Saturday, 18 April 2009

"The Platinum Collection" by ARTHUR CONLEY (March 2007 Rhino CD Compilation Of Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...



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"…Down At The Shack…"

Arthur Conley is one of the great unsung-heroes of Atlantic's extraordinary Soul Music roster – unfairly overlooked as a poor man's Otis Redding or Wilson Pickett clone. It's true that vocally and stylistically he was the same (Redding discovered and mentored him) – but what's also true is that his albums and singles contained some blistering Sixties Soul – and this cheap and cheerful compilation is a great way of accessing a fair dollop of them.

He made 4 albums for Atlantic/Atco and issued over a dozen UK and US 7” singles. Unfortunately this compilation sticks with the albums only – a shame that as he had many non-album B-sides (some A’s too) which are unavailable anywhere. But there's so much to love on here and its dirt cheap too. The inlay is a useless gatefold slip of paper but the sound is lovely – very clean and clear - typically excellent Rhino remasters. So here are the details…

UK released March 2007 - "The Platinum Collection" by ARTHUR CONLEY on Warner/Rhino 8122-79994-6 (Barcode 081227999469) is a CD compilation that breaks down as follows (56:47 minutes)

1. Sweet Soul Music
2. Funky Street
3. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
4. Shake, Rattle & Roll
5. Aunt Dora's Love Soul Shack
6. Hear Say
7. People Sure Act Funny
8. Who's Foolin' Who
9. I Got A Feeling
10. I Can't Stop (No, No, No)
11. Something You Got
12. Stuff You Gotta Watch
13. That Can't Be My Baby
14. Run On
15. Shing-A-Ling
16. I'm A Lonely Stranger
17. Is That You Love
18. Speak Her Name
19. Take A Step
20. Take Me (Just As I Am)
21. This Love Of Mine
22. Otis Sleeps On

His four albums were…

"Sweet Soul Music" (Tracks 1, 8, 10, 16 and 20)
1967 USA Stereo LP on Atco SD 33-215 and UK LP on Atlantic 587 069
"Shake, Rattle & Roll" (Track 4)
1967 USA Stereo LP on Atco SD 33-220 and UK LP on Atlantic 587 084
"Soul Directions" (Tracks 2, 6, 7, 21 and 22)
1968 USA Stereo LP on Atco SD 33-243 and UK LP on Atlantic 588 128
"More Sweet Soul" (Tracks 3, 5, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18 and 19)
1969 USA Stereo LP on Atco SD 33-276 and UK LP on Atco 228 019

There are times when it all goes horribly wrong like the awful soul cover of The Beatles "Ob-La-Di…" and the heavy-handed out-of-place rock guitar in "Speak Her Name" - but these are countered by fantastic brass-chopping workouts like "Funky Street" and "Hear Say". In the UK "Aunt Dora's Love Soul Shack" b/w "Is That Your Love" was issued as a 45 on Atco 584 224 in November 1968 and sank without a trace. But it's a truly superb Sixties Soul 7" single – a perfect funky A-side with a slow meaningful flip (they reversed its running order in the USA on Atco 6622). You get great discoveries like that on here…

For just a few bucks - this 2007 Rhino remaster is a tremendous introduction to the man. For those wanting more his 4 albums and some of his non-album single tracks are out there on other CDs (but often at a cost). In the meantime the budget-priced CD compilation "The Platinum Collection" is highly recommended…


PS: the other Atlantic artists in "The Platinum Collection" series are: LaVern Baker (see REVIEW), Archie Bell & The Drells (see REVIEW), Brook Benton (see REVIEW), Booker T & The M.G.'s, Ruth Brown, Solomon Burke, Clarence Carter (see REVIEW), The Clovers (see REVIEW), Don Covay, The Detroit Spinners, Eddie Floyd, King Curtis, Barbara Lewis (see REVIEW), The Mar-Keys, The Persuasions, Sam & Dave, Percy Sledge (see REVIEW), Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas, (Big) Joe Turner (see REVIEW) and Betty Wright

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