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Greatest Recordings, CD (£11.50)
Shortly after copying the tapes into sequence for the production of this CD, I found myself singing what I thought was a great Dells' ballad inside my head (the best place for it). After racking the said cranium for a few days, it suddenly came to me that it was actually the Diplomats' Accept Me that I'd only just committed to shiny plastic. To put singers on a par with the Dells is indeed a great compliment, but this outfit are far from copyists and stand very much in their own name.
The CD spans all their recording career from their in demand first single Cards On The Table to the obscure 3rd World release the lovely Sure As The Stars Shine. Always in harmony, the group could deliver big city beat ballads like Van McCoy's I Really Love You, uptown, uptempo stompers like their Minit double header Honest To Goodness / Don't Bug Me and beautiful slow numbers such as So Far Away and I'm So Glad I Found You.
US group harmony fans will be excited by tracks such as the unissued Arock master Forever and the second Minit 45 that never was Our Love Has Changed. Northern Soul fans will simply swoon over the soaring harmonies of Perfect Love which should have been the other side of that Minit single and Honest to Goodness never sounded so clear. It's also great to re-listen to the Wand recordings Can't Get You Off My Mind and Jerkin' Time which were first issued on Kent vinyl in the 80s.
Dynamo was the groups most prolific source of released material and it is well represented with I Can Give You Love, I've Got The Kind Of Love and Soul Teacher which was cut as by Sam, Erv and Tom.
Interviews with Sam and Erv have been invaluable in documenting the group's history and Peter Gibbon has constructed a detailed and probably definitive discography.
The utilisation of the best of New York's 60s soul writers and producers in conjunction with the Diplomats' own considerable talents has given us a very high quality CD and a great overview of the progress of one of the best vocal groups of that decade. The CD was released to coincide with the group's first visit to these shores since they were here performing in 1968 (sometimes as the Fabulous Isley Brothers). When they hit the stage at the twelth 6TS Cleethorpes Northern Soul Weekender on 12 June, the crowd celebrated them purely as themselves-.-nothing more, nothing less.
By Ady Croasdell