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Ace Heads Back to the “Hall of Fame” and The “Cellar of Soul”

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Hall of Fame Volume 3Ace Records’ Kent label will travel just about anywhere to bring you the greatest soul you’ve never heard – hence, Kent has recently revisited both the Hall of Fame and the Cellar of Soul in new installments of each series.

Back in March of last year, we reported on Hall of Fame Volume 2, which presented 24 cuts recorded at Rick Hall’s storied FAME Studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama – 20 of which were previously unissued.  The new, third volume of Hall of Fame boasts another 24 slabs of prime southern soul, only two of which have ever previously seen the light of day!  This release is especially timely considering that the well-regarded 2013 documentary Muscle Shoals, detailing the FAME story on screen, has just arrived on DVD and Blu-ray.  Whereas the first two volumes of Hall of Fame include tracks from both male and female artists (not to mention groups!), Volume 3 focuses purely on the great male singers who recorded on Hall’s hallowed grounds.

Many of the names here will be familiar to Ace devotees as subjects of their own anthologies on the label.  Clarence Carter (whose complete FAME singles output has been released on Ace) appears on three songs including “I Feel a Burning,” an embryonic version of what would become “Tell Daddy,” best known in Etta James’ gender-switched recording as “Tell Mama.” (Carter’s “Tell Daddy” appeared on Hall of Fame Volume One back in 2012.)  George Jackson, subject of three FAME volumes from Ace, is represented with the ultra-rare “I Don’t Want to Know” – even the identity of its authors has been lost to time – and Prince Phillip Mitchell delivers the lively proclamation that “Hail! Hail! The Gang’s All Here!”

Two more of the exciting finds here are “You’re Too Much” and “Why Don’t You Care” from Otis Redding protégé Billy Young.  Redding wrote the former and had a hand in its production, as well.  As “Too Much,” it was issued on Mercury Records in 1967.  The latter track was recorded at the same session as Young’s Chess single of the southern soul staple “You Left the Water Running.”  Redding frequently recommended acts to FAME’s Rick Hall, among them Herman Moore and the duo billed here as Billy and Clyde.  The tape to “World of My Own” was found by the Ace archaeologists in a box marked “Otis acts,” with the song likely recorded at FAME by Redding and Hall.  The identities of Billy and Clyde remain unknown, as do a couple more acts on Hall of Fame Volume 3 billed less colorfully as Unknown Male No. 1 and Unknown Male No. 2.  What isn’t unknown, however, is that these voices had grit, authenticity and vocal power in abundance.   Just hit the jump to keep reading!

No Hall of Fame survey would be complete without songs from Dan Penn.  The tunesmith co-wrote Ben and Spence’s “You’re the One for Me” and “A Stone Loser” with his frequent writing partner Spooner Oldham.  The ubiquitous “You Left the Water Running” by Penn, Rick Hall and Oscar Franck- a signature tune of Ace’s Muscle Shoals-related releases –  returns here in a previously unheard rendition by Ralph “Soul” Jackson.

Hall of Fame Volume 3 features an 8-page booklet with detailed notes from Tony Rounce, and all selections have been remastered by Duncan Cowell.  Rounce and Ady Croasdell have also curated a delicious array of all-but-unknown soul nuggets on Kent’s Cellar of Soul Volume 3.  Its 26 tracks have all been taken from the mid- to late-1960s, and showcase just how eclectic – and eclectic – R&B of the period could be.

Kent's Cellar of Soul 3Some choice cuts come from Philadelphia, including perhaps the collection’s most famous track, Cliff Nobles and Co.’s “The Horse.”  (A close second here is undoubtedly Brenton Wood’s sizzling “Gimme Little Sign,” from 1967.)  Arranged by the late Bobby Martin, “The Horse” overcame its origins as a B-side to climb the U.S. Pop and R&B charts in 1968 all the way to No. 2.  (It was kept from the top spot by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass’ “This Guy’s in Love with You.”)  Alabama singer Noble’s “Co.,” however, didn’t really exist; “The Horse” was played by many of the key musicians who would go on to form MFSB for Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff.  The Show Stoppers also hailed from Philly and scored a No. 11 U.K. hit with “Ain’t Nothin’ But a House Party” in ’68; its flipside, “What Can a Man Do,” gets an airing here.  1965’s “Take It Baby” from Virginia’s The Showmen appeared on Philly’s Swan Records with an arrangement by Richie Rome and production from Richard Barrett.  Perhaps the biggest Philly soul name here is Thom Bell, who co-wrote Barbara and Brenda’s 1967 single “Never Love a Robin” with Luther Dixon and Inez Foxx.

Cellar of Soul also revisits Muscle Shoals with Clarence Carter’s 1968 “Funky Fever,” recorded at FAME and the A-side of “Slip Away.”  When American disk jockeys flipped the record, Carter was rewarded with a No. 1 R&B/No. 6 Pop hit, but “Funky Fever” proves rather catchy, too.  Soul king James Carr, originator of “The Dark End of the Street,” appears in the Cellar via his 1968 Goldwax single “Freedom Train.”  Before Aretha Franklin visited “The House That Jack Built,” Thelma Jones recorded the track for a Barry Records single included here.  One of the names associated with the Queen of Soul at both Columbia and Atlantic was the multi-talented Van McCoy, who gets two cuts here: The Ad Libs’ 1969 “Giving Up” and Marke Jackson’s 1968 “I’ll Never Forget You.”

Tony Rounce and Ady Croasdell have provided copious track-by-track notes in the superlative 24-page booklet which accompanies Cellar of Soul Volume 3.  Nick Robbins has handled the remastering.  Both this volume and the latest journey to the Hall of Fame are available now for order from Ace/Kent.  You can check them out at the links below!

Various Artists, Hall of Fame Volume 3 (Fame/Kent CDKEND 410, 2014) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

  1. A World of My Own – Billy and Clyde
  2. Hey Man – Clarence Carter
  3. Don’t Let a Good Thing Go to Waste – Dan Greer
  4. L-O-V-E Love – Ben and Spence
  5. You Left the Water Running – Ralph Soul Jackson
  6. The Door to My Heart – Dan Brantley
  7. I Done Run Out – Clarence Carter
  8. You’re Too Much – Billy Young
  9. Ain’t Nothin’ Good About Bein’ Lonely – Roy Lee Johnson
  10. Don’t Raise Your Voice at Me – Big Ben Atkins
  11. I’m in Love (That’s All I Can Say) – Unknown Male No. 1
  12. You’re the One for Me – Ben and Spence (Bell 650, 1966)
  13. Why Don’t You Care – Billy Young
  14. What’s Our Love Gonna Turn Out to Be – Roy Lee Johnson
  15. Come on Home – Herman Moore
  16. She’s About a Mover – Otis Clay (alternate mix of Cotillion 44001, 1968)
  17. I Don’t Want to Know – George Jackson
  18. A Stone Loser – Ben and Spence
  19. I Feel a Burning – Clarence Carter
  20. Love Light – Herman Moore
  21. Love is Calling on Me – Roy Lee Johnson
  22. Hail! Hail! The Gang’s All Here – Prince Phillip (Mitchell)
  23. Your Sister’s Keeper – Unknown Male No. 2
  24. You Don’t Miss Your Water – Otis Clay (Cotillion 44001, 1968)

Various Artists, Kent’s Cellar of Soul Volume 3 (Kent CDKEND 412, 2014) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

  1. Peaches ‘n’ Cream – The Ikettes (Modern 1005, 1965)
  2. Gimme Little Sign – Brenton Wood (Double Shot 116, 1967)
  3. The Horse – Cliff Nobles and Co. (Phil-LA of Soul 313, 1968)
  4. Sign on the Dotted Line – Gene Latter (Spark SRL 1022, 1969)
  5. Lover’s Holiday – Peggy Scott & Jo Jo Benson (SSS International 736, 1968)
  6. Believe in Me Baby Pt. 1 – Jesse James and the Dynamic Four (Hit 6120, 1966)
  7. Gotta Give Her Love – The Volumes (American Arts 6, 1964)
  8. Baby Please Come Back Home – J.J. Barnes (Groovesville 1006, 1967)
  9. And Get Away – The Esquires (Bunky 7752, 1967)
  10. The House That Jack Built – Thelma Jones (Barry 1023, 1968)
  11. Tramp – Lowell Fulson (Kent 456, 1966)
  12. Freedom Train – James Carr (Goldwax 338, 1968)
  13. What Can a Man Do – The Show Stoppers (Showtime 101, 1967)
  14. Giving Up – The Ad Libs (Share 104, 1969)
  15. With This Ring – The Platters (Musicor 1229, 1966)
  16. Sock It to ‘Em Soul Brother – Bill Moss (Bell 171, 1969)
  17. One Eye Open – The Maskman and the Agents with the Billy Clark Orchestra (Dynamo 125, 1968)
  18. Ooh Wee Baby, I Love You – Fred Hughes (Vee-Jay 684, 1965)
  19. Sharing You – Carl Henderson (Renfro 338, 1966)
  20. Touch Me, Hold You, Kiss Me – The Inspirations (Black Pearl 100, 1967)
  21. Funky Fever – Clarence Carter (Atlantic 2508, 1968)
  22. Casanova (Your Playing Days are Over) – Ruby Andrews (Zodiac 1004, 1967)
  23. Take It Baby – The Showmen (Swan 4213, 1965)
  24. Never Love a Robin – Barbara and Brenda (Dynamo 108, 1967)
  25. I’ll Never Forget You – Marke Jackson/Chris Jackson (Jamie 1357, 1968)
  26. Baby, It’s Over – Bob & Earl (Mirwood 5517, 1966)

Written by Joe Marchese

March 14, 2014 at 09:03

3 Responses

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  1. Nice review! Loving the “FAME” series from Kent Soul.


    March 14, 2014 at 11:59

  2. Hall of Fame Volume 3 is my favorite of the series.


    March 14, 2014 at 21:03

  3. Agreed Chris! I like them best in reverse order.. Volume 3, Volume 2, Volume 1. A lotta great stuff from the FAME vaults. Next up, “The Complete FAME singles Vol. 1”!!


    March 17, 2014 at 09:43

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