Week 17: Love & Soul

By: Lafayette

Apr 22 2009

Tags: ,

Category: 1967


Hello, friends!

I’ve got something special for you all today! And it’s all purely by coincidence…or chance, luck, kismet, karma (I actually found this album when about to do a somewhat good deed) or whatever you want to call it. It wasn’t even my week to do a post…really…Soulbrotha was about to step up to he plate and do his thing – but something came up. So he asked me to fill in for him, and I happily obliged…luckily the timing was perfect!

Just the day before, I finally got my act together to do some some new rips – mostly because of Jazzypier over at My Favourite Sound who had been asking for a certain Hank Marr album for months, an album I knew I had somewhere…so I ventured out to the vinyl archive to search for it. It took some heavy lifting and a couple of minutes and I had found it – but I also stumbled upon a smaller, overlooked box with vinyls I bought at a flea market 16 or 17 years ago. 10 albums for about $10! So I popped it open and grabbed the first album I got my hands on, and brought it inside together with the Hank Marr album. I started ripping the album for Jazzy, and while listening to Hank’s “Greasy Spoon”, I decided to have a closer look at the other album: Stu Gardner’s “To Soul With Love”.

I remember buying it because of the funky yet cheerful cover, but I had never heard of the guy before…or even gotten around to listen to it (too much music, too little time) – so I Googled it, and came across an old blog post over at the great In Dangerous Rhythm (Colin’s posts are always on point) that really peaked my interest, with words like “one of the most underrated albums of the 60’s”  – check it out!

And right after that, I came across a post that got me even more intrigued – and add to that, the perfect write-up for the album! Cody B’s serious approach to digging for information really took that piece the whole nine yards. He’d dug up everything that was to be found on Stu Gardner and the “To Soul With Love” album (well, apart from the actual album itself). Go ahead…read it before we go any further (and don’t miss the wonderfully violent video clip with Stu and Lee Marvin taken from “Point Blank” from 1967 – the same year this album was released)!

So, naturally I put the Hank Marr album aside for a while…and listened to the entire Stu Gardner album like 3 times in a row – and was completely blown away! What a fantastic surprise! And after reading Hugh Masekela’s liner notes on the album (with all the great background information I knew Cody would have killed for to be able to include in his post) I just knew I had the perfect album for my next post – and a perfect opportunity for some payback to the community!

This is what Hugh Masekela had to say:


Dear Brother,

Around the summer of ’67, Msr. Elmer Valentine gives me a gig at his groovy Whiskey A-Go-Go on the strip and on opening night I notice that we’re sharin’ the stay with the “Stu Gardner Trio.” So I’m walkin’ upstairs with my kosher partner, Stewie Levine, and we find ourselves lookin’ down from the balcony onto the stage where Stu Gardner is on the organ, shoutin’ out with all the feelin’ he’s got left; Mike McGriff, with calloused paws is gettin’ right in there layin’ down the groove, and Billy Kinney standing and shuffling head-down, is making his guitar cry and they’re all soakin’ wet and they’re brunin’ up the place.

The Whiskey is on fire and we’re standing on the balcony, dumb, flipped-out, turned-on, and tripped out behind the sounds. We automatically give each other five and we ask Stu Gardner, “Who are you?” and he smiles and then Stewie says, “Can we record you?” and he says, “Yeah.” We die!!

So the gig is over and we meet one night and we immediately immerse ourselves into a meditative level as regards Stu Gardner’s first album. My partner, Stewie, starts talkin’ to Stu Gardner about the Bronx, which is where they both come from, and he asks Stu to sing please those songs that will remind him of the Bronx. I have to keep both of them from cryin’ about how “beautiful” it was in those days and Stu, he proceeds for the next hour to sing ten songs, nine of which were written by him. This obviously causes us to flip out completely. In the following 12 hours we proceed to write lead sheets with glee, we call the cats to find out if they can do the sessions and we call Doc at Gold Star Recording and kindly request him to warm the pots, and we summon Wayne Henderson who helps come up with most of the horn lines we make up in the studio.

Billy and Mike and everyone else are burnin’ and Doc and Stewie in the booth have lost their wigs and the whole thing turns out to be a mish-mosh of sounds from everywhere. Stu Gardner, he is the source of all this grease-boilin’, flyin’ and talk of Love & Soul!

Well, baby, that’s how it all happened and it sure was a groove. I thought you might like to know about it because the whole scene really blew my mind and it’s all inside so as they say in the Bronx, “ENJOY”!!!


With Colin’s and Cody B’s words fresh in memory, I don’t feel the need to tell you anything about Stu and Bill Cosby’s relationship, or his gig as music supervisor for The Cosby Show, or Stu being one of the few acts recording for both Stax and Motown or anything else like that. Instead I’ll just serve you all up with a fresh rip of Stu Gardner’s “To Soul With Love”! With this being such a rarity that plenty of you diggers out there are on a constant lookout for, I’ve kept the rip at a low 128 kbps. I want you all to be able to listen to this almost forgotten masterpiece – but I’m not out to stop you in your quest for it (hey, some people could really lose their sense of purpose for shit like this)! But I did it with love (and some soul, too) – so listen closely, you won’t be disappointed! :¬)

If forced to choose, I’d say my favourite cuts on the album are “Soul Wrecker”, a perky groover on the A-side – and the absolutely fantastic second cut on the B-side, Love Slipped Away (preview clip)…but it’s a real tight set all in all, and definitely a wonderful listening experience from start to finish!

Some happy person recently got hold of the orginal vinyl right here for a measly $35, but a somewhat more expensive copy ($169.50) is still available here – that’s still nothing compared to the japanese collector who allegedly paid over $2000 for a “factory-sealed” copy of it at an auction some 2 years back!

OK, that’s about it for this time! Big thanks to Colin and Cody for helping me find out what a treasure I unknowingly had in my posession, and to Jazzypier for asking for that Hank Marr album – but first and foremost to Stu himself…thank you for the music!

56 comments on “Week 17: Love & Soul”

  1. “As they say in the Bronx, ‘ENJOY’!!!”
    Now, think karma…please leave a comment and share your opinion on the post – and good things could start happening to you too!
    (PS. Some really hi-res scans of front and back covers are also included!)

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    or http://lix.in/-47e17e (ShareBee)

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  2. A special thank for Hank Marr’s ripping, and a lot of great & big thanks for this Stu …stuff!
    As usual, the Brothers are dope!
    Peace & Blessings


    • Thanks, Jazzy! 🙂
      And you’re welcome…I’m just happy to be able to help out!


  3. WOOHOO!!! 🙂 You are the MAN, Laffy!

    Don’t sleep on this one, kiddies…

    Peace and blessings.

  4. I take a deep bow in your direction..I looked long and hard to find somebody to share this one. Thank you for the record and for the shout out on my Stu post. A friend of his contacted me and said Stu is doing well ,still making music and still dedicated to community work.
    Even if it is just bloggers like us singing his praises, Mr. Stu deserves all the props he gets.

  5. Damn Laf….I feel like Hugh on this one. Who is this dude?
    And Bronx my ass….hell, if that ain’t Memphis, I’ll pay for telling a lie.
    Great find Master of Madame Cleo von Energizer! LOL

  6. Wow……….this album is super dope. What a great find in the vinyls archive!!! You came correct as always Laf. Many thanks for this one.

  7. Can’t wait to hear this jawn. Good work, Laffiiticus. 😉

  8. “as rare as an unindicted Illinois Governor.”


  9. Thank you very much – looking forward to this one!

  10. Thank you. Much appreciated.

  11. Fantastic album! Many thanks!

  12. What a corker! Thanks a lot for this one, I never copped it on In Dangerous Rhythm, and thanks to jazzyP for getting you to the right place at the right time!

    Loving the feline cutey on the cover too – miaow!



  13. Ha…that gig at the Whiskey that Hugh talks about in the liner notes is this one right here: http://myjazzworld.blogspot.com/2009/01/hugh-masekela-is-alive-and-well-at.html

    Nice with a follow-up to get the full picture….great work by Smooth as usual! 🙂


  14. Don`t know it.Haven`t heard it yet.Sounds like a MONSTER. Any b3 stuff is alright with me! Really looking forward to this. Thank you for sharing.

  15. Very nice indeed – thank you very much for sharing this rather obscure joint!

  16. Wooooooooh…sounds cool!

    Thanks mate! Can´t wait to hear this one 😉

  17. Wow!!! Thanks guys.

  18. Hi Laf,

    I am pretty sure that what you always choose to post is at least very interesting. I’m very curious for that one – I’m downloading it – but sometimes only to see the cover is enough to feel that the music must be great. I know that you buy records by looking the cover – i do so – and that’s fascinating! So, I’ll get back after the listening..

    • Yep…sometimes you’re better off judging the book by the cover! Joking aside, the art directors knew what they were doing…often enough you don’t have to listen to an album – just get the ones that look like the albums you already got! 🙂


  19. Much Thanks Lafayette!! I can’t wait to hear this. And the cover is Great!!!

  20. Wig status: LOST

    Thanks for another winner gents!

  21. Yes very official!

  22. Thanks so much. Can’t wait to check it out.

  23. Lafayette, thank you for your splendid pick in the crate! highly appreciated.
    peace, E-mile

  24. Thanks. Lookin’ forward to the listen.

  25. Are those boots (brrr) on the cover attached to the lady, or a false maniken’s with the lady actually kneeling on a chair behind the organ ? Bluesy and soulful taster got my saliva glands popping – will definitely investigate further – many thanks Lafayette for the opportunity and the excellent write-up

  26. so i’m coming back as promised..

    1967, the year that change music forever..

    The summer of love, The Beatles release “Sgt Pepper..” considered as the best album ever, Aretha becomes famous and sings about a “Natural Woman”, The Who are ready to “Sell Out”, The Moody Blues reach stardom with the dreamy ballad “Nights in white satin”, Stevie’s got his first “Greatest hits”, Andy Warholl designs the banana album for Velvet Underground, The Doors “Light (our) fire” The Supremes Sing Holland-Dozier-Holland…… and

    Stu, yes Stu follows his lone way of bluesy Soul!!!!

    What a year!!! Maybe the most important in music history….

    • Yeah, Nikos…some years are definitely better than others…like 1973, 1976-78 (wow, what a period in music) etc etc…depending on genre, there’s plenty of favourite years to go around! 🙂

  27. Damn, Week 17!!!
    I only just discovered that you’re back!
    Now I have to go back to previous weeks and see what’s been posted!
    Good God I’m glad y’all are back! I’ve been suffering withdrawal!!!

  28. Thanks Lafayette, for a real good one.

  29. Every record has a soul and a story! Thanks for the introduction to Stu! I gotta catch up on the last 17weeks!

  30. I can’t access the link for some reason.. timeout, is it just me ?

  31. Nevermind, thank you so much

  32. wow wow , this is so hot i LOVE it, I’ve had the “skating shoes” stuck in my head, you guys keep great music alive

  33. It’s full power from beginning till end. Thanks!

  34. thanks a million for this beautiful record. im lovin it. keep up the great work 4BB!

  35. Wow, what a great story, Masakela and you, really looking forward, thanks!

  36. Holy smokes, the 4 Bros. are back with a vengeance!

    Thanks so much for the tasty Hammond grooves, they’re always much appreciated.

    The Organ Monkey

  37. You make me crazy weekly,i think i can stand it.Much respect,thank you for teaching and sharing.

  38. So ill! Thanks!

    I’m super into “Skating Shoes,” “Love Lifted Me,” & “Cheatin’ Girl”

    Once again, those roomy drums are killing it.

  39. Great tunes, guys. Thanks for the link.

  40. Thanks.

  41. You gotta love the moody Hammond.
    Up to the mark as always my friends – thanks for (yet) another great share.
    Keep on diggin’ Laf!!

  42. Thank you for this as well! Welcome back too. I know I am late. Nevertheless it is always a pleasure to be blessed once again by the Bros..

  43. A big THANKS

  44. hi laffy!
    thanks so much for sharing this gem!
    sold my copy years back!

  45. Hey – just found out that Stu Gardner may be the same gent who was lead keyboards on the jazz outfit “First Cozins Of Jazz” (c/o back-copy of B&S). Can’ t find anything on the net, but the LP is famous for the club filler ‘Flat meat’, and the beautiful slowie ‘A plush moment’ (wonderful track).

    The band also featured flautist Doug Richardson (of ‘Entre Nu’ fame) and some stalwarts like Wah Wah & Parker Jr.

    Would love to know if this is the one and same Mr Gardner. Plus I’d love to hear a clean copy of ‘A Plush Moment’ – anyone ?

  46. PS. The LP came out approx. July 1977 & i got the WRONG name of the band (sorry) :

    First Cozins Jazz Ensemble – ‘For The Cos Of Jazz’
    CAPITOL EST 11589

  47. thank you

  48. Another B3 giant I’ve missed out on! As always I’m indebted to You enlightening a soulbrother. I’m so glad this Soulschool is open 24/7 365 days. And has pretty much all the amazing years covered down to the most secret nooks and crannys.

  49. Yo – Laf, check out Smooth’s My Jazz World latest – could this be the same fella as i mentioned previously :


  50. I am so glad you are back. I was pouting a lot about this site having no door. Thank you so much for all these tasty treats.

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