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Soul Express Album Review

The Wants List - Volume 3
(UK Soul Brother, 2007)

1) THE MODULATIONS - It's Rough Out Here 2) VERNON BURCH - Lovely Lady 3) ARNOLD BLAIR - Trying To Get Next To You 4) C)B) OVERTON – If I Can't Stop You 5) GLORIA SCOTT – Just As Long As We're Together 6) BETTY WRIGHT – Smother Me With Your Love 7) FATBACK – Feed Me Your Love 8) GEORGE & GWEN MCCRAE – The Rub 9) CARL DAVIS & THE CHI-SOUND ORCHESTRA – Show Me The Way To Love You 10) MICHELLE WILEY – Feel Good 11) ARCHIE BELL – Feel Good 12) WILLIAM BELL – Man In The Street 13) CHARLES DRAIN – Is This Really Love 14) KEN WILLIAMS - Soft Lights Sweet Music And You 15) BETTY EVERETT – Wondering 16) ERNIE HINES – Electrified Love 17) PASSION – Midnight Lovers

This is for me, by far, the best and most substantial release in the Wants List series to date. Soul Brother keep on excelling themselves with each and every release, and know what tunes are worthy of inclusion on a compilation, even some of the cuts have appeared on numerous releases before, such as The Modulations “It's Rough Out Here” or Arnold Blair's “Trying To Get Next To You”. These are still welcome. Vernon Burch has not released much that appeals to me, but his 1982 song “Lovely Lady” really does appeal to me, and this infectious stepper deserves to make a good showing on the more discerning radio shows.

The 1976 song “Is This Really Love” by Charles Drain echoes Holland Dozier's “Why Can't We Be Lovers” in a homage to the Invictus sound, and reminds us how great and healthy the quality music scene was back then. Such a classy song, I doubt any of you cannot fail to be impressed by it. The Fatback cut “Feed Me Your Love” makes an appearance – not one of their best or most essential cuts and readily available on the Southbound CD “Yum Yum”... I would rather have had some more real rarities on here of the quality and imagination of Gloria Scott's B-side 7” only “Just As Long As We're Together (In My Life There Will Never Be Another)” - this track alone is worth the price of admission alone. Pity the master could not be located as this does sound a little rough around the edges.

Another winner is Ken Williams less strained and smoother version of Ace Spectrum's “Soft Lights, Sweet Music And You” from 1976. The real show stopper for me is Archie Bell's collectible 12” “Harder And Harder”. The darting strings open up into a real monster track; a perfect vehicle for Archie's unique and immediately recognisable vocals. Essential stuff from the 80s.

Please also check out C.B. Overton's “If I Can't Stop You” from 1977 – a track which was expertly read by Johnny Bristol on his 1981 Handshake LP, “Free To Be Me”. Talking of experts, Soul Brother have done nothing wrong in including “The Man In The Street” from William Bell's 1973 set “Phases Of Reality. This song easily equals anything that J.R. Bailey or The Impressions were doing at the time. Timeless soul music – and whether it is today, tomorrow or another 20 years these tracks will always be on someone's wants list.

Do yourself a favour and pick up a copy of this as it will itself be a collector's item one day.
- Barry Towler

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