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Welcome to the re-vamped CD Review page.

Rather than trying to keep the reviews sorted by Record companies, I've decide to keep this page relevant by reviewing CDs as they arrive with me, and trying to keep the contents of this page down to a dozen reviews, with older ones archived off to separate pages. That way you'll always get the new reviews first, but still be able to see the older reviews. I've also decided to include track listings for each CD as well. So here we go:

 Various Artists - The Jerry Ragavoy Story - Time Is On My Side 1953-2003 - Ace CDCHD1183 

What a superb compilation this is. Jerry Ragavoy has played a pivotal role in the careers of so many Soul / R & B singers that it must have been a difficult job deciding what to leave out. Of the twenty four tracks included, he was either producer and / or arranger / conductor on them all, but he was also songwriter on nineteen of the tracks which quite surprised me. Not really a duff track amongst them, but obviously over a fifty year period there are considerable differences in style throughout the CD.  Did I mention the booklet ? No? Well it’s twenty eight pages absolutely jammed full of background information which combined with the photos and label scans makes it a small book on it’s own. Thoroughly recommended, and a genuine tribute to a man who truly deserves it. 

Lorraine Ellison - Stay With Me Baby / Garnet Mimms - As Long As I Have You / The Olympics - Good Lovin’ / Kai Winding - Time Is On My Side / The Majors - A Wonderful Dream / The Castelles - My Girl Awaits Me / Garnet Mimms & The Enchanters - Cry Baby / The Fabulous Four - I’m Coming Home / Claudine Clark - Disappointed / Estelle Brown - You Got Just What You Asked For / The Enchanters - I Wanna Thank You / Pat Thomas - I Can’t Wait Until I See My Baby’s Face / Howard Tate - You’re Looking Good / Irma Thomas - The Hurts All Gone / Garnet Mimms - Thinkin’ / Miriam Makeba - Pata Pata / Dusty Springfield - What’s It Gonna Be / Carl Hall - You Don’t Know Nothing About Love / Lou Courtney - What Do You Want Me To Do - Howard Tate - Ain’t Got Nobody To Give It To / Carl Hall - What About You / Dionne Warwick - Move Me No Mountain / Major Harris - Pretty Red Lips (Kiss My Blues Away) / Howard Tate - Get It While You Can 




Brooks O’Dell - I’m Your Man - Kent CDKEND 296 

The subtitle on the back of the CD says “Everything you always wanted to own by this premier league Big City Soulman, including nine previously unissued performances”. That just about sums up this CD perfectly. If you know just one of Brooks O’dell’s recordings now, buy this CD you will love it. Kudos to Tony Rounce for not only the compilation, but also for the booklet which is well up to the usual standard. 

I’m Your Man / Walk On By / Watch Your Step / Shirley, Remember Me / Soul Serenade / If I Had You / You Better Make Up Your Mind / It Hurts Me To My Heart / Walkin’ In The Shadow Of Love / Standing Tall / The Lively Ones / The Heartless One / I Got What It Takes Parts 1 & 2 And 3 (If We Have Time) / Now You Are Gone / Nothing’s The Same Without You / What’s So Wrong With You Loving Me / Everybody’s Friend, Nobody’s Love / Turn My World Around / (I Didn’t See The Smoke) Until The Fire Was Gone / Don’t Want To Hear It Anymore / You Can Always Get It Where You Got It / I Don’t Want To Cry / Predicament #2 / Is It Real / Got To Travel On / Hooked On A Feeling


The Ovations Featuring Louis Williams - One In A Million - Kent CDND 294 

Following their tenure at Goldwax The Ovations entered the wilderness of no contract or label for a while. They still toured extensively, but released no records for several years. This changed when they signed to the Sounds Of Memphis label in the early Seventies. In fact their biggest selling record came in this period rather than in the Sixties. So, what’s on offer here ? A collection of singles, album tracks and previously unreleased recordings from that period that make very pleasant listening. In fact, I enjoyed this CD a lot more than I expected to, especially as it shows that not every act sold their Soul to Disco in the Seventies.

 Hooked On A Feeling / I Can’t Be Satisfied / One In A Million / Take It From One Who Knows / So Nice To Be Loved By You / Touching Me / Don’t Break Your Promise / You’ll Never Know / Soul Train // Having A Party / I Can’t Believe It’s Over / Don’t Say You Love Me (If You Don’t Mean It) / I’m In Love / Pure Natural Love / Sweet Thing / Till I Find Some Way / I Care For You / Hangin’ On / I Can’t Believe It’s Over (Slow) / You’re My Little Girl / Gotta Get Free


Millie Jackson - Soul For The Dancefloor - Kent CDKEND 297 

Sean Hampsey has combed through Millie Jackson’s entire Spring catalogue to pull out the best Soulful dancers from singles, albums, and the obligatory previously unreleased tracks (Although I must admit there are no new tracks here, rather alternate mixes of released tracks). As with The Ovations CD, this compilation also proves beyond doubt that not everyone sold out to Disco in the Seventies. Northern, Crossover, Funk, and yes even some disco, but always with Millie Jackson’s Soulful vocals laid over the top.  

If That Don’t Turn You On / All I Want Is A Fighting Chance / You Can’t Stand The Thought Of Another Man Loving Me / Breakaway / Somethin’ ‘Bout ‘Cha / House For Sale / Don’t Send Nobody Else / How Can I Make Sweet Love To You (If You Won’t Stand Still) / My Heart Took A Licking (But It Kept On Ticking) / We’re Gonna Make It / Close My Eyes / My Man Is A Sweet Man / Love Doctor / Put Something Down On It / A Little Taste Of Outside Love / Ask Me What You Want / I Miss You Baby / Gospel Truth / Letter Full Of Tears / Rising Cost Of Love / Fancy This / You Can’t Turn Me Off (In The Middle Of Turning Me On)


Cracked Ice - Soul Noir - IceTone Records 1

A brand new release from the States here. But, it’s real instruments, real singers, and a true Soul feel, more in a Sixties / Seventies / Crossover style than anything else. All the songs with the exception of ‘Sweet Feeling’ were written by the group leader Crispin Cloe, and he’s done a pretty good job. If I had one criticism it’s the way that the ‘Blues / Rock’ guitar solos creeps into ‘Start It Up’. Without a doubt this is Southern Soul for today. 

Start It Up / Sweet Feeling / Here To Stay / Let’s Talk It Over / Somebody / One Last Time / New Shade Of Blue / That’s My Story / Backslide / Try Starting Over / If You Don’t Want My Loving’ / Finders Keepers


Otis Redding - Otis Blue Collectors Edition - Atco/Rhino R2 422140 

Well it does say ‘Collectors Edition’ on the cover ! But whether I really need the whole album in mono and stereo I’m not sure, especially as with all the bonus tracks there are five versions of ‘I’ve Been Loving You Too Long’ on these two CDs. Having said that, Rhino have done a magnificent job with the packaging, and at the end of the day this was Otis Redding’s finest album. I must admit though that I think they missed a trick with the booklet. No direct criticism of what’s in it, but it’s only sixteen pages. Perhaps Rhino could have taken a leaf out of Ace’s book and gone for twenty eight pages, it is after all a collector’s edition. I have to say, whilst listening to this CD, I realised how long it has been since I actually played this album, and that’s an error on my part. Classic Sixties Southern Soul at it’s unequalled best. 

Disc One: The Original Mono Album - Ole Man Trouble / Respect / Change Gonna Come / Down In The Valley / I’ve Been Loving You Too Long / Shake / My Girl / Wonderful World / Rock Me Baby / Satisfaction / You Don’t Miss Your Water - Additional Material (Alternate Mixes And Singles) - I’ve Been Loving You Too Long / I’m Depending On You / Respect / Ole Man Trouble / Any Ole Way / Shake - Live At The Whisky A Go Go (4/66) - Ole Man Trouble / Respect / I’ve Been Loving You Too Long / Satisfaction / I’m Depending On You / Any Ole Way

Disc Two: The Original Stereo Album - Ole Man Trouble / Respect / Change Gonna Come / Down In The Valley / I’ve Been Loving You Too Long / Shake / My Girl / Wonderful World / Rock Me Baby / Satisfaction / You Don’t Miss Your Water - Alternate Version - Respect - Live In Europe (3./67) - I’ve Been Loving You Too Long / My Girl / Shake / Satisfaction / Respect


Yvonne Fair - The Bitch Is Black - Reel Music 66748-78002-2 

Reel Music is a new company that is dedicated to reissuing some of the all time classic albums that haven’t made it to CD yet. As they have access to the Universal vaults I expect some great things to come from them. Each album has been re-mastered, and includes a very informative twenty page booklet (I certainly learnt a lot more about Yvonne Fair’s career). I have to give a big thumbs up to this album as well, if only for the fact that it contains both sides of the only Yvonne Fair record I’ve ever owne; ‘It Should Have Been Me / You Can’t Judge A Book By It’s Cover’. Great memories of that time, and surely that’s what the label is all about. 

Funky Music Sho Nuff Turns Me On / It Should Have Been Me / Stay A Little Longer / It’s Bad For Me To See You / Tell Me Something Good / Let Your Hair Down / Love Ain’t No Toy / I Know (You Don’t Love Me No More) / Walk Out The Door If You Wanna / You Can’t Judge A Book By It’s Cover



Kim Tolliver - Come And Get Me I’m Ready - Reel Music 66748-78001-2 

The original Chess album, remastered from the original Chess tapes, and I have to admit I didn’t know one track on it. Very much like the Yvonne Fair album, the booklet gave me a huge amount of background (For instance I didn’t know that Kim Tolliver only released two albums, but only one under her own name). The tracks themselves are all on the downside of mid-tempo, and beautiful Soul ballads (With the exception of ‘I Need You (Come As you Are)/Drop Whatever You Are Doing’ which raises the tempo slightly), and highlight how some great, Soulful voices never received the accolades they were due. Apparently Kim Tolliver died in 2007, so never even got the chance to see her album re-issued. 

The Other Side Of Town / She Don’t Know You (Like I Do) / Come And Get Me I’m Ready / The Way He Used To / I Need You (Come As You Are)/Drop Whatever You’re Doing / Takin’ A Woman’s Stand / I’m Losing The Feeling / Learn To Get Along Without You


The Precisions - Complete Drew Recordings 1966 - 1968 - Joeboy JBE CD2008. 

Classic Detroit Soul of an awesome standard. The liner notes contain the quote “If the Precisions had been on Motown they would have given The Temptations a run for their money”, and I believe it to. Certainly following their second performance at Prestatyn, they showed how good they still are ! I don’t want are need to say anything else other than this is a collaboration between Joe Boy and Inferno records, so Glenn Gunton is behind the superb packaging. If you only buy one CD of Sixties Soul this year, make it this one. 

The Precisions - Such Misery / A Lover’s Plea / Sugar Ain’t Sweet / Why Girl / What I Want / If This Is Love (I’d Rather Be Lonely) / You’ll Soon Be Gone / Instant Heartbreak (Just Add Tears) / Dream Girl / A Place / Never Let Her Go / I Do Don’t You / Paul Merritt - Such Misery / Roger Fluker - Send Me A Sign / Lou Ragland - Baby You’re Mine


Al Wilson - Searching For The Dolphins - Kent CDKEND 290 

This was a surprising album. In fact I found it rather disappointing in many ways. Many of the performances come across as very middle of the road, supper club, cabaret show type of things. It seems to depend entirely on the song as to how Al Wilson sings it. Obviously every man and his dog knows ‘The Snake’, but it’s almost totally out of character with the rest of the album, and to be honest, the only song where Mr Wilson ever seems to get going is on his version of ‘Shake Me, Wake Me’, on the original album. It’s amongst the non album singles that the best tracks are hidden with ‘Now I Know What Love Is’ being the pick. 

The Dolphins / By The Time I Get To Phoenix / I Stand Accused / Summer Rain / Do What You Gotta Do / The Snake / Who Could Be Lovin’ You Other Than Me / Poor Side Of Town / Shake Me Wake Me When It’s Over / This Guys In Love With Me / Brother Where Are You / When You Love (You’re Loved Too) / Now I Know What Love Is / Getting’ Ready For Tomorrow / Lodi / Sometimes A Man Must Cry / Mississippi Woman / You Do The Right Things / Bachelor Man / I Hear You Knocking / Sugar Cane Girl / Falling In Love With You


Various Artists - Memphis 70 - BGP CDBGP 192 

Subtitled ‘The City’s Funk and Soul in the decade after Otis Redding’s death:1968 to 1978’, which sums up the album totally. A variety of tempo’s and styles throughout the whole album, as you might expect over a decade, but they all are immediately identifiable as Southern Soul in feel. Seven previously unreleased tracks are included and fit in nicely with the released tracks from Stax, Bar, XL, Fretone, Select-O-Hit, Philwood, and World (Several of which I admit to never having heard of the labels never mind the songs !) Dean Rudlands excellent liner notes go a long way to explaining the journey of Memphis Soul through the decade in question and this is another CD I would recommend to anyone. 

Smithstonian - Mississippi Mud / David Porter - I Can’t Tell No Difference / Willie Walker - Two Paces Ahead Of Love / The Minits - Pullin / Art Jerry Miller - Strange Things / The Ovations - Shake / Stacy Lane - No Ending / Alvin Cash - Tip Toeing / Gene ‘Bowlegs’ Miller & Friends - It’s Bump Time / Blackrock - Blackrock Yeah Yeah / Mel & Tim - Keep The Faith / Sir Walter - Who’s Been Warming My Oven / John Gary Williams - Come What May / Barbara & The Browns - Watch Dog (Alt Take) / Hannon - The Way Of Me / Lillian Hale - Don’t Boom Boom / LaCleve Milon - Take A Giant Step / Willie Toliver - Papa Killed A Chicken / Billy Cee & Freedom Express - Hard Times / The Optimistics - Dig It (She’s In The Groove)


Various Artists - New Breed R & B With Added Popcorn - CDKEND 291 

Kent have put together a CD which represents the successful R & B Clubs going on around the country very successfully here. Most of these tracks wouldn’t be heard in main rooms at allnighters, yet. Some may never be heard in main rooms, and some, in particular the Luther Ingram, and the Barbara Perry track are already main room favourites. So what of the others ? Some are more in the Popcorn idiom than the R & B one, and consequently less to my taste. In total there are seven previously unreleased tracks, and some of the released things are hideously rare anyway, so it’s a must buy CD from Kent again. 

Luther Ingram - Oh Baby Don’t You Weep / Paul Clifton - She Wobbles When She Walks / Banny Price - You Love Me Pretty Baby / Chet ‘Poison Ivy - Mata Hari / Gladys Bruce - I’ve Got A Feeling For You Baby / Barbara & The Browns - I’m Gonna Start A War / Mr Dynamite - Sh’mon / Gene Burks - Shirley Jean / Boyce Cunningham - Too Young / Harold Atkins - Big Ben / Nappy Brown - Coal Miner / Tom Tumbleweed - Tumbling Down / B B King - Beautician Blues / Eugene Church - Jack Of All Trades / The Charmaines - I Idolise You / Barbara Perry - My Man Is A Mean Mean Thing / Lena Calhoun & The Emotions - First Love Baby / Marry Clayton - I’ve Got My Eyes On You / Albert Washington - I’m The Man / King James - What’cha Gonna Do / Joe Simon - Just Like Yesterday / Terry & Jerry - Mama Julie / Billy Bland - Doing The Mule / Verno Green & The Medallions - A Lover’s Prayer


Various Artists - Blame It On The Dogg, The Swamp Dogg Anthology 1968-1970 - Kent CDKEND 293 

A compilation of tracks that are all either written, produced, arranged, or performed by Swamp Dogg, Jerry Williams. It just shows the sheer diversity of the work he was undertaking during the years between 1968 and 1976 when you look at the artists involved in performing the tracks ! I think this is the only CD I own that has a track by Gene Pitney on it ! Three unreleased tracks from Eleanor Grant just add to the overall feel of a good various artists release that offers a good variety of styles and tempos. Having just seen Jerry Williams live at Prestatyn it’s CDs like this that help me appreciate just how great, and widespread his talent has been over the years. 

C & The Shells - On Your Way Home / Gene Piney - She’s A Heartbreaker / Jerry Williams - Shipwrecked / Patti La Belle & The Blue Belles - He’s Gone / Tommy Hunt - I Need A Woman Of My Own / Inez & Charlie Foxx - (1 -2 - 3 -4 - 5 - 6- 7) Count The Days / The Drifters - Your Best Friend / Jerry Williams - Your Man / Gary U. S. Bonds - I’m Glad You’re Back / Little Charles & The Sidewinders - Please Open Up The Door / Jerry Williams - Run Run Roadrunner / Kenny Carter - What’s So Wrong With You Loving Me / Slick ‘N’ The Family Brick - Don’t Trust A Woman / Swamp Dogg - Straight From My Heart / Z Z Hill - Touch ‘Em With Love / Obe Jesse & The Seeds Of Freedom - Who’s To Blame / Swamp Dogg - Don’t Throw Your Love To The Wind / Eleanor Grant - Plea #3 (Is It True Boy) / Arthur Conley - Complication #4 / Helen Curry - Shu-Doo-Pa-Poo-Poop (Love Being Your Fool / Eleanor Grant - The Other Woman / Ruth Brown - Stop Knocking / Wolfmoon - God Bless / Eleanor Grant - Rockin’ Your Baby Now


Click on the numbers for the archived reviews 1 2 3 4 5