Back in 1988 I compiled an LP of MCA/Universal tracks called Dance Floor Disaster (KENT 076). It was an eclectic mix of great, danceable, mainly black music singles that were all worthy of release but didn't quite fit into any specific music bag. It was a Latin/African/Nightclub/Blues/Jazz/Soul type thang and the only time Captain Beefheart made it on to Kent.
The Beat Goes On is a similarly catholic creation featuring Mambo, Disco, Folk-Soul and a small piece of voodoo funk. However the whole aggregation has a greater cohesiveness due to it all being releases from the mighty Atlantic stable. In fact the main differences are down to the varying recording dates (1951-1975) rather than being aimed at different markets.
British record collectors are noted for their fanaticism and personally I remember a time when my search for Northern Soul stompers led me to Brian Hyland and The Joker Went Wild before I'd even checked out Percy Sledge's You've Got That Something Wonderful. But we learn, and soul crusader Randy Cozens' tapes of Mitty Collier, Chuck Jackson, Bobby Bland and Annette Snell reminded me of the other sides to soul. Similarly Gaz's Rockin' Blues club taught me all about The Clovers, Ruth Brown and Brother Ray's early R&B sides.
The selections sorted themselves out roughly evenly across the three decades concerned and it was logical to sequence them approximately along those lines, thereby illustrating the progression of styles in Atlantic and black music's development.
White blokes with black hearts deservedly sneak in, via Bobby Darin's rhythmically irresistible Irresistible You, Sonny and Cher's terminally groovy The Beat Goes On and Dr John's menacing Right Time, Wrong Place.
The broad remit gave me a chance to use a few of the all-time greats like Aretha Franklin and her occasionally neglected (Sweet Sweet Baby), Since You've Been Gone plus stone killers from major players like the Coasters, the Drifters, Sam and Dave, Wilson Pickett and Otis.
For compiler's perks I snuck in Soul Brothers Six, You'd Better Check Yourself, Clarence Carter's Take It Off Him And Put It On Me and Love Or Leave by the Spinners (known as of the Detroit variety to UK punters), just because I love them.
So it's a meaningful, historical, musical summary, an overview of three decades of black dance music or an excuse to get up and boogie. Take your pick.
By Harbaro Horace