VARIOUS – MODERNITY – KENT / ACE CD

Compilers Ady Croasdell & Dean Rudland’s third CD collection spotlighting the sort of R&B and club soul the original 60s mods could have been danced to – if only they’d had the chance.

40 years of soul and blues mining has given Ace access to some killer previously locked-away tunes for this third volume in our mod series. A hitherto unheard 1964-vintage Ike & Tina track is big news; the duo’s performance on ‘Walk Home With Me’ features a somewhat square-sounding male chorus which only adds to the charm of this excellent Buck Ram-produced number. The vocal pairing of Aaron Collins’ two sisters, the Teen Queens, was a brief music sensation with ‘Eddie My Love’ in the 50s but, unknown until last year, the three siblings got together and cut the gritty mover ‘Ooh Baby’ and three other tracks for Modern in 1966.

Birdlegs & Pauline encapsulated the mystery of collecting soul records in the 60s and 70s. Their ‘Spring’ was an obscure-as-hell mod classic on the iconic UK Sue label, issued in 1966 on a Guy Stevens whim three years after its US release. What a bizarre name it was for a singing act; they sounded more like a music hall novelty turn. The song hit but the duo split up and there was not even a follow-up. An album’s worth of tracks was recorded, though, and has recently come to light, from which ‘Just Can’t Help Myself’ could have been even better suited for the UK’s mod market – if only they had known.

Laidback soul from New Orleans and its environs is prominent. Willie Tee gives us ‘Who Knows’, a 1963 recording that lay dormant until its release on Ace in 1994. Eddie Bo cut his R&B gem ‘I Found A Little Girl’ that same year. Eddie Shuler’s Goldband and Anla labels provide a rarity from Ike Porter, an early funk master class from Clifton White, previously unreleased rhythm’n’soul gems from King Karl and Rockin’ Sidney, and an unissued popcorn-style ballad from Sticks Herman which is destined for Europe-wide spins.

Up to the Big Apple where Arock’s Gary Klyvert and Carl Gould sang as Gary & Gary on ‘Deuces Wild’, the way-punchier flip of the duo’s Northern Soul number ‘I’m Leaving (For Parts Unknown)’. Charles Hodges’ hip take of the Gershwin’s ‘Lady Be Good’, Willis Jackson’s storming jazz ‘Soul Grabber’ and Chuck Jackson’s ‘Lonely Am I’, though, are more elegant examples of NYC soul.

Back in Los Angeles where future collectibles such as ‘Drop That Gun’ by Teddy Reynolds and ‘Monkey Walk’ by the Kingsmen were being pressed. From the same city comes the topical 1962 sound of ‘Air Travel’ by Ray & Bob, as covered in the UK by the young Chris Farlowe; the Fashionettes’ ‘Earthquake’, which spotlights the girl group sound, so symbolic of the 60s; and Jackie Lee’s ‘The Bounce’, which conjures up images of shimmering discotheque lights and go-go dancers strutting their stuff.

Feminine jazz vocals come from Byrdie Green, who in 1967 made Ma Rainey’s ‘See See Rider’ a happening sound. ‘Sundown’ by the Merced Blue Notes has a similarly cool jazz vibe and session instrumentalists the Birds Of Paradise do a seamless job on ‘Bossa Blue Port’. For Fame completists searching for the slick R&B sound of ‘Go Away With Me’ by Hollis Dixon, we’ve jumped the gun and included it here, while Stax specialists will no doubt be pleased to get their ears on the southern funk of Eddie Kirk’s ‘The Hawg’.

ADY CROASDELL

01 Just Can’t Help Myself – Birdlegs & Pauline

02 Deuces Wild – Gary & Gary

03 Drop That Gun – Teddy Reynolds

04 I Found A Little Girl – Eddie Bo

05 Go Away With Me – Hollis Dixon & The Keynotes

06 Sundown – The Merced Blue Notes

07 Is It Because You Love Me – Sticks Herman

08  Walk Home With Me – Ike & Tina Turner

09 Ooh Baby – The Teen Queens

10 See See Rider – Byrdie Green

11 Earthquake – The Fashionettes

12 The Bounce – Jackie Lee

13 You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet – Ike Porter & The Fabulations

14 The Hawg Part 2 – Eddie Kirk

15 Monkey Walk Part 1 – The Kingsmen

16 (Oh) Lady Be Good – Charles Hodges

17 Lonely Am I – Chuck Jackson

18 Who Knows – Willie Tee

19 Bossa Blue Port – The Birds Of Paradise

20 Soul Grabber – Willis Jackson

21 The Warm Up Part 1 – Clifton White & His Royal Knights

22 That’s All I Want – King Carl

23 Air Travel – Ray & Bob

24 Looking Through My Spyglass – Rockin’ Sidney

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