Agony Shorthand

Monday, July 11, 2005

In the early-mid 1990s a slew of incredible reissue comps came out detailing the wealth and bounty of American 1960s soul music: "Downtown Soulville", "All Night Soul Stomp", "Pow City", "Buttshakers", "Shakin' Fit" and so on. I thought it was truly a bottomless pit of riches at one point and couldn't believe how many great 45s came out during that period, but then the following 5-6 years there'd been very little (outside of a few decent funk comps) to help me keep the faith. Figured the jig was up and everything truly classic had been comped & sold. That was until I started listening to the WFMU "Downtown Soulville" show online fom time to time -- this guy has just cratefuls of honking 45s from the deep South, Detroit etc., and I knew that as soon as someone secured the rights (or didn't) to a lot of the rare indie soul 45s "Mr. Fine Wine" was spinning, there'd be more knockout compilations on the way.

Here's #1. "THE SOCKER" is as quaking as any of those mentioned above, and weighing in at 28 boss cuts, there's over an hour+ of ass-rattling entertainment to be had. I wasn't sold one bit after the first two medicore cuts, but starting at track #3, a whomper called "The Soul Stroke" from KING EARNEST, "The Socker" is as hot as it comes. Listening to these things I can only semi-wistfully picture myself frantically flipping through boxes of unmarked, no-sleeve 45s in some musty record store to secure these gems -- hard sometimes to balance the thrill of the hunt with the ease & relaxation that comes from letting someone else bring it all to you. No, maybe it really isn't that hard. Top picks are HARVEY CLARK's massive "Do Your Own Thing" and a way over-the-top strutter called "A Lady's Man" by THE VOLCANOS. I was surprised to see CASH McCALL's awesome "I'm In Danger" on here -- my musician uncle actually toured with & played piano for that guy around the Pacific NW in the 80s. Bold stuff through and through, and since the CD "only" lops off a couple of the tracks from the two previous LPs that make it up, I'm recommending going digital this time to keep the joint greased with no flipping required.