Utilising the sledgehammer principle, we've started this CD with the Soul Clan, the only serious attempt to form a soul super-group in the 1960s. The group members were Messrs Conley, Burke, Covay, Tex and King who perform well on a good southern soul style ballad, That's How It Feels, without shaking the world, but neatly serving as an appropriate antipasto for the delicacies to come.
As individuals, Conley, Burke and Covay get the chance to serve up their own creations later on in the CD and in fact it's the latter, Don Covay, who provides the 1968-recorded I Stole Some Love. It's a great storytelling slowie, complete with rap and a Here Comes The Judge style interjection.
The overall feel of this CD is 'slow and moody' done the way Atlantic specialised in their Southern-influenced 1960s heyday. Particular highlights of this genre are the Soul Brothers Six with Can't Live Without You, James Carr's later 1971 offering I'll Put It You, Ted Taylor's Feed The Flames, a fine Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham song and Judy Clay's tortured Greatest Love. Hardcore Southern soul fans will be excited by the appearances of Herman Hitson and Ben and Spence and Rudy Mockabee's interpretation of Roy Lee Johnson's Cheer Up (Daddy's Coming Home).
Being Kent and renowned for our catholic tastes we've also featured some appropriate social commentary from Sam Dees and JP Robinson who tackle the drugs problem and the political repression so relevant to their own black constituencies.
Stylistically we've also represented Atlantic's home town, NYC, with cultured offerings from ex-Drifter Rudy Lewis and Lee Jackson's Ad For Love with its strong doo wop influences.
We end on the beautiful and relevant Time To Say Goodbye from Bettye Swann, a Southern girl whose career started in LA, moved to the mid-south with great critical acclaim and cut this and some of her finest recordings in Philadelphia. It's from 1974, a point where over-production was selling soul music short-.-but the best, like this, was combining the experience and pedigree of a great singer with the newly acquired recording techniques, in an appropriate, learned and respectful manner.
Finally Dave Godin has added some incisive and enlightening sleevenotes to complement the terrific sound reproduction achieved by our own Sound Mastering post production studios, who got to work on some fabulous Atlantic tapes.
PS Belated thanks to Randy Cozens for vital suggestions and all-round inspiration in the production of this CD.
PPS There is a second volume of this sort of Atlantic material lined up for 2001 featuring artists as mysterious and esoteric as Elvis and the Roadrunners.
By Ady Croasdell