Various Artists ~ Lost Deep Soul Treasures Vol 8 (S.O.S. 2012)
By Pete Nickols
Phil Flowers ~ A Heart That Cries ~ Dot LP 25849; Reatha Reese ~ Things I Should Have Done ~ Dot 16630; Willie Johnson ~ Glory Of Love ~ Jam 0002; Nashville Depoe ~ Falling For You ~ Guinness LP 36061; Ernie K-Doe ~ A Long Way Back From Home ~ Janus LP3030 and Janus 167; Charles & Ivory ~ My Little Baby ~ Geneva 106; Loretta Kendrick ~ My Feelings Keep Getting In The Way ~ UK Hayley HR 004; Joe Odom ~ If You Knew Her Like I Do ~ Capitol P-3633; Blue Rivers & The Maroons ~ I’ve Been Pushed Around ~ UK Spectrum SP 105; The Glories ~ Try A Little Tenderness ~ Date 2-1636; Joe Simon ~ It’s Too Late ~ Sound Stage 7 LP 15005; Louis Jordan ~ Comin’ Down ~ Tangerine 958; Grover Mitchell ~ Time Brings About A Change ~ Hunter 799; Ohio Untouchables ~ I’m Tired ~ Lu Pine 1011 & 1017; Oscar Mack ~ I’ll Go On Lovin’ You ~ Tyrone 101; Jimmy Dobbins ~ What Is Love (I Found Love) ~ Crash 426; Patterson Twins ~ He’s A Loser ~ Commercial LP CDC-A 784; Art Grayson ~ When I Get Home ~ HBR 462; Sammy Jones ~ Nothing Can Change This Love ~ Hull 1203; Joe Anderson ~ You Gotta Believe ~ Buddah 437.
This now long-standing occasional series of deep-soul CDs continues with Volume 8. However, as some previous Volumes have done, this release regularly ‘borrows’ (whether directly or coincidentally) from some of the fine deep tracks already featured on this particular web-site and, sadly, the only seriously deep winners here for me are those very tracks. (Believe me this is an honest opinion – not bias!).
Therefore I can thoroughly recommend the tough-voiced Reatha Reese - see here for a clip and a good description of this Clarence Reid-penned deep winner. The Dot label entertained a surprising number of soul names, e.g. Arthur Alexander, Ronnie Love, George Jackson and even Phil Flowers whose track from his aptly-named “Our Man In Washington” Dot LP opens this CD – and, yes, Reetha’s fine offering is yet another Dot release! (Sadly, the Flowers track is far from his best, for while the lyric has some deep overtones, Flowers’ vocal is gruff without being very expressive and the almost jaunty tempo doesn’t add much real soul ‘depth’ either).
The next winner comes from Willie Johnson – go here to check out his superbly deep and expressive take on the old favourite “Glory Of Love” – a song originally stemming from 1936 when Benny Goodman’s jazz orchestra had a No.1 hit with it, while in 1951 The Five Keys duly doo-wopped it to the top of the R&B charts.
You don’t need me to rave about Blue Rivers & The Maroons’ magnificent slab of deep-soul as you can track this gem down here, although you might be surprised to learn that the group were predominantly a UK-based 60’s ska and bluebeat band.
More info. can also be found here on Oscar Mack but this certainly is the genuine deep-soul article, boasting a very ‘spare’ arrangement plus Mack’s desperate, harrowing vocal which leaves him close to tears by track-end.
Still happily wallowing in the real ‘depths’, you can catch up with Art Grayson’s dramatically interpreted piece of storyline soul right here.
And I would argue that the final top-drawer deep offering on this CD comes from Sammy Jones, a Sam Cooke-styled piece which you can enjoy here.
Although also featured here on this site, I can’t rave quite so enthusiastically about the chosen Grover Mitchell track. Mitchell’s doom-laden vocal certainly gives a deep feel to what is actually an early 60’s proto-soul piece, from a time when a phrase in the lyric like “when you’re young and gay” had no connection whatsoever with sexual inclination.
The best track on this CD which is not already featured on this site is one which is not ultra-deep but rather on the softer side – however, I have to admit, it is an outstanding piece of soul music. I refer to Naturelles’ lead-singer, Loretta Kendrick’s fine solo offering. Its label (UK Hayley) was begun in 2001 by Coventry-based Rob Moss who, through his connections with ex-Detroit (and other) record-men, managed to obtain access to some rare and often (as in this case) previously-unissued soul tracks. This appealing outing certainly warranted earlier release.
Joe Odom’s 1973 piece here is even softer soul – very pretty and listenable but hardly truly deep, despite its credentials being impeccable, the disc having been produced at the Lowery Studio in Atlanta by ex Memphis-Fame man Sonny Limbo with the Memphis Horns also in attendance.
You would not automatically think of Louis Jordan as a soul era singer but back in early 1962 Ray Charles signed a then 53-year-old Louis to his Tangerine label where the ex-jump-blues star cut no fewer than seven 45s. Surprisingly perhaps, this particular slow, bluesy soul track is given a genuinely deep ‘edge’ by virtue both of Jordan’s dramatic delivery and some very tasteful organ playing.
The Untouchables’ track is from exactly the same era and Robert Ward’s top-drawer vocal effectively combines doo-wop influence with much tougher early James Brown stylings.
Nashville Depoe are just about as obscure as it gets! This track came from their not very aptly-named 1977 album “Disco Train”, which saw a limited issue on a so-called ‘tax-scam’ label named Guinness. There were only a couple of really disco-y tracks on the album which mixed five instrumentals with five vocals, the latter all credited to Michael Coleman. “Falling For You” was the closest to ‘real soul’ and, whilst it certainly has a haunting bluesoul quality to it, I wouldn’t have chosen it for a deep-soul CD.
Ernie K-Doe’s brand of ‘soul’ is chiefly remembered as that special kind of 60’s ‘adapted New Orleans R&B’ that producer and keyboardist Allen Toussaint was so proficient at creating. However, this much more ‘straight-ahead’ soul performance, stemming from later, in 1973, on Janus, was still composed and co-produced by Toussaint. Although slow-tempoed, it’s hardly deep and, frankly, comes across as a not very impressive and rather monotonous item.
Charles & Ivory were actually revered New Orleans soulman Charles Brimmer and his brother but this almost mid-paced offering from the pair doesn’t have any ‘deep’ content whatsoever to my ears – rather it is a pleasant-enough but unexceptional reggae-influenced piece of Crescent City-style soul.
I must come clean and admit that “Try A Little Tenderness” is far from my favourite song, no matter who recorded it (and I’m afraid that includes Otis). The Glories’ Date interpretation with its quite dramatic finale at least retains a nice slow tempo throughout rather than attempting the three quite different ones to be found in Big O’s version.
Jimmy Dobbins, despite a natural baritone, makes regular use of high falsetto and spoken ‘rap’ during this rather disjointed piece on which his almost constant changes in vocal style somewhat distract from the song itself rather than creating empathy with it.
The Patterson Twins were one of several duos to originally call themselves simply The Soul Twins. This lay-back Nashville album track is pleasant and lilting without really having any particularly deep attributes.
Joe Anderson’s Buddah side brings the CD to a close. It’s quiet-fire rather than deep-soul, with shades of Al Green in evidence.
So, a somewhat disappointing set overall with chiefly only those tracks already given exposure on this site being worthy of true deep-soul status.