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Wednesday, 24 February 2021

"Dave Godin's Deep Soul Treasures Volume 5" by VARIOUS ARTISTS - Featuring Tracks from 1958 to 1972 by James Carr, Z.Z. Hill, The Soul City, Lattimore Brown, Jerry Washington, Ronnie Taylor, Big Maybelle, Esther Phillips, The Masqueraders, Zilla Mayes, The Chantels, Linda Jones, Kenny Carter, The Emotions, Barbara Lynn, Helena Ferguson, Mark IV, Betty Harris, Dee Dee Warwick and George Jackson with Songwriting from Van McCoy, Gil Scott-Heron, Eddie Hinton, Marlin Greene and more (October 2019 UK Ace Records/Kent Soul CD Compilation of Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"...Nothing Can Change The Love I Have For You..."

There's a black and white photo on page 30 of the rammed booklet in this exemplary CD reissue. Two earnest white Englishmen - Dave Godin and Norman Jopling - stand with beer and wine glasses in hand talking enthusiastically to a slightly stunned Berry Gordy Jr. (Motown's main man) during a Press Conference in London for the then fledgling American Soul label's first UK tour. The up-close and personal snap is dated September 1964. And in February 2021 – a paltry 57 years later - I frankly sit in awe at such smarts in these unlikely hipsters - and so early on too. 

Dapper and tall Dave Godin – originally a London, Lambeth boy - had discovered Atlantic Records R&B via an American Air Force Base Jukebox that had been recently placed in the 'Silver Lounge' Ice Cream Parlour in Bexleyheath - home of the luscious calorie-inducing Knickerbocker Glory, that then washed down with some decent coffee whilst checking out tunes your mommy warned you about emanating every 2:39 minutes from the carnal carousel by the wall. Full of import 45s on exotic labels, these were not cream-puff Pat Boone types nicking Black Music and winking through their trilbies pretending it was their own. These centerless 7" singles contained the raunchy real deal – deep-vocal men and women singing about lust and shifty lovers and daughters being treated mean whilst dancing their asses off in saucy Chitlin Circuit dives every Saturday Night with a Sour Mash in one hand and a revolver in the other. 

Norman Jopling had championed the American R&B chart when he joined the British 'Record Mirror' music newspaper as an article-writer in 1961 - likewise tapping into an underground love affair with music The Beatles and Stones were soaking up big time before they’d ever got an actual record out. Godin and Jopling were clued-in tuned-in British young men - pioneers - both of them – the lads of Northern Soul and Mod New Breed and have been genre heroes to besotted collectors ever since. Baring in mind the prejudice and racial crap he and his performers must have had to put up with back home (and all too often) - is it any wonder that Berry Gordy Jr. looked ever so slightly taken aback. As I say, on the money dudes who opened eyes, ears and hearts...

And that's where Volume 5 of this extraordinary series comes roaring in - not so much a tribute to a pioneer, but a belated homage and celebration of their love affair with American Soul and R&B (it's been 15 years since Volume 4 – see full list below). Covering 1958 to 1972 with many 60ts stopovers inbetween, there's a lot to celebrate and catalogue, so let's get deep into these British Soul Brother's sanctified craves...

UK released 25 October 2019 (1 November 2019 in the USA) - "Dave Godin's Deep Soul Treasures Volume 5" by VARIOUS ARTISTS on Ace Records/Kent Soul CDKEND 485 (Barcode 029667096126) is a 25-Track CD compilation of Remasters covering 1958 to 1972 that plays out as follows (76:08 minutes):

1. Who Knows - THE SOUL CITY (November 1966, Goodtime Records GT-801, B-side of "Everybody Dance Now" – "Who Knows" is a Gladys Knight & The Pips cover)

2. Without Love - BONNIE TAYLOR (August 1967, Nassau N-101, A-side)

3. Don't Pass Me By - BIG MAYBELLE (September 1966, RoJac 1969, A-side)

4. Where Is The Party - HELENA FERGUSON (August 1967, Compass CO-7009, A-side)

5. Dead! - CAROLYN SULLIVAN (January 1968, Philips 40507, A-side)

6. Home Is Where The Hatred Is - ESTHER PHILLIPS (March 1972, Kudu KU-904, A-side - Gil Scott-Heron cover)

7. I Ain't Got To Love Nobody Else - THE MASQUERADERS (August 1968, Bell B-733, A-side)

8. I'll Be Right There (To Make Love To You) - MARK IV (December 1972, Mercury 73353, B-side of "My Everything You Are")

9. I'm Not The One - KENNY CARTER (2019, Previously Unissued 1966 Recording)

10. Somebody New - THE EMOTIONS (March 1968, Twin Stacks 126, A-side)

11. (Until Then) I'll Suffer - BARBARA LYNN (from the July 1968 US LP "Here Is Barbara Lynn" on Atlantic SD 8171 in Stereo)

12. Foolish Fool - DEE DEE WARWICK (January 1969, Mercury 72880, A-side)

13. My Desires Are Getting The Best Of Me - GEORGE JACKSON (July 1969, Fame 1457, B-side of "Find 'Em, Fool 'Em and Forget 'Em")

14. These Ain't Raindrops - JAMES CARR (March 1969, Goldwax 340, B-side of "To Love Somebody")

15. Standing At The Crossroads - EDDIE & ERNIE (August 1971, Buddah 250, B-side of "Hiding In Shadows")

16. Can't Last Much Longer - BETTY HARRIS (September 1967, Sansu 471, A-side)

17. Lovers Always Forgive - GLADYS KNIGHT & THE PIPS (August 1964, Maxx 329, A-side - Van McCoy song)

18. Every Night (I Pray) - THE CHANTELS (February 1958, End E-1015, A-side) 

19. Satisfaction Guaranteed - JUDY WHITE (December 1968, Buddah BDA 79, A-side - Eddie Hinton and Marlin Greene song)

20. Right Here Is Where You Belong - JERRY WASHINGTON (December 1972, Excello EX-2327, A-side)

21. I Will - LATTIMORE BROWN (September 1970, Renegade 1201, B-side of "Sweet Desiree")

22. It's Too Late (For Tears) - RENE BAILEY (August 1968, Carnival CAR-539, A-side)

23. All I Want Is You - ZILLA MAYES (February 1968, Tou-Sea 132, B-side of "I Love You Still")

24. What Can I Do (Without You) - LINDA JONES (June 1968, Loma 2099, A-side)

25. Nothing Can Change This Love I Have For You - Z.Z. HILL (January 1968, Kent 45X481, A-side - Sam Cooke cover)

Tracks 6, 7, 9, 12 and 20 are STEREO - All Others MONO

The booklet is a pleasingly chunky 30-page affair and a masterstroke is to reprint long forgotten interviews with Godin (done in the 90ts) about his beginnings in the scene - the text peppered with mouth-watering fan-pleasing memorabilia. There's a telegram to Godin at his old Church Road home in Bexleyheath about an impending fan reception for Marvin Gaye and Harvey Fuqua in November 1964 - a July 1965 letter from Charlotte the secretary in The Miracles Fan Club thanking him for plugging Motown that is way more personal than someone Stateside keeping in with him because it was necessary - trade adverts and photos of 'Soul City' Record Shop in Monmouth Street to which he was associated - publicity photos for lesser-seen artists like Helena Ferguson, Mark IV, Lattimore Brown and Judy White (Daughter of the great US Folk legend Josh White), and so on. 

There are UK and American label repros - British demos of "Home Is Where The Hatred Is" on Kudu KUS 4000 (June 1972) and one I've never seen, "I Ain't Got To Love Nobody Else" on Bell BLL 1022 (October 1968). But the real meat is actually the sheer amount of space given to each entry by long-standing compiler and annotator for Ace Records - ADY CROASDELL. 

Many had thought Volume 5 would never show (Godin sadly passed in 2004 as Volume 4 went to press) - so it's clear that both Croasdell and Ace felt they had big shoes to feel and the quality count to keep high, and I think they've achieved both with aplomb (can't imagine the nightmare of chasing licensing on some of these). DUNCAN COWELL has done the transfers and Remasters and they sing like the proverbial lark arising (gettin' up off of that thing to make himself feel better). To the tunes...

The lovely "Who Knows" by The Soul City was issued Stateside in November 1966 as the B-side of "Everybody Dance Now" on Goodtime Records, but had the sides reversed in the UK for its 45-single debut in February 1967 on Cameo Parkway C 103. "Everybody Dance Now" was more of a Frat House Garage Rocker than a Soul side, but "Who Knows" had actually been a Gladys Knight & The Pips tune before The Soul City got their grubby paws on it and give an intensity edge. Following that is a Guitarist and Singer called Ronnie Taylor who had been with King Pharoah & The Egyptians for their April 1961 single "Shimmy Shammy" on Federal 12413. The obscure 'Nassau' label put out his scorch-earth ballad "Without Love" and you can so hear why Godin loved it. 

Hurting way down inside continues with a get down your knees Big Maybelle giving it some pleading in her "Don't Pass Me By" – the kind of eerie echoed vocal that a drugged-up Etta James might have given that somehow actually feels like pain rather than a voyeur just singing about it. More concerned in her tune with where the in-crowd goes, the lovely Helena Ferguson is said to have shifted less than 250 copies of her "Where Is The Party" 45 when London UK issued it in November 1967 (there is a trade advert for it on Page 14 of the booklet). From there we go to proper heartbreak as Carolyn Sullivan sings in absolute earnest "...leave me alone...I ain't got nothing to live for... " – literally a slow-suicide plead that organ/tambourines its way to a shuffling finish. I must say I can see why it's here, but it wouldn't be a go-to winner in my book. Sticking with domestic horrors, Esther Phillips gets all 1972 wah-wah guitar with her Gil Scott-Heron cover of "Home Is Where The Hatred Is”. Sounding like some Blaxploitation track that's taking no prisoners lyrically - the former Atlantic Records chanteuse sings of needles and neighbourhood's destroyed and all your essence being lost. As good as it is with that extraordinary mixture of Funk and Soul - it's perhaps just a little too much reality for me (how very GSH) where its inclusion here feels slightly out of kilter. 

Other highlights include the strings vs. girls "Somebody New" by The Emotions, clearly distraught as they wail "...I don't want to go if I can't be with you..." (I know how you feel darling). Just one kiss would do so much for James Carr in his fantastic croak-Soul weepy "These Ain't Raindrops" – great audio as the great man struggles all the way to the bar. That other famous Southern Soul Man George Jackson is instead trying to dampen his ardour in his "My Desires Are Getting The Better Of Me" – paired in August 1969 on Capitol CL 15605 with the equally brilliant "Find 'Em, Fool 'Em and Forget 'Em" – a Fame Records double-whammy of great Soul. And on it goes to a cover of a Sam Cooke classic that sums up his abiding adoration to a tee.

I would admit that not everything on here lights up my dimly lit noggin, but I know that so many others will have the lights explode in their heads at the sheer class and presentation that is going on in CDKEND 485. A great set for a great pioneer. I own the other four volumes and love seeing their spines sat on my shelf. Job done, respect shown...

Dave Godin's Deep Soul Treasures CD Series – A List

1. Dave Godin's Deep Soul Treasures: Taken From The Vaults... (Volume 1) – April 1997 UK CD on Ace/Kent Soul CDKEND 143 (Barcode 029667214322) 

2. Dave Godin's Deep Soul Treasures: Taken From The Vaults... Volume 2 – January 1999 UK Ace/Kent Soul CDKEND 158 (Barcode 029667215824)

3. Dave Godin's Deep Soul Treasures: Taken From The Vaults... Volume 3 – November 2000 UK Ace/Kent Soul CDKEND 200 (Barcode 029667220026)

4. Dave Godin's Deep Soul Treasures: Taken From The Vaults... Volume 4 – August 2004 UK Ace/Kent Soul CDKEND 230 (Barcode 029667223027)

5. Dave Godin's Deep Soul Treasures Volume 5 – October 2019 UK Ace Records/Kent Soul CDKEND 485 (Barcode 029667096126)

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