For the Northern Soul club attendees and collectors to whom this 24-track collection of 1960s soul rarities is obviously targeted, these are the kinds of jewels that make life worth living, the original 45s trading hands for incredibly high sums. For many others -- even soul fans -- the attraction's a little mystifying. For while most of these cuts are pleasant at the least and pretty enjoyable on some occasions, it's a little hard to get excited about them, and not just because there are only a few artists (Z.Z. Hill, Brooks O'Dell, Eddie & Ernie) who will be even mildly familiar to general soulsters.
There's just not too much originality on display, though competent Motown-ite tunes are rampant, right from the leadoff cut, Larry Atkins' "Ain't That Love Enough." If you want a spin on that general idea, the Quotations' "I Don't Have to Worry" is likewise a fair mimic of the Impressions; Don & Ron is kinda close to Major Lance; and Tommy Smiley's "I Won't to Cry" is very much inspired by the productions of the Temptations, right down to the way the guitar twangs on the opening bars.
Give some credit where it's due: Al McCarther's "His True Love for You" (co-written by a young Chip Taylor) is one of the very best early-'60s Jerry Butler imitations ever, one so well done that it overcomes its obvious debts to outside influence. You can't say the same about the rest of the CD, where the overall "doing the best we can to sound as good as the hits" vibe might both amuse and annoy by the end of the disc. The collectors who are pleased by such finds, however, will appreciate the detailed annotation that sheds light on the origins of these extremely obscure tracks (one of which, Eddie & Ernie's "Indication," was previously unreleased).