Various Artists “Lost Deep Soul Treasures Vol 7” (SOS 2011)
By Pete Nickols
The Stereos ~ Easy Going Fellow ~ Vivid Sound LP VS-7005; Otis Busch ~ Someone To Love ~ Cha Cha 778; Barbara Howard ~ I Need You ~ SR 700317; The Relations ~ Too Proud To Let You Know ~ Kape 703 & Demand 501; Sweetie Williams & The Bills ~ In The Beginning ~ Black Gold 301; Homer Chambers ~ See Me Cry ~ Soul-Po-Tion 124; Bob Green ~ Sweet Sweet Memories ~ Super! BC 7073; The Dolls ~ I’ll Love You Forever ~ NGC 003; Sammy Ward ~ Who’s The Fool ~ Tamla 54030 (2nd release using this number); The Soul Ambassadors ~ There’s Something On My Baby’s Mind ~ Sound Stage 7 2588 & Sound Plus 2149; Elaine Garrett ~ What About Me ~ Greedy 112; Johnnie Morisette ~ Always On My Mind ~ Sar 107; The Newcomers ~ (Too Little In Common To Be Lovers) Too Much Going To Say Goodbye ~ Truth 3213; Kitty Haywood ~ It’s So Lonely ~ Weis WEA 3003; Larry Williams ~ Doing The Best I Can ~ Fantasy 806; Oscar Weathers ~ Pledging My Love ~ Top & Bottom 412; Clinton Harmon ~ Can’t Help The Way I Feel Abut You ~ Barnstorm 001; Johnny Newbag ~ The Poorer The Man ~ Atlantic 2355; Lonnie Hill ~ Poverty Shack ~ Aspden 1801; Tommy Tate ~ Big Blue Diamonds ~ Okeh 7253.
Firstly, there’s only 20 tracks on this particular Volume from this deep-soul series, whereas we usually get 25 or more. Mind you, with more than the usual number of 3-plus minute recordings on offer, it was probably never going to be possible to cram too many tracks onto one CD. What’s more, this time around, only 4 of the tracks are also featured on this web-site’s artists pages.
There’s some good stuff on offer as always and it has its high-points but, overall, I feel this Volume is one of the weakest in the series thus far and doesn’t begin to compare with the outstanding Volume 6 for overall ‘deep quality’.
Best tracks for me include Otis Busch’s nice organ-backed lay-back deepie “Someone To Love”, which is well-enough sung without recourse to any dramatic passages; Barbara Howard’s interpretive vocal on “I Need You”; The Relations’ “Too Proud To Let You Know”, chiefly for when the lead-singer really cuts loose, although the doo-woppish back-up vocals on the quieter passages are rather monotonous; Bob Green’s excellent sorrow-filled piece “Sweet Sweet Memories” for the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Super! label; the fine gospel-soul of the Soul Ambassadors’ “There’s Something On My Baby’s Mind” which saw two releases on John R’s labels; the sheer beauty of the Newcomers’ Truth side “Too Much Going To Say Goodbye” which offers a fine 1974 gospel-soul reading of this Carl Hampton/Homer Banks song; Kitty Haywood’s “It’s So Lonely” which, despite its strange “Land Of Hope & Glory” intro, is a fine Freddy Briggs song co-produced by Bob Weavers and non other than Mavis Staples; Larry Williams’ well interpreted “Doing The Best I Can”, this guy rivalling Little Richard for being just as ‘at home’ with a soul song as with a slice of rock ‘n roll; the great Tommy Tate’s fine ‘country-soul’ reading of one of Little Willie John’s few actual soul-era recordings, “Big Blue Diamonds”; and Clinton Harmon’s Clarence Carter co-produced “Can’t Help The Way I Feel About You”, a later-era smooth-deep piece of soul from 1977 with its Benny Latimore-like musical backdrop.
Of the rest there’s bluesman Lonnie Hill’s very rare Aspden message-bluesoul outing “Poverty Shack” and a nice-enough slow-rolling-paced reading of Allen Orange’s song “Easy Going Fellow” by the Stereos (not the Pittsburg doo-wop-into-soul group of the same name), this one being an unissued-at-the-time cut for John R, who did indeed issue versions of the song by both Roscoe Shelton and Billy Mills.
Meanwhile Sweetie Williams surprisingly turns out to be of the male gender on his rare Memphis cut; I don’t much like the ‘ultra-white’ sound of the back-up group on Homer Chambers’ otherwise quite good “See Me Cry”; nor am I very keen on the Dolls’ lead-singer’s high and rather squeaky voice on “I’ll Love You Forever”.
Singin’ Sammy Ward’s No.23 R&B Tamla hit from back in 1961, “Who’s The Fool”, is a good listen but it’s certainly not deep. Elaine Garrett’s rare Greedy side “What About Me” is a very nice, light-shaded, slow-to-mid paced storyline piece but it’s also not what I would call truly ‘deep’. Johnny Morisette’s Sar outing “Always On My Mind” is an inconsequential mid-paced item except for when Johnny’s voice heads off into the stratosphere on the bridge. Oscar Weathers recorded far better soul offerings than his very schmaltzy interpretation of Johnny Ace’s pre-soul anthem “Pledging My Love” (see Oscar’s artist page to sample some). I’m also not very keen on Johnny Newbag’s Atlantic side “The Poorer The Man” where, even after a rap intro, the main piece is semi-spoken rather than sung and that “Who-oh-oh” back-up chorus doesn’t help.
So star picks for me perhaps would be Bob Green, The Relations, The Soul Ambassadors and The Newcomers, but there’s nothing here of the truly outstanding deep intensity of, say, the Chuck Carter, Eddy Jacobs or Bobby McClure tracks on Volume 6.