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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 Godfather’s R & B, James Brown Productions 1962-1967 - BGP CDBGPD 194

Another release in the ‘Producers’ series, by someone who I certainly never really thought of as a producer in the first instance. But of course, when you actually do think about it, James Brown must have produced probably thousands of tracks during his career. Here you have a selection of his earlier productions, most of which are prior to the heavy Funk stuff he became renowned for, and are nearly all in that Soul tinged with Gospel style from the early Sixties. There are of course exceptions, James Crawford’s ‘If You Don’t Work’ has even had some very well accepted spins on the Northern scene. As a musical document, showcasing James Brown productions though, I don’t think you could better this CD.


I Don’t Care - Dizzy Jones / I’m Lonely - Bobby Byrd / Got No Excuse - James Crawford / Do You Really Want To Rescue Me Part 1 - Elsie Mae / Lookie Lookie Lookie - The Jewels / If You Don’t Work You Can’t Eat - James Crawford / New Breed (The Boo-Ga-Loo) Part 1 - James Brown / That’s When I Cry - Anna King / Wide Awake In A Dream - Vicki Anderson / Unexplainable - Dizzy Jones / Devil’s Den Part 1 - The Poets / It Hurts To Be In Love - Yvonne Fair & The James Brown Band / That’s The Spirit - Rev Willingham / Help Poor Me - James Crawford / Faith - The Five Royales / Nobody Cares - Vicki Anderson / I’ll Keep Pressing On - Bobby Byrd / I Found You - Yvonne Fair / Soul Food Parts 1 & 2 - Al ‘Brisco’ King And His Orchestra / If You Don’t Think - Anna King / I Found Out - Bobby Byrd / I Cried - Tammy Montgomery

 

Mitty Collier - Shades of Mitty Collier, The Chess Singles 1961-1968 - Kent CDKEND 301

Chess Records seem to have an almost unending stable of second division female artists. I don’t mean that in a derogatory way either. I just mean that they didn’t become the world superstars that some of the Motown acts did for example. Mitty Collier fits into that category perfectly though, she’s recorded some wonderful Soul records, but only ever had four chart entries, only one of which got in the top ten. Which is a real shame, because this CD demonstrates just how good she was. All the ‘A’ sides and a selection of ‘B’ sides have been included in this compilation by Tony Rounce, and it’s obvious from his excellent liner notes that he’s a big fan. The inflections in her voice show, Blues, Gospel, uptown sophistication, and just raw Soul at varying times, and she handles the lot brilliantly. An excellent release by Kent, that just goes to show that chart positions mean little in terms of artistry (But being Soul fans, we know that anyway) 

Got To Get Away From It All (Version 2) / Everybody Makes A Mistake Sometimes / Git Out / That’ll Be Good Enough For Me / Do It With Confidence / You’re The Only One / (Lookin’ Out The Window) Watching And Waiting / Like Only Yesterday / My Party / I’m Satisfied / Sharing You / Walk Away / Help Me / For My Man / Ain’t That Love / No Faith, No Love / I’m Your Part Time Love / I Had A Talk With My Man / Let Them Talk / My Babe / Don’t Let Her Take My Baby / Miss Loneliness / Got To Get Away From It All (Version 1) / I’ve Got Love

 

Judy Clay & Veda Brown - The Stax Solo Recordings - Kent CDKEND 302 

You’ve got to really say the same thing about these two artists as well, great Soul singers, but certainly not great hitmakers. Veda Brown (Real name Mildred Pulliam, no wonder they changed it !) recorded more tracks than Judy Clay, and I have to admit to only knowing ‘Short Stopping’ prior to this compilation. Uptempo, ballads, and Soulful throughout, six of the tracks by Veda are previously unissued recordings. Judy Clay had been around for a long time by the time she reached Stax, having first recorded in 1961, and although Stax spent money on the recordings, the promotion was virtually negligible, so apart from the duets with William Bell, made no impact on the charts as a solo artist. Shame really because again, there is some cracking Soul music on show here. 

Veda Brown - Take It Off Her And Put It On Me / Living A Life Without Love / I Know It’s Not Right (To Be In Love With A Married Man) / Don’t Let The Green Grass Fool You / Short Stopping / I Can See Every Woman’s Man But Mine / Fever / Don’t Start Loving Me (If You’re Gonna Stop) / Help Me Make It Through The Night / (If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want To Be Right / Guilty Of Loving You / True Love Don’t Grow On Trees / That’s The Way Love Is / Who Wouldn’t Love A Man Like This / I’ll Be Your Shelter (In Time Of Storm) / Take My Hand Precious Lord
Judy Clay - Remove These Clouds / Bed Of Roses / It’s Me / Since You Came Along / Somebody’s Fool / It Ain’t Long Enough / Give Love To Save Lives / Your Love Is Good Enough / My Baby Specializes (Unreleased solo recording)

 

The Falcons Featuring Sonny Monro - Good Good Feelings - Soul Junction SJCD 5000

One of Detroit's finest vocal groups, The Falcons had three different line ups over the years. This CD features mostly the Big Wheel Recordings, and what superb recordings they are. From the opening track the harmonies are spot on, whether the track is uptempo, or beat ballad. All of the Falcons Big Wheel recordings are featured here, plus one from the Lu-Pine label, and Sandy Hollis's Big Wheel single (Which or course features The Falcons on backing), plus a further nine previously unreleased tracks from Sonny Munro who sang lead on almost all the others. I must admit to being slightly disappointed that the unreleased tracks are all Seventies recordings, but on reflection, and having listened to them several times it doesn't distract from their ability to stand alone as decent records.

So, overall, this CD gets a definite recommendation from me, and bodes well for future releases from Soul Junction.

Good Good Feeling - The Falcons / Has It Happened To You Yet - The Falcons / Standing On Guard -The Falcons / I'm Tempted - Sandy Hollis / Love You Like You Never Been Loved - The Falcons / I Can't Help It -The Falcons / In Time For The Blues - The Falcons / I'm A Fool I Must Love You - The Falcons / Love, Love, Love - The Falcons / Love Look In Her Eyes - The Falcons / Tables Will Turn - Sandy Hollis / You've Got The Power - The Falcons / Happiest Days Of My Life - Sonny Munro / On The Other Side Of Pride - Sonny Munro / Don't Leave Me Alone - Sonny Munro / Why Do I Let You Do The Things You Do - Sonny Munro / I'm Tired Of Being Your Play Thing - Sonny Munro / Standing On Guard - The Falcons / Your Love Is Dy-No-Mite - Sonny Munro / Finished Product - Sonny Munro

Various Artists - The Best Of Haley Records - Haley HR 1004

Hayley records hail from Coventry in the UK, but most of the tracks have that distinct Detroit sound to them. A best of compilation that pulls together the pick of the previous three CDs released by the label.

In addition, the majority of these tracks were seeing the light of day for the first time when they came out on Hayley, so all credit to label owner Rob Moss for tracking down the artists and producers behind the tracks who made it all possible.

Many are Seventies recordings, and fit into the Crossover sound that is still popular these days. So, if you didn't buy the other CDs, here's a good way to get a taste of what the label is about.

Charles Brimmer - Show And Tell / Jimmy Ruffin - The Entertainer / Thank You Marvin For The Songs - Tim Carter / You’ve Gotten To Me - Karen Pree / My Feelings Keep Getting In The Way - Loretta Kendrick / I Miss You - Clarence Jackson / A Different Kind Of Different - Emanuel Laskey / Thinking Of You - Melvin Davis / These Memories - Almeta Latimore / Love At First Sight - J J Barnes / I Wonder Why - Sy Hightower / Contract On Love - Dathen Jones / Can’t Help Loving (The One Who’s Loving Me) - Karen Pree / In Heaven And On Earth - Thunderbird Sound - Honey - Just Brothers / Ain’t That Something - Lyn Varnardo

 

Various Artists - In The Naked City - Kent CDKEND 299

 Now this is my type of Soul music ! Classy, emotive, uptown, and midtempo. If you are a fan of Sixties Soul music you’ll recognise most of the artists, but not necessarily all the songs. Many are album tracks, or some of the more obscure single releases, but all, and I do mean all, are superb examples of the genre. As with all Kent releases, the accompanying booklet is packed full of information and pictures, so I can only suggest you go out and buy this CD now, because to these ears it’s one of the best Kent releases in the last couple of years.

Chuck Jackson - Big New York / The Cookies - On Broadway / Marva Josie - I Love New York / Dee Clark - In My Apartment / Arthur Alexander - Concrete Jungle / Clyde McPhatter - Second Window, Second Floor / Jackie Wilson - No Pity (In The Naked City) / Jerry Butler - I Don’t Want To Hear It Anymore / Garnet Mimms & The Enchanters - A Quiet Place / Audrey Freeman - Three Rooms / Jackie Shane - In My Tenement / Little Eva - Uptown / Barry Darvell With Hash Brown & His Orchestra - I Found A Daisy (In The City) / Jan Bradley - Nights In New York City / Donald Height - Songs Of The Street / The Imaginations - Strange Neighbourhood - The Drifters - Up In The Streets Of Harlem / Wayne Bartlett - Those City Lights / Eric Williams - This Old Neighbourhood / The Tymes - Sweet Talk / Walter Jackson - No Butterflies / Colette Kelly - City Of Fools / Ralfi Pagan - Up On The Roof / Aretha Franklin - Spanish Harlem

 

Various Artists - Northern Soul’s Classiest Rarities Vol 3 - Kent CDKEND 295

Just looking at the track list should assure you that this is another quality release from Kent that should reside in your player.  In terms of rarity the tracks range from the impossible right down to well under 100, and there’s even a UK only release included in the shape of the Eddie & Ernie track which only got a UK Jayboy release. The usual extensive liner notes compliment this CD as much as the music itself, so it’s another big hit from Kent for me.

Larry Atkins - Ain’t That Love Enough / The Quotations - I Don’t Have To Worry / Ty Karim - You Really Made It Good To Me / Deana Lucas - Cry It Out Baby / Don & Ron - I’m So So Sorry / Harvey & The Seven Sounds - Glamour Girl / Darrow Fletcher - What Have I Got Now / Lou Roberts & The Marks - You Fooled Me / ‘Originals’ Of Sight & Sounds - Long Boots / The Flowers - Got To Get To Know You / Pat Powdrill & The Powerdrills - Together Forever / The Servicemen - Connie / Tommy Smily - I Won’t Cry / Frankie Vance - I Can’t Break The Habit (Of Your Love) / ZZ Hill - Don’t Make Promises (You Can’t Keep) / Charles Drain - Stop And Think About It Baby / The Gillettes - The Same Identical Thing / Frank Dell - Baby You’ve Got It / The Soul Brothers - Later For You / Ann Hodge - You’re Welcome Back / Paul Smith - I’ll Run / Brooks O’Dell - The Heartless One / Eddie & Ernie - Indication

 

Claudine Clark - Ask The Girl Who Knows, The Best Of 1958 - 1969 - Ace CDCHD 1189

Sixties Pop music with a Soulful slant, or Soul music with a Poppy edge. That’s where most of this CD falls, and that’s probably exactly where it was aimed when it was recorded. There are of course exceptions, where the feel gravitates to either end of the spectrum, certainly there are some outstanding uptempo Soul tracks on show here, and that’s what makes it a worthwhile purchase. Having said that, even the more Pop end of the CD is still a very pleasant listen as well, so an all round winner.

Party Lights / A Sometimes Thing / Sherry Pie - Gimmie A Break / The Telephone Game / Buttered Popcorn / Goodbye Mama / Joy Dawn - Hang It Up / Standing On Tip Toe / Easy To Love You (Too Hard To Forget) / Disappointed / (The Strength) To Be Strong / Sherry Pie - Ask The Girl Who Knows / Moon Madness / Your Love / Foxy / Walk Me Home (From The Party) / My Turn To Laugh / Who Will You Hurt / Angel Of Happiness / What Kind Of Party / Teenage Blues / Somebody Else Is In My Place / Dancin’ Party / Walkin’ Through A Cemetery

 

Solomon Burke - Like A Fire - Shout Factory 826663-10846

A brand new release from the ever youthful Solomon Burke. It also still shouts SOUL at you in capital letters. There are a rich mixture of contemporary artists contributing material, and performances to the CD, but throughout, it’s still Solomon Burke that holds it all together, in the way that only he can. I’m not sure whether he still sells Bar-B-Q chicken during the interval at his shows, but he can still hack it as a singer.

Like A Fire / We Don’t Need It / The Fall / A Minute To Rest And A Second To Play (Featuring Ben Harper) / Ain’t That Something / What Makes Me Think I Was Right / Understanding / You And Me / Thank You / If I Give My Heart To You

 

Click on the numbers for the archived reviews 1 2 3 4 5 6 7