Monday, 10 February 2020

The Spring Story - Essential 70s Soul

Tom The Peeper - Act 1/My Man, A Sweet Man - Millie Jackson/Step By Step - Joe Simon/I Can See Him Loving You - The Mayberry Movement/Too Through - Jocelyn Brown/I Found Lovin' - Fatback/I Gotta Get Away From My Own Self - Ray Godfrey/He Didn't Know (He Kept On Talking) - Garland Green/You've Come A Long Way Baby - Flower Shoppe/Baby You Got It All - Street People/Just A Little Misunderstanding - Busta Jones/SOS (Stop Her On Sight) - Winfield Parker/Get Ready/Uptight - Little Eva Harris/(Are You Ready) Do The Bus Stop - The Fatback Band/It's My Life - Mainstreeters/Jody, Come Back And Get Your Shoes - Bobby Newsome/If We Get Caught, I Don't Know You - Phillip Mitchell/Drowning In The Sea Of Love - Joe Simon/(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want To Be Right (reprise) - Millie Jackson/Friends Or Lovers - Act 1/Magic's In The Air - Ronnie Walker/Love Contest - The Joneses/How About A Little Hand (For The Boys In The Band) - The Boys In The Band/Bumpin' And Stompin' - Garland Green/Come And Get These Memories - Ray Godfrey And The Determinations

This is an excellent compilation of comparative soul "rarities" from the seventies, released on the Spring label. The labels main artists were Millie Jackson, Joe Simon, The Fatback Band and Garland Green, all of whom are featured here. The sound quality is truly impressive - nice and bassy - and the music is of similar calibre. It is a mixture of lively Northern Soul melodic stompers and soulful funk/pop.


Highlights are the soul/funk of Act 1's Tom The Peeper, Joe Simon's Northern Soul classic Step By Step, Street People's uplifting soul of Baby You Got It All, Mainstreeters' solid, grinding militant funk in It's My Life, and Millie Jackson's upbeat Northern Soul groove My Man, A Sweet Man, which pounds away from beginning to end, a lot different from her sultry later material. The Philly-style, harmonic The Mayberry Movement, the Northern Soul of Flower Shoppe and the urban blaxploitation-style funk of Phillip Mitchell are artists that I have come across on other soul rarity collections. It is not all seventies material either, Jocelyn Brown's brassy 1985 release Too Through is good later one and Fatback's funky pop of I Found Lovin' dates from 1983.


There are a couple of tracks which are better known, like Winfield Parker's take on Edwin Starr's SOS (Stop Her On Sight) which is energetic and played pretty straight to the original and The Fatback Band's (Are You Ready) Do The Bus Stop (also released on Polydor). Busta Jones also covers The Contours' Just A Little Misunderstanding, adding sweeping strings and a thumping beat. Come And Get These Memories by Ray Godfrey And The Determinations is a cover of an early Martha Reeves & The Vandellas song. Incidentally, Little Eva Harris is not the Little Eva of The Loco-Motion fame.

Look, it is all good stuff. With these compilations I can't go through them track by track, just try to give an overall assessment of the collection of material as a whole and also of the sound quality. Every track is enjoyable and playing the whole album is a delight.


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