Ace Records does the business once more, this time with the All Turned On! Motown Instrumentals 1960-1972 album.
Purely from the title alone, this looks essential. But when you read the small print, even more so.
The headline here is a set of instrumentals by some of the best musicians in the business. Seeing the Funk Brothers live when they toured the UK was one of my all-time gig highlights. The emotion and the pure ability on show really were hard to match. An amazing night.
And there are plenty of those grooves on offer here, with the highlights being six cuts otherwise available only as digital downloads and five masters previously unissued in any format. So rarity appeal
Compiled by the guys behind the popular Motown Girls and Motown Guys series, the CD opens with three certified classics – the San Remo Golden Strings’ ‘Festival Time’, a Northern Soul favourite that reached the UK charts in 1971, a version of the Supremes’ ‘Come See About Me’ by Choker Campbell’s Big Band and ‘I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)’ by Earl Van Dyke & the Soul Brothers, aka the Funk Brothers.
The five previously unissued tracks are Choker Campbell’s brassy stomper ‘The Break Down’, Earl Van Dyke’s organ, vibes and guitar-led ‘L.B.J.’, the jazzy ‘Defunk Brothers’ by saxophonist Frank Morelli, ‘Little Mack’s Shuffle’ by the Morrocco Muzik Makers and ‘Great Google Mook’ by the Mysterions.
Other highlights include trumpeter Jonah Jones’ bold take on Stevie Wonder’s ‘Uptight (Everything’s Alright)’, a great version of Hugh Masekela’s ‘Grazing In The Grass’ by Stevie himself under his ‘Eivets Rednow’ alias, ‘Ich-I-Bon #1’ by Nick & the Jaguars, ‘Double 0 And A Half’ by the Agents, a band that included members of Jr Walker’s All Stars; and ‘Good Rockin’’ by Jr Walker & the All Stars themselves.
As you would expect, plenty of liner notes and images to go with all that, with annotations by Hitsville historian Keith Hughes and photos of many of the featured artists.