No. 111) “Don't Fight It.” ($150 to $250), 1966.
This information should also answer a very similar question submitted by Amarilis Gibeli.
On the front cover of “Piano Artistry,” a piano keyboard is pictured with two hands poised to make beautiful music but they are two “left” hands.
Also, “ Jonathan & Darlene Edwards in Paris” features “ a synchro-kinetic sound,” which, according to the jacket notes “some unsympathetic traditionalists might refer to as being out-of-phase. It is enough to realize that it is just the right sound for the talents of Jonathan and Darlene Edwards.”
These two are among the most enjoyable albums I've ever had, and provide wonderful background music for parties. When played at a gathering, a few guests will eventually cock their heads and get this wonderfully puzzled look on their faces.
Mike Armstrong, Polk City, FL (firstname.lastname@example.org)
DEAR MIKE: Thank you for sharing your observation of that cover. You have added even more amusement to the Jonathan and Darlene Edwards saga.
IZ ZAT SO? Reportedly, Raynoma Liles Gordy had been fired from Motown for bootlegging. Apparently, she needed the cash to maintain Motown's New York office because Berry kept it on such a limited budget.
After marrying Eddie Singleton, the newlyweds founded Shrine Records.