Friday, 10 March 2017

"Modernisms" by VARIOUS ARTISTS (May 2016 Ace/Kent-Soul CD Compilation - Nick Robbins Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...



"...Where Did You Get So Much Soul..."

Following on from March 2015's "Modernists: A Decade Of Rhythm & Soul Dedication" - those dedicated men-with-beards over at Ace Records in London's Steele Road have once again dug deep into their 60ts shimmy-shaker archives and come up with 24 more dancers to keep that waistline of yours in trim (trimming anything around my rotund waistline is always a good idea).

Having said that names like Chet "Poison" Ivey & His Fabulous Avengers, The Turnarounds or Ralph Ventsha & The Red Julian Quintet are not exactly conversation openers at a Soul Club (who are these guys?). But that's not to say that the quality has dropped in favour of obscurity. Thankfully it hasn't. Just two songs in and you’ll be bopping. Put simply - "Modernisms" is another cracker from Kent-Soul and with the emphasis firmly on the upbeat.

Once again you get 24 cool tunes (2 previously unreleased) compiled by uber-fan and lifelong Mod ADY CROASDELL (14 years of age when he bopped with the In-Crowd at The Twisted Wheel) with knowledgeable and informative liner notes from DEAN RUDLAND - a name long synonymous with literally hundreds of quality Soul reissues. Here are the Peep Show details...

UK released Friday 27 May 2016 (10 June 2016 in the USA) – "Modernism" by VARIOUS ARTISTS on Ace/Kent-Soul CDKEND 452 (Barcode 029667245227) plays out as follows (61:10 minutes):

1. Ain't That Soul – TEDDY REYNOLDS (2016 Previously Unreleased Early Version of Specialty 695, USA 7" single from 1969)
2. I’m On The Move – JOE MAYFIELD (1964 USA 7" single on Excello 45-2256, A)
3. Tee Na Na Na Na Nay - EDDIE BO (1963 USA 7" single on At Last 1005, A)
4. Everybody's Feelin' Good - KING CARL (1965 USA 7" single on La Louisianne LL-8080, B-side of "Blues For Men")
5. Beg Me - CHUCK JACKSON [with uncredited Doris Troy on Second Lead/Backing Vocals]
(1964 USA 7" single on Wand 154, A and 1964 UK 7" single on Pye International 7N.25247, A)
6. Dancing Everywhere - BOB & EARL [Bob Relf and Earl Nelson]
(1969 USA 7" single on Crestview 9011, A and 1969 UK 7" single on B&C Records CB 102, A)
7. Soul Is My Game - CHET "POISIN" IVEY and HIS FABULOUS AVENGERS (1968 USA 7" single on Bee & Cee 315, B-side)
8. Clap Your Hands - THE AMBERTONES (1965 USA 7" single on Rayjack 1001, A)
9. Crossroads In Your Heart - THE SHIRELLES (first appeared on the February 1987 UK LP "Lost And Found" on Ace/Impact ACT 010)
10. Do It - PAT POWDRILL (1966 USA 7" single on Downey D-139, A)
11. The Life Of The Party - JOAN MOODY (1965 USA 7" single on Sylvia 5007, B-side of "We Must Be Doing Something Right")
12. The Phillie - THE M-M and THE PEANUTS (1965 USA 7" single on Money 107, A)
13. Magic Potion - LOU JOHNSON (1963 USA 7" single on Big Top 3153, A and UK "The Magic Potion Of" EP on London RE-X 1438)
14. Night Beat - KENNY SMITH & THE LOVELITERS  (1967 USA 7" single Fraternity F-993, A)
15. I'm Gonna Get You - LEROY HARRIS (1966 USA 7" single on Swan S-4254, B-side of "Crow Baby Crow")
16. I Know What I Want- TOMMY G & THE CHARMS
(1967 USA 7" single on Hurricane 6974, A - and Hollywood 1109, A - and UK 7" single on London HLB 10107, A)
17. Go - LITTLE JOHNNY HAMILTON & THE CREATORS (1965 USA 7" single on Dore 754, B-side of "Oh How I Love You")
18. We Gonna Rub Pt. 1 - JOE JOHNSON (Excelleo recording first appeared in 1998 on the UK CD "Genuine Excello R&B" on Ace CDCHD 678)
19. Cinderella Jones - SAMMY JONES (1967 USA 7" single on Mascot 711, A)
20. When One Of Them Won't - THE TURNAROUNDS (1966 Atlanta, Georgia recording - 2016 Previously Unreleased)
21. The Duck Pt. 2 - JACKIE LEE (1965 USA LP "The Duck" on Mirwood MW 7000)
22. I've Gotta Know Why - DARROW FLETCHER (1966 USA 7" single on Groovy 3004, A)
23. Private Eye - WALLACE JOHNSON (first appeared on the 1993 UK CD compilation "Gumbo Stew: Original A.F.O. New Orleans R&B" on Ace CDCHD 450)
24. Listen To Me (Baby) - RALPH VENTSHA & RED JULIAN QUINTET (1958 USA 7" single on Vistone 2019, A)
NOTES: All Tracks are Mono - Tracks 1 and 20 are Previously Unreleased

From the creators of the MOD JAZZ Series (see list below) - genre experts ADY CROASDELL and DEAN RUDLAND have compiled the CD and annotated the 16-page booklet. It’s the usual fact-filled fest by Ace - complete with those gorgeous and (often) obscure American-45 label repros that compliment the indepth song factoids (Excello, La Louisianne, Pye International, Crestview, Bee Cee, Downey, Sylvia, Money, Fraternity, Hollywood, Groovy, Contempo, Vistone and Dore). There are rare black and white publicity photos of Eddie Bo, Pat Powdrill and The Turnarounds with trade adverts for Chuck Jackson, Joe Mayfield and Jackie Lee on Mirwood. There’s even a reproduction of the ultra-rare Lou Johnson “Magic Potion” EP on London RE-X 1438 – a £150+ British rarity that I’ve never seen in forty years of collecting. And as ever NICK ROBBINS has done a totally stellar job with the Remastering – each track full of punch, vim and vigour.

Like its 2015 predecessor "Modernists" (Volume 1 if you like) – “Modernism” is chock-full of 'upbeat dancers'. It opens with a one-two sucker-punch of floor-filling winners – "Ain't That Soul" by Teddy Reynolds and "I'm On The Move" by Joe Mayfield. Similar in vocal style to Otis Redding and once a member of Bobby Bland's touring group - Teddy Reynolds gives it some fantastic 'sock it to me' gravel-larynx in a great brass driver. As good as it is - it's solidly trumped by an amazing find in Joe Mayfield's "I'm On The Move" - a kind of Them-like Soul number that's so hooky it's been bootlegged. "I'm On The Move" is one of only two 45s he made and is likely to send 60ts groovers into a bidding-war frenzy should a copy surface for sale. Eddie Bo's "Tee Na Na Na Na Nay" has a very similar beat and style and you can see why Soul fans have been digging into his catalogue. "...Everyone's downtown...that's where the action's at..." the ladies sing on the fab "Dancing Everywhere" by Bob & Earl - a groover that combines a Motorcity backbeat with a "Downtown" Pop single feel - and along with Chuck Jackson's very cool "Beg Me" (with an uncredited Doris Troy on Lead Backing Vocals) is yet another set of highlights.

Chet "Poison" Ivey's "Soul Is My Game" is a Boogaloo rhythm with echoes of Robert Parker's "Barefootin'" and I'm certain is going to become huge on the circuit if it isn't already. The raw and rough "Clap Your Hands" by The Ambertones feels like Little Richard on Soul speed - a mad hand-clapping echoed dancer that gets all Frat Rock frenzied (including a guitar wigout) and is too busy for my liking. The Shirelles ditch their cutesy image with the equally frantic "Crossroads In Your Heart" - but more genuinely Soulful and thrilling is the gorgeous Pat Powdrill and her organ-driving dancer "Do It" - a winner that should have been huge. Nice change of pace with "The Life Of The Party" by Joan Moody - a fantastic B-side written by Freddie Dobbs and Scott Douglas - and you can so hear why even bootlegs of this exchange hands for money. Other winners on here I'm going to 'shake a tail feather' to are "Night Beat" by Kenny Smith (a guitar groover with Wilson Picket type vocals) and "I Know What I Want" by Tommy G & The Charms which feels like a garage-band version of Sam & Dave (it received a UK release on London HLB 10107). A manic giggle opens "Go" - a single that sounds like Ike & Tina Turners' backing band let loose on a foot-stomping shouter where they chant "Go! Go!" all the way through its 3-minutes of Blues Brothers mayhem.

And genius choice goes to the rarely seen or heard 'Part 2' of Jackie Lee's "The Duck" - an album I have on Ace's 'Hip Pocket' CD series (see separate review). Classy Soul - Clarence Armstrong wrote the classy Soul of "The Phillie" sung by Willie Malone in the delightfully named M-M and The Peanuts while Lou Johnson does Bacharach and David's "Magic Potion" - a gorgeous singer with a set of pipes similar to Ben E. King's. It ends on the Bluesy piano of "Listen To Me (Baby)" by Ralph Ventsha - a song that sounds as tired as the club would be come three in the morning and buckets of sweat...

One again those smooth boys over at Steele Road do the business by fans. Well done to all involved...and 'we're gonna rub it' baby all night long (in the privacy of your own home you understand)...

PS: titles in the MOD JAZZ CD Series (Ace Kent-Soul) that compliment this CD:
1. Mod Jazz (Kent-Soul CDKEND 139)
2. Mo' Mod Jazz (Kent-Soul CDKEND 150)
3. Even Mo' Mod Jazz (Kent-Soul CDKEND 171)
4. Yet Mo Mod Jazz (Kent-Soul CDKEND 184)
5. The Return Of Mod Jazz (Kent-Soul CDKEND 250)
6. Further Adventures of Mod Jazz (Kent-Soul CDKEND 300)
7. Mod Jazz Forever (Kent-Soul CDKEND 368)
8. Mod Jazz And Then Some! (Kent-Soul CDKEND 416)
9. Modernists - A Decade Of Rhythm & Soul Dedication (Kent-Soul CDKEND 431)

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