THE BEST COMPILATIONS OF 2016-PART 3.

The Best Compilations Of 2016-Part 3.

Kev Beadle Presents The Best Of Inner City Records.

In 1976, music industry veterans Irv Kratka and Eric Kriss founded Inner City Records. What they didn’t know about the music industry, wasn’t worth knowing. This looked like a musical marriage made in heaven. By 1979, Inner City Records was voted Record Label Of The Year. Inner City Records’ star was in the ascendancy. However, by 1981, Inner City Records shut its door for the last time. Nowadays, the albums Inner City Records released are prized possessions among DJs and record collections. 

Especially in London, which is home to DJ Kev Beadle. Last year, he compiled Kev Beadle Presents The Best Of Inner City Records. It was released by BBE and features Judy Roberts, Janet Lawson Quintet, Tom Lellis, The Jeff Lorber Fusion, Eddie Jefferson, Kellis Ethridge and Charlie Mariano. Kev Beadle Presents The Best Of Inner City Records is an eclectic compilation that’s a tantalising taste of Inner City Records’ back-catalogue.

Hopefully, there will be further compilations from Inner City Records’ back-catalogue. During its lifetime, Inner City Records released many groundbreaking albums. Especially among the avant-garde releases. Sadly, they’re prized items among collectors, so the nearest most people will come to these rarities is on Kev Beadle Presents The Best Of Inner City Records. That’s until another label decides to release some of those groundbreaking releases. Until then, Kev Beadle Presents The Best Of Inner City Records is the perfect introduction into Inner City Records

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Kinked! Kinks Songs and Sessions 1964-1971.

Ever since the earliest days of The Kinks’ career, Ray and Dave Davies had written songs for other artists. When The Kinks signed to RCA Records in 1971, Ray and Dave Davies were successful songwriters. They had written for artists on both sides of the Atlantic. Everyone from Dave Berry, Peggy Lee, Petula Clark, The Pretty Things, Bobby Rydell, Duster Bennett, Marianne Faithfull, The Knack to Herman’s Hermits had recorded songs penned by one or other of the Davies’ brothers. Twenty-six featured on Ace Records’ compilation Kinked! Kinks Songs and Sessions 1964-1971.

It shows how the Davies’ brothers songwriting skills evolved. Many of the songs on Kinked! Kinks Songs and Sessions 1964-1971 were never recorded by The Kinks. Others songs were recorded by other artists before The Kinks decided to record them. Some songs are very different to what The Kinks were releasing during that period. They’re the polar apposite to the raw power of early Kinks songs. Instead, the songs have a much more traditional song structure, and range from melodic pop to much more sophisticated songs. This makes sense.

Ray and Dave Davies’ were maturing and evolving as songwriters.  Their songs veer between cerebral and cinematic to satirical, thoughtful and thought-provoking. Sometimes, there was a degree of cynicism or melancholia in The Kinks’ carefully crafted songs, including those on inked! Kinks Songs and Sessions 1964-1971, which celebrate the songwriting careers of Ray and Dave Davies.

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Kollection 06: Cluster 1971-1981 Compiled By John McEntire.

One of the most important, influential and innovative bands in German music were Cluster. Last year, Bureau B released a compilation of Cluster’s music, Kollection 06: Cluster 1971-1981 Compiled By John McEntire. It documents Cluster’s career between Cluster in 1971 right through to 1981s Curiosum. To do this, John McEntire chose eleven of the finest moments from the first ten years of Cluster’s career. Three of these tracks have been edited so that the eleven tracks can fit on one CD.  The result is the perfect introduction to Cluster.

Especially for newcomers to Cluster. They might be unsure where to start in Cluster’s impressive back-catalogue. Kollection 06: Cluster 1971-1981 Compiled By John McEntire is an overview of their first eight studio albums. It’s a reminder of a pioneering group who have influence several generation of musicians.

There’s a reason for this. Cluster weren’t afraid to push musical boundaries to their limits, and sometimes, way beyond. Musically, Cluster were willing to go, where others musicians feared to tread. That’s apparent on Kollection 06: Cluster 1971-1981 Compiled By John McEntire covers. During that period, Cluster released eight studio albums, including several Krautrock classics. Each of these albums featured ambitious, groundbreaking and genre-melting music that even four decades later, is truly timeless. One listen to Kollection 06: Cluster 1971-1981 Compiled By John McEntire and that will become apparent.

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Linda Jones-Precious: The Anthology 1963-1976. 

The story of Linda Jones is one of triumph and tragedy. Growing up, Linda Jones was diagnosed with diabetes. Despite this, Linda Jones went on to forge a successful career as a soul singer. Her breakthrough single, was Hypnotised, which reached twenty-one in the US Billboard 100 and number four in the US Billboard R&B charts in 1967. Suddenly, great things were being forecast for Linda Jones. These forecasts proved prescient.

As 1972 dawned, Linda Jones was a successful soul singer. Sadly, she slipped into a diabetic coma on the 14th February 1972. Later that day, she was pronounced dead aged just twenty-seven. Tragedy had robbed soul music of his its talented and promising singers, Linda Jones. Her career is documented on a new compilation, Precious: The Anthology 1963-1976, which was released by Kent Soul. It celebrates the life and music of Linda Jones.

She’s  now remembered for possessing one of the finest and most versatile voices in soul music. If she had lived, Linda Jones had the potential to rival Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight and Irma Thomas for the title Queen of Soul. Sadly, that wasn’t to be, and Linda Jones died far too young. However, she left behind a rich musical legacy. This includes the music that features on Precious: The Anthology 1963-1976. It’s the perfect introduction to another of soul music’s best kept secrets, Linda Jones.

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New Breed Workin’-Blues With A Rhythm.

2016 saw the release of the sixth instalment in the New Breed series. New Breed Workin’-Blues With A Rhythm was released on Kent Dance and was compiled by the hardest working man in music, Ady Croasdell. He has dug deep into the vaults of labels like Frisco, Cleveland, Dore, Brent, Kent, Krafton, RPM, Music City and Cator to find the twenty-four tracks that feature on New Breed Workin’-Blues With A Rhythm.

After much contemplation, Ady Croasdell settled on a mixture of familiar faces, new names, hidden gems and rarities. There;s contributions from from Danny White, Pee Wee Foster, B.B. King, Bertha Tillman, Nookie Boy, Mary Johnson, Cool Papa Jarvis, Billy Ray, Richard Berry and Chet “Poison” Ivey. There were also eight tracks that have never featured on CD before. They’re a welcome addition to New Breed Workin’-Blues With A Rhythm. Especially, with veterans collectors of R&B.

They’re always looking for something new to add to their burgeoning collection. So New Breed Workin’-Blues With A Rhythm will be a welcome addition to their collection. No wonder. Just like previous volumes, New Breed Workin’-Blues With A Rhythm oozes quality. That’s down to Ady Croasdell’s crate-digging skills. He combines old friends, familiar faces, new names, hidden gems, rarities and unreleased tracks on  New Breed Workin’-Blues With A Rhythm, which is a welcome addition to the New Breed series.

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New Orleans Funk Volume 4-Voodoo Fire In New Orleans 1951-77.

Bourbon Street, one if the Big Easy’s best known streets is full  of tourists enjoying a taste of Mardi Gras. They enjoy the local delicacies of beignets, gumbo and jambalaya. Meanwhile, music fills the air of one of America’s musical capitals. They’re all part and parcel of New Orleans’ rich musical heritage. Tourists are seduced by this heady brew of musical genres. This is the real sound of New Orleans. It features on New Orleans Funk Volume 4-Voodoo Fire In New Orleans 1951-77, which was released by Soul Jazz Records.

New Orleans Funk Volume 4-Voodoo Fire In New Orleans 1951-77 features familiar faces, old friends and new names. This includes Eldridge Holmes, Gus ‘The Groove’ Lewis, Chocolate Milk, Lou Johnson, Norma Jean, Johnny Adams, Clifton Chenier and His Red Hot Louisiana Band, Eddie Bo, Betty Harris and Zilla Mayes. While ostensibly a funk compilation, New Orleans Funk Volume 4-Voodoo Fire In New Orleans 1951-77 features some soulful sides recorded in the Big Easy. 

That’s why funky and soulful describes the music that can be found on New Orleans Funk Volume 4-Voodoo Fire In New Orleans 1951-77. It’s the perfect introduction to this sub-genre this series of lovingly curated compilations. They feature familiar funky and sometimes soulful songs. They’re augmented by a few hidden gems, that are part of New Orleans’ rich musical heritage.  

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Nuggets Hallucinations: Psychedelic Pop Nuggets From The WEA Vaults.

The release of Nuggets Hallucinations: Psychedelic Pop Nuggets From The WEA Vaults was a welcome reminder of Rhino’s much loved Nuggets compilation series. This series began in 1984 when Nuggets,  Volume 1: The Hits was released. Little did anyone know that the Nuggets series would last twenty-five years, and include fifteen LP, five box sets and two CD compilations. Like all good things, the Nuggets series had to come to an end. The final chapter in the story was Where the Action Is! Los Angeles Nuggets: 1965–1968, which was released in 2009. Since then, it’s been all quiet on the Nuggets’ front.

With seven years passing since the release of Where the Action Is! Los Angeles Nuggets: 1965–1968, it seemed unlikely that there would another instalment in the series. That was until the list of Record Store Day 2016 releases was announced. That’s when eagle-eyed spotted the release of Nuggets Hallucinations: Psychedelic Pop Nuggets From The WEA Vaults, a double album featuring twenty-four tracks from familiar faces and new names alike.

There’s contributions from The Misty Wizards, The Last Exit, Adrian Pride, The Association, The Salt, Kim Fowley, The Tokens and Lee Mallory. That’s not forgetting The Glass Family, The Holy Mackerel and The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band. Quite simply, Nuggets Hallucinations: Psychedelic Pop Nuggets From The WEA Vaults is a veritable psychedelic feast and a trip down memory lane.

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Out Of Left Field-Where Soul Meets Country.

Country music has always been inextricably linked with soul music. In some cases, the two go hand-in-hand. This has been documented by Ace Records on their Where Country Meets Soul series. The most recent instalment was Out Of Left Field-Where Soul Meets Country. It finds country artists covering soul and R&B songs. There’s even a few classics thrown in for good measure, as the great and good of country music reinvent some familiar songs.

Playing a starring role on Out Of Left Field-Where Soul Meets Country, are Hank Williams Jr., Waylon Jennings And Willie Nelson, Anita Carter, Skeeter Davis, Don Gibson, Ronnie Milsap, Tanya Tucker, Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn and the one and only Man In Black, Johnny Cash. These are just a few members of the great and good of country music who feature on On Out Of Left Field-Where Soul Meets Country. With a compilation that oozes quality.

With its star-studded lineup, Out Of Left Field-Where Soul Meets Country is the perfect addendum to Ace Records’ Where Soul Meets Country series. Out Of Left Field-Where Soul Meets Country also “complements” the three previous volumes of Where Soul Meets Country series. Just like Out Of Left Field-Where Soul Meets Country, they belong in the collection of anyone interested in soul or country music.

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Pat Thomas-Coming Home-Original Ghanian Highlife and Afrobeat Classics.

During a long and illustrious career that has spanned six decades, Ghanaian highlife master Pat Thomas, became known as the “the golden voice of Africa.” Now aged sixty-five, and one of the veterans of African music, Pat Thomas continues to make music. That’s no surprise.

All Pat Thomas ever wanted to do was sing highlife. He’s been doing since his career began in 1966. Since then, Pat Thomas has reinvented himself musically several times. He’s recorded everything from big band highlife in the late sixties, right through to the burger highlife of the early eighties. After this, the reinvention of Pat Thomas continued. It’s documented on Strut Records Pat Thomas retrospective, Coming Home-Original Ghanian Highlife and Afrobeat Classics-Original Ghanian Highlife and Afrobeat Classics. It features twenty-three tracks, including two previously unreleased tracks from “the golden voice of Africa.”

This includes previously unreleased tracks from Ebo Taylor featuring Pat Thomas. There’s also songs from Pat Thomas’ time with the Broadway Dance Band, and collaborations with The Ogyatanaa Show Band, The Black Berets, The Big 7,” The Sweet Beans and  Marijata. Then on disc two, there’s further collaborations with Ebo Taylor, Marijata and a track from Super Sounds Namba’s album Super Sounds. This must make Coming Home-Original Ghanian Highlife and Afrobeat Classics the definitive overview of Pat Thomas’ career. Especially for newcomers to Ghanaian highlife master Pat Thomas, “the golden voice of Africa,” in his musical prime

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Pied Piper-The Pinnacle Of Northern Soul.

Having founded Pied Piper Productions, Sheldon “Shelley” Haines brought onboard to former Funk Brothers Jack Ashford and Mike Terry. They had both been important members of Motown’s house band and had played on countless hit singles. Despite this, they felt they weren’t receiving the renumeration they deserved. When the pay dispute couldn’t be resolved to their satisfaction Jack Ashford and Mike Terry, left Motown and joined Sheldon “Shelley” Haines Pied Piper Productions.

At Pied Piper Productions, Jack Ashford and Mike Terry worked with Nancy Wilcox, The Cavaliers, The Hesitations, Lorraine Chandler, Freddy Butler, September Jones, Mikki Farrow and Tony Hester, who all feature on Ace Records’ Pied Piper-The Pinnacle Of Northern Soul. They were among the artists that were discovered, careers that were rejuvenated and stars were born. 

Sheldon “Shelley” Haines’ decision to bring Jack Ashford and Mike Terry to Pied Piper Productions was vindicated. For a few short years, they were a potent and successful partnership. Proof of this is the music on Pied Piper-The Pinnacle Of Northern Soul. It’s a compilation that will appeal to anyone who likes their music soulful.

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