A vinyl-only collection comprising 14 outstanding stompin’ soul dancers from Los Angeles.
The Mirwood label’s second release was Jackie Lee’s ‘The Duck’, a soul swinger that became a big hit and established the Mirwood sound. The house team of producer Fred Smith, arranger James Carmichael and songwriter Sherlie Matthews, along with contributions from veteran singer-songwriters Bob Relf and Earl Nelson (Bob & Earl) made uptempo soul perfection and they played that beat throughout 1965 and 1966.
Although more US chart action occurred with the Olympics and Bob & Earl, much of the Mirwood team’s superlative work fell on deaf American ears. It was the British soul aficionados of the early 70s who discovered these masterpieces to play on their burgeoning Northern Soul scene. The dancers revelled in the relentless beats, pleading vocals and sassy female backing.
Virtually any Jackie Lee track was a worthy contender, especially the soul dance classic ‘Do The Temptation Walk’, the master tape discovery ‘Anything You Want (Any Way You Want It)’, and the anthemic ‘Oh, My Darlin’’. Bob & Earl’s hottest number was actually the backing track to Bob’s speedy ‘My Little Girl’, discovered as an accidental UK LP cut in the late 60s. Under the same alias, Bobby Garrett, Bob had another monster sound with ‘I Can’t Get Away’. Ex-Ike Turner sideman Jimmy Thomas arrived at Mirwood in 1966 where Bob Relf recorded him on his own song ‘Where There’s A Will (There’sA Way)’. Jimmy brought the Ikettes along with him; the company switched their name to the Mirettes for the Sherlie Matthews-penned ‘I Wanna Do Everything For You Baby’ and others. Sherlie also composed the stomping ‘Mine Exclusively’ and ‘The Same Old Thing’ for the Olympics and ‘Don’t Pretend’ for the Belles, a studio group comprising of herself along with sisters Brenda and Patrice Holloway.
Another Los Angeles stable under the auspices of Henry “Hank” Graham threw the Performers’ ‘I Can’t Stop You’ into the mix and renamed singer Jimmy Conwell as Richard Temple for a 45 that epitomises Northern Soul, ‘That Beatin’ Rhythm’; a credo for a cult. More indie productions came from Eddie LaShae with the Sheppards’ redoubtable ‘Stubborn Heart’ and Sonny Knight’s production of Curtis Lee on ‘Is She In Your Town?’.
Altogether 14 vital mid-60s dance records that demonstrate why Mirwood is a byword for the best in Northern Soul.