Music Week's round-up of the latest album reissues and catalogue releases. This week we take a look at Kent's On The Soul Side compilation, Deep Feeling and Haywoode's Remixes and Rarities collection.
On The Soul Side
(Kent CDKEND 473)
Thirty-five years have elapsed since On The Soul Side was first released, addressing the thirst for big budget soul sides sourced from labels like Capitol, Liberty, Minit, Imperial and United Artists and delivering them on vinyl. Combining up-tempo metropolitan soul, down-tempo southern soul and everything in between, it became an iconic release, and Kent have resisted requests to release it on CD… until now. Finally unleashed on disc, it faithfully replicates the original 16-song album’s track sequence – and then adds a further 10 numbers, all of which fit the original concept perfectly. The vast majority are making their CD debuts, and one – Patrice Holloway’s The Thrill Of Romance – is previously unreleased in any format but turns out to be a stomping Northern soul delight that was waxed in 1966. Holloway’s Motownesque Love & Desire opens the album in fine style, as it did in 1983, and other highlights from the original LP include It Will Stand by The Showmen, featuring the distinctive voice of future Chairmen Of The Board singer General Johnson. Ginger Thompson’s Boy Watcher, a gender reassigned version of The O’Kaysions’ million-selling US hit Girl Watcher, also stands out, as does A Lot Of Love, a scorchingly soulful cut from Homer Banks that went on to become a Top 20 hit for Simply Red. All qualify as bonus cuts that cut the mustard, but especially Clydie King’s If You Were My Man, which manages to evoke both The Supremes and Phil Spector, and the catchy Don’t Let Your Eyes Get Bigger Than Your Heart by Sylvia Robbins, who went on to score big with Pillow Talk and was one of the founders of Sugarhill Records, the most important label in the early history of rap. The tracks range in vintage from 1961 to 1968, with most from the golden 1965/66 period. Extensive liner notes and copious illustrations populate a 20-page booklet, completing an excellent reissue.
(Grapefruit CRSEG 044)
Formed as a backing band for I’ve Been Hurt hitmaker Guy Darrell, Deep Feeling’s vocal harmonies and musicianship saw them secure a recording contract in their own right, and they cut their one and only album for DJM in 1971. Although it failed to sell well at the time, it is now very highly regarded. Here, it is released in the UK on CD for the first time in this excellent set, which, alongside the six lengthy tracks that made up the album, adds 13 bonus tracks to become a career anthology. Their sound anchored in prog rock, they excel on a jazzy eight-minute extemporisation of Mason Williams’ Classical Gas, and dazzle with a hard-rocking version of Little Richard’s Lucille. The other four tracks on the original album were penned by band members Martin Jenner and Dave Green, and are excellent, particularly the folkily-strummed close harmony of Old People’s Home and the engaging country twang of Country Heir, which is slightly redolent of early Crosby Stills & Nash. Among the bonus tracks is their excellent, heavily orchestrated take on early Elton John classic Skyline Pigeon, and a wholly unexpected slow, lush and pretty version of The Rolling Stones’ Let’s Spend The Night Together. Sadly only one of the band’s five members has lived to see this CD released but it stands as a nice tribute to the rest.
Roses – Remixes & Rarities
(Cherry Pop CRPOPD 194)
Fondly remembered for her only bona fide Top 20 hit Roses, Haywoode cut a considerable number of singles, many of which were huge in the clubs while floundering in the bottom half of the chart. This resulted in her contract with CBS being terminated after the release of just one album, 1986’s Arrival. Long out of print, the Arrival album itself was selling for crazy money in Japan, prompting its reissue by Cherry Pop – and that, in turn, was so well received that this 2CD set has been released. Avoiding duplication of Arrival where possible, it contains no fewer than 29 extended mixes, alternate versions and non-album cuts all newly mastered from the original tapes. It is the first time that most of them have been on CD, and the first time that four of them have been issued in any form. Michael Barbiero’s superb 12-inch mix of Roses – one of three interpretations of the song herein – opens proceedings in fine style, and there plenty more typically 1980s pop/dance fodder, of which the best are Nick Martinelli’s 12-inch mix of At A Time Like This and the previously unreleased 12” mix of I’m Your Puppet, a muscular, slow jam version of the old James & Bobby Purify song. Haywoode – who is very active of the 1980s revival circuit – gave the album her personal seal of approval, and provides personal recollections for the extensive liner notes.