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Jerry Butler And The Impressions, Major Lance, Betty Everett, The Impressions, Don & Bob, Etta & Harvey, Jerry Butler, Jan Bradley, Rosco Gordon, The Accents, The Radiants, The Sheppards, Wade Flemons, Etta James, The Chanteurs, The Kavetts, Gerald Sims And The Daylighters, Barbara Lewis, The Dells, The Drew-vels, Dee Clark, Sugar Pie DeSanto, Gene Chandler.

This is the first in a series of themed Kent CDs that will concentrate on the cities that were of paramount importance in the changeover from the doowop and R&B of the late 50s into the soul of the 60s.

Where better to start than Chicago and the gorgeous recording of Jerry Butler and The Impression's For Your Precious Love? This opener is a demo of this classic soul song that was made at a session for Bandera in 1957. The sound of the Impressions harmonising beautifully over the dreamy chord changes of Curtis Mayfield's guitar while Butler croons in that velvet baritone is just breathtaking.

Betty Everett appears on I'll Weep No More - a Cobra record featuring Willie Dixon and members of Ike Turner's band. This one is a gospel based number that she delivers with just a much confidence as Curtis Mayfield when he joins the Impressions for the lush Latin moves on Senorita I Love You. I'd never heard Etta James beautiful ballad Waiting For Charlie To Come Home but it's a marvellous piece of work with a lavish orchestral arrangement that perfectly compliments her soulful presentation. Her sweet crooning on the verses turn steadily into an all out diva-like performance complete with the occasional spitting sensual growl that she's made her own.

R&B singer Rosco Gordon is a nice surprise with his slice of mellow doowop Let ‘Em Try - an easy paced number that was to become identified with reggae singer Alton Ellis who learned it from this record. The Chanteurs get a Drifters feel on the big beat of You've Got A Great Love which is sung by leader Eugene Record with fabulous high harmonies from the rest of the group. The Kavetts take the music into the golden era of girl groups with their 1963 Len-Dre recording I've Got A Story To Tell You. Why this wasn't a hit then is beyond comprehension - their singer, who was well supported by the hard rockin' band, could strip wallpaper with her fantastic voice! One of the most spine chilling tracks on this CD is Sugar Pie DeSanto's 1964 recording My Baby's Got Soul, unbelievably left buried in the Chess vaults until Ace scooped it up. It's a dramatic big time ballad with Sugar Pie's big voice sassily delivering stacks of soul over an irresistible lurching rhythm accentuated by lush strings and some adventurous drumming.

This CD really is filled with great tracks, I can't find a dud and it's damn near impossible to pick a star track but I can't resist The Sheppard's glittering Tragic with its glistening guitar moves, cheesy organ and weird echoes that accentuate the backing vocals. Ace really has the soul scene sewed up with their brilliant compilations and this is well up to the sky high standards of the entire Birth Of Soul series.

Ask for CDKEND322. Only £10.95 plus p&p here at Red Lick


Review Date: January 2010

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