Monday, March 28, 2005

The Vontastics - Never Let Your Love Grow Cold (aka The Best Record I Ever Got for Free)

The subject of great Chicago soul 45’s has been addressed in this space before (see the Shells and Maurice & The Radiants). To really do the subject justice it would really have to have it’s own blog (or encyclopedic website). Despite that fact that one of my fave artists has Chitown connections (i.e. the great JerryO) I wouldn’t claim to be an expert on the subject. I do however know a fantastic soul 45 when I hear it, so I’ll step off the curb into speeding traffic to bring you this gem. The Vontastics recorded eight 45s for a series of Chicago-based labels between 1965 and 1969. None of them are duds, and a couple are downright amazing. I first heard them when my buddy Haim pulled a copy of their version of ‘Day Tripper’ out of a crate and suggested I give it a spin. The record quickly became a fave. Here we are, several years down the road and I’m still digging Chicago soul 45s, and not coincidentally still buying 45s from my buddy Haim. A recent purchase from him was accompanied by a couple of freebies, one of which was the Vontastics ‘Never Let Your Love Grow Cold’ (a gift for which I have expressed profound thanks). Half of the Vontastics 45s were recorded for the St. Lawrence label (the rest for Satellite – not the Memphis label – Chess, Moonshot and Toddlin’ Town), under the guidance of the mighty Monk Higgins (who also released a couple of nice sides on the label himself). ‘Never Let Your Love Grow Cold’ was penned (like many of their best tunes) by group member Bobby Newsome, and is an anthemic, storming soul dancer. Opening with an almost “rock”-ish guitar riff, the tune soon kicks off into a brisk dance tempo (the snare drum doubled with a tambourine) with some great horns behind the vocals. Things really take off when the chorus arrives. If you’re not singing along by the second go around you need to check your pulse. The tune has proven popular with the Northern soulies (it’s been comped a few times) and it’s not hard to imagine a room filled with hundreds of dancers jumping, spinning and singing along at the top of their lungs. The flip side, ‘You Can Work It Out’ is also very cool. As far as I can tell the Vontastics have never had all of their 45s collected on a single disc. That time is long overdue…


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not heard this before. Can't imagine why it passed me by before.
Northern Soul Fan UK

3/29/2005 05:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Jason Stone said...

I think I've given you kudos before for your website, but this is my first post to your blog. Good work as always! The Vontastics definitely deserve a compilation. Speaking of Chicago soul material needing to be on compilations, I need to find Monk Higgins' "Who-Dun-It" so I can rip it for the old iPod (I have the 45 but it's too damn scratchy)!

3/29/2005 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger go.gorostiza said...

great Larry! same as you, i was introduced to the Vontastics via Day Tripper!

4/05/2005 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger chazz said...

I was just doing a google search on this record and came across your site, I used to read it all the time a few years back. anyway, i was googling this record because it's been driving me up the wall ever since Haim gave it to me! I can also say it's the greatest free record I ever got and, what coincidence, also from Haim.

8/22/2005 02:28:00 PM  

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