CD Northern Soul's Classiest Rarities, Vol. 4 (CD 6955270),
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Northern Soul's Classiest Rarities, Vol. 4
1. Hook Line and Sinker - Dan Greer
2. What Good Am I Without You - Darrow Fletcher
3. My Mistake - Lord Luther
4. Are You Gonna Leave Me - Jesse James
5. Dream, A - The Creations
6. I've Been Done Wrong - Jimmy Holiday
7. It's No News - Melvin Davis
8. There's No Room for Me - Jesse Davis
9. Hang on in There - Jesse Davis
10. Diamonds, Rubies, Gold and Fame - The Gypsies
11. I Don't Love You - Bobbie Dee
12. Black Mother Goose - Sam Nesbitt
13. Kiss a Good Thing Goodbye - Wendell Watts
14. Love Slave - The Antellects
15. Deeper - Cheques
16. Wait for Me - The Inconquerables
17. Try My Love - Troy Dodds
18. Just Your Fool - Jerry Ganey
19. You Don't Even Know My Name - The Hy
20. Cross the Bridge - Brenton Wood
21. Love's Made a Connection - The Tiara's
22. Suffering Wrath - Rudy Love
23. Man of My Word, A - Salt & Pepper
24. Queen of Losers - Eleanor Rigby
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 6723382
If you have any of the three previous volumes of this series, or indeed some of the Ace label's many Northern soul-oriented compilations, you know the drill: uptempo, vintage soul from rare discs that didn't come close to being hits, with a few tracks that weren't even released until the 21st century. This CD has 24 tracks from the mid-'60s to the early '70s, with an artist roster that will challenge the trivia banks of even those who collect Northern soul anthologies. Sure, Brenton Wood (represented by a rare, early 45) is familiar, and at a stretch, R&B singer Lord Luther might be, too, but otherwise these are ranks from the rear file. The music is acceptably decent without being classic, with the Motown sound casting a huge shadow over much of it. (Indeed the Jesse Davis Band's previously unreleased 1967 instrumental "Hang on in There Girl" sounds like a Motown backing track awaiting a vocal overdub.) That's not the only influence at play: Jesse James' "Are You Gonna Leave Me?" sounds like an Impressions outtake; Jerry Ganey's "Just a Fool" heavily recalls the Righteous Brothers (unsurprisingly, as the Righteous Brothers' Bill Medley produced and co-wrote the track); and both smoother group harmony and harder funk sometimes come into the picture, too. There's even a Jackie Wilson-ish novelty from 1964, Melvin Davis' "It's No News," with the inspirational opening line "if a dog bites a man, that's no news, but if a man bites a dog that's news." Nothing sounds particularly like a can't-miss hit, but that's not the point of these collections, which is to assemble fair upbeat soul that will have been virtually unheard by most people. On that count it succeeds, with more well-programmed variety than the typical such compilation. The story behind one of the better cuts, Salt-n-Pepa's lightly funky "A Man of My Word," is arguably more interesting than any of the music on the CD, having been recorded in Bangkok in 1970 by U.S. musicians serving at an Air Force base. ~ Richie Unterberger
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