A stellar cast of musicians take the spotlight on this collection of soul, jazz, funk and other groovy Motown instrumentals which features six cuts otherwise available only as digital downloads and five masters previously unissued in any format.
Compiled by the guys behind our popular “Motown Girls” and “Motown Guys” series, the CD opens with three certified crowd-pleasers: the San Remo Golden Strings’ ‘Festival Time’, a Northern Soul favourite that reached the UK charts in 1971, five years after its original release in the USA; a version of the Supremes’ ‘Come See About Me’ by Choker Campbell’s Big Band; and ‘I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)’ by Earl Van Dyke & the Soul Brothers, an outfit known behind the scenes as the Funk Brothers.
The five previously unissued tracks are Choker Campbell’s brassy stomper ‘The Break Down’; Earl Van Dyke’s organ, vibes and guitar-led ‘L.B.J.’; the jazzy ‘Defunk Brothers’ by saxophonist Frank Morelli; ‘Little Mack’s Shuffle’ by the Morrocco Muzik Makers featuring tasty work from guitarist Harold Williams; and ‘Great Google Mook’, a terrific honker ‘n’ twanger by the Mysterions.
Other highlights include trumpeter Jonah Jones’ funky and almost unrecognisable treatment of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Uptight (Everything’s Alright)’; a great version of Hugh Masekela’s ‘Grazing In The Grass’ by Stevie himself under his Eivets Rednow alias; ‘Ich-I-Bon #1’ by Nick & the Jaguars, a hard-driving rocker from 1960; ‘Double 0 And A Half’ by the Agents, a band that included members of Jr Walker’s All Stars; and ‘Good Rockin’’ by Jr Walker & the All Stars themselves.
As usual with our Motown compilations, the package includes notes and track annotations by Hitsville historian Keith Hughes and photos of many of the featured artists.