MANHATTAN SOUL VOLUME 3.

Manhattan Soul Volume 3.

Another of Kent Soul’s occasional series made a welcome return recently, when Manhattan Soul Volume 3 was released. This was the latest instalment in a  successful series that began back in February 2011. 

That when the first instalment in the Manhattan Soul series was released to praise and plaudits. No wonder. It featured an eclectic selection of classic songs, hidden gems and B-Sides from familiar faces, old friends and new names. Ballads and dancers rubbed shoulders on Manhattan Soul, which featured tracks from the vaults of some of the Big Apple’s great labels. This included Scepter, Wand and Musicor. Soul fans were won over by what was a quality compilation. Surely, there would be a followup to Manhattan Soul?

In late July 2012, Kent Soul, an imprint of Ace Records returned with Manhattan Soul Volume 2. It featured another twenty-four eclectic soul sides from the vaults of Scepter, Wand and Musicor. There was blue-eyed soul, crossover soul, deep soul and Northern Soul on Manhattan Soul Volume 2. Similarly, ballads and dancers could be found on a compilation that comprised singles, B-Sides, unreleased tracks, rarities and a handful of hidden gems. They all had one thing in common…quality. Critics were won over by this lovingly curated compilation. So were soul fans. Manhattan Soul Volume 2 proved a popular compilation.

Many who discovered the delights of Manhattan Soul Volume 2 thought it was only a matter of time before Manhattan Soul Volume 3 was released. They were in for a surprise. 

Over three years passed before Manhattan Soul Volume 3 was recently released by Kent Soul. Just like the previous volumes in the series, it features twenty-four tracks. They’re taken from the vaults of Scepter, Wand and Musicor. Compiler Ady Croasdell has even dipped into the vaults of Bunky and Dynamo for Manhattan Soul Volume 3. It features some a mixture of familiar faces and new names.

Among the artists on Manhattan Soul Volume 3 are Johnny Moore, The Shirelles, Tommy Hunt, The Platters, Van McCoy, Melba Moore and Big Maybelle. There’s also contributions from Ann Bailey, Earl King, Brenton Wood and Billy Byers.  Most of the tracks were released between 1962 and 1973. Others weren’t released until much later. Three unreleased songs make their debut on Manhattan Soul Volume 3. It’s a soulful treasure trove.

Opening Manhattan Soul Volume 3 is Dan and The Cleancuts’ Open Up Your Heart (And Let Me In). This is a real rarity that was penned by Raul Abeyta and Graeme Kronsber. It was arranged by Don Ralke and was a Malkin-Hoffman production. This beautiful soulful ballad was released on Scepter in 1966, and whets the listener’s appetite for what’s to come on Manhattan Soul Volume 3.

This includes Now That You’re Gone, which was the B-Side  Sonny Turner and Sound Limited’s 1972 single Chicago Woman.  It marked the solo debut of former Platters’ frontman Sonny Turner. He had lead The Platters since 1961. By 1972 Sonny Turner decided to embark upon and a solo career, and signed to Musicor Records. His debut single was Chicago Woman. However, tucked away on the B-Side was Now That You’re Gone which Sonny Turner cowrote and produced. It’s a heart-wrenching ballad that showcases a much more contemporary seventies soul sound from the former Platter frontman.

In November 1973, Ann Bailey released Sweeping Your Dirt Under My Rug on Wand. Hidden away on the flip-side was Fun City Woman. It was penned by Fran Robbins and Elliot Glen, while  Tash Howard took charge of production. There’s a Southern Soul influence as Ann Bailey unleashes an uber soulful vocal powerhouse on what was sadly, her one and only single.

The Charts released Nobody Made Me Love You as a single on Wand in 1966. It was written by Scott N. Douglas and Fred C. Dobbs. Robert DeCoteaux who later enjoyed a successful career as a producer arranged the single. It was produced by Bob Schwaid who by 1966, was an experienced producer. He put all his experience to good use on what’s a memorable and catchy song. Alas, it failed to find an audience and Nobody Made Me Love You proved to be The Charts’ final single.

There’s three unreleased tracks on Manhattan Soul Volume 3. The first is The Shirelles’ Two Stupid Feet. It’s a beautiful tender ballad that was produced by Luther Dixon. Sadly, the song wasn’t mixed in preparation for release. As a result, this hidden gem has lain in the Scepter vaults since then. It makes a welcome debut on Manhattan Soul Volume 3.

Burt Bacharach and Bob Hillard wrote Lover, which was recorded by Tommy Hunt. Rather than go to the expense of recording a backing track from scratch, a decision was made to recycle an existing one. The one they chose was the backing track to Chuck Jackson’s Any Day Now. It worked well and proved the perfect accompaniment to Chuck Jackson’s soul-baring vocal. Sadly, the song was never released until 1986, when it featured on the Kent Records compilation of Tommy Hunt’s songs Your Man. Twenty-one years later, and Tommy Hunt’s Lover makes a welcome return on Manhattan Soul Volume 3.

Nowadays, Allen Toussaint and Marshall E. Sehorn are regarded as legends of the New Orleans’ music scene. In the late sixties, they worked recorded an album with veteran singer-songwriter Earl King. He wrote much of the material on the album. This includes both sides of the single the he released for Wand in 1970. Tic Tac Toe was released as a single with A Part Of Me relegated to the flip-side. That was a great shame, as A Part Of Me is a beautiful, heart-wrenching Southern Soul ballad.

Many people will know Maurice Williams for the songs that he’s written. Among his best known songs are Little Darlin’, Stay and May I. Maurice Williams also enjoyed a successful career as a singer. He began as a solo artist before becoming The Zodiacs frontman. However, in September 1965, Maurice Williams released Nobody Knows as a single on Scepter. He’s accompanied by his former group The Zodiac on what’s a memorable and melodic uptempo song.

There’s only one track from the Bunky back-catalogue on Manhattan Soul Volume 3. That is How Could It Be which was the B-Side to The Esquires’ single I Know I Can. It was released in July 1968 but failed commercially. Who knows what might have happened if DJs had flipped over to How Could It Be. It’s a truly irresistible uptempo track that’s one that was penned by Gilbert Moore and produced by Bill Shepherd.

Harold Hopkins released Ooh Baby as a single on Wand in 1965. By then, Harold Hopkins was an experienced singer. He had been a member of the Royal Masters, and appeared on several singles. Indeed, it’s thought that it’s he Royal Masters that accompany Harold Hopkins on the sultry sounding Ooh Baby.

Another of the unreleased tracks on Manhattan Soul Volume 3 is The Tabs’ The Landlord. It’s one of four songs that The Tabs recorded for Wand around mid 1963. Since then, it’s lain in the Wand vaults. That’s until Ady Croasdell rescued My Landlord, which is a reminder of early sixties New York soul.

Sadly, Billy Byers’ recording career amounts to just two singles. This includes Remind My Baby Of Me, which was released on Scepter Records in October 1964. It was penned by Gary Geld, Andrew Scott and Peter Udel who had formed a successful songwriting partnership and They had written a string of hit singles. Remind My Baby Of Me was arranged by Ed Martin and produced by Stan Green had the potential to add to their tally of hits. Billy Byers delivers a hurt filled vocal where he lives the lyrics. Alas, when the single failed to make an impression on the charts, Billy Byers called time on his musical career.

It’s always interesting to hear a single recorded by an artist early in their career. In September 1966, twenty-one year old Melba Moore was about to release her debut single Does Love Believe In Me on Musicor Records. She’s accompanied by a carefully crafted and poignant arrangement where a Hammond organ, harmonies, piano and guitar play their part in the success of this dreamy ballad. It’s without doubt, one of the highlights of Manhattan Soul Volume 3.

Closing Manhattan Soul Volume 3 is Big Maybelle’s cover of If I Had You. It may have been recorded for Scepter Records in 1964, when Big Maybelle was signed to the label. However, it wasn’t released until October 1986 when the song made its debut on the Kent Records LP Big City Soul Sounds-NYC Soul Of The 60s. Twenty-one years later, and this impassioned cover of If I Had You closes Manhattan Soul Volume 3.

For soul fans that have waited patiently for the release of Manhattan Soul Volume 3, then it’s been worth the near four year wait. Manhattan Soul Volume 3 is without doubt, the finest instalment in the series. Compiler Ady Croasdell has dug deep into the vaults of Scepter, Wand and Musicor.  He’s even dipped into the vaults of Bunky and Dynamo for Manhattan Soul Volume 3. It features some a mixture of familiar faces and new names.

Manhattan Soul Volume 3 features an eclectic selection of classic songs, hidden gems, unreleased tracks, rarities and B-Sides from familiar faces, old friends and new names. There’s several beautiful, hopeful and heart-wrenching ballads on Manhattan Soul Volume 3. They rub shoulders with uptempo tracks and dancers. These tracks are taken from the vaults of some of the Big Apple’s great soul labels, and are and are a reminder of what was the golden age of soul. It’s remembered on Manhattan Soul Volume 3, which is another of Kent Soul’s occasional series that recently, made a welcome return.

Manhattan Soul Volume 3.

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