As a young man, enjoying a fairly hedonistic lifestyle, I vowed that when I grew up I wouldn't waste my time looking back with any sense of regret about things I should, or shouldn't, have done.
I'd been able to abide by that decision for many years, with no problems, until Ady sent me the promo King CD a few months ago. Repeated plays of many songs that I'd known of for years, but had totally ignored, left me with a feeling that I had promised myself never to entertain...the feeling of regret. On reflection the source of this unwelcome emotion was a simple one. I couldn't believe how foolish I'd been in dismissing those King 45s simply because they shared the same drab-looking label as JB. I wouldn't deny his brilliance but I never was a "Get up offa that thing" sort of bloke and, as a result, I'd committed the cardinal sin of judging a book by its cover.
The vast catalogue that Syd Nathan built up has provided a unique opportunity to bring together a top-notch selection of soulful tunes and Mr Croasdell has certainly taken full advantage of that opportunity. The tunes featured here are from the 1963-71 period and are gathered from a surprising number of geographical locations: in addition to the home-grown Cincinnati acts there are contributions from Chicago, Detroit and New York and, as you'd expect, a variety of musical styles and tempos are on offer. Highlights really are too numerous to mention but for the 'Rare Soul' crowd the inclusion of the ultra-rare and truly original sounding Try Me For Your New Love by Junior McCants will make, for many, this CD an essential purchase for that track alone. For those individuals the other current dance floor, and all nighter, favourites from Cody Black, TC Lee & the Bricklayers and Mary Johnson really will come as a bonus.
If you're into group sounds, both male and female, there are some stunning tracks awaiting your attention with, for me, the standouts being the shuffling Stratoliners and the rhythmically challenging Fabulous Denos. Solo femmes are equally well represented with enticing contributions from Christine Kittrell, delivering an in-vogue R&B tune, and a sultry rendition of Ball Of Fire from the late Connie Austin.
If, like myself, you've ignored records simply because they were on King you will, after listening to this CD, be sharing in my sense of shame. If that isn't enough after hearing the breathtaking Why Am I Crying, by Shirley Wahls, ashamed won't be a descriptive enough word to explain how you're feeling...there will only be one way to get over it and that is simply to hit the repeat button and start making up for all that lost time.
By Andy Rix