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I Feel Good (All Over): Dance All Weekend Long with Kent’s “Cleethorpes Northern Soul Weekender”

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Though we’ve come to expect delightful and deeply soulful compilations from Ace’s Kent label, one of Kent’s latest is a particular trip: a trip, in fact, to the Cleethorpes Northern Soul Weekender.  The 6Ts Rhythm and Soul Society has been throwing these bashes on a yearly basis since 1993, offering up plenty of dancing and some of the best names in soul music, among them Doris Troy, Barbara Lewis, Tommy Hunt, Bettye LaVette and Maxine Brown.  Kent’s The Cleethorpes Northern Soul Weekender, 1993-2012: 20 Soulful Celebrations offers a variety of songs from the performers who have made Cleethorpes, a town in North East Lincolnshire, an annual destination for Northern Soul fans.  It makes for a fine souvenir of these events, but also stands alone as an exhilarating listen that just might make you want to hit the dancefloor.

First things first, however!  If you’re not familiar with the term “Northern Soul,” you just might be familiar with its distinctive style of music.  The late journalist (and dedicated compiler of many CDs) Dave Godin is credited with coining the phrase, which he used to describe music in the mid-1960s soul vein preferred by enthusiasts in the northern part of England.  Godin told Mojo in 2002 that he had first devised the term in 1968, to help employees at his Soul City record shop differentiate the rapidly-proliferating funk style of R&B from the smoother, Motown-influenced soul of just a few years earlier.  (In The Soul Stylists, renowned DJ Ady Croasdell described the prototypical Northern Soul song as The Four Tops’ “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)” although the song was too mainstream to achieve popularity in the Northern Soul scene.)  The movement championed lesser-known tracks over big hits, and it soon spread, with clubs popping up throughout the north and midlands of England.  The Twisted Wheel Club, The Wigan Casino and the Blackpool Mecca, just to name three, all became synonymous with Northern Soul.  The Kent label has kept the heavy beats, fast tempi and passionate vocals of Northern Soul alive with its intelligently curated compilations, and also given new leases on life to many of the talented, once overlooked, artists from the world of sixties R&B.  Cleethorpes Northern Soul Weekender is the latest such compilation.

What will you find on this jam-packed new disc?  Hit the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 6, 2012 at 09:59

Review: Jackie DeShannon and Doris Troy, Anthologized by Ace

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It may have been sheer coincidence that Ace dropped I’ll Do Anything: The Doris Troy Anthology 1960-1996 and Jackie DeShannon’s Come and Get Me: The Complete Liberty and Imperial Singles Volume 2 on the same day. But different though these two singers may be, their similarities are striking. Both were pioneering female songwriters, with Troy penning her biggest hit, “Just One Look,” and DeShannon offering up the likes of “When You Walk in the Room” and “Put a Little Love in Your Heart.” Both had great success recording in England and both had a Beatle connection. DeShannon toured with the group while Troy actually was produced by George Harrison while Ringo sat in on drums. And now both are recipients of two of 2011’s most exciting releases.

It’s impossible to believe that Doris Troy’s “I’ll Do Anything (He Wants Me to Do),” the track which gives her anthology its name, wasn’t a smash hit. This remarkable early production by the young Kenny Gamble was written by Gamble, his partner Leon Huff and Doris herself (as Doris Payne, no relation to the jewel thief!). Slated for “Mashed Potato Time” star and Gamble’s future wife Dee Dee Sharp, it was released by Cameo Parkway’s Calla division in the waning days of the label. What a discovery! This pulsating floor-filler has little in common with the smooth soul of Gamble and Huff’s later Philadelphia International days, but you’ll have to fight the urge to keep hitting the “repeat” button nonetheless! After all, “I’ll Do Anything” is only the first song on Ace’s non-chronological disc. It’s hard to resist, though – the track is on fire! Another lost classic from her brief Cameo tenure is “But I Love Him.” Arranged by Neil Sedaka’s frequent collaborator Alan Lorber, this call-and-response plea was cut for Atlantic in 1963 but not released until 1965 on Cameo. Listen a little longer, however, and it’s clear that Troy experimented with a variety of styles, with only her soulful vocals as a constant. The immortal “Just One Look,” released by Atlantic in 1963, is almost an afterthought among all of these gems.

The two earliest tracks on the set are both from 1960, and reflect Troy’s multifaceted voice: the shouting “You Better Mind” and its follow-up, the ballad “What a Wonderful Lover.” In between trying to break in solo, Troy was an in-demand session vocalist often working with the Drinkard Singers, the group that also boasted Dionne Warwick, Dee Dee Warwick and Cissy Houston in its ranks. By 1962, they were the go-to group, recording with top acts like The Drifters and Solomon Burke. As Troy recalled in the liner notes, Dionne was first to leave the group. Doris followed, then Dee Dee, and finally Cissy with The Sweet Inspirations. Dionne Warwick, of course, had her breakthrough on Florence Greenberg’s Scepter label (the story of which is told in the upcoming Broadway musical Baby, It’s You!). On its sister imprint, Wand, Troy provided uncredited vocals on Chuck Jackson’s “Tell Him I’m Not Home,” a prime slice of uptown soul conducted by Tony Bruno and arranged by Steven Garrick. The production has an R&B feel similar to some of Leiber and Stoller and Burt Bacharach’s work with the Drifters, and made such an impression on music biz insiders early in 1963 that it sealed Troy a deal with Atlantic. Collaborations are a major part of I’ll Do Anything. Troy reunited with Jackson in 1964 contributing the responses to the Luther Dixon-produced “Beg Me” (beg him, she did!) and there’s also the brassy “What a Night, Night, Night,” an early track from 1961 by “Jay and Dee” a.k.a. Doris and the otherwise-unknown Jay, described by Doris as “a nice guy, a nice looking guy.” Her arguably most heralded pairing, however, was with George Harrison. Read on, after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 4, 2011 at 13:00

Release Round-Up: Week of February 15

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Smokey Robinson, The Solo Albums Volume 4 (Motown/Hip-o Select)

The Motown great’s next two vintage studio albums (Love Breeze and Where There’s Smoke) go back into print on one CD with a bonus B-side instrumental added on. (Hip-o Select)

Teena Marie, ICON (Motown/UMe)

The late, great Motown singer is canonized in Universal’s budget compilation series. (Amazon)

Phil Collins, No Jacket Required (Audio Fidelity)

The Genesis frontman/drummer’s biggest and best pop LP gets the 24K gold CD treatment, mastered by Steve Hoffman. (Audio Fidelity)

Jackie DeShannon, Come and Get Me: The Complete Liberty and Imperial Singles, Volume 2 (Ace)

The second volume of Ace’s DeShannon singles series covers “What the World Needs Now is Love” and beyond. (Ace)

Doris Troy, I’ll Do Anything: The Doris Troy Anthology 1960-1996 (Kent)

There’s more to Troy than “Just One Look” and her Apple album, as this compilation deftly shows off. (Ace)

Al Jarreau, L is for Lover: Deluxe Edition (Friday Music)

Jarreau’s 1986 LP, produced by Nile Rodgers, is reissued on CD with three bonus single mixes, including the hit “Moonlighting.” (Friday Music)

Grand Funk Railroad, We’re An American Band / REO Speedwagon, High Infidelity (Friday Music)

Two bands, two hit albums, two 180-gram vinyl reissues! (Friday Music – GFR, REO)

Doris Troy to Be Rediscovered on New Compilation

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Interest in Doris Troy was piqued late last year, when her one LP for Apple Records was included in EMI’s series of Apple reissues. Now, U.K. label Kent is offering fans another step in discovering the “Just One Look” singer on CD: I’ll Do Anything: The Doris Troy Anthology 1960-1996.

This heavily-packed single-disc anthology includes an equal amount of hits and rarities, from Troy’s early years as a little-known soul singer on many small labels, to her beloved time on Atlantic in the mid-’60s (with stints on Cameo-Parkway and Capitol), to her run on Apple and beyond. The set includes several tracks that have never made it to CD, including the early singles and the unreleased “Smilin’/Let Me Make Love to You” (the latter a cover of an O’Jays song). The liner notes include excerpts from a 1995 interview with Troy.

It streets in the U.K. on January 31; find it here and get the track list after the jump.

Doris Troy, I’ll Do Anything: The Doris Troy Anthology 1960-1996 (Kent (U.K.), 2011)

  1. I’ll Do Anything (He Wants Me to Do)
  2. Face Up to the Truth
  3. Just One Look
  4. You Better Mind
  5. What a Night, Night, Night
  6. What a Wonderful Lover
  7. Tell Him I’m Not Home – Chuck Jackson
  8. What’cha Gonna Do About It
  9. Tomorrow is Another Day
  10. Lazy Days (When Are You Coming Home)
  11. Time
  12. But I Love Him
  13. Please Little Angel
  14. One More Chance
  15. Beg Me – Chuck Jackson
  16. Hurry
  17. He Don’t Belong to Me
  18. Heartaches
  19. He’s Qualified
  20. Ain’t That Cute
  21. You Tore Me Up Inside
  22. Don’t Tell Your Mama
  23. Can’t Hold On
  24. Smilin’/Let Me Make Love to You (Medley) – (With Vy Higginsen)
  25. Hear Me Calling – James Hunter
  26. Take My Hand, Precious Lord

Track 1 from Cameo-Parkway single C-101, 1966
Tracks 2 and 19 from Capitol single 2043, 1967
Tracks 3, 8, 10 and 11 from Just One Look (Atlantic, 1963)
Track 4 from Shirley single 101, 1960
Track 5 from Arliss single 1008, 1961
Track 6 from Everest single 19327, 1960
Track 7 from Stateside single SS 171, 1963
Track 9 from Atlantic single AT-4011, 1964
Track 12 from Mojo single 2092 011, 1971
Tracks 13-14 from Atlantic single AT-4020, 1965
Track 15 from Pye International single 7N-25247, 1964
Tracks 16-17 from Atlantic single 2269, 1965
Track 18 from Atlantic single AT-4032, 1965
Track 20-21 from Doris Troy (Apple, 1970)
Track 22 from Stretchin’ Out (People, 1974)
Track 23 from Midland International single Mb-11082, 1977
Track 24 previously unreleased
All other tracks – exact origins unknown

Written by Mike Duquette

January 4, 2011 at 15:37