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For Connoisseurs Only: Kent/Modern Collectables, CD (£11.50)
Horace gets artistic pretensions!
The word connoisseur conjures up images of delicate porcelain, fine wines and old blokes and birds in tweed jackets, not visions usually associated with a Kent CD. However, my reason for employing said mouthful was to make it clear to Joe Blow that this CD does not contain GUARANTEED 100% DANCEFLOOR SMASHES" or "STONE KILLER BALLADS THAT WILL MAKE YOU WET YOUR PANTS", but instead features the sort of track that requires more than one turntable play and a little prior knowledge of our music before it is fully appreciated. "
There's also a healthy cross section of 60s and 70s soul here that was so representative of Kent/Modern in their position as LA's leading independent label. They pandered to the musical tastes of the many new immigrants from the South, while also aspiring to the big time status of record companies in the northern cities. A fine example of both influences in the one record would be the opening Sims Twins' track. It has the down home feel of their very natural vocals, over a full, perfectly orchestrated backing that was the professional equivalent of anything New York or Chicago could produce.
More standard uptown fare is on offer from Philly's Universals and Billy Harner, along with LA representatives the Styles, the Saints and the beLoved Mary, while singers such as Johnny Copeland, Johnny Gilliam and Clay Hammond are best recognised by Southern soul fans. Given the history of these great labels, it's not surprising that there are some R&B influenced tracks coming from Lowell Fulsom, Vernon and Jewel and Arthur K Adams. If you enjoy those, watch out for our forthcoming New Breed R&B CD series, of which the first chapter comes from Kent/Modern sources and will appear next month.
All those genres aside, the real bonus for me in making this CD so catholic in styles is being able to include odd records like Bobby White's San Franciscan outing of Just Another Week Behind. It's from 1970, which was a particularly experimental period in both soul and rock music and Bobby came up with a great song that defies pigeonholing.
Similar where the hell shall I put this one" records come from Cliff Chambers and Vernon Garrett and most of the tracks have a little something that makes them unusual and inevitably interesting.
Throw in a couple of tasty unissued numbers from the Other Brothers, Jackie Day and Johnny Adams in his 70s incarnation Foxfir - some under-rated B-sides from Danny Monday and the Sweethearts - plus neglected LP tracks from the Ikettes, ZZ Hill and Ike and Tina Turner and you have a CD fit for a King (or at least a Connoisseur).