Various Artists (Birth of Soul)

The “Birth Of Soul” series was conceived to illustrate the earliest examples of soul music and its roots; its parentage if you like.

The first volume spanned a Sam Cooke track from 1957 and recordings by Ernestine Andrews and the Marvelows from 1965. The Sam Cooke is self-explanatory as his sound was so influential on the music; even that early on. The later tracks sound as if they were from this previous era in the same way some mid-60s records harked backed to the earlier days of doo wop. Those dates are the boundaries of the series, although the majority of the records featured come from 1961-1964.

The main purpose of the series was to demonstrate influential records and early examples of the eventual soul sound. Hits were included; we went for great examples by Little Anthony, Garnet Mimms, the Diplomats, the Falcons, Jerry Butler, Etta James and the Impressions. Occasionally we would use an interesting take on a well-known sound, such as William Bell’s ‘Any Other Way’ with added strings, or Don Gardner & Dee Dee Ford’s extended cut of ‘I Need Your Loving’. Having come to the soul game as a 13 year-old in 1966, there were many hits I had not come across before; it was an exciting voyage of discovery for me.

Series such as this can be a great vehicle for the compilers to include a personal favourite or a record with fond memories that has been neglected for years. Co-compiler Trevor Churchill had been collecting since the early 60s and was particularly keen on the Taylor Brothers’ ‘People In Love’ and the Freeman Brothers’ ‘I’m Counting On You’, while I was influenced by the early UK mod sounds such as Prince La La’s ‘She Put The Hurt On Me’ and Chuck Jackson’s ‘Any Other Way’. The rise in interest for big beat ballads on the rare soul scene guaranteed the inclusion of the Wanderers’ ‘You Can’t Run Away From Me’ and Chuck Wright’s ‘The Palm Of Your Hand’ along with those better-known tunes.

The most recent volume in the series was Tony Rounce’s “Chicago Special Edition”. The early soul era was notable for areas developing their own sound, probably none so distinctively asChicago, where the presence of Curtis Mayfield was felt everywhere. Soul giants Major Lance, the Radiants, the Dells, Gene Chandler, Jan Bradley and Sugar Pie DeSanto all contributed, as did the lesser-known, but equally worthy, Kavetts, Chanteurs and Don & Bob.

A Detroit-based edition is well underway

By Ady Croasdell 

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Releases / Products