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LOS ANGELES SOUL, Volume 2 Ė Kent-Modernís Black Music Legacy 1963-1972

Reviewed by Heikki Suosalo

Rating: 6/ 10

LOS ANGELES SOUL, Volume 2 Ė Kent-Modernís Black Music Legacy 1963-1972

(CDKEND 486)

1) I'll Be Standing By - Chuck Walker & The VIP's
2) At Last - Jimmy Bee
3) Hungry Children - Rudy Love & The Love Family
4) Mighty Clouds of Joy - B.P.S. Revolution
5) Honey - Felice Taylor
6) Slow and Easy - Vernon Garrett
7) Where She At - Z.Z. Hill
8) Don't Believe Him - Stacy Johnson
9) Nobody But Me - The Other Brothers
10) Like I Do - Bobby John
11) Whole World Down On You - Larry Davis
12) It's Getting Late - Al King
13) Jodine - Earl Foster
14) Then I Found You - Rudy Love & The Love Family
15) The Good Side of My Girl - Clay Hammond
16) The Thought of You - Jeanette Jones
17) You're Still My Baby - Venetta Fields
18) Rock Me Baby - Millie Foster
19) What Is This World Coming To - Charles Taylor
20) What the Heck - Lowell Fulson
21) Funky Duck - Four Tees
22) I Need You (2nd Version) - Arthur K Adams
23) Ghetto Child - Johnny Copeland
24) Peace of Mind - Chuck Walker & The VIP's

† Iíve experienced many magic moments when listening to the music released on Jules Bihariís Kent Records and its subsidiaries. The label was formed in 1958, it existed for about fifteen years and released material on B.B. King, Etta James, Ike & Tina Turner, Elmore James and Big Mama Thornton, to name just a few.† Although blues and rhythm & blues were their main genres, the focus on soul music started growing in the mid-60s with the signing of such artists as Z.Z. Hill and Clay Hammond.

† After U.K.ís Ace/Kent purchased their U.S. namesakeís catalogue, the U.K. Kent has released numerous compilations Ė e.g. three volumes of For Connoisseurs only Ė so itís only natural that weíre now scraping almost the bottom of the barrel and consequently the music on this compilation doesnít resemble the material that brought so much joy to my listening evenings in the 60s and early 70s.

Los Angeles Soul, Volume 2 (24 tracks - 5 originally unissued - 70 min., notes by Ady Croasdell; opens with Iíll Be Standing By by Chuck Walker & the Vips with Bobby McVay and although the song is credited to Chuck Walker, we know this song best by the Soul Stirrers/Johnnie Taylor under the name of God Is Standing By. Jimmy Beeís vocal interpretation of At Last is mediocre and the same goes to Rudy Loveís social comment on Hungry Children. B P S Revolutioní pop-gospel remake of B.J. Thomasí small hit in 1971 called Mighty Clouds of Joy lacks the essential inspirational spark.

† The stomper/dancer section starts from the track # 5, and to these ears the only two performances that are not too undistinguished and have enough drive are by Z.Z. Hill (Where She Att) and Stacy Johnson (Donít Believe Him). They pull it through, whereas Felice Taylor, Vernon Garrett and the Other Brothers come up with more forgettable, routine stuff. Kentís blues history prevails at least on five tracks by Larry Davis, Al King, Millie Foster, Lowell Fulson (of course) and Arthur K Adams.

† Personal delights on this set are a mid-tempo toe-tapper called The Good Side of My Girl by Clay Hammond and two thoroughly soulful ballads, The Thought of You by Jeanette Jones and Youíre Still My Baby by Venetta Fields. Also one of the best raw soul singers those days, Johnny Copeland, uses his gruff voice to deliver you the emotional Ghetto Child.† (6)

© Heikki Suosalo

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