A vinyl-only release drawn from the Modern and Kent labels of Los Angeles.
Black music collectors have revered the output of the Modern and Kent labels since the early days of B.B. King, the Ikettes and Ike & Tina Turner. Much of the soul was crossed with R&B – witness the tracks here by Z.Z. Hill, Vernon Garrett and Johnny Copeland. Garrett’s ‘Shine It On’ has become much in-demand in recent years, as has Z.Z. Hill’s cover of Bettye Swann’s ‘Make Me Yours’. Larry Davis’ name was largely unknown until his ‘I’ve Been Hurt So Many Times’ got Northern Soul plays in the 80s and onwards. Mel Williams’ storming ‘Can It Be Me’ is also on the tough side – it has been a dancefloor filler since its discovery in the early 70s, and like Jimmy Bee’s manic ‘Wanting You’ it is taken from recently found master tapes for even better clarity.
Access to the tapes revealed male duo Gene & Gary’s version of the classic Danny Monday dancer ‘Baby Without You’, and ‘Get To Steppin’’, a Jackie Day track recorded in a very similar vein to ‘Naughty Boy’, her Phelectron rarity. Johnny Copeland made a great version of ‘No Puppy Love’ (as released by Jackie Paine on Jetstream), while the totally unknown Peggy Woods contributed a classic soul-girl stomper on ‘Love Is Gonna Get You’. The originally unreleased version of Wally Cox’s ‘This Man Wants You’ was recorded before his 1970 Wand release, although it sounds earlier.
Group soul comes from Brilliant Korners’ rare and collectable ‘Three Lonely Guys’, while the Other Brothers from Texas left ‘Nobody But Me’, their best recording, on the tape shelf – it has grown continuously in popularity since its 1995 debut. There’s a Mary Love classic and a great Arthur Wright instrumental version of her ‘Lay This Burden Down’ to round off a compelling compilation.