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Thursday, January 24, 2019

Sandra Rhodes - Where's Your Love Been (1973 us, miraculous soulful country rock, 2014 extra tracks remaster)

Sandra Rhodes was a country girl who landed in Memphis rather than Nashville, which means she ended up singing a lot more than just country music. Rhodes, along with her sister Donna Rhodes and husband Charlie Chalmers, did session work with some of the biggest names in both soul and country music, from Conway Twitty to Al Green, and as a singer and songwriter she walked a tightrope between the two sides of Southern music through the '60s and '70s (which were never as different as people liked to believe). Rhodes' love of both country and soul is evident on her first and only solo album to date, 1973's Where's Your Love Been, which was cut at the Sam Phillips Recording Studio in Memphis; while this music is clearly informed by country music, with pedal steel guitar, lonesome harmonicas, and massed vocal choruses playing into the arrangements, there's a deeply soulful note in Rhodes' vocals and melodies that suggests the average C&W radio station wasn't going to play this stuff, no matter how much "No Such Thing as Love" and "No One Else Could Love You More" sound like great country singles.

When Rhodes felt like showing off her soulful side, she did it right; "The Best Thing You Ever Had" and the title track cut a top-notch groove, suggesting classic Hi Records sides, and the gospel feel that permeates "Never Grow Old" is clearly not of the bluegrass variety. If Rhodes didn't easily fall into a generic category, this record sounds like Memphis through and through, with its easy fusion of styles and potent yet comfortable grooves delivered by a crack session band. Where's Your Love Been isn't quite a lost classic, but it shows Sandra Rhodes was a gifted vocalist who could have had a great solo career with better breaks and a more supportive label, and it's a pure product of a city where soul comes as easily as breathing. [In 2014, Omnivore Records gave Where's Your Love Been an expanded and remastered reissue, with seven excellent outtakes from the original sessions included as bonus tracks, and fine liner notes from Bill Dahl. Fans of country-soul will clearly enjoy this set, and it's a splendid tribute to an overlooked talent.
by Mark Deming

While Sandra Rhodes made a name for herself singing behind Al Green on his classic Hi Records sides and writing songs including Conway Twitty’s #1 single, “The Clown,” her best work missed the public eye. And ear.

Where’s Your Love Been was Sandra’s 1972 album, recorded at Sam Phillips Recording Studio in Memphis and originally released on Fantasy Records. Just as her backing vocals (usually performed with sister Donna and then husband Charlie Chalmers) appeared on recordings of every genre, Where’s Your Love Been moved from Country to sweet Memphis Soul. The same reason her songs have been recorded by artists as diverse as Skeeter Davis to Isaac Hayes.

Co-Produced by Sandra and Chalmers, the ten tracks on Where’s Your Love Been include originals like the title cut to a cover of The Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” To make this album’s CD debut even more special, seven bonus tracks from the sessions have been unearthed—all previously unissued!

With liner notes from Bill Dahl in a full color booklet, Where’s Your Love Been is ready for the audience that missed out on it over four decades ago. Like many other great “unheard” albums, Omnivore Recordings is proud to tell everyone that the question of Where’s Your Love Been has finally been answered.

1. No One Else Could Love You More (Sandra Rhodes, Charles Chalmers) - 4:01
2. I Think I Love You Again (Irwin Levine, Toni Wine) - 2:41
3. No Such Thing As Love (Sandra Rhodes, Charles Chalmers) - 3:08
4. Sho' Is Rainin' (Sandra Rhodes, Charles Chalmers) - 4:12
5. It's Up To You (Sandra Rhodes) - 2:45
6. Where's Your Love Been (Sandra Rhodes, Donna Rhodes) - 4:28
7. You Can't Always Get What You Want (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) - 4:17
8. Never Grow Old (Sandra Rhodes, Donna Rhodes) - 3:11
9. The Best Thing You Ever Had (George Jackson) - 3:13
10.Sowed Love And Reaped The Heartache (Dickey Lee, Allen Reynolds) - 3:10
11.Double Dealing Woman (Sandra Rhodes, Charles Chalmers, Morris Tarrant) - 2:20
12.Someday Sweet Baby (Donna Rhodes) - 3:23
13.Baby Don't Go (Sonny Bono) - 3:50
14.I'd Rather Hurt You Now (Sandra Rhodes, Charles Chalmers) - 3:03
15.Linda Was A Lady (Sandra Rhodes, Charles Chalmers) - 3:37
16.Jingo (Sandra Rhodes, Donna Rhodes, James Brown) - 4:04
17.I Don't Play The Game (Sandra Rhodes) - 3:09

*Sandra Rhodes - Vocals, Acoustic, Electric Guitar
*Donna Rhodes -  - Congas, Maracas, Tambourine
*James Brown - Organ, Piano
*Butch Johnson - Guitar
*Ben Cauley - Trumpet
*Charles Chalmers - Tenor Sax
*Steve Holt - Drums
*The Joint Ventures - Choir
*Leo La Blanc - Steel Guitar
*James Mitchell - Baritone Sax
*Roland Robinson - Bass
*Sylvester Sample - Bass

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