Modernity – Various Artists (Kent label)

Modernity - Various Artists (Kent label)
Modernity – Various Artists (Kent label) (image credit: Ace Records)
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Ace Records and Kent are treating us to another collection of Mod dance floor sounds. This time in the form of the Modernity compilation.

Compilers Ady Croasdell and Dean Rudland are now up to the third CD collection focusing on R&B and club soul that original 1960s mods could have been danced to if they’s had the chance.

But they couldn’t because those sounds weren’t available to them at the time. Locked away in an archive, many of these dance floor grooves are only now seeing the light of day. So we get to enjoy them even if the 1960s crowd couldn’t.

Rather than me paraphrase what the compilers have to say about it, I’ll just post up their words for the preview:

A hitherto unheard 1964-vintage Ike & Tina track is big news; the duo’s performance on ‘Walk Home With Me’ features a somewhat square-sounding male chorus which only adds to the charm of this excellent Buck Ram-produced number. The vocal pairing of Aaron Collins’ two sisters, the Teen Queens, was a brief music sensation with ‘Eddie My Love’ in the 50s but, unknown until last year, the three siblings got together and cut the gritty mover ‘Ooh Baby’ and three other tracks for Modern in 1966.

Birdlegs & Pauline encapsulated the mystery of collecting soul records in the 60s and 70s. Their ‘Spring’ was an obscure-as-hell mod classic on the iconic UK Sue label, issued in 1966 on a Guy Stevens whim three years after its US release. What a bizarre name it was for a singing act; they sounded more like a music hall novelty turn. The song hit but the duo split up and there was not even a follow-up. An album’s worth of tracks was recorded, though, and has recently come to light, from which ‘Just Can’t Help Myself’ could have been even better suited for the UK’s mod market – if only they had known.

Laidback soul from New Orleans and its environs is prominent. Willie Tee gives us ‘Who Knows’, a 1963 recording that lay dormant until its release on Ace in 1994. Eddie Bo cut his R&B gem ‘I Found A Little Girl’ that same year. Eddie Shuler’s Goldband and Anla labels provide a rarity from Ike Porter, an early funk master class from Clifton White, previously unreleased rhythm’n’soul gems from King Karl and Rockin’ Sidney, and an unissued popcorn-style ballad from Sticks Herman which is destined for Europe-wide spins.

Up to the Big Apple where Arock’s Gary Klyvert and Carl Gould sang as Gary & Gary on ‘Deuces Wild’, the way-punchier flip of the duo’s Northern Soul number ‘I’m Leaving (For Parts Unknown)’. Charles Hodges’ hip take of the Gershwin’s ‘Lady Be Good’, Willis Jackson’s storming jazz ‘Soul Grabber’ and Chuck Jackson’s ‘Lonely Am I’, though, are more elegant examples of NYC soul.

Back in Los Angeles where future collectables such as ‘Drop That Gun’ by Teddy Reynolds and ‘Monkey Walk’ by the Kingsmen were being pressed. From the same city comes the topical 1962 sound of ‘Air Travel’ by Ray & Bob, as covered in the UK by the young Chris Farlowe; the Fashionettes’ ‘Earthquake’, which spotlights the girl group sound, so symbolic of the 60s; and Jackie Lee’s ‘The Bounce’, which conjures up images of shimmering discotheque lights and go-go dancers strutting their stuff.

Feminine jazz vocals come from Byrdie Green, who in 1967 made Ma Rainey’s ‘See See Rider’ a happening sound. ‘Sundown’ by the Merced Blue Notes has a similarly cool jazz vibe and session instrumentalists the Birds Of Paradise do a seamless job on ‘Bossa Blue Port’. For Fame completists searching for the slick R&B sound of ‘Go Away With Me’ by Hollis Dixon, we’ve jumped the gun and included it here, while Stax specialists will no doubt be pleased to get their ears on the southern funk of Eddie Kirk’s ‘The Hawg’.

Does that tempt you in? If you have any interest in Mod/soul sounds, it really should. 24 tracks, CD only (as far as I can see) and a release date of 30th April 2021.

You can pre-order now, with the CD available for around £14.

Find out more at the Amazon website

Of course, previous compilations Modernists and Modernism are still available if you missed them.

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