CD Shrine Records: The Rarest Soul Label (CD 115078),
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Shrine Records: The Rarest Soul Label
1. Stop Overlooking Me - The Cairo's
2. Guess Who Loves You - Eddie Daye & the Four Bars
3. Don't Let Him Hurt You - Les Chansonettes
4. I Won't Believe It Till I See It - Little Bobby Parker
5. Watch Your Step - The Cautions
6. I'm So Devoted - The Epsilons
7. Huh Baby - Prophets
8. Wait Till I Get There - Tippie & The Wiseman
9. I Won't Be Coming Back - J.D. Bryant
10. Mind in a Bind - The Epsilons
11. Do What I Want - The Cavaliers
12. I'll Never Let You Get Away - J.D. Bryant
13. I'll Take You Back - The Enjoyables
14. No More Like Me - Ray Pollard
15. Take It from Me - Traci
16. I Know About Her - DC Blossoms
17. Dream My Heart - Shirley Edwards
18. My Only Love - The Counts
19. Fall Guy - The Cautions
20. Mystery - Jim Armstrong
21. Weekend, The - Sidney Hall
22. I'll Understand - Leroy Taylor
23. She Went Away - Linda & the Vistas
24. Let Me Walk Away - Tippie & The Wiseman
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 160
Performers include: The Cairos, Little Bobby Parker, The Counts, Tippie & The Wisemen, The Cavaliers, J.D. Bryant, The Prophets, The D.C. Blossoms.
Arrangers: Dale Warren; Eddie Singleton.
Based in Washington, D.C., the Shrine label was around for a couple of years in the mid-'60s without landing any hits, but holds fascination for soul collectors for a couple of reasons. It was co-run (with husband Eddie Singleton) by Raynoma Singleton, who, as Berry Gordy's second wife, had been instrumental in helping Motown get off the ground in the late '50s and early '60s. In addition, its releases, as the title of this compilation indicates, are really hard to find, in part because they didn't sell well, and in part because much of the remaining stock copies were destroyed. Because of those factors, this 24-track compilation of Shrine sides -- almost half of which had to be dubbed from disc in the absence of masters -- is a significant grail for Northern soul fans. The artistic value of the material does not corroborate with the original copies' hefty price tags, however. It's fair but unremarkable mid-'60s soul with echoes of Motown, Chicago soul, and New York uptown soul, without the exceptional material or performers necessary to either compete with the influences, or carve a persona of its own. It's not a bad template for playing announce-the-influence games; Les Chansonettes' "Don't Let Him Hurt You" sounds like a poor person's Martha & the Vandellas (though Motown would have never let the out-of-tune horns pass quality control), some of the male vocal cuts have Impressions-like harmonies, Bill Dennis' "I'll Never Let You Get Away" takes a vintage Marvin Gaye approach, Ray Pollard's "No More Like Me" has a pleading, early Stax quality, and the Cavaliers' "Do What I Want" is near-instrumental soul with a live "party" atmosphere reminiscent of the Ramsey Lewis hits. ~ Richie Unterberger
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