It's nice to tuck into a label no-one's really looked at before; and it's even nicer when there's a load of juicy mastertapes that have been untouched since the day they were made.
The 60s and 70s series of Money releases was just such a feast and as Ace had "liked the company so much that they bought it", it meant I could dig deeper into the vaults and the paperwork and spend longer on the minor mysteries, as it was now my business to sort the story out.
A good start was speaking to the label owner throughout those years and Ruth Dolphin was so friendly and helpful that I was immediately encouraged in my labour of love. Next, a bit of background work on the original Money, Cash and Recorded in Hollywood labels of the 50s whetted my appetite and the stories that revealed themselves through various articles and Steve Propes' LA Vocal Groups book excited me so much I became a doo wop dude for a week or two.
Another tantalising lead made me persuade myself that I HAD to go to LA and meet up with Arthur Wright, a producer I had revered from afar more than any other. My hunch proved to be correct and Arthur was a fountain of knowledge on the music business from the early 50s to the present day. [info snippet: Arthur was in a group with H B Barnum and others called The Cir-Cats; they all happened to be pretty decent track athletes and every time they hit a new town on their travels, they would challenge the local high school to a 4 by 400 relay to drum up interest in their gig. Such innocent days!]
Armed with photos, master tapes, acetates and rare 45s, I made it back to the UK where a letter from Al Scott, the DJ that worked out of Dolphins' shop in the 60s (see the booklet for the whole mind-blowing story) awaited me. One phone call later and I had established the truth behind the Call Me, Ten Star and Utopia labels, got the real deal on the 60s Money story and made another friend in music. Al then got Willie Malone the mainstay of M-M & the Peanuts to phone me, another poser was then sorted and more of the jigsaw was in place. Add to that a heartfelt testimony to the late Bobby Angelle's greatness and that's 6,000 words on the set-up and we’re only at the end of Volume One.
Of course it would all have been a waste of time if the music was only middling, but there are utter gems of soul music from Bobby Angelle, Betty Swann, M & M and the Peanuts and Johnny Adams; ultra rarities from the Pretenders aka the Larks and Sonny Herman; unissued exclusives from the Question Marks, Ted Walters (ex-Larks), Johnny Adams and Bobby Angelle; collectors picks from Toni & The Showmen, Eric Williams and Gwen Stewart and a Northern Soul Classic with a new twist from Hank Jacobs.
All I have to do now is work out who is singing on the magnificent master tape of 'It's Too Late Now' (which is already a dancefloor smash attributed to persons unknown) before Volume 2 is due.