1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

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Archive for the tag “Peanut Butter Conspiracy”

Love Power – Wanda Arletti

Love Power - Wanda Arletti

Love Power – Wanda Arletti

It surprises me somewhat that Wanda Areltti’s (born Wanda Arletowicz in Hackney, England of Polish parents) brilliant album, ‘Love Power’ has never seen a digital release. One has to dig around in second hand vinyl shops if you want a copy of this.

The song ‘Love Power’ was written by a guy called Teddy Vann and was first recorded by a group from New York called The Sandpebbles. Their version made it to number 22 on the US charts. A year later Dusty Springfield recorded a cover of it and Wanda’s version appear the following year in 1969. Even jazz saxophonist Lou Donaldson produced a nice organ led cover which featured George Benson on guitar.

Wanda brings a powerful soul voice and a liveliness to the song while a drum heavy instrumentation (courtesy of The Bats’ Eddie Eckstein) warmed by some wonderful brass, underpins a classy cover of the song.

Like most songs of they era, it it over too quickly, clocking it at just over 2 minutes. But what a wonderful 2 minutes. The song is uplifting with Wanda’s sassy voice compliemented by such SA luminaries as Una Valli, Stevie van Kerken and Judy Page providing Motown-esque backing vocals, this is one of the stand out tracks of the brief period in SA music when we were doing some burningly great soul music. And that’s saying something, for although the volume of this type of soul in SA was not great the quality was very high. In amongst great tracks from The Flames, The Peanut Butter Conspiracy and Una Valli, ‘Love Power’ certainly has the power.

Where to find it:
Vinyl: Love Power – Wanda Arletti (1969), NEMS301

Video:
Wanda’s version

The Sandpebbles

Dusty Springfield:

Lou Donaldson:

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Hold On (To What You’ve Got) – Peanut Butter Conspiracy

Hold On (To What You’ve Got) - Peanut Butter Conspiracy

Hold On (To What You’ve Got) – Peanut Butter Conspiracy

It you have a copy of this single (or the album that this comes from) I suggest you do what it says on the label as this is another slice of great soul music that South Africa managed to come out with. Yes, the band’s name was the same as an American band around the same time and yes, this was a cover version of an international song (the original was by Bill & Buster who were actually Tommy Moeller and David ‘Buster’ Meikle from Unit 4+2), but our guys did know how to make a good job of covering these kind of songs.

Starting off with a subdued guitar and beautiful harmonies, the song then veers off from being too close to the original as Brian Mulder’s gravelly voice speaks the lyrics over the angelic harmonies that the band continue with. This is a similar ploy that the band used on their earlier hit ‘Understanding’ and as the latter went to number 2 on the Springbok charts, they thought they were on to a winning formula. And they were as ‘Hold On (To What You Got)’ made it to number 4 on our charts.

This is a silky smooth cover version that seems to seep out of the speakers and fills the room up with warm and good feelings. The Peanut Butter Conspiracy were a great soul band and they brought us a number of classic songs. ‘Hold On (To What You Got)’ is just another example of how good they were. Can I hear anyone say ‘Amen’.

Where to find it:
Singles bins

Video:

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