Stateside Records Round up feat.
Mama's Got A Bag Of Her Own - Various
Blue all The Way - Tina Britt
Best Of The Sub Years 1962-1965 - Jimmy McGriff
Harlem River Drive - Harlem River Drive

EMI continue their welcome trawl through the back catalogues available to them through the reactivated Stateside logo with these four CDs

"Mama's Got A Bag Of Her Own" features female acts, both solo and groups and the twenty five tracks are excellent examples of the diversity to be found in sixties and seventies soul. Anna King supplies the funky title track, obviously a reply to her former employer James Browns "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag". This was her first recording after being part of the James Brown Revue. Soul with a flavour of jazz is represented by three singers. Nancy Wilson covering Ashfords & Simpsons classic "You're All I Need To Get By", Esther Philips distinctive voice adorns "Nobody Buy You" a fingersnapper written by Chicago soul stalwarts Gerald Sims and Floyd Smith while Marlene Shaw give us a smooth as silk reading of "Feel Like Making Love". One of Dusty Springfield's favourite singers, Baby Washington, chips in with the atmospherically orchestrated "I'm On The Outside (Looking In).

Bettye Lavette and Irma Thomas both have new albums out at the moment, but here are "Let Me Down Easy" and "Some Things You never Get Used To" respectively big US hits for the ladies. The same unfortunately cant be said for Tin Britt (see review below) who plunges in at the deeper end of the soul pool, with the ballad "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know". Ann Cole's "Don't Stop The Wedding" and Dee Dee Warwicks "You're No Good" come from the very early sixties when soul music was being born out of fifties style R&B. Clydie King has not, to my knowledge, recorded for many years but in-between being one of Ray Charles Raelettes and doing session work for the likes of The Rolling Stones, Van Morrisson and Steely Dan she made records the calibre of "One Of Those Good For Crying Over You Days". Fans of the soul that was branded Northern by the British are treated to "Groovin At The Go Go" by the Four Larks.

The Southern USA has its own brand of soul and that is represented by Ann Sexto with "Loving You, Loving Me" and a lady who is still performing great live shows, Gwen McCrae with "It Keeps On Raining" recorded in Florida with the great Clarence Reid. So Mama's got a very mixed bag of soul, so come on Stateside how about giving the boys a CD.

As mentioned above, Tina Britt, fits into the relatively obscure category of soul singers. Tony Rounce writes in his always excellent and authoritative sleeve notes very little is known about her and despite exhaustive research, although still believed to be alive is untraceable. "Blue All The Way" is her 1968 album for Minit records, which is bolstered by eight bonus tracks of which three of previously unreleased and also includes the Northern Soul classic, penned by Ashford & Simpson and Jo Armstead "The Real Thing". Most of the twelve tracks on the original "Blue All The Way" album are covers including the blues of Jimmy Read and Big Bill Broomzy, Memphis Soul from Otis Redding and Don Covay, jazz from Billie Holiday and then current rock hit, Credence Clearwater Revivals "Born On A Bayon". Maybe it was too much of a mixture to be a commercial success, but the world has been a poorer place without any further Tina Britt recordings. Look out for the unusual album cover of Tina seated on a chair that must have been quite futuristic in 1968.

Hammond organ player Jimmy McGriffs career stretches to well over forty years. His records were essential listening for the first generation of mods in the sixties and he is still in favour with today's Acid Jazz movement. This CDs seventeen tracks are culled from six albums and thirteen singles for the legendary Juggy Murrays New York Based Sue Records. In the sixties as well as sound of Motown and Stax etc being played in the clubs, the more discerning establishments would spin McGriffs version of Ray Charles "I've Got A Woman" or his own R&B compositions "All About My Girl" or "The Last Minute". He also delved into the jazz material of Thad Jones with the Deacon and Kenny Burrell's "All Day Long"

The fourth CD is "Harlem River Drive" by the jazz fusion group of the same name. Originally released in 1971 this only album by the group named after the six lane expressway that took travellers past Harlem on their way to Manhattan features pianist Eddie Palmieri and organist brother Charlies alongside now well know names like guitarist Cornell Dupree, drummer Bernard "Pretty" Purdy, trumpeter Randy Brecker and singer Jimmy Norman. Across its five tracks totally only 31 minutes the music switches from latin flavoured funk, through to soulful R&B. This kind of mixture may be commonplace now but in 1971 it was innovative and different.

Derek McCann

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