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Release Info: Northern Soul\'s Classiest Rarities vol 2 2005 (Kent)
Label : Kent
Great sounding and dense with information Northern Soul's Classiest Rarities, Vol. 2 is a true labor of love, compiling 24 solid tracks on the Kent label, a follow-up to the first volume released in 2001, four years before this wonderful sequel. It is sonically superior to another 2001 classic, Northern Soul Connoisseurs on Spectrum/Uni, the huge quantity of these anthologies from this music genre almost as overwhelming as the 45 rpm singles they collect. Ady Croasdell delivers 12 pages of liner notes on slick paper rife with photographs and copies of the actual labels from some of the 45s contained herein.
The music is breathtakingly magical, the "Heatwave" beat driving the Extremes "How I Need Your Love" sliding quickly into Jimmy "Bo" Horne's "I Can't Speak," hardcore doo wop merging with '60s pop creating sweet soul confections that stand up to repeated, endless spins. Isaac Hayes and Joe Shamwell combine to write the superb "Sea Shells" as voiced by the Charmels, produced by the legendary Hayes/Porter combo. It's followed by William Hunt's dynamite version of Bobby Hebb's "Would You Believe," also recorded by original Procol Harum drummer Bobby Harrison, as well as Grady Tate and Kenny Lonas. The song lineage here will no doubt make Northern soul fans' mouths water for more versions of these hard-to-find classics. Lonas' rendition goes for a good hundred dollars if you can find it, Hunt's version that's included here is probably even rarer as it came from a Steamside demo.
For students of the genre, Croasdell's liner notes are thorough and worth putting on the xerox machine to enlarge and cherish as you read them and listen to Janice Christian with Johnny & the Charmers performing "Just a Bad Thing," which sounds like Barbara Lewis and the Toys' Barbara Harris all rolled into one -- and how can you not help but love that! Jennifer Wells "Dining in Chinatown" is bright and full of fun, reminiscent of Ramona King's "Oriental Garden," though more up-tempo. Jackie Washington's "Why Won't They Let Me Be" is also a standout, but there's not a bad track on these two dozen sides which have not only stood the test of time, they've escaped total obscurity by virtue of their inclusion here.
Joe Tex - I Wanna Be Free
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