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- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Two discs 61,69 minutes each approximately. The sound is very good,remastered to Ace Record's usual high standards. The vocals are up front as they should be (especially the soul sides) and the backing instruments are crisp sounding. The booklet is informative-with track-by-track information on the various artists and singles,and color reproductions of the label's 45 single releases. For those listeners who,for whatever reason,have an aversion to "mono" recordings-many of these sides are just that-glorious mono sound.
This is the second of three releases of all the singles released by Goldwax,a small Memphis label. The time period of this collection is 1966-67. While the focus is on the many fine soul singles released by James Carr,Spencer Wiggins,and THE OVATIONS,there are also a number of relative oddities.
The garage band THE YO-YO's are represented by their take ("Leaning On You",etc.) on the British invasion sound,then currently popular. While the vocals are British inspired,the rhythm section is much grittier than most English bands of the time. Likewise,Leroy Daniels makes a fairly good pass at country music. Probably the Goldwax artist closest to a true country sound is Jeanne Newman,with her song "Little Things",among others.Oboe,who wanted to sing country music,released several novelty-style numbers on the label over the years. These are in the style of Ernie K. ("Mother -in-Law") Doe,only not as good. THE TERRY'S released a couple of sides on Goldwax in a country vein,but went nowhere. Likewise,Barbara Perry,who released singles for the label,sunk into obscurity afterwards. There are other artists on this collection,may of which relatively few listeners have ever heard of. But their music is always worth hearing,and some of it should have done better.
Soul music,in it's earthiest,grittiest style,is well represented. The well known James Carr ("You've Got My Mind Messed Up","The Dark End of the Street",etc.) has several singles on this collection,all of which are truly great. For those listeners who are unfamiliar with Carr,these will be an eye-opener. The great,but relatively unknown (except in Northern Soul circles) Spencer Wiggins ("Walking Out On You","Uptight Good Woman",etc.) likewise is well represented. If someone were deserving of more recognition for his vocal style,it's Wiggins. The Ace Records collection of his Goldwax singles is especially good,his down-home,earthy vocals are truly fine. On hearing THE OVATIONS,you will be excused if you think you're listening to the great (late) Sam Cooke. Lead singer Louis Williams is almost a dead-ringer for Cooke,both in voice and inflection. Their singles and albums sold fairly well at the time,and they are still a favorite of soul lovers everywhere. Ivory Joe Hunter,who was very popular earlier in his career,has several singles here that prove what a good singer he still was. Again,there are other artists who were releasing soul singles for this label,who,for whatever reason,never went much further than a local or regional hit. A few were deserving of more,but events didn't go their way.
This second volume of Goldwax singles,while heavier on their soul stars (Carr,Wiggins,THE OVATIONS) than the first volume,gives a good overview of what small southern labels were releasing during this important era. Soul,country,r&r,r&b,and novelty numbers were released in the ever present quest for a "hit".
For listeners who like this era of music,that small labels released in competition with larger record companies,this will be a treasure trove of great music. This volume may well be even better than the first volume. Hopefully,(and probably) the third,and final,volume will continue in this same vein. Anyone discounting these small label artists are missing a lot of good,sometimes,great music. Taken together,the amount of good music vastly out-weighs the lesser acts. But even those lesser acts are worth a listen-such was the quality found on the Goldwax label.