LOST WITHOUT YOU-THE BEST OF KENT BALLADS 2.

LOST WITHOUT YOU-THE BEST OF KENT BALLADS  2.

Just over five years ago, Deep Shadows-The Best Of Kent Ballads was released to critical acclaim by Kent Soul in August 2010. Deep Shadows-The Best Of Kent Ballads featured a truly eclectic selection of ballads. That’s almost an understatement.

When soul fans pressed play on Deep Shadows-The Best Of Kent Ballads they heard everyone from Lolleatta Holloway and Sam Dees, to Phillip Mitchell and Garland Green, through The Charmels, The Ravins and Debbie Taylor. There was everything from heart-wrenching Southern Soul and Deep Soul sides to Northern Soul rarities. Familiar faces rubbed shoulders with B-Sides and hidden gems. Deep Shadows-The Best Of Kent Ballads was a musical voyage of discovery. 

The best way to describe Deep Shadows-The Best Of Kent Ballads, was as the musical equivalent of Forest Gump’s box of chocolates. It was a case of: “you never know what you’re gonna get.” For many soul fans, Deep Shadows-The Best Of Kent Ballads was one of their favourite compilations of 2010. Surely it wouldn’t be long before a followup was released by Kent Soul?

A followup was released. However, it’s taken just over five years before Kent Soul, an imprint of Ace Records, released Lost Without You-The Best Of Kent Ballads 2. It finds Mick Patrick and Tony Rounce digging deep into the Kent vaults, and coming up with twenty-four heartbreaking ballads. They became Lost Without You-The Best Of Kent Ballads 2.

Among the names on Lost Without You-The Best Of Kent Ballads, are The Wanderers, Julius Wright, Dori Grayson, Johnny Watson, John Edwards, Alice Clark, Joe Mayfield, Danny White, Lou Johnson and Mary Love. Then there’s ten previously unissued tracks from. This includes contributions from  Jerry Washington, Lorraine Chandler, J.J. Jackson and The Jackaels, Julius Wright, The Exotics, Peggy Gaines and The Turquinettes. These tracks were released between the sixties and eighties, and feature on Lost Without You-The Best Of Kent Ballads, which I’ll pick the highlights of.

Opening Lost Without You-The Best Of Kent Ballads is one of the unreleased tracks, The Turn Arounds’ Stay Away. This is one of five tracks the Los Angeles based The Turn Arounds recorded for Fraternity in 1966. None of these tracks has been released..,until now. Stay Away, which was penned by Terry Evens and Jimmy Russell. Full of emotion and heartache, it’s a stonewall hidden gem and whets the listener’s appetite for the rest of Lost Without You-The Best Of Kent Ballads.

Another of the unreleased tracks comes courtesy of Jerry Washington. He was signed to the Nashiville based Excello label in 1974. His career at Excello began with Let Me Love You Right Or Wrong in 1973. Other singles included I Won’t Leave You Hanging and Set Your Soul On Fire. One of Jerry’s recordings that wasn’t released the defiant I Don’t Need Nobody. Looking back, this could’ve been a missed opportunity for Excello and Jerry Washington, who never quite fulfilled his potential. 

By 1963, The Wanderers were signed to United Artists. They had started their career at Decca in 1954. Since then, The Wanderers had been signed briefly to Onyx, before finding a home at Club. Then after four years at Club, where The Wanderers enjoyed a trio of minor his, they signed to MGM in 1962. That proved to be short-lived, and in 1963, they signed to United Artists.

That was where they released Run-Run Señorita as a single. On the flip-side was After He Breaks Your Heart. It’s a better song than the single. The vocal is rueful, and there’s a slight gospel sound to the arrangement. It’s augmented by quivering strings, which adds to the heart-wrenching sound.

John Riley and Joe Lindsay formed The Exotics in Orangeburg, South Carolina. They later signed to Excello, where they released just two singles. It was a familiar story. Neither Boogaloo Investigator nor Let Me Be A Part of You were a commercial success. After two flops, it was a case of stick or twist. Excello decided to stick, leaving Nobody But You in the can. That was ironic, as Nobody But You was The Exotics’ finest hour. It’s a needy, hopeful slice of Southern Soul that’s reminiscent of Sam and Dave.

Dori Grayson cut I Can Fix That For You for Murco in 1968. She penned the song with Willie James. Against an understated arrangement, Dori’s vocal becomes a cathartic outpouring of hurt. It’s without doubt, one of the highlights of Lost Without You-The Best Of Kent Ballads.

Back in the seventies, New York Johnny Watson recorded several songs with Phil Medley. He was one of the Brill Building songwriters, who by then, was also a producer. His biggest hit hit was Twist and Shout. Doubtless, he had high hopes for

I Give A Damm when the song was recorded. However, it wasn’t until 1989 that the song was released on the Valise label as part of a collection. Belatedly, this long-forgotten soulful gem could be heard by a wider audience.

Back in 1974, future Detroit Spinner John Edwards was signed the ill-fated Aware label. That had been home to John for the last few years. Everything was going to plan. He had released his eponymous debut album in 1973, and was seen as a rising star of soul music. Now was the time for John Edwards to release his new single.

For his new single, John Edwards chose to cover Clayton Ivey, Frank Johnson and Terry Woodford’s You’re Messing Up A Good Things. For the flip side, he chose Claim Jumping. The two tracks were produced by Floyd Smith, who was married to Loleatta Holloway. Both sides ooze quality. Especially, the needy, heartfelt You’re Messing Up A Good Thing. It’s one of the finest sides John Edwards cut for Aware. 

James Taylor’s Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight, is an oft-covered song. He released the original in 1972. Since then, many artists have covered it. This includes Ty Karim in 1973. She covered the song at Ray Charles’ studio, and the single was released by Romark. Although the song was a hit locally, it wasn’t a hit nationwide. However, Ty Karim’s version was one of the most soulful and impassioned.

Alice Clark first experience of music came when she sung in church choirs. That’s apparent on her Heaven’s Will (Must Be Obeyed). It’s the B-Side of her 1968, Warner Bros. single You Hit Me (Right Where It Hurt Me). Although Heaven’s Will (Must Be Obeyed) was penned by Eddie Jones and Arthur Mitchell, there’s a similarly to People Get Ready. This becomes really noticeable in parts of Richard Tee’s arrangement. However, Alice Clark’s soulful, gospel-tinged vocal is unique. It’s a mixture of emotion and sincerity.

The Bart Bacharach and Hal David songwriting team wrote The Last One To Be Loved. It was covered by Lou Johnson in 1964, and became the B-Side Kentucky Bluebird (Send A Message To Martha). This was another Bart Bacharach and Hal David composition. That was the end of their part in the song. Bart Bacharach arranged, conducted and produced both songs. 

Then Kentucky Bluebird (Send A Message To Martha) was released as a single on Big Hill Records. However, of the two sides, The Last One To Be Loved is the best of the two. It’s the perfect vehicle for Lou Johnson’s vocal. Combined with Bart Bacharach trademark production it was a potent partnership. It might well have fared better than Kentucky Bluebird (Send A Message To Martha), which failed to chart in America, and reached a lowly thirty-six in Britain.

The Soul Brothers recording career was short-lived. They released just two singles for the New Orleans’ based Sho Biz label. Their second and final single was Later For You, which was released in April 1966. On the flip side was Lonely Man, a devious slice of needy, blue-eyed soul produced by Walter Quezergue.

My final choice from Lost Without You-The Best Of Kent Ballads 2 is The Price from Mary Love-Comer. The former Mary Love had found God and married Brad Comer. With a new faith and new name, came a new sound.

This was showcased on The Price, which was released in 1987, the same year Mary released her Sin No More album. It’s described as soul with a Christian message. Her new sound was very different to Mary Love’s sixties sound. Especially, the synthetic eighties drums. However, one thing hadn’t changed, Mary’s voice. It had matured with age, as The Price proves. This hidden gem closes Lost Without You-The Best Of Kent Ballads 2, the eagerly awaited followup to Deep Shadows-The Best Of Kent Ballads.

Just over five years after the release of Deep Shadows-The Best Of Kent Ballads, Kent Soul, an imprint of Ace Records, return with Lost Without You-The Best Of Kent Ballads 2. It’s twenty-four songs where hope, hurt and heartbreak are omnipresent. Other times, the vocals are heartfelt, needy and impassioned. That’s the case on each of the heart-wrenching ballads on Lost Without You-The Best Of Kent Ballads 2.

It’s a truly eclectic selection of all things soulful. Whether blue-eyed soul, Deep Soul or Southern Soul is your bag, there’s all this and more. Familiar faces rubbed shoulders with rarities, B-Sides and hidden gems. Then there’s ten unreleased tracks.

This includes contributions from Jerry Washington, Lorraine Chandler, J.J. Jackson and The Jackaels, Julius Wright, The Exotics, Peggy Gaines and The Turquinettes. They’re just some of the tracks that make a belated debut on Lost Without You-The Best Of Kent Ballads 2. Some of these tracks are good enough to have been released as a single. For whatever reason, that never happened. Now somewhat belatedly, a plethora of hidden gems prove a welcome addition to Lost Without You-The Best Of Kent Ballads 2, the latest addition to Kent Soul’s burgeoning discography.

Kent Soul is the gift that keeps on giving. For more years than I care to remember, Kent Soul has been one of the finest purveyors of soul compilation. The Kent Soul logo means quality is assured. That’s been the case for four decades. Still, it’s compilers dig deep, for new compilations. This includes Mick Patrick and Tony Rounce, whose latest compilation Lost Without You-The Best Of Kent Ballads 2, will ensure that Kent Soul the premier soul reissue label.

LOST WITHOUT YOU-THE BEST OF KENT BALLADS  2.

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