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Cellarful Of Soul

Soul? Northern? Motown? PAUL RITCHIE eats ‘em all up for breakfast and leaves you the best bits for lunch. Meanwhile THE

I defy anyone not to have felt a rush when they first heard the majestic ‘Magic Touch’ by Melba Moore. A long time Northern Soul anthem, it may surprise you to know it didn’t officially see the light of day until the mid-80s thanks to a chance

discovery. Even then it was “covered up” in an attempt to stave off the bootleggers. Its enduring popularity makes it the most recognisable track on The 100 Club Anniversary Singles 1979-2009 (Kent), an affordable way to trace the collectable 45s handed out to regulars at Ady Croasdell’s 6Ts Rhythm & Soul club over the last 30 years. Renowned for breaking previously unknown gems none more so thrilling than ‘I’ll Never Stop Loving You’ by Carla Thomas. The club’s open door policy covers all bases from gritty R&B to polished modern soul, from stomping dancers to heartfelt beat ballads.

The Complete

Goldwax Singles Volume 2 1966-1967 (Ace) continues an exhuastive overhaul of the acclaimed Memphis label output, showcasing the likes of James Carr, Spencer Wiggins and The Ovations amongst lesser known artefacts

including the odd country and garage-rock side, as the label sought to diversify in search of a hit record. Most soul fanatics would welcome themes like this from all the classic ’60s US labels as, more often than not, the real delights are often to be found tucked away on the B-side. When producer

Rick Hall told JIMMY HUGHES to go away and pen a tune, he came back with the ’64 southern soul staple ‘Steal Away’. An album was hastily packaged together and is included in full alongside bonus tracks making Steal Away: The Early

Fame Recordings (Kent) a complete anthology of the recordings he made for the Muscle Shoals based label. Like Arthur Alexander, Jimmy Hughes had a rolling, driving momentum about his voice, perfect for gliding solo across the dancefloor to the uptempo sounds of ‘A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues’ or swaying in tandem along to the lovelorn ‘My Adorable One’. Featuring the songwriting talents of Dan Penn and Joe South amongst others this is essential southern soul fare.

Light On The South Side (Numero) takes

packaging to another level. This deluxe box comes with a lavish 132 page photo book

featuring an essay by novelist Nick Hornby along with a double vinyl set housed in an attractive info packed gatefold sleeve. The photos portray the mid-70s party scene in the blues clubs of south side Chicago and whilst the music is steeped heavily in the blues, somewhat at odds with the era, there is a seedy, sometimes sleazy whiff in the night air, where street tuff jive talk and a funkier than thou, pimp-like strut go hand in hand.

64 Ember Records was

run by Jeffrey Kruger, owner of the famous Flamingo Jazz club in London who had the good sense to licence many a great American release for the UK public. Good To The Last Drop (Fantastic Voyage) collects rare and seldom heard soul sides deserving

of more exposure from the likes of Dee Edwards’ ‘Why Can’t There Be Love’, The Casinos’ ‘That’sThe Way’ and the heavy mod beat charge of Mr Flood’s Party’s ‘Compared To What’. As part of the

Motown 50th anniversary celebrations, THE ISLEY BROTHERS’ brief tenure at the label is celebrated in style on The Motown Anthology (Universal/Motown) a two disc special featuring some of the band’s most life- affirming sides. These

tracks still pack a punch today, thanks to the powerhouse combination of the funk brothers and the Isleys’ yearning vocals.

Just A Matter Of

Time: Classic Columbia Recordings 1961-1965 (Ace) does a sterling job of collecting the best ARETHA FRANKLIN tracks from her Columbia days. Steering away from the MOR standards and jazz recordings that peppered

her pre-Atlantic years, this compiliation dispels a few myths along the way and doesn’t even include top drawer soul like ‘Cry Like A Baby’ and ‘Walk On By’. Kicking off with the irresistably sassy, swinging R&B dancer ‘Rough Lover’ from ’61, the album is littered with atmospheric soulful blues based ballads and R&B rave-ups such as ‘One Room Paradise’ where the soon to be famous Aretha holler emerges from the shadows.

Brenda Holloway

MIRACLES’ Depend On Me: The Early Albums (Universal) features their first five albums (count ‘em!) spread over two discs complete with bonus tracks, capturing the embryonic stages of a

youthful Smokey Robinson and the Detroit label. Hard to believe

BRENDA HOLLOWAY was a young teen during the period covered on The Early Years: Rare Recordings 1962-1963 (Kent) a wide-ranging retrospective of her pre- Motown days. In ’64, aged just 17, she hit with ‘Every

Little Bit Hurts’, her vocal crammed with a lifetime of experiences and emotion. This raw talent was discovered way before this and is best showcased on the previously unreleased tracks included here such as the swoonsome ‘Constant Love’, whose gorgeous melody swims around the head long after listening. Her talent displayed a rare versatility; she could do sweet, she could do gutsy and she could do throwaway teen pop. At best, on the melting ballad, ‘He’s Gone’ she is raw, pure and delightful. Small wonder then when Motown came a knocking. US online store is something

of a record buyer’s paradise and recently ventured into the reissue game with the launch of their own Dusty Groove label issuing facsimile versions of lost and rare classics. THE METROS were an obscure Detroit based five piece vocal group who released the soulful Sweetest One

on RCA back in ’67 and, thanks to the patronage of funk brothers such as Jack Ashford and Joe Hunter, this album will appeal to Motown collectors. Another record peppered with a sprinkling of Motown

fairydust comes from RICHARD ‘POPCORN’ WYLIE who had originally played piano on the likes of ‘Money’, ‘Shop Around’ and ‘Please Mr Postman’ prior to stepping out front. Released in ’74, Extrasensory Perception features funk brothers Dennis Coffey, James Jamerson and Eddie ‘Bongo’ Brown amogst the many players across eight tracks co-written with songwriting legend Lamont Dozier. Another Detroit

prodigy, RONNIE MCNEIR, released his self-titled debut on RCA in ’72 assisted by another Motown legend, Mickey Stevenson. The album was something of a concept by the 22 year old, telling a tale of love lost and love gained

across a rich tapestry of mellow vibes interspersed wth short musical interludes and dialogue recalling the progressive ventures of Donny Hathaway and Marvin Gaye. Should none of the

above get the hips swivelling, then Gózalo! Bugalú Tropical Volume 3 (Vampisoul) can’t fail to get every limb and joint jumping. No party can be complete without a helping of the Latin boogaloo and there’s plenty for the

booty to be found on this rockin’ and exotic third volume of Peruvian latin soul. Grab yer marracas and let’s go!

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