Little Ann-Detroit’s Secret Soul.

Label: Kent Soul.

Up until the dawn of the new millennia, only a few discerning soul fans had heard of Detroit-born singer and songwriter Little Ann. They remembered One Way Street which featured on one side of a single released on the Ric-Tic label in 1968. That seemed to her only single.

Then in the late-seventies an acetate of Little Ann’s What Should I Do was discovered at Wigan Casino and brought her to the attention of rare soul fans. However, it seemed that this was a one-off and Little Ann hadn’t recorded any more music.

That was until the late-nineties when Ace Records purchased Dave Hamilton’s Detroit studio tapes  and publishing company. Back in London, staff at Ace Records began to sort through the recordings and that was when they unearthed a number of hidden gems. Among them, were nine unreleased tracks that Little Ann had recorded in 1967 and 1968 with Dave Hamilton and his partner Darrell Goolsby.

This included Who Are You Trying To Fool, Sweep It Out In The Shed and Lean Lanky Daddy which became favourites of DJs and dancers on the UK’s Northern Soul scene. These tracks also feature on a new Little Ann compilation Detroit’s Secret Soul which was recently released by Kent Soul which is an imprint of Ace Records.

Then there’s Deep Shadows which makes its debut on Detroit’s Secret Soul. This version is a multi mix and will appeal to anyone who likes their music soulful.

As well as soulful songs and a triumvirate of dancefloor fillers there’s two funky that show another side of Little Ann. This includes an edit of Possession and a version of  I Got To Have You which was discovered on a master tape. Both tracks are guaranteed to find favour with fans of funk,

It’s not just the original versions of the nine  tracks that feature on Detroit’s Secret Soul. There’s also the instrumental  of the nine tracks that were recorded by The Dave Hamilton Band. Just like the original versions they lay unreleased and the majority make their debut on Detroit’s Secret Soul. The highlights of these tracks are What Should I Do, Sweep It Out In The Shed, the driving dancer  Sweep It Out In The Shed, I Got To Have You and One Way Street which are both funky cuts and among the best of the instrumentals.

Among the other tracks Little Ann recorded with Dave Hamilton and Darrell Goolsby was an alternate vocal take of What Should I Do. There’s also an alternate vocal and guitar version of Who Are You Trying To Fool plus an a cappella of Deep Shadows. They’re welcome additions to the compilation.

By 1972, Little Ann had signed to the Quality Records imprint Celebration. She released two singles which she wrote using her own name Ann Bridgeforth. The first was the beautiful balled That’s All I Want From You which was released in 1973. Hidden away on the B-Side was the country-tinged pop I’m Doin’ All Right. It’s a hidden gem that shows another side to Little Ann.

In 1973, Little Ann returned with her second single for Celebration. This was the soul-baring ballad Lost A Lover (Need A Friend) which failed to trouble the charts. On the B-Side was another Ann Bridgeforth composition, Stand Together. It’s a funky and soulful sounding track with gospel-tinged backing vocals amd is too good to be hidden away on a B-Side. This is  another of the hidden gems on Detroit’s Secret Soul.

For many years, Detroit-born singer-songwriter Ann Bridgeforth a.k.a Little Ann was known for just the one song  One Way Street. Then What Should I Do was discovered and became a favourite of DJs and dancers on the UK Northern Soul scene. 

So have a number of other tracks that Little Ann recorded with Dave Hamilton and his partner Darrell Goolsby. They feature on the new Kent Soul compilation Detroit’s Secret Soul and are joined by instrumental versions and alternate takes. They feature on Detroit’s Secret Soul which is the most comprehensive Little Ann  compilation that’s ever been released. It’s a reminder of a truly talented singer-songwriter whose music belatedly found the wider audience it deserved.

Little Ann-Detroit’s Secret Soul.

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