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Ashford & SimpsonSo So Satisfied (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Warner/Big Break (UK), 1977. New Copy ... $5.99
Sublimely satisfying work from Ashford & Simpson – a stone killer from the height of their late 70s glory days on Warner Brothers! The pair are working together wonderfully at this point – wrapped up in that blend of upbeat soul and righteous undercurrents that made them a real cut above in mainstream soul – getting great help from arrangers William Eaton, Paul Riser, and Al Gorgoni – all of whom know how to hit that perfect Ashford & Simpson balance between tightness, class, and soulful spontaneity! Backings are always filled with lots of jazzy touches, too – the kind of sophisticated soul elements other would cop from the pair in years to come – and titles include "Over & Over", "It's You", "If You're Lying", "Couldn't Get Enough", "Destiny", "So So Satisfied", and "Tried Tested & Found True". CD features bonus tracks – "Over & Over (12" disco mix)", "Over & Over (single mix)", "Tried Tested & Found True (single mix)", "So So Satisfied (single mix)", and "Tried Tested & True (Mike Maurro unreleased mix)". CD

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✨✧ VariousJack Ashford – Just Productions ... CD
Kent (UK), Late 60s/Early 70s. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
A huge legacy of Detroit soul – all from the masterful hands of onetime Motown maestro Jack Ashford and his Just Productions team! Ashford's had his hands in countless great records over the years – early work with Motown, key Detroit Pied Piper Productions material, and all these excellent cuts from later years – done by Jack in a mix of Northern Soul styles, and some even funkier modes for the 70s! Almost all these tracks only got released on tiny little labels, mostly as singles – and the set also includes a few never-heard tunes from the Ashford vaults – although overall, most of this music is still pretty darn obscure. Yet that never stops it from being great – as, similar to Detroit contemporary Dave Hamilton, Ashford was always working at a top level – and always found a way to bring his A-game to the table, even if he wasn't going for a hit. CD features 24 tracks in all – and titles include "Let's Do It Again" by Billy Sha-Rae, "Where Are You" by The Four Sonics, "Love You Baby" by Eddie Parker, "Sweet Baby" by Al Gardner, "Don't Take Your Love" by The Magnificents, "Deserted Garden" by Sandra Richardson, "Don't Worry" by The Smith Brothers, "Did She Do It To You" by Ray Gant, "Do The Choo Choo" by Jack Ashford & The Sound Of New Detroit, "After You Give Your All" by Softouch, and "I Need Your Love" by Lee Rogers. CD
 
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MetrosSweetest One ... CD
RCA/Dusty Groove, 1967. New Copy ... $7.99 12.99
One of the greatest Northern Soul albums ever – completely great all the way through, and filled with songs that have been burning up dancefloors for years! The vocals are incredible – soaring harmonies that hold together perfectly, even when the grooves are hard and heavy – and the instrumentation is great too – handled by the Pied Piper team, who were kind of a Motown offshoot that featured Jack Ashford on vibes and percussion, Dave Hamilton and Ray Monette on guitar, and Joe Hunter on piano. Hunter and Ashford handled the arrangements – with a pitch-perfect sound that's completely sublime – sweet and grooving at the same time, and put together with the same kind of care you'd find at Motown – but with all the harder-edge qualities that always made indie work from Detroit so great. Every cut is a winner, and the set is the only full album ever done by the group – with cuts that include "Egyptian Love", "Till The End Of Time", "Since I Found My Baby", "Sweetest One", "Unlucky Sun", "I'll Never Forget You", "Do The Pied Piper", and "I'm With You All The Way". Great reissue – fully remastered from the original tapes – with new liner notes too! CD
(On the Dusty Groove label.)

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CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ VariousPied Piper Finale ... CD
Kent (UK), Late 60s. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
Rare soul from the Detroit underground of the 60s – all of it from the vaults of Pied Piper Productions – a fantastic company who flourished in the shadows of Motown! Pied Piper was headed by Motown percussionist Jack Ashford – who contributed to many better-known Detroit soul tracks of the period – and the music here draws on all the experience that Ashford had with that bigger label, and sometimes borrows a bit of Motown talent as well! Yet the music is also more in the indie mode, too – similar to excellent Detroit singles on imprints like Groovesville or D-Town, both of which would be good comparisons to the Pied Piper sound. Some tracks are instrumental, but the majority of the work is vocal – and features some top-shelf singers and groups – all documented in the wonderful notes in the package. You'll recognize a few of these tracks from titles that Pied Piper placed with bigger labels, but there's also some small imprint singles, and even some unreleased tracks as well – 24 titles that include "It Takes Two" by The Four Sonics, "No Baby" by The Metros, "Ease My Mind" by Lorraine Chandler, "I Can't Change" by Yvonne Baker & The Sensations, "I Like Your Style" by Freddy Butler, "Crazy Things" by Joseph Douglas, "I'd Like To Know" by The Pied Piper Players, "American Dollar" by Willie Kendrick, "It's Better" by Reggie Alexander, "Soul Superman" by The Hesitations, "She Don't Want You" by Lorraine Chandler, "We Go Together" by The Cavaliers, "That Girl Of Mine" by The Persians, "Deserted" by Freddy Butler, "I'm With You" by September Jones, "Sweetest One" by The Metros, and "Gambler's Blues" by Nancy Wilcox. CD

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✨✧ Four TopsNature Planned It ... CD
Motown/Elemental (France), 1972. New Copy Gatefold ... Out Of Stock
Why did Motown ever let the Four Tops get away? This album was their last for the label – and it's an excellent one, filled with soul, sweetness, and some of the best arrangements the group had in their later years! The soul component is super-high – with tight group instrumentation that reminds us of the best Philly backing combos of the same time, but leaner too – as Dennis Coffey and Wah Wah Ragin are on guitars, Jack Ashford handles percussion, and Leonard Caston adds some nice funky keyboards. The real talent, though, is the group – and Levi Stubbs is in fine fine form on cuts like "She's An Understanding Woman", "I Am Your Man", "If You Let Me", "Nature Planned It", "Walk With Me, Talk With Me Darling", and "Happy (Is A Bumpy Road)". Even includes a great version of Todd Rundgren's wonderful track "We Gotta Get You A Woman"! CD
(Limited edition!)

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CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Ben E KingI Had A Love ... CD
Atlantic (UK), 1976. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
A great one from Ben E King's "Supernatural" comeback years in the mid 70s – recorded at Sigma Sound with a really stellar approach on both the groovers and the mellow tunes! Ben's really letting his vocals open up on the set – going for that richness that was sometimes held back in the more uptown arrangements of the 60s, but which really flowers here in a fuller, richer, smooth soul mode. Arrangements are by Norman Harris, Bert De Coteaux, Ron Kersey, and Ron Baker – and the album's a great example of how the Sigma approach could take a great singer and make them even better! Titles include the Sam Dees tracks "I Betcha Didn't Know That", "Standing In The Wings Of Heartache", "No Danger Ahead", and "Tower Of Strength" – plus a great cover of Ashford & Simpson's "I Had A Love", and the cuts "Smooth Sailing", "We Got Love", and "Everybody Plays The Fool". CD

Possible matches7
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ SyreetaRita Wright Years – Rare Motown 1967 to 1970 ... CD
Motown/Kent (UK), Late 60s. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
Rare early material from one of the hippest singers on 70s Motown – the heavenly Syreeta, best known for her seminal work with Stevie Wonder – heard here in the years before, on a rare single and a huge amount of never-issued tracks! Syreeta first worked for Motown under the name of Rita Wright – but apart from a 1967 single on Gordy, and a handful of compilation tracks in recent years, almost all her work for the label at the time appears here for the first time ever – a massive 18 of the collection's total 24 tracks – offering up a huge look at the early days of this wonderful talent! Even at the start, Syreeta's got a style that's hipper than most – righteous currents that point the way towards the 70s, and set her apart from some of the other female singers on the label – with a vibe that's completely sublime. We're really not sure why these cuts have been hidden for so long – because on any other label, they'd be hit material – especially given that production his handled by giants like Hal Davis, Stevie Wonder, Ashford & Simpson, and the Holland-Dozier-Holland team. One of the coolest sets of female soul you'll buy in a long, long time – with titles that include "Bad Boy", "Ain't I Gonna Win Your Love", "Beware Of A Stranger", "Love Child", "Since You Came Back", "Mind Body & Soul", "May His Love Shine Forever", "Something On My Mind", "That's What He Told Me", "It Don't Mean Nothin To Me", "Give Back The Good Things", "Can You Feel It Babe", "Save The Country", "Hurtin Me", "Love My Lovin Man", and "Where There's A Will There's A Way". CD

Possible matches8
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Dionne WarwickWarner Brothers Recordings (The Complete Warner Brothers Singles/We Need To Go Back – The Unissued Warner Brothers Masters) ... CD
Warner/Real Gone, 1970s. New Copy 2 CDs ... Out Of Stock
A great double-pack – featuring two sweet collections of work from Dionne Warwick! First up is The Complete Warner Brothers Singles – a long-overdue anthology of Dionne Warwick's 70s Warner Bros singles – really great music that doesn't always get its proper due! This is a terrific snapshot of a somewhat overlooked era for Dionne – working in a number of stylistic modes – and by pulling together the singles, this set has some of her most immediately appealing work of the decade. The highlights include some of the best of her later collaborations with Bacharach and David – and her surprising and rewarding turns into more soul-centric productions with Thom Bell and Holland-Dozier-Holland – that shift into bolder 70s soul that really made the Warner years a nice change from her early days! Titles include "If We Only Had Love", "Close To You", "I Think You Need Love", "(I'm Just) Being Myself", "Gonna Need Me", "Sure Thing", "Once You Hit The Road", "His House And Me", "Ronnie Lee", "I Didn't Mean To Love You", "He's Not For You", "Do I Have To Cry", and "Don't Ever Take Your Love Away". Next is We Need To Go Back – wonderful work from Dionne Warwick's years at Warner Brothers records – an amazing batch of unissued tracks that are every bit as great as any of the full albums or singles that Dionne issued with the label! The quality here is all completely top-shelf – no novelty numbers, studio filler, or other sort of junk – just really great material that has Dionne singing at her 70s best – really moving past the familiar sounds of the Scepter years, yet losing none of her poise, grace, and soulful sense of class – thanks to work from producers who include Holland Dozier Holland, Ashford & Simpson, Thom Bell, Jerry Ragavoy, and even Burt Bacharach too. The set's more like a "lost" Dionne Warwick album than anything else – of the sort that makes it an instant standout in her catalog – and titles include "It Hurts Me So", "We Need To Go Back", "Too Far Out Of Reach", "I Found Someone Else", "Am I Too Late", "Keep Me Warm", "Room Enough", "Plastic City", "Meant To Be", "One Last Memory", and "You Are The Sunlight I Am The Moon". CD
 
 
 



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