A bit strange that this brilliant southern soul compilation has been released on ACE Records rather than its KENT imprint which is dedicated to 60's/70's soul releases, especially since the recent 3-4 releases on KENT (as of August 2012) have been a bit hit-and-miss. Never mind it is great to have this comprehensive release of two cult female southern Memphis soul groups who never released an album's worth of material in their respective lifetimes. Both groups did release at least one classic single in the 60's (Jeanne & The Darlings - 'How Can You Mistreat The One You Love' and The Charmels - 'As Long As I've Got You' which was famously sampled by the Wu Tang Clan on 'C.R.E.A.M.') but for various reasons never really established themselves on Stax-Volt and consequently dropped off their roster far too quickly. They did however each release 3-4 singles and did quite a few unreleased sessions, some overseen by the seminal Isaac Hayes/David Porter songwriting/production team and this release sweeps up everything into one neat limited release (1500 copies!).
The musical quality is generally very high even for the much of the unreleased stuff [not always the case with ACE/KENT releases!] though a couple of The Charmels tracks are blatantly unfinished (needing horn overdubs and further 'sweetening') but in someways that works to their advantage since they are more raw and immediate that way. I'd say there is only one out-and-out dud per group which means a generous 27-tracks of good to excellent listening. Of the two groups I prefer The Charmels who do some truly brilliant tracks ('As Long...' of course but also 'Sea Shells', 'I've Done It Again' & 'I'll Gladly Take You Back') but will readily admit Jeanne & The Darlings are more consistent (probably because less of their stuff is unreleased vault material?).
The liners are very good with some nice photos of these obscure groups who didn't have much success but this release rights that wrong to a limited extent and is highly recommended to deep/southern soul fans and furthermore it atones somewhat for the recent patchiness of the soul releases from KENT records. Remember that it is a limited release of only 1500 copies so if you're interested you'd better be quick on the draw!