THIS IS LOWRIDER SOUL VOL. 2.

This Is Lowrider Soul Vol. 2.

Label: Kent Soul.

Format: CD.

Between 1962 and the early seventies there was an increase in the popularity of soulful ballads in Southern California. These slow jams were played in the clubs and could be heard in the cars that cruised the streets of towns and cities throughout Southern California. Initially, it was the Mexican, Central and South American immigrants who had settled around East Los Angeles that embraced these soulful ballads. However, their popularity has grown since then.

Since then, the popularity of soulful ballads has grown, and nowadays, are favourites of soul fans and record collectors around the world. Some record buyers were drawn to the music after being fascinated by the titles of the songs that were finding favour amongst the lowrider soul scene.  

The lowrider scene was named after its members, who had a  love of classic American automobiles, which they customised and used to cruise the streets of LA. This became really popular from the early sixties until the dawn of the seventies which is the period that Kent Soul’s  new compilation This Is Lowrider Soul Vol. 2 covers.

There’s twenty-four slow jams on This Is Lowrider Soul Vol. 2. This includes contributions from The Exceptions, The Vanguards, Barbara Mason,  The Manhattans, Darrow Fletcher,  Dee Torres, The Larks, The Hyperions, Brothers Of Soul, The Perfections, Houston Outlaws and Soul Sensations. These artists are just a few that feature on the much-anticipated followup to This Is Lowrider Soul 1962-1970 which was released in 2018.

Opening This Is Lowrider Soul Vol. 2 is  So Much In Love by The Exceptions which was recorded for GWP in 1969. The song lay unreleased  until it featured on the Kent Soul compilation GWP NYC TLC Volume 2 in 2009. It was a belated and welcome debut for this long lost paean which returns for an encore and features a heartfelt and needy vocal.

Somebody Please was recorded by The Vanguards from Indianapolis, Indiana, and was released by Whiz in 1968. Mark Miller’s  production for L&M Productions is understated and spacious allowing the emotive, hurt filled vocal to take centre-stage and shine on this powerful ballad.

The best known and definitive version of Yes I’m Ready was recorded by Barbara Mason. However, The Hesitations covered the song she had written. It was released on GWP in 1969 and features a vocal full of emotion on a cover that shows another side to  Barbara Mason’s soul classic.

In 1969, Barbara Mason was signed to the Arctic label when she wrote and recorded You Never Loved Me. . However, the version on the compilation is an alternate take. The single  was released later in 1969 and features powerful and poignant lyrics about hurt, heartbreak and betrayal. They were delivered with emotion and sincerity and spoke to many women who could relate to the lyrics

The Manhattansstory begins in New Jersey in 1962, where the group were founded. In 1965, they released  Follow Your Heart as a single on the Carnival label. The single reached number ninety-two in the US Billboard 100 and twenty on the US R&B charts. This became their most successful single, and later, became a favourite in the lowrider scene.

Darrow Fletcher was only fifteen when he released Little Girl on the Jacklyn label. This slice of deep soul was produced by Ted Daniels, and later, went on to be a much-loved track on the lowrider scenes.

One of best  known groups on the compilation is The Superbs, who released  It Hurts So Much  on Dore, in 1965. It’s a truly moving ballad that features an impassioned, soul-baring vocal. 

Another familiar face is The Larks, who released I Want You (Back)  on the Money label in 1972. The song was written and produced by Don Julian, and features the group at their soulful best.

One of the hidden gems on This Is Lowrider Soul Vol. 2 is Can’t Nobody by Brothers Of Soul. They were regarded as one of the best vocal harmony groups when they recorded this track  for the Galaxy label 1969. Sadly, it’s lain unreleased until now. This is a great shame.  The combination of an impassioned, emotive vocal and a string-drenched arrangement result in a welcome addition to the compilation.

One of the tracks David A. Blake produced  for The Radiations was That’s The Way Our Love Is. It’s a beautiful ballad that’s sure to tug at the heartstring. Sadly, the song lay unreleased until 2009 when it featured on Masterpieces Of Modern Soul Volume 2. Twelve years later the track returns for a well deserved encore.

Between 1971 and 1972 the Houston Outlaws were signed to the Westbound label. In 1972, they released What Am I Going To Do which is a vastly underrated and beautiful ballad.  Thirty four years later in 2006, this hidden gem became a favourite in the California lowrider scene. No wonder, given its quality.

Closing This Is Lowrider Soul Vol. 2 is A Man That Is Not Free by Soul Sensations. This slice of the deepest soul was released in 1973 by the Music City label.  This rarity is a powerful and moving rack and closes the compilation on a high.

Three years after the first instalment in the series This Is Lowrider Soul Vol. 2 has been released by Kent Soul. It features twenty-four tracks. Many of them were recorded in Philly, New York, Detroit and Chicago by what will be a mixture of familiar faces and new names to fans of lowrider soul. For newcomers to lowrider soul this lovingly curated new compilation and its predecessor This Is Lowrider Soul 1962-1970 are the perfect introduction to a sound whose roots can be traced to South California in the early sixties.

This Is Lowrider Soul Vol. 2.

2 Comments

  1. Love soul music but not familiar with this branch of it. Are there two or three tracks that you would particularly recommend to a beginner?

  2. puw

    The term “Lowrider” within the title and seeing the type of car I associate with the word which I then associate with R&R rather than Soul in any guise (RnB/Sweet/Deep etc), sadly kept me away from Vol. 1 until just recently.

    I think that this is a difficult vein of Soul for people to discern, especially against the likes of Deep Soul, simply by referring to it by ‘Soul Ballads’.

    I think I came across ‘Soul Ballads’ back in the late 70’s through examples such as The Impressions – I Loved And I Lost, The Natural Four – Why Should We Stop Now & Eddie Holman – I Love You via ABC Records (ABCL 5192) “Out On The Streets Again” LP (1976), since these examples are particular favourites of mine when it comes to what I refer to as being “Soulful Ballads”, but what exactly constitutes a ‘Lowrider Soul Ballad’ ?????

    Is it only the 7″ soul ballads coming out of California (often probably a B-side) and specifically Californian groups/artists within a specific time span or their rarity (due to lack of commercial success), or the label, or what a certain radio DJ was playing at the time regardless of the city or state, or an album track or what? That is what is going to be very confusing to anyone who wasn’t a part of ‘this scene’ back then, because I’d have said that for example, Reuben Bell With The Casanovas – It’s Not That Easy walks in the area of Deep Soul.

    I often think it was easier to catagorise genres way back when compared with today’s music’s ridiculousness (take EDM and the huge amount of sub and sub-sub genres that are inter-related ….. which to some includes Acid Jazz within Downtempo which for the likes of Incognito who produce some amazing ‘modern’ Soulful Ballads makes today’s genres ridiculous), since I recall the silliness but simplification of ‘Oldie-Oldies’, ‘Newy-Oldies’, ‘Newy -Newies’ and the likes, which looking back makes me laugh at some of the heated discussions that went on.

    So Derek, please can you help us poor mortals understand the nuances of ‘Lowrider Soul’?

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