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Romark Records - Kent Harris' Soul Sides, CD (£11.50)
Kent Harris’ remarkable and long-lived career has never been fully documented. This release spotlights his main soul label, Romark, and features most of the 20 or so 45s that were issued; none of which are common and all of which have musical value. The extensive booklet explores an area of Los Angeles’ black music that has never before been fully charted.
Kent continued his productions into the 80s, several appearing on the Sheridan-House imprint; we have included a fine Deborah Foster ballad from that period and an alternate version of ‘I Can’t Hold Back This Feeling’, on which she duets with Marshall McQueen, who also sings the great self-written dancer ‘Any Fool Can Feel It’ and the original demo of C.B. Overton’s ‘If I Can’t Stop You’.
The Kent Harris tape archive also revealed previously unissued recordings, including O’Malley Jones’ ‘Pay And Be On My Way’, a stomping instrumental called ‘South Central Slide’ and Larry Atkins’ version of Towana’s ‘Help Me Get This Feeling Back Again’. Larry’s Northern Soul rarities ‘Have Mercy On Me’ and ‘Ain’t That Love Enough’ are here, as is ‘Dream Girl’ by magnificent soul vocal group the Lon-Genes, a super-rare mid-tempo beauty that is yet to have its day on discerning Northern dancefloors.
Early soul/R&B comes from Donoman, Eddie Bridges and the Ike & Tina-inspired Phillips Sisters, whileKent’s sister Marcene “Dimples” Harris has a side of each of her three Romark releases featured. Blues fans will be happy with the Ray Agee, Cry Baby Curtis and Jimmy “Preacher” Ellis offerings, while the Francettes, Faye Ross and Kent’s talented wife Ty Karim will please female soul fanciers. The breadth of Kent’s productions is impressive, with modern soul dancers also featured, and even a shade or two of funk (check out Marcene Harris’ ‘Work It Out’) sneaking into the mix.
By Ady Croasdell