In the ten years it’s taken for this second volume of “King New Breed R&B” to come to fruition the R&B collecting scene has gone from strength to strength. Many great sounds have been discovered languishing in shops and collections and the phenomenon has become truly international. A lot of these records have crossed over to the Northern soul, popcorn and mod music scenes. Mike Pedicin’s ‘Burnt Toast And Black Coffee’ and Little Willie John’s ‘I’m Shakin’’ from our first King volume have become mainstream retro music classics, outselling even the biggest Northern soul 45s we’ve issued in this period.
I’m guessing that our opening track is going to be a rising star of the vintage black music world. Hal Hardy’s ‘Love Man’ is best known for its Northern soul flip ‘House Of Broken Hearts’. I found ‘Love Man’ on YouTube and immediately fell in love with it. It’s a record that defies the blues, soul or funk tags and powers this CD off with a blast.
More familiar territory comes with the blues classics ‘I’m Tore Down’ by Freddy King, Little Willie John’s ‘All Around The World’ and Johnny Watson’s ‘Gangster Of Love’. They’ve all been comped before, but sound terrific strategically placed throughout this CD.
1955 is an early starting point to what is, in the main, an early 60s sound but Mel Williams’ ‘Send Me A Picture, Baby’ fits snugly next to the blues grooves of its later vintage companions. The 1957 offerings from Donnie Elbert and Dolph Prince have a ‘Fever’ groove that epitomises the Popcorn end of the scene’s sounds. The earliest-sounding numbers are the doo wop-inspired 1960 recordings from the Hi Tones and Lee Williams & the Moonrays.
We were hoping to feature ‘Just A Little Bit Of Everything’ by Herb Hardesty but had tape problems that need a little more time to sort. (The track will definitely be on Herb’s solo CD out later this year.) In its place we opted for ‘Why Did We Have To Part’, featuring a full vocal from Herb’s co-writer Walter Nelson.
The “5” Royales are here with their swaying ‘It Hurts Inside’ featuring the soulful vocals of Lowman Pauling, who also teams up with the band’s guitarist Royal Abbit on ‘I’m A Cool Teenager’, a blueprint for the well-groomed youth cults to come. Lowman Pauling also co-wrote the Hi Tones’ song.
There is a Willie Wright track not previously issued on CD and a great Eddie Kirk side co-written with future Stax/Volt singer Oscar Mack. Eugene Church describes his girl Geneva’s charms so effectively that I was blushing at one point and the King Pins’ update of the Charms’ ‘Two Hearts’ simply rocks the joint.
In researching this CD I was turned on to a wealth of good music and I’m sure the majority of these will be new to the ears of most black music aficionados.
By Ady Croasdell