Three years ago, Light In the Attic reissued Time and Place, the lone album by soul powerhouse Lee Moses. The self-taught instrumentalist and singer made a name for himself in Atlanta, where he performed with Gladys Knight, among others. Upon its original release, Time and Place didn't make waves financially but in the decades since, it became a cult classic. On May 24, Light In the Attic's Future Days Recordings imprint will continue its celebration of the raw and beautiful soul music of Lee Moses with How Much Longer Must I Wait? Singles & Rarities 1965-1972. While Time and Place introduced a new generation to Moses' gifts, How Much Longer Must I Wait promises to deliver the rest of the story by collecting the tracks that pre-date his one and only studio album.
How Much Longer Must I Wait will be available in a number of configurations: there's the standard CD edition that's housed in a "tube pocket" digipak with an 8-paged booklet, as well as its digital counterpart; a black vinyl edition presented in a deluxe, Kraft board jacket with an insert; a LITA Store-exclusive red-and-tan color vinyl edition; and a U.S. indie retail-exclusive red vinyl edition. In addition, Light In The Attic has teamed up with Ohio-based Plaid Room/Colemine Records, an independent store and label known for their love for soul and funk music, to offer an exclusive cream-and-red color variant of the record to their fanbase.
No matter the format you choose, How Much Longer Must I Wait proves a fantastic addition to any soul music library. The collection brings together all of Lee Moses' singles and B-sides - mostly the legendary Johnny Brantly productions originally recorded for the CBS, Musicor, Dynamo, Front Page and Gates labels - along with three previously unreleased recordings. The tracks are presented chronologically, beginning with "My Adorable One," which was self-released with its B-side "Diana (From N.Y.C.)" in 1965. The former is a strong 6/8 ballad with Lee Moses' powerful and yearning vocal propelling the brassy track along. "Diana (From N.Y.C)" is a jaunty ode to a beautiful woman that the narrator has needed so bad since the first time he saw her. It features Moses' characteristic spoken interludes and introductions that tell the people what inspired him to perform his songs.
Next up are a pair of instrumental covers that feature Moses on electric guitar: Four Tops' "Reach Out, I'll Be There" and The Beatles' "Day Tripper." The arrangements on these Musicor sides are considerably more raw and pared-down than their hit versions, but are nonetheless impressive, with Moses demonstrating his talents for bluesy runs and improvisations. Even without his inimitable vocals, Moses imbues these interpretations with emotion.
Moses' trademark single "Bad Girl" follows. Originally issued in two parts by Musicor in 1967, "Bad Girl" is an energetic and powerful love story set to song with a rollicking accompaniment of stabbing horns, impressively active bass guitar, and funky drumming. The energy of the instrumental is matched only Moses's impassioned singing. The fidelity of the original recording may leave some to be desired - indeed, one wonders if its the less-than-stellar sound quality of the original masters that kept Moses from becoming the star he could have been - but any shortcomings are compensated for with the stellar performance. A grooving and funk-tinged 1972 re-recording of the track also features here.
Another impressive track is the Dynamo side "If Loving You Is Wrong (I'll Always Be Guilty"). With a gravelly, emotional vocal, a beautiful blend of guitar and simple, direct lyrics, "If Loving You" evokes Otis Redding's best, and the fidelity of this track is a step up from "Bad Girl." The previously unreleased "You Are Too Much For the Human Heart" is cut from a similar cloth. It spotlights Moses' knack for transmitting a memorable story and conveying raw emotion within the strict confines of a two-minute single.
In 1970, Moses released Time and Place on Maple Records. The title track made its way onto a Front Page Records single, backed with "I Can't Take No Chances." Composed by James Lewis, Marion Farmer, and Edward Lewis, it features a guitar part that's not too far from "Breezin'" which underscores Lee Moses' dynamic vocal delivery.
By 1972, Moses had moved on to Gates Records, where he released a cover of "Dark End of the Street" backed with the aforementioned re-make of "Bad Girl." "Dark End of the Street" is transformed into a powerful and emotive, talk-sung rumination on love before a rousing closing chorus that fades out far too early. "Dark End of the Street" and "Bad Girl" are followed by two previously unreleased recordings: "Pouring Water on a Drowning Man" (whose brassy accompaniment recalls The Impressions' "It's All Right") and the blues number "What Do You Do?" which features rapid-fire guitar licks and builds slowly into a brassy, slow-burning song about lost love.
Altogether, the 16 songs on How Much Longer Must I Wait? Singles & Rarities 1965-1972 show the immensely talented Lee Moses on a quest for stardom, recording sides for a number of small labels but never quite finding the big break that could propel him to the top. Why he never found fame is a mystery as confounding as the life of the man himself, but his talent and the quality of the material are faultless. With thrilling arrangements, hard-hitting singing, and the kind of direct and emotional lyrics that typify all the best soul classics, the songs speak for themselves. Overall, the tracks - which have been remastered by Dave Cooley at Elysian Masters - remain lively and compelling like all good soul music should. While some may wish for more detailed notes, it's Lee Moses' music that remains the star of How Much Longer Must I Wait.
For soul music crate-diggers, the wait for a comprehensive Lee Moses collection has been well worth it, as Future Days Recordings delivers the goods with a disc that's sure to please any fan of lost Southern soul.
You can pre-order your copy of Lee Moses' How Much Longer Must I Wait? Singles & Rarities 1965-1972 with the links below!
Lee Moses, How Much Longer Must I Wait? Singles & Rarities 1965-1972 (Future Days Recordings/Light In the Attic, 2019)
CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
Standard black vinyl LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
LITA-exclusive red-and-tan vinyl: Light In the Attic Store
Plaid Room-exclusive cream-and-red vinyl: Plaid Room Records
- My Adorable One
- Diana (From N.Y.C.)
- Reach Out, I'll Be There
- Day Tripper
- Bad Girl (Part 1)
- Bad Girl (Part 2)
- I'm Sad About It
- How Much Longer (Must I Wait?)
- You Are Too Much for the Human Heart *
- If Loving You Is a Crime (I'll Always Be Guilty)
- Never in My Life
- I Can't Take No Chances
- Dark End of the Street
- She's a Bad Girl
- Pouring Water on a Drowning Man
- What Do You Do?
Tracks 1 and 2 originally released as Lee John single 618, 1965.
Tracks 3 and 4 originally released as Musicor single 1227, 1967.
Tracks 5 and 6 originally released as Musicor single 1242, 1967.
Tracks 7 and 8 originally released as Musicor single 1263, 1967.
Tracks 9, 15, and 16 previously unreleased.
Tracks 10 and 11 originally released as Dynamo single 115, 1968.
Track 12 originally originally released on Front Page single 2301, 1970.
Tracks 13 and 14 originally released as Gates single 1502, 1972.