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Monday, 8 March 2021

"You Got The Power: CAMEO PARKWAY Northern Soul 1964-1967" by VARIOUS ARTISTS - Featuring The Four Exceptions, Evie Sands, Frankie Beverly & The Butlers, Bunny Sigler, Jerry Jackson, The Orlons, Bobby Paris, Chubby Checker, Eddie Holman and more (June 2020 US ABKCO Records CD Compilation of Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...


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"...Shake And Shingaling..."

I've reviewed nearly 500 or so R&B and Soul CDs across the years and most buyers will not be in the least bit surprised when I rave about England's Kent Soul releases, Bear Family's Sweet Soul Music Series (15 amazing volumes out of Germany) or any number of American Rhino R&B, Funk and Soul Box Sets. Other British labels like Edsel, Demon and Soul Jazz Records in my prayers too. 

Add to that roster stunning independent newcomers like England's SoulMusic, Big Break Records (of Cherry Red) and Real Gone Music (of the USA) - and it comes as something of a shock to me when I now find myself championing a (ahem) 'major' label - in this case ABKCO Records of the USA - a set of letters far more associated with copyright shenanigans to do with The Rolling Stones and their late 60ts catalogue on London/Decca. 

But, I recently bought and reviewed ABKCO's stunning Sam Cooke 5CD Box Set "The Complete KEEN Years: 1957 to 1960" of 2020 - and here's yet another unassuming gem come slithering out of that New York City-based camp. Perhaps because there are so many Soul Reissues these days – it has gone slightly unnoticed. We need to rectify that. 

For sure "You Got The Power" boasts only 20 Northern Soul tracks from an array of labels under the Cameo-Parkway umbrella (those US 45-labels are pictured on the last page of the booklet) and with that sub 52-minute total playing time, it really should have had five or six more rarities added in. 

But with ADY CROASDELL compilation choices (some of these 1964 to 1967 cuts are so sought after) and TERI LANDI first-generation tape transfers - what "You Got The Power..." loses in waist bulge, it more than makes up for in quality stitching. Fit? It's a cracking listen, and fun too. Let's get to the Shake and the Shingaling...

US released 19 June 2020 - "You Got The Power: (Cameo Parkway) Northern Soul 1964-1967" by VARIOUS ARTISTS on ABKCO 8536-2 (Barcode 018771853626) offers 20-Tracks Remastered and plays out as follows (51:53 minutes):

1. You Got The Power - THE FOUR EXCEPTIONS (June 1966, Parkway P-986, A-side)

2. Because Of My Heart - FRANKIE BEVERLY & THE BUTLERS (1967, Fairmount F-1017, A-side - also 2012 UK Reissue on Outta Sight OSV-074, A-side)

3. (Whao, Whoa) I Love Him So - NIKKI BLU (November 1964, Parkway P-931, A-side - Chubby Checker Production - Ernest Evans and Thom Bell song)

4. Girl Don't Make Me Wait - BUNNY SIGLER (December 1966, Parkway P-123, A-side - Leon Huff song)

5. It's Rough Out There - JERRY JACKSON (September 1966, Parkway P-100, A-side - also October 1966 UK on Cameo-Parkway P-100, A-side and Reissued 2012 UK on Outta Sight OVS-076)

6. Envy In My Eyes - THE ORLONS (October 1965, Cameo C-384, B-side of "No Love But Your Love" - Gamble & Huff Production of Eugene Dozier song)

7. Picture Me Gone - EVIE SANDS (June 1966, Cameo C-413, A-side - also August 1966 UK on Cameo-Parkway C 413, A-side - from the Motion Picture Soundtrack "Step Out Of Your Mind" - a Chip Taylor, Al Gorgoni song)

8. Country Girl - VICKIE BARNES (November 1965, Parkway P-966, A-side)

9. Night Owl - BOBBY PARIS (February 1966, Cameo C-396, B-side of "Tears On My Pillow" - November 1977 UK reissue on London HLU 10553, B-side of "You Didn't Say A Word")

10. Village Of Tears - BEN ZINE (July 1966, Parkway P-996, B-side of "What The Heck's The Hanky Panky")

11. You Just Don't Know (What You Do To Me) - CHUBBY CHECKER (December 1965, Parkway P-965, A-side - January 1966 UK on Cameo Parkway P 862, B-side of "Two Hearts Make One Love")

12. The 81 - CANDY AND THE KISSES (October 1964, Cameo C-336, A-side - January 1965 UK on Cameo-Parkway C 336, A-side)

13. Shake And Shingaling (Part 1) - GENE WALTERS (1967, Fairmount F-1018, A-side)

14. S.O.S. (Heart In Distress) - CHRISTINE COOPER (January 1966, Parkway P-971, A-side) 

15. Eddie's My Name - EDDIE HOLMAN (April 1966, Parkway P-981, B-side of "Don't Stop Now")

16. Pass Me By - HATTIE WINSTON (1964, Parkway P-956, A-side)

17. The Grass (Will Sing For You) - LONNIE YOUNGBLOOD (November 1966, Fairmount F-1016, A-side)

18. (Your Love Was Just A) False Alarm - TARI STEVENS (March 1955, Fairmount F-1001, A-side)

19. Who Do You Think You Are - THE SOUL CITY (1967, Good Time GT-802, B-side of "Cold Hearted Blues")

20. You Didn't Say A Word - YVONNE BAKER (March 1967, Parkway P-140, B-side of "To Prove My Love Is True" - November 1977 UK reissue on London HLU 10553, A-side)

There are very classy black and white publicity shots of Frankie Beverly & The Butlers, Evie Sands, Candy And The Kisses (their single "The 81" actually dented the US Billboard charts at No. 19 R&B, No. 51 Pop), Christine Cooper, Yvonne Baker, The Orlons, Eddie Holman and Bunny Sigler who each get a page shot, and so on. The track-by-track annotation includes songwriting credits, US and UK Catalogue Numbers, US chart info if any and the last page of the booklet gives you a collage 16 rare 45 labels - Cameo, Parkway, Fairmount, England's Cameo-Parkway. It's nicely done and Croasdell goes into the songs and their history with typically enthusiastic and informative details. The TERI LANDI Remasters are tremendous - full of punch and the sheer hutzpah that 60ts Soul recordings elicit. To the tunes... 

A frantic bom-bom backing group of boys and girls anchors the 'goddess of temptation...relieve me of my frustration' dance-a-thon that is "You Got The Power" - The Four Exceptions tearing into it like their lives depended on it. It's a cool opener and a taster of themes. As it is with all the best Northern Soul compilations like this, misery and elation are the subject matters. My man's the best (say the girls), better than all the crappy rest, then quickly descending in emotional scales to false alarms, jealousy, envy, broken hearts, tickers in distress, send out an S.O.S. to the love doctor - you get the picture. 

Take "Pass Me By" by Hattie Winston, a Thom Bell Production of a song he co-wrote with Arthur Ross. She starts her story with "I was your only girl...I don't know why you cheated and lied..." and in comes the brass and strings as the drums whack out the hoo-hoo pain in the chorus. You can just imagine earnest young men shimmying on a Northern Soul night dancefloor loving every " that you disown me..." line (is it any wonder people want the 45 and Croasdell included it here). 

Eddie Holman doesn't drive a big car, doesn't act like a movie star, because pleasin' is his game and he assures us in the great dancer "Eddie's My Name" that business is good (you go Eddie). Evie Sands has eyes and she can see that some other girl is telling her man that it's over, but she pleads "Picture Me Gone" (another great strings and melodrama dancer). And on it goes...

"... What a fool you've been..." - Bobby Paris tells us in his cautionary "Night Owl" B-side. Northern Soul fans need to buy this and not make a mistake like poor heartbroken Bobby...

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