One Little Dance: Brent Superb 60’s Soul Sounds

Posted: September 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

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Bob Shad was veteran of the music industry having worked for majors as well as independent record labels, recording many Jazz, Blues and R&B greats along the ways. It was a natural progression to put all his experience, knowledge and contacts into his own labels and out of this was born Shad, Time and then Brent. Mainstream was to follow a few years later.

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It is these labels that the latest offering from Kent highlights and it is a very welcome addition to the Kent label. Covering the years 1961 to 1967 the CD features many tracks that at the time of recording remained unreleased until this releases, some gems that have graced many turntables of collectors and DJ’s alike in particular the UK’s Rare/Northern Soul scene and some that have remained under the radar of many.

Although the label was based in New York it was far from a New York label with Shad using his vast amount of contacts and experience to persuade artists to record for him from all over the US. Artists from The West Coast, Florida and Detroit laying down some great soul, pop even rock for Shad. Up-tempo, mid-tempo, Big City beat ballads, R&B shouters, stompers, all styles and genres.

The CD kicks of with a rarity, a great piece of soul from Dave Crawford that has never been seen or heard until now (certainly not by the vast majority of collectors) as the demo features “Millionaire” on both sides. The unheard flip, ‘Praying For The Rain To Come’ is a masterpiece, a great impassioned soul vocal with a fantastic female backing that at times practically takes lead and indeed is featured just as much vocally as Crawford himself. The flip ‘Millionaire’ is also featured on the compilation. It is probably just as well known, especially by UK collectors for the version by Chuck Jackson that remained unreleased until Kent came by it in the late 80’s although it also saw versions by other artists as well. Crawford also reworked ‘Millionaire’ for a mid 70’s release. Crawford went on to fame as a writer and producer and in particular Candi Staton’s ‘Young Hearts Run Free’. Unfortunately the fortune was to elude him and I did read he sold his rights to his work for what would appear a pittance considering the airplay ‘Young Hearts’ alone receives.

The great June Jackson provides some West Coast magic with the previously unreleased ‘Port Of Happiness’. The tapes listed this as The Jackaels but it is clearly Jackson on lead on this early 60’s recording. It is a track if it had seen the light of day would I’m sure have graced many a turntable at many a club and I do hope Kent see fit to include this as a Kent Select release in the future, possibly with Dave Crawford’s opener alongside it?

Jeannie Trevor gives us two tracks from 1965, both previously unreleased. ‘You Did It For Me’ the first time I heard it reminded me for some reason as Ady Croasdell’s “Gerri Grainger” acetate that has become a 100 Club classic, Jeannie Trevor wouldn’t have been out of place at the hallowed venue either, nor would many of the tracks featured on this excellent compilation.

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Florida group The Moovers are well known to collectors and DJ’s alike. ’One Little Dance’ saw turntable action in the UK during the mid 80’s. Released twice initially on Deep City it was picked up and re-released by Shad a year later. It’s flip, the ballad ‘I Love You Baby’ is a great slice of soul, the better of the two sides for me. Also from Florida and recruited by Shad is a white R&B singer Linda Lyndell with two tracks, one a super up-tempo R&B dancer and the other a reworking of a Betty Lavette recording. Lewis And Clark, probably better known for his Tigertown recordings that received extensive plays on the UK Northern Soul Scene gives us ‘I Need You Baby’. A track that seems ideal for today’s rare soul scene.

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Linda Lyndell (Courtesy of Ace/Kent Records).

Another that became a Northern Soul favourite is the Lovells with Here Comes The Heartaches, an up-tempo poppy dancer the group also recorded as Faith Hoppe and Charity.

Big City Soul is provided by Clyde Wilson. ‘Go To Him’ isn’t out of place alongside other Big City Soul singers such as Chuck Jackson, Lou Johnson. Wilson does have a history in the business as both a label owner or co-owner and penned songs for the like s of Billy Byrd.

Phoenix, Arizona’s Ronnie White (Ronnie Whitehead). Gives us two records the fantastic deep ballad ‘Begging’You’ and the up-tempo ‘Got To Give You Up’.

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Detroit gives us two tracks provided by the Correc-Tone label, Laura Johnson with ‘Wondering If You Miss Me’ and one that has seen plenty of action in the UK and is highly collectable, Marva Josie with ‘Later For You, Baby’.

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Hailing from Los Angeles Carl Lester and The Showstoppers is the earliest recording on the compilation, an up-tempo R&B shouter. The group apparently went onto become the Rivingtons.

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Brenton Wood gives us the ballad ‘I Want Love’ and the mid-tempo mover ‘Cross The Bridge’. The latter I remember hearing on tapes and in the odd club back in the 80’s. Also from L.A. was Clarence Hill and he gives us the superb ‘A Lot Of Lovin’ Goin’ Round’. Issued on the Mainstream label it was a tape swappers fave back in the mid 80’s Stafford era in the UK but later made it to the turntables and is now a highly in-demand and popular 45.

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Two tracks that I have had on repeat is the previously unreleased Bell Sound Studio recording form Marvell Harrell ‘Don’t You play With My Heart’. As Ady states in the sleeve notes a blatant copy of ‘Don’t Play That Song’ from Ben E King. There is something though from this unknown artist that has struck a chord with me and one that I could see gaining plays in certain clubs in the UK. Veteran recording artist Varetta Dillard gives us ‘Fly By Night’, credited to Veretta and the Thomases. A 45 that does appear to have some appeal in the UK and it’s not hard to see why upon listening.

The compilation is brought to a close by Bertha Tillman with a previously unknown and unreleased ballad ‘Someone (Who Needs You Like I Do)’.

Although the Brent label has been known about and collected for decades this compilation has become one of my favourite Kent releases of late and has had many repeat plays. It has everything for the collectors, tracks under the radar, some well known recordings and of course the unissued, what more can you ask for.

Compiled by Ady Croasdell, it is as usual accompanied with extensive notes again compiled by Ady giving the history (in most cases) of the songs and the artists. You get an excellent 16-page booklet with various scans of the labels, press releases and tape boxes as well as some great photos of some of the artists.

It is one compilation I highly recommend.

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  1. Praying For The Rain To Come – Dave Crawford
  2. Port Of Happiness – June Jackson & The Jackaels
  3. You Did It Before Aka You Did It For Me – Jeannie Trevor
  4. I Pray That Things Will Change – Julius Wright
  5. One Little Dance – The Moovers
  6. I Want To Love – Brenton Wood
  7. I Love You Baby – The Moovers
  8. Begging You – Ronnie White
  9. Go To Him – Clyde Wilson
  10. Later For You, Baby – Marva Josie
  11. Wondering If You Still Miss Me – Laura Johnson
  12. Don’t You Know That I Believe – Carl Lester & The Show Stoppers
  13. I Need You, Baby – Lewis Clark
  14. Pretty Boy – Linda Lyndell
  15. Here Comes The Heartaches – The Lovells
  16. Millionaire – Dave Crawford
  17. A Lot Of Lovin’ Goin’ Round – Clarence Hill
  18. Cross The Bridge – Brenton Wood
  19. Tinklin Bells – Jeannie Trevor
  20. My Man-He s A Loving Man – Linda Lyndell
  21. Got To Give You Up – Ronnie White
  22. Don’t Play With My Heart – Marvel Hurrell
  23. Fly By Night – Varetta & The Thomases
  24. Someone (Who Needs You Like I Do) – Bertha Tillman

Buy from Ace Records with FREE delivery: http://acerecords.co.uk/brent-superb-60s-soul-sounds

CD cover work, scans and artist picture courtesy of Ace/Kent Records.

Karl ‘Chalky’ White (September 2014)

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