Monday, February 14, 2011

The Charmels - As Long As I've Got You

Happy Valentines Day from us here at Soundboutique to you.
No tune better exemplifies a sweet heart Valentine's gift in musical form to me. This song rocks it on so many levels. It appeases me on at least three different levels I can think of. For one, it brings me back to another era of hip hop that was truly innovative, fresh, and still creative. Wu tang sampled this song and many others like it that didn't fit the usual characteristics of sample material of the times. Their samples weren't typically funky, they ignored lead vocals that often overlapped into the beat, and mainly used samples from northern, southern and sweet soul genres. At the time of their debut LP that sampled this song no one was doing what they were. On the second hand, this is from the legendary Stax and Volt label and has a signature stamp of soul ingredients that many a soul collector have loved and treasured like no other label. Not to mention it's one of the rarer releases on the volt label. It's a beautifully recorded song, orchestrated and composed like a sunbeam from a cloud straight out of soul heaven. Everything out of Stax and Volt had incredible promise, endless talent and amazing musicianship. Thirdly, this song typifies the 'oldies' sound to me, works well bumpin out of the bombs cruising up and down the boulevard, and stands on it's own as a perfected jewel of songwriting. 'As Long As I've Got You' is quite possibly the best soul song I've ever heard. It's been re-issued, bootlegged, sampled, covered, comped, and remastered countless times. To only further prove my three before mentioned's mutually loved by the 'Oldies' fanatics, coveted by crate diggin' hip hop heads, and highly regarded by deep soul enthusiasts. Loved on so many levels and desired by many a record hunter. I have it, but I'm always wishing I will find it again in a cleaner condition. It cascades through several almost perfect changes almost like a psychedelic dream. It's hard to figure where it's going on first listen, and by the time you figure it out, it's all over. I'd listen to this jam over and over. Man, I wish I could listen to the master reels on this one...It'd be great to extend it and dub it out. At least that hasn't been done yet.

Eula Jean Rivers, Mary Hunt, Mildred Pratchett, and Barbara McCoy

So, The Charmels got together roughly in 1966 and quickly disbanded a few years later. After a few 45 releases amounting to 4-6 songs and a few member changes they broke up. None of these songs ever yielded them any success and it was many years later when that story changed. Hard to say if any surviving members made any royalty cash from the Wu's C.R.E.A.M. single, but the respect and appreciation is undeniable. After Wu-tangs treatment, the El Michels Affair took a turn and burned out a nice instrumental version. I've also heard there's another version by a soul girl group that covered it a few years later, somewhere around 1971, but I have yet to hear it.

Some of the members were in the Dixiebelles and they were with the Sound Stage Seven label in the late 50's and early 60's. They then formed The Tonettes and recorded a few singles for the Volt label. Thank goodness for the 'Complete Stax/Volt Singles' for being so 'complete' and if you're interested, you can easily hear the Tonettes and Charmels offerings in the highest quality CD format in those box sets. Like I mentioned above, they formed in 1966, but had several change in members from then until 68. I'm not entirely sure who is picture tod the right, in this photo, but I'm pretty sure the names fit with the above picture. If you have more history on this fine group, knew them, or were in this group.. please get a hold of us.... we want to talk to you. We hope to feature more by the Charmels in the future, and also track down this notorious 'other' version of this song.

The Charmels - As Long As I've Got You


  1. Thanks. Still trying to track down this 45. One day...

    Cool site. Added you to mine!

    Peace and SOUL,
    HSB DaveB...

  2. yeah, hard to get a clean one for sure. Thanks for stopping by and thanks for adding us!

    cheers! Keep in touch!

  3. thanks for the info. I share your enthusiasm for this particular jam. The Emotion's did a version of this that was unreleased ..I don't think it exists on wax. it is one a recent anthology of The Emotions.