Friday, 10 March 2017

"Modernists: A Decade Of Rhythm & Soul Dedication" by VARIOUS ARTISTS (2015 Ace/Kent-Soul CD Compilation - Nick Robbins Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

"...Soul Jerk It, Baby..."

Young, Hip and Happening. The fabulous photo that adorns the cover of this 2015 Kent-Soul CD compilation (paying tribute to British Mods and their ongoing musical obsession with all things Soul) was taken in 1965 Tib Lane, Manchester by Shirley Baker (good on you lass). Look at the girl’s face behind the cavorting sharp-dressed lads – young – free – loving it – all races together – on their way to or coming from yet another musical blast. How cool is that...

You’re gonna hear 24 cool tunes (3 previously unreleased) and lose some pounds once you’ve shimmied your lardy way through the 60ts wonder on offer here - compiled by uber-fan and lifelong Mod ADY CROASDELL (14 years of age when he bopped with the In-Crowd at The Twisted Wheel). Here are the long-steppin' winkle-picker details...

UK released March 2015 – "Modernists: A Decade Of Rhythm & Soul Dedication" by VARIOUS ARTISTS on Ace/Kent-Soul CDKEND 431 (Barcode 029667243124) pans out as follows (60:59 minutes):

1. Soul Jerk It, Baby – JEB STUART (1967 USA 7" single on King 6117, A)
2. Dog (Ain’t A Man's Best Friend) – LEWIS CLARK (USA 1967 7" single on Brent 7071, A)
3. Harlem Shuffle – ROBERT MOORE (1968 USA 7" single on Hollywood 1134, A)
4. Good Humor Man – CLIFFORD CURRY (1967 USA 7" single on Elf 90 003, A)
5. Cat Dance – THE IN CROWD (1965 USA 7" single on Brent 7046, A)
6. Jet Set – MEL WILLIAMS (1966 USA 7” single on Modern 1023, B-side to “Can It Be Me”)
7. Hold Your Dog – OLIVER MORGAN (1964 USA 7" single on GNP Crescendo 318, A)
8. Dynamite – LITLE EVA (Previously Unreleased)
9. Stone Fox – THE PAC-KEYS (1966 USA 7" single on Hollywood 1108, A - and 1967 UK 7" single on Specialty SPE 1003, A)
10. I Got Loaded – LITTLE BOB (1965 USA 7" single on La Louisianne 8067, A)
11. Shirley – JOHN FRED And THE PLAYBOYS (1959 USA 7" single on Montel 1002, A)
12. (You Should Have Been A) Doctor – BESSIE BANKS (1964 USA 7" single on Spokane S-4009, B-side of "Do It Now")
13. Boston Monkey – THE HUSTLERS (1965 USA 7" single on Musicor MU 1129, A)
14. Turn Around And Go – LEE BERNARD (1968 USA 7" single on Goldband G-1198-2, A)
15. Got A Good Thing Going On – CLARENCE DANIELS & OBIE JESSIE (Previously Unreleased Modern Recording)
16. Long Ways To Go – TIMMY WILSON (Previously Unreleased 3J Records Recording)
17. Shaggy Dog – DANNY & THE VELAIRES (1967 USA 7" single on Brent 7072, A)
18. Bugaloo Pete – LESTER YOUNG & THE CALIFORNIA PLAYBOYS (1968 USA 7" single on Unity 2707, A)
19. Crow Baby Crow – LEROY HARRIS (1968 USA 7" single on Swan 4254, A)
20. Monkey Man – GENE BURKS (1963 USA 7" single on Arock 1001, A)
21. Tingling – EDDY GILES (1968 USA 7" single on Murco 1053, A)
22. She’s Got Soul – BILL LOCKE (1968 USA 7" single on Fraternity F 1008, A)
23. Charles’ Shing-A-Ling – CHARLES HODGES (1966 USA 7" single on Alto 2024, A)
24. After Hours – PAUL & RICK (1967 French 7" single on Accent 1221, B-side of "Hen House")
All Tracks are Mono except 8 and 15 – which are Stereo
Tracks 8, 15 and 16 are Previously Unreleased

From the creators of the MOD JAZZ Series (see 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 American 45 label repros (Brent, Montel, Fraternity, Unity, King and Goldband) that compliment the indepth song factoids. There are rare black and white publicity photos of The Velaires, Mel Williams, Lil Bob & The Lollipops, John Fred, Eddy Giles, Lester Young and a relaxed, smiling Little Eva. There’s even a reproduction of an ultra-rare Jack Kruger’s "Flamingo Club" flyer (courtesy of Bob Dunham) where you can hear the best of Jazz and its naughty beats all weekend (just get down to 33 Wardour Street in London W1). And as ever NICK ROBBINS has done a totally stellar job with the Remastering – each track full of punch, vim and vigour.

The emphasis for "Modernists" (Volume 1) is 'upbeat dancers'. It opens on an absolute floor-filling winner – "Soul Jerk It, Baby" where Jeb Stuart gives an impressive Wilson Pickett-type-vocal – complete with a fantastic driving Boogaloo rhythm behind his every enthusiastic holler. Continuing in the vein of neck-jerking tunes - "Dog" gives you rapidly-pounded drums followed by frantic-brass where Lewis Clark thinks he’s Otis Redding in a hurry (what a great tune). I’m not so sure if Robert Moore’s "Harlem Shuffle" comes anywhere near the class of the Bob & Earl version but it tries its hardest in an overly busy production that includes girls and crowd applause. Clifford Curry wonders "can you dig it?" on "Good Humor Man" where he has “the right combination for every situation (what an accomplished chap). Far better is one of the compilations stand out tracks for me – a wickedly groovy string-laden dancer instrumental called “Cat Dance” by a suitably named The In Crowd. Oh yes! What a fantastic piece of shimmy joy.

Sixties cool continues with Mel Williams’ "Jet Set" where "a brand new breed" are "built for speed" (the A-side "Can It Be Me" is a huge Northern Soul tune). Oliver Morgan's "Hold Your Dog" is an almost note-for-note copycat of the Rufus Thomas hit "Walk Your Dog" and has some guy purring like a cat at the microphone throughout (yeah baby). Far better is yet another genius choice – the fab and previously unreleased groove of Little Eva’s James Brown-funky "Dynamite". What an uptempo winner this is - and it boasts a superbly detailed Remaster – the entire rhythm section in your face for all the right reasons. Instrumental time again with "Stone Fox" by The Pac-Keys – a great little groover – it actually received a British 45 release on Specialty SPE 1003 in 1967 and I suspect you might have to pay more than its £20 listed price in The Record Collector Price Guide.

The chipper "I Got Loaded" (not a cover version of the witty 1959 Cadets track) is a sort of R&B dancer (excellent too) that’s followed by an equally infectious Fats Domino New Orleans shuffler called "Shirley" from the unlikely source of John Fred & The Playboys. Bessie Banks is terribly pleased with her man as she "responds to his treatment" on "(You Should Have Been A) Doctor" – a great piano-pounding bopper similar to Ruth Bown on Atlantic. The "get out of my face" song "Turn Around And Go" has some ludicrously inappropriate lyrics when it comes to attitude towards women that kind of ruin a great groove. Better is the Previously Unreleased big-band Cab Calloway feel of "Got A Good Thing Going" where our hero has diamond rings and Cadillacs (some people eh) and is clearly a hit with the ladies (at least in his mind he is). Cool instrumental shuffles with organs and guitars returns with the superb "Shaggy Dog" that features the most brilliant and unexpected harmonica solo half way through (Danny Matousek was a member of The Velaires who had a minor hit with "Roll Over Beethoven" on Jamie in 1961).

More brilliance comes with the irrepressible "Monkey Man" by Gene Burks where he opens the bopper with a "Hey!" growl that immediately impresses (great tune). "If she treats you right every night you’ll feel a tingling..." Eddy Giles informs us about the midnight hour (must take that up with the missus). "She's Got Soul" is another compilation highlight – a tight Ike Turner guitar rhythm backs up a brass-pumping Wilson Picket belter (great stuff). And on it goes to Paul & Rick's "After Hours" issued in France on the obscure GNP Crescendo distributed 'Accent' label as a B-side. Even if we never do find out who Paul and Rick are - it’s a cool Saxophone and Organ instrumental complete with crowd shouts – a languid early-hours wind-down tune that tells you it’s time to go home (even if you don’t want to)...

Ace is promising many more volumes in this "Modernists" CD Series – and what a mouth-watering prospect that is (I’m reaching for the Johnson’s Talcum Powder right now).

One again those smooth boys over at Steele Road do the business by fans. Well done to all involved...and soul jerk it, baby (in the privacy of your own home you understand)...

PS: titles in the MOD JAZZ CD Series (Ace/Kent-Soul) that compliment this CD are:
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)

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