High quality 70s soul from a professional and inspired soul stable.
The Mainstream family of labels was a major source of black music through the early and mid-70s. Owner Bob Shad was primarily a jazz producer but had enough nous and appreciation of soul music to go with current trends. His in-house arrangers included veteran hit-maker Bert DeCoteaux, fellow jazzer Wade Marcus and the up-and-coming Patrick Adams.Adams’ production on Chapter Three’s ‘I’ll Never Be The Same’ is soul with an early disco beat, and Chocolate Syrup’s uptempo ‘You’ve Got A Lot To Give’ is of a similar ilk.
Mainstream had several great harmony vocal groups – Special Delivery, the Steptones and Eleventh Commandment all contribute excellent examples of the genre. ‘Oh My Love’, the rarely seen or heard flip of Almeta Lattimore’s ‘These Memories’, sounds equally haunting and is one of several great Detroit productions co-opted onto Mainstream. Others include McArthur’s very soulful ‘I’ll Never Trust Love Again’, Charles Beverly’s ‘Grass Ain’t Greener’ and the Steptones’ ‘Your Love Is Like The Rising Sun’. Charles Colbert is a mystery artist whose Mainstream tape of ‘Slow Down World’ debuts here, while Sugar Billy Garner recorded for the Fast Track subsidiary four years after his New Day recording of ‘I Got Some’.
Shad clearly dug southern soul and licensed in tracks from Lee Bates, Lenny McDaniel and Randolph Brown; he even issued a southern ballad by Count Willie & The Dukes. The jazz influence can be felt mainly from female singers Ellerine Harding, Nia Johnson and Alice Clark – all of whom benefited from Mainstream’s jazz track record. Jeany Reynolds made an impressive debut on Mainstream some years before her disco hits as Jeannie, while veteran New York balladeer Lenny Welch offers the neglected ‘When There’s No Such Thing As Love (It’s Over)’. Collectively, the 23 tracks here maintain Mainstream’s quality 70s soul reputation.