Posted: September 11, 2010 in Northern Soul, Rhythm & Blues, Soul
Tags: , , ,


Ask any soulie, dancer, collector or dealer to name a city closely associated with the scene and most would probably say Detroit first.  Ask them to name a label from Detroit and La Beat would be near the top of the list.  Both are synonymous with the scene and deservedly so.

This release from Grapevine is in the opinion of many long over due and rightly deserves a lasting tribute to the joy the label has brought to many soulies for over 30 years.

One look at the people involved behind the scenes at LaBeat, its subsidiaries Mary Jane, Coolschool and Rambler and also Lou Beatty’s early collaboration with James Hendrix and his Carrie Label….Fred Bridges, Bobby Eaton and Richard Knight writing team, Curtis Trusel and John Mills, not just writers but part of the in house production team/musicians The LPT’s, Melvin Davis involved writing and of course the famed Mike Terry to name but a few, you just know you are in for a treat!!!!

The CD kicks off with the ever popular dancer from Edward Hamilton “I’m Gonna Love You” (the flip “Call Me” features later in the cd).   Edward is represented several times the soulful “My Darling Baby” with the Natural Looks and of course with the Arabians with the superb and vastly under-rated and definitely underplayed “Thank Your Mother” and lastly with the all time classic “Baby Don’t You Weep”…Northern Soul just doesn’t get any better…or does it!

Al Williams is probably the name most associate with LaBeat.  First played at Wigan although not what you would call a typical Wigan sound, “I Am Nothing” personifies just what the scene is all about, Rare, obscure and above all a dancer.  It has remained out of reach for most collectors not just because of it’s rarity but also it asking price of £2500 plus.  The flip the soulful midtempo “Brand New Woman” also features on the cd and rightly so in my opinion it probably deserved a release of its own.  Cheaper but not by much is the later release on Palmer.

Al Williams other recording for the label remained in the can but have at long last seen the light of day and it was well worth the wait.  A ballad called “She Does It” and very good it is but it’s the dancer “Try Them” that will appeal to most I guess and rightly so….due for limited release on Grapevine 7” I can see this one taking off and becoming a firm favourite with crowds up and down the country once one or two DJ’s get behind it..
Another LaBeat release that went on to gain legendary status at Wigan and still as popular to this day is “This Won’t Change” from Lester Tipton, his solitary release for the label.  Again this fills all the criteria needed to make it a Northern Soul classic, the intro instantly drags you to your feet making you want to dance with Lester still saying he still loves his girl and things won’t change, despite the hurt she’s caused.  Again an asking price of £3000 plus puts this way out of reach for most collectors plus the fact it’s as rare as the proverbial rocking horse s***!

The Masqueraders although pretty well known for their musical output and many discs that have gone on to be scene classics are pretty much soul superstars to UK soulies due to their recent live performances over here during the last couple of years.  “How” kicks off their input to this cd and the track has become very much sought after in recent times and gained a high asking price a price considered ridiculous by some.  On listening you can see why its coveted by collectors and DJ’s…perfect Northern.  Personally I prefer the driving “I Got The Power”, also considerably cheaper as well!  If you prefer your soul that bit grittier with a bit more bite then “I’m Gonna Make It” will be right up your street.  The mid-tempo lovers won’t be disappointed either with the inclusion of “Be Happy For Me”.

Clifford Binns with his Carrie outing “You Got To Help Me” rightly deserves it’s inclusion, a firm favourite in the mid 80’s during the Stafford era the disc has received some re-activation in recent times.

James Shorter and Don Hart, two friends who as well as being a double act also recorded individually.  James Shorter’s “Modern Day Woman” is probably the best known by him.  As soulful as they come and becoming very much in-demand and probably more so after the release of the cd.  The flip also represented on the cd, “Getting Ready For The Heartbreak”, more of an up tempo dancer make this a highly collectable double sider, watch the price rise!!  Don Hart best effort in my opinion is his Cool School release the delightful mid-tempo effort “I’ll Keep Holding On”.  The track hasn’t had the recognition it deserves in my opinion and hopefully that will now change.
Nelson Sanders has two releases included on the cd, “This Love Is Here To Stay” and “Mojo Man” suit those who love the more R&B/funkier sound while his “I’m Lonely” and “Tired Of Being Your Fool” are two great ballads.

Not too be outdone by his artists, Lou Beatty chips in with his version of the Masqueraders “A Family” and the previously unreleased “Wet Pillow”.

With the inclusion of the unreleased instrumental of “I Am Nothing” there’s pretty much something for everyone on the cd, deep to dancer, ballad to mid-tempo to R&B.  You also get the added bonus of a pretty good read whilst listening from the comprehensive sleeve notes from Dave Welding!

LaBeat, although just a tiny label in Detroit’s thriving music scene of the 60’s and what would be considered a commercial failure, has played a large and influential part in  the history of Northern Soul and with this release a small band of musicians and artists have at long last had all their efforts recognised and hopefully they will at long last reap some reward for their efforts.

Karl “Chalky” White

June 2006

GVCD 3029

01. Edward Hamilton – I’m Gonna Love You
02. The Masqueraders – How
03. Lou Beatty – A Wet Pillow *
04. Edward Hamilton – My Darling Baby
05. Don Hart & James Shorter – All The Love I Got
06. Nelson Sanders – This Love Is Here To Stay
07. The Masqueraders – I Got The Power
08. Don Hart – I’ll Keep Holding On
09. James Shorter – Modern Day Woman
10. Al Williams – I Am Nothing
11. Lester Tipton – This Won’t Change
12. Edward Hamilton – Thank You Mother
13. Clifford Binns – Take It From Me
14. Nelson Sanders – I’m Lonely
15. The LPTs – I Am Nothing (Instrumental) *
16. James Shorter – Ready For The Heartbreak
17. Clifford Binns – You’ve Got To Help Me
18. Al Williams – Try Them *
19. Don Hart & James Shorter – It’s In My Mind
20. Lou Beatty – A Family *
21. Nelson Sanders – Mojo Man
22. The Masqueraders – I’m Gonna Make It
23. Al Williams – She Does It *
24. Don Hart – I Can Make It
25. Edward Hamilton – Call Me
26. The LPTs – Long Cool Summer
27. Nelson Sanders – Tired Of Being Your Fool
28. Al Williams – Brand New Love
29. Edward Hamilton & The Arabians – Baby Don’t You Weep
30. The Masqueraders – Be Happy For Me

* Previously unissued

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