A treasure trove of soul music from a famous London label of the 70s – almost all of it American work, but hand-picked with the kind of selection that made Contempo a strong precursor for later British reissue labels – like Ace/
Kent, Charly, or Expansion
Records! Contempo grew out of the magazine Blues & Soul – that very long-running bible of soul music that came out of London – and like the magazine, the label really focused on lesser-known acts, both from the 60s, and more contemporary years too – often with an eye towards tunes that still warranted greater discovery by the world at large. Some of the numbers are great groovers, others are in a deep soul mode – and in the later years, you can definitely hear a growing love of disco – especially on some of Contempo's own productions. The company also recorded older American soul singers when they visited the UK for shows during the 70s – finding audiences that were stronger than they had back home, and a label that was also willing to give them a chance in the studio. There's a huge amount of great work here – from late 60s American soul through late 70s clubby groovers – and as usual with Cherry Red, the whole 3CD package comes with a very detailed booklet of notes and photos. The set features 63 tracks in all – with work by The Exciters, Bettye Swann, Major Lance, Black Stash, The Montclairs, Jimmy Thomas, Ultrafunk, Moses Dillard, Ernie Bush, Mr Superbad, Dorothy Moore, Sir Mack Rice, Sam & Dave, Rice & Beans Orchestra, Oscar Toney Jr, Richie Pitts, The Masai, JJ Barnes, African Music Machine, Cymande, Juggy Jones, Armada Orchestra, Banzai, and many others!