Sunday, 14 June 2015

"Pied Piper: Follow Your Soul" by VARIOUS ARTISTS (2015 Ace/Kent-Soul CD Remasters) -- A Review by Mark Barry...

"...More Than A Memory..."

A companion volume to 2013's Various Artists CD compilation "Pied Piper Presents A New Concept In Detroit Soul" on Kent-Soul CDKEND 389 - Ace's second-instalment is 2015's "Pied Piper: Follow Your Soul" which serves up 24 more slices of quality 60ts Soul originally on Giant, Karate, RCA Victor and Kapp Records - 10 of which are Previously Unreleased. 

A typically classy affair from ACE (one of England's truly great Soul Music reissue labels - Edsel, Big Break Records and Soul Jazz are amongst the others) - let's get to the two-timing hip-shaking voodoo-woman details right away (baby)...

UK released May 2015 (June 2015 in the USA) - "Pied Piper: Follow Your Soul" is a CD compilation on Ace/Kent Soul CDKEND 429 (Barcode 029667242929) and plays out as follows (59:22 minutes):

1. Voo Doo Madamoiselle - SEPTEMBER JONES (Pied Piper 003, 2014)
2. He'll Be Leaving You - NANCY WILCOX (Previously Unreleased Until 2015, Recorded 21 July 1966)
3. You Only Live Twice (Alternate) - LORRAINE CHANDLER (Previously Unreleased Until 2015)
4. Could It Be You - SHARON SCOTT (1966 USA 7" Single on RCA Victor 47-8907, A)
5. Ooh It Hurts Me (Alternate) - THE CAVALIERS (Previously Unreleased Until 2015, Recorded 23 February 1967)
6. I Need Your Love - THE DYNAMICS (1967 USA 7" Single on RCA Victor 47-9084, A)
7. Watch Yourself - TONY HESTER (1966 USA 7" single on Giant G-707, A)
8. Love Will Find A Way - HARRY GATES (Previously Unreleased Until 2015)
9. They Say I'm Afraid (Of Losing You) - FREDDY BUTLER (from the 1967 LP "With A Dab Of Soul" on Kapp Records KL-1519)
10. Lost Without You - LORRAINE CHANDLER (Previously Unreleased Until 2015, Recorded 15 December 1966)
11. Wait A Minute - THE HESITATIONS (on the 1967 Mono LP "Soul Superman" on Kapp Records KL-1525)
12. Love Sick - THE PIED PIPER PLAYERS (Previously Unreleased Until 2015, Recorded 22 July 1966)
13. No More Love - SEPTEMBER JONES (1967 USA 7" Single on Kapp Records K-802, A)
14. Set My Heart At Ease - MIKKI FARROW (1966 USA 7" Single on Karate 524, B-side to "Could It Be")
15. More Than A Memory - NANCY WILCOX Previously Unreleased Until 2015, Recorded 21 July 1966)
16. Without Someone To Tell Me - THE CAVALIERS (Previously Unreleased Until 2015, Recorded 18 July 1966)
17. It's Right Now - THE METROS (1969 USA 7" single on Sepia 3, A, credited to Joe Buckman)
18. Love Is Not A Game - SAM E SOLO (1965 USA 7" single on Ruby 5075, A)
19. What Can I Do - LORRAINE CHANDLER (1966 USA 7" Single on Giant G-703, A)
20. You Better Know Why - SEPTEMBER JONES (Kent 6T 30, 2014)
21. You Don't Know Me Do You - THE METROS (Previously Unreleased Until 2015, Recorded 23 February 1967)
22. Hold To My Baby - THE PIED PIPER PLAYERS (Previously Unreleased Until 2015, Recorded 18 July 1968)
23. That's What Love Is - HESITATIONS (on the 1967 Mono LP "Soul Superman" on Kapp Records KL-1525)
24. Give Me Lots Of Lovin' - FREDDY BUTLER (from the 1967 LP "With A Dab Of Soul" on Kapp Records KL-1519)

Compiled by genre-expert and Soul Music aficionado ADY CROASDELL - the 16-page booklet features his typically indepth and affection musings on these deep Soul Sides which have remained for so many years covered in mystery (with thanks to Matt Baker, Robb Klein, Andy Rix and Dave Welding). The liner notes have dug deep too - local newspapers of the time have been scoured and tiny adverts for live shows have been found for Freddie Butler at Little Sam's Grand Bar and The Cavaliers at Mr. Kelley's Ballroom. Other pages show Acetates on United, White Label Demos of American 45's on RCA Victor and a repro of Detroit's WJLB Radio 'Flaming 30 Survey' with honourable mentions of The Metros. There are ultra-rare black and white publicity photos of Sharon Scott, Nancy Wilcox, The Dynamics, Mikki Farrow and a cool colour snap of The Hesitations. The inside inlay pictures a label repro of Mikki Farrow's "Set My Heart At Ease" on Karate Records.

NICK ROBBINS a long-time Ace associate and Engineer has handled the Remasters and the Audio is fantastic right across the Mono board (all but Track 12 are in Mono - 12 is in Stereo).

Pied Piper Productions was formed by musician and songwriter Jack Ashford along with businessman Shelley Haims and Promoter Gerard Purcell - all three of them having connections with session musicians at Motown and licensing contacts with the major labels. Their own imprint Giant Records managed a few releases - but most are now ludicrously rare and expensive on original vinyl.

The compilation opens on a winner - "Voo Doo Madamoiselle" by September Jones where a woman all dressed in black with hypnotizing eyes and a Cadillac are after her man (don't you hate them sorts). The Nancy Wilcox unreleased track "He'll Be Leaving You" is good but the Alternate of Lorraine Chandler's Bond cover "You Only Live Twice" is cheesy rather than tasty. But all that small-potatoes gets slaughtered by an absolute Northern Soul monster - "Could It Be You" by the gorgeous Sharon Scott (from Harrisburg in Pennsylvania). You can literally see the dancefloors of Northern England exploding into joy ten seconds into this fabulous slice of Sixties Soul. Thinking it can't get any better - it only bloody does with no less than a double-whammy of Northern Soul floorfillers "Ooh it Hurts Me" (Alternate) and "I Need Your Love" from The Cavaliers and The Dynamics.

Another gorgeous groover with superb backing vocals is "Wait A Minute" by The Hesitations - a hidden gem on their uber-desirable "Soul Superman" album from 1967 on Kapp Records (the Mono cut is used here). Hesitations Frontman Freddy Butler puts in a blinder on "They Say I'm Afraid (Of Losing You)" - a sweet mid-tempo stroller written in part by three of the Funk Brothers (Joe Hunter, Bob Babbit and Eddie Willis). Speaking of gorgeous Soul - September Jones puts in a beautifully delicate performance on the lovely "No More Love" - the kind of 45 bound to elicit frenzied bidding on eBay (should a copy turn up). Lyrics from Sam E Solo's "Love Is Not A Game" title this review while Lorraine Chandler's "What Can I Do" is just glorious Northern Soul - pure and simple. Another wicked dancer is "Without Someone To Tell Me" by The Cavaliers featuring an irrepressible beat backed up with fuzz guitar. "It's Right Now" by The Metros is probably the closest to Motown and the whole glorious compilation ends on Freddy Butler's "Give Me Lots Of Lovin'" - the perfect slice of talcum-powdered 2:22 minutes.

Ace's label Kent-Soul has built up a ludicrously high reputation over the years amongst Soul lovers and rabid collectors - but once again they've dumfounded us all by going one rung higher on a ladder that seems to have no ceiling. Follow Your Soul indeed. An absolute belter of a compilation - congrats to all involved...

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Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

INDEX - Artists, Albums, Record Labels, CD Remaster Engineers, Liner Notes Authors, Links etc