Chicago has always been a hotbed of Black music, but the focus is usually its thriving blues scene; the R&B and Soul artists are often overlooked or forgotten. This fine collection brings together the cream of Windy City soul from the years 1950 to 1961 on Disc One, and the year 1962 on Disc Two. As one would expect, Vee-Jay and Chess are the dominant labels and their performers are well represented-Jerry Butler (with and without the Impressions), Dee Clark, and Gene Chandler for the former, and Billy Stewart, Etta James, Mitty Collier, and Little Milton for the latter-but some of the smaller upstart imprints get a look in as well: Abner (The Impressions), Rene (Betty Everett), One-derful (McKinley Mitchell, Five Du-Tones, Everett), and Argo (Etta James, again). And the majors were hardly left out: Columbia and its' "black" imprint OKeh (Ted Taylor, Walter Jackson), ABC (The Impressions), Decca (Harold Burrage), and Mercury (Major Lance) all made their presence felt during the period. The tracks themselves range from the doo wop of The Sheppards and The Spaniels to female belters like Mary Johnson, Sugar Pie DeSanto, and Etta James. As is often the case with these types of compilations, it's the obscure cuts that make them worthwhile and this one is no exception with a 1956 Four Tops number cut for Chess, "Could it Be You", Ted Taylor's dynamic "Can't Take No More", McKinley Mitchell belting out "I'm So Glad", Mary Johnson's epic "These Tears", and Gerald Sims & The Daylighters' "Cool Breeze" being among the highlights. Helpfully sequenced in chronological order and sporting an informative 28 booklet with notes by Robert Pruter, author of the definitive book "Chicago Soul", this collection of vintage R&B is a winner by some margin.
Many rareities including the pre TM Four Tops which may be its first appearance in the U K and one of Jan Bradley's early singles made before the hit with Mama Didn't Lie.So far Jan Bradley is the only hitmaker to have been never given the CD treatment while her 20+ tracks come through in dribs and drabs. According to the sleeve notes the version of the hit was made by the Fascinators at the same time but lost out to hers.It was remade later in the 60s but this is the first one
Contains some absolutely stunning tracks and I applaud the compilers for their selection. To add icing on the cake, the booklet is in the Ace/Kent league when it comes to sheer size and quality and if I tell you that it is written by no other than Robert Pruter, author of Chicago Soul, then the package is complete. Keith Rylatt - Manifesto