Various Artists “Lost Deep Soul Treasures Vol 2” (SOS 1007)
By Pete Nickols
Marvin L. Sims ~ Danger ~ Revue 11038; Jarvis Jackson ~ Something I Never Had ~ Sims 291; Little Dooley ~ Just Like A Child ~ Ko Ko 102; Bobby Womack ~ I Wonder ~ Keymen 102; Syl Johnson ~ The Love I Found In You ~ Special Agent 200; Don Hart & James Shorter ~ I Shed A Tear ~ La Beat 6609; Sam Williams ~ Miracle Worker ~ Uptown 742; Sandra Phillips ~ When Midnight Comes ~ Broadway 402; Betty Green ~ He’s Down On Me ~ Clara 111 & Crackerjack 4018; Sisters Love ~ Do It Right Now ~ Sounds Of Soul 1007; Moody Scott ~ Darling Please Don’t Take My Love For Granted ~ Kapp 981; James Chapman ~ In Memory Of Martin Luther King ~ Mor. Soul 001; Jeb Stuart ~ Dreamers’ Hall of Fame ~ Eureka 1001; Oscar Perry ~ I Found A True Love ~ Lee J 1902; Willie James ~ Down On My Knees ~ Unity 2711; Terry & The Tyrants ~ Weep No More ~ Kent 399; Virgil Griffin ~ A Forgotten Lover ~ Reginald 1403; David Robinson ~ I Care For You ~ Orbitone 1001; Them Two ~ Am I A Good Man ~ Deep City 2379; Ray Lewis ~ Getting Over You ~ Fairmount 1013; Louis Jones ~ That’s Cuz I Love You ~ Decca 31500; Billy Mack ~ I Can’t Sleep ~ Miss Betty 34; Claudia Whitten ~ Bring Me All the Love You’ve Got ~ Skillet 3609; Little Scotty ~ Slow That Disco Down ~ Bluestown 709.
Sounds of Soul continued their series of Deep Soul CD releases with Volume 2, which again featured some pretty rare examples of this soul sub-genre, albeit 8 of the 24 featured artists have their own pages on this web-site, while there are also sound-clips of 6 of the songs. But never mind the rarity – just revel in the QUALITY! The tracks on this CD, almost without exception, make it a purveyor of very high-quality deep soul indeed and an indispensable part of any real deep-soul lover’s collection.
Marvin L. Sims opens the proceedings with a genuinely emotionally-expressed lay-back deep winner with some nice dramatic passages. Next, Jarvis Jackson’s contribution is a top-drawer deep-soul performance which builds to two very powerful brass-supported dramatic vocal passages, one mid-track and one at its climax, with Jackson straining every vocal muscle as he bemoans his fate. The high soul quality continues with Little Dooley’s slightly lighter-shaded piece, though this is indeed still good storyline mid-deep soul with some fine lyrics, e.g. “you took the sunset out of my life and turned it to rain and snow.”
Bobby Womack is easily the best-known name included here and this circa 1966 Keymen side shows just how expressive a singer he could be. I’ll come clean and admit I’m not a great fan of all of Bobby’s later material and I’ve always thought his career-wide output has been overrated by some critics - but this is a fine soul recording and no mistake.
Syl Johnson is probably the second-best-known singer here – but his offering, whilst pleasant-enough, is just jaunty mid-paced soul and not truly deep, despite Johnson’s occasional atypical high falsetto screeches.
Don Hart & James Shorter’s piece is cozy lay-back soul but certainly isn’t deep by my benchmarks – the audio quality isn’t great either but clearly many of these rarer tracks stem directly from 45 dubs so I guess we musn’t be too fussy – it’s the music that counts!
Sam Williams’ outing is sung in a fairly ‘straight’ baritone with very little melisma in sight (although we do get some pretty impressive falsetto) but that doesn’t matter a jot because Sam really does launch himself body and soul into this pretty desperate soul-song – great stuff!
Sandra Phillips is a too-little-recorded soul favourite and this mournful Broadway side, which sees her waiting for her man until the break of dawn because she loves him so, despite him not turning up at midnight as pre-arranged, is certainly a winner with me.
Betty Green really serves up a very emotive vocal on this excellent and deeply soulful outing, the good organ backing only adding to the aura of sadness experienced by Betty as she remembers her lost love.
Even deeper is the superb track by the Sisters Love. I would go as far as to say that this slow-paced piece with its very impressive gospel-honed lead vocal is their finest-ever recording for ‘real’ soul fans.
Moody Scott is best-known perhaps for his excellent Sound Stage 7 and Seventy-Seven sides but this very good deep-country-soul Kapp outing is a match for any of those. It surely has to have been cut ‘sub-Mason Dixon’ and simply leased to this particular label.
Soul songs written especially to commemorate major figures in ‘black’ history are not always that impressive aesthetically but James Chapmen’s tribute to MLK also meets all the deep-soul criteria, with a good lyric, a suitably mournful but emotively-sung vocal and a ‘presence’ which really draws the listener into its story. A fine record.
Oscar Perry’s track is sparse, atmospheric and gloomy; however I would class it more as deep bluesoul than out-and-out deep soul, the accompaniment being a tad too blues and jazz-orientated to be totally conducive to a stone deep-soul performance.
Now if you want the real McCoy, look no further than Willie James’ outstanding contribution here. There’s not even any significant storyline lyric, merely a gut-felt and gut-expressed plea by James to his girl not to leave him. The repetition here not only doesn’t matter, it actually serves to simply underline the pain and misery the singer is expressing - and he sure has a fine voice with which to express it! This isn’t really a “song” at all, it’s simply emotional heartbreak expressed to music - deep-soul of the highest order.
Terry & The Tyrants’ track suffers very little (if at all) by comparison with the previous gem as it too is also a deep-soul masterpiece. Just enjoy the superb gospel-honed lead vocal with terrific falsetto at appropriate points as the singer begs his girl not to weep about his enforced departure to serve Uncle Sam and assures her that he really does love her and WILL return to prove it before too long. A terrific piece of soul music.
Virgil Griffin’s track is a secular version of Sam Cooke & the Soul Stirrer’s superb Specialty gospel recording “Pilgrim Of Sorrow” – but don’t ever write it off for that, as it is truly yet another remarkable piece of brooding and very well-sung deep-soul of terrific quality. Another stone winner with me.
David Robinson sings exceptionally well on his track but this slightly rambling song does just suffer a tad from following on from 3 such majestic slabs of deep-soul. Taken in isolation, I’m sure it’s a track you would always want to play. However, sometimes, it’s the melody or the arrangement which makes a song something special – here that’s not the case, as neither are really all that good - it’s simply Robinson’s terrific vocal that wins the day.
A melodic piece of meaningful soul with a dramatic finale comes from Them Two. It too is truly impressive – one of many fine soul-duo deep recordings, this one with an appealing, almost choral vocal backdrop.
Ray Lewis gets suitably involved in the telling lyric on yet another stunning piece of deep-soul. He may claim he’s getting over his girl but the pain in his tortuous vocal makes it hard to believe. Another top-drawer deep gem.
More lost-love angst comes from Louis Jones. His voice sounds more blues than gospel-honed but he can certainly deliver expressively and, when required, with considerable power – and the biggish, brass-dominated backing adds genuine drama to the piece.
A real slow-tempo deep gem, “I Can’t Sleep” is yet another top-class offering, with Billy Mack’s superbly emotional lead vocal backed up really well by a potent, very gospelly femme group. Billy pleads and pleads for his girl to come back home and if it isn’t music to her ears, it sure is to mine! A sensational track.
Claudia Whitten’s recording offers up some really good deep stoyrline soul. Again it suffers a touch from being so close to some of deep-soul’s greatest recordings but, believe me, it’s well worthy of your attention.
Little Scotty’s song has a title which many a ‘real soul’ fan back in the late 70’s disco-era would have surely echoed! And the song itself certainly is a slow-paced ultra-deep winner. Scotty just wants to get closer to his girl, not dance ‘apart’ to disco sounds and his heartfelt pleas are just oh-so-soulful - as is the femme back-up vocal support. I love this record. It’s another example of simple repetition being far from boring but, instead, all-involving. This song spends six-plus minutes just wrapping you up in its cocoon of gently-expressed deep emotion. It makes for a superb finale to a superb CD.