Best-known for producing some of the greatest southern soul from their Muscle Shoals, Alabama studios, FAME was successful at any type of music they turned their hands to. The young writers and musicians were as keen to replicate the sound of Motown as they were to follow the innovative sounds of Stax.
This CD spotlights uptempo southern grit with club classics like Clarence Carter’s ‘Looking For A Fox’ and Arthur Conley’s ‘I Can’t Stop; No, No, No’, but the label was also capable of chasing on-the-fours dance appeal, with James Barnett’s ‘Keep On Talking’ and Linda Carr’s ‘Everytime’. They could also ape the big city soul sounds of New York and LA with tracks such as Jimmy Hughes’ ‘I’m Getting Better’ and June Conquest’s ‘Almost Persuaded’. When the more produced sounds of the 70s arrived, they were more than adept as with George Soule’s ‘Midnight Affair’ (issued at the time by Sandra Wright) and their whole string of hits for Candi Staton.
Speaking of Candi, Ace’s access to the FAME vaults unearthed some amazing music and her ‘One More Hurt’ and Spencer Wiggins’ ‘I’m At The Breaking Point’ proved to be massive dancefloor hits when finally unleashed to eager fans at the start of this decade. Those were the stand-out discoveries but we have released around 300 previously unheard FAME tracks and there is dancefloor gold among the 25 or so compilations we have produced over the last eight years.
Highlights include the pumping rhythms of the fictitious Billy & Clyde (aka unknown artists) on ‘A World Of My Own’, Ben & Spence’s moody and atmospheric ‘Stone Loser’ and ‘It’s Not Safe To Mess Over Me’ – the pick of over 120 George Jackson tracks. Bobby Moore & the Rhythm Aces’ ‘Come Back Baby’ is a superb mid-60s vocal group groove, while the largely unknown Marjorie Ingram’s ‘In The Heat Of Love’ will appeal to sister soul fans.
Jimmy Hughes’ ‘It Ain’t What You Got’ could have been a Sam & Dave smash – his star was somewhat waning by 1968, but perhaps Art Freeman’s ‘Slipping Around With You’ was always destined to languish in discount record racks, until fresh-faced Brits liberated it and took it back to become the talk of provincial towns where Northern Soul was the byword.