March 16, 2010
Found the Holy Grail of Austin Modern Soul, just sitting in a dusty old cardboard box... TRACE OF SMOKE - TREASURE MIND
Here it is, one of the holy grails of the modern soul world and produced and recorded right here in Austin TX. I really dig this track, it's from 1977, and it has the classic modern soul crossover funk sound that really represents what the UK clubs were playing in the 80s to present as floor friendly northern soul (which after about 1975 became modern soul, to mark the difference in era and sound, but still serving basically the same purpose for club DJs.) I don't know a whole hell of a lot about the background of John Calvin or Mary Williams, (probably no relation to Mary Lou Williams but the track she is on is a jazzy number) but I do know that Melvin Winn occasionally produced soul records for artists around Austin and maybe Dallas, and that he also produced another later soul/boogie record by Karizma that is also very good and equally rare, but worth about 150-300 dollars as opposed to Trace of Smoke which fetches 1000-2000 dollars in good shape. Treasure Mind is not only awesome it's a grower too, the first time I heard it I was at about 3.5 stars out of 5, but honestly I am at pushing 5 stars now, atleast for the soul 45 category, theres just something kinda otherwordly about it's lyrics, which are quite elusive, and the breakdown in the middle just levels me. Anyway, I am very thankful to the record gods for this one and I wish I could have kept it but the $ is too irresistible. Enjoy a real non cd comp copy of this, and I'm throwing in the U.R. side too, cause not many people have heard it.
Trace of Smoke - Treasure Mind
Trace of Smoke - U.R.