Ever since me and Roger Armstrong got wedged into the Scepter /Wand / Musicor vaults about twelve years ago and came away with unreleased recordings like Maxine Brown's Torture, Chuck Jackson's What's With This Loneliness and Melba Moore's The Magic Touch, I've been hooked on hearing those kind of tapes that haven't been aired for thirty years but damn well should have been.
From time to time I've had a nice tickle like Carla Thomas' magnificent unissued Stax recording I'll Never Stop Loving You (featured on Do The Crossover Baby CDKEND 105), or even the big batch of unreleased Aware/Hotlanta tapes by Sam Dees (CDKEND 125), John Edwards (CDKEND 127) and Loleatta Holloway (CDKEND 135). However, those fell on my doorstep, rather than having me delve through old scotch tapes boxes to unearth them. So it wasn't until a full 10 years on from my first serious fix that I was to fully satisfy my craving. Although I didn't actually make it into the vault to get my fingernails dirty, I was there in a New York studio when tape boxes from 1966 were opened for the first time since the tracks were laid down and their full glory was revealed to me. I got to touch the boxes and reels, was able to copy down all the information contained thereon and, joy upon joy, saw the full session sheets that virtually put me back in the United Sound Studios, Detroit, at the peak of the soul music boom.
The songs themselves were of at least equal quality to the ones that actually did come out of these sessions and as these were Lorraine Chandler's I Can't Hold On, The Metros' Since I Found My Baby, Roy Hamilton's Reach Out For Me and Sharon Scott's Could It Be You, that was very high quality indeed. As RCA has a wealth of great soul records that have never made it on to CD, we've mixed in the unreleased with the released and spread the project over 2 volumes. (Vol 2 is CDKEND 156).
Highlights of the released tracks for me are The Insiders' I'm Just A Man, a vivacious well-crafted song performed by the boys who went on to become the Main Ingredient, one of the greatest of all the 70s vocal groups. Also Johnny Nash's Hugo and Luigi produced big ballad I'm Leaving from a different soul era but exquisitely made. The unreleased songs are all exciting but the one that always does it for me is Kenny Carter's original cut of What's That On Your Finger. I drone on about this one extensively on the sleevenotes so here I'll merely say that anyone who has already heard it will be buying the CD on the strength of this track alone. (Ady Croasdell)