Well I know I keep harping on about it, but in 1982 when big Ted Carroll asked me to compile an LP of odds and sods, soul tracks from the Kent and Modern labels, I didn't expect to be still at it twenty three years later.
To be fair, I'm not doing it under any duress; orders don't come down to Ace Towers from Ted's Rutland hill-fort that the peasants are demanding another Kent/Mod CD. Neither does Ace have a team of ruthlessly efficient accountants, imploring me to maximise the company's assets and whip up the productivity levels by squeezing the last remotely usable soul side out of the catalogues. The fact is I just keep finding goodies I've not come across before and get the urge to share them with like-minded soul music desperadoes.
It's been at least four LPs and six CDs worth of 60s black music issued from this amazing body of work since that day in Ted's Ladbroke Grove record emporium; and still the compilations come. What can you do when there are singles like Leon Peterson's slightly hippy, but totally soulful, uptempo and hip My Bag, lying around on rarely seen chunks of vinyl. Or when you find a weird United 45 by Trini Lopez, of all people, in a record box at a soul do, play it and dig it immediately (if not sooner)? Obviously, you start up another potential CD list and check out what else is around.
Well there were those multi-track tapes by the great Jimmy Robins that had a gutsy Bobby Bland-inspired That Someone Don't Know It on them, and when Arthur Wright sent over the original Four Tees master, there was a beautiful ballad by someone called Wayne Boykin on it. I seem to remember the flip of the Johnny Williams single we used on an earlier CD was so good we couldn't quite work out which side to use; let's put Don't Cha Ever Forget It on here then. Unbelievably there was a Mary Love track called Dance Children Dance that we've never used anywhere. I seem to remember it was too raucous for her solo CD, but we're doing raucous here. We've got Willie Hutch's storming I Can't Get Enough and that unissued Terry & The Tyrants' track Say It Baby, which moves like Marvin's Baby Don't You Do It. So they're too manic to dance to! What does that matter: the buyers will be playing them in the privacy of their own homes, and these are liberal times.
Strewth, I've never put Jimmy Bee's stomperoonie Wanting You out since the second Kent LP, back in the day; what a klutz! And there can't be one of Jackie Day's six great sides she cut for Modern not on a CD yet; hang on where's What Kind Of Man Are You? Doh!
So, slapping myself severely on the wrist and paying for several costly briefings with a Ms Whiplash from a nearby therapy centre, I put together this rather splendid, if somewhat tardy, CD. I also found a terrific Billy Watkins, Jackie Wilson-sounding, song called Love Line in the tape vaults, along with really good unissued gems from Arthur Adams and Joe Haywood. Add to that some great overlooked flips of singles we know and love, and several obscure but top notch releases that have fallen between stylistic stools in the past, and it's one heck of an album. I might even have overdone it and found enough to be halfway on to Vol 3; luckily the therapy centre says I can come back again if the guilt gets too much.
By Ady Croasdell