German reissue label SPV Blue are about to release a couple of wonderful Chicago soul albums, originally released on CARL DAVIS’S Chi-Sound Records.

First up is a “twofer” from THE IMPRESSIONS which couples 1979’s ‘Come To My Party’ with ’81’s ‘Fan The Fire’. The legendary vocal group joined Chi-Sound in 1978 after a brief spell at Cotillion and for the CARL DAVIS produced ‘Come To My Party’ THE IMPRESSIONS worked as a trio with long time servers FRED CASH and SAM GOODEN joined by REGGIE TORIAN who’d come in as lead after LEROY HUTSON (CURTIS MAYFIELD’S original replacement) had gone solo. The 7 tracker was packed with songs from some of the Windy City’s heavy hitters like EUGENE RECORD and GENE CHANDLER with his ballad ‘Maybe I’m Mistaken’ rivalling some of the group’s great MAYFIELD moments.

For ‘Fan The Fire’ the group were back to quartet format with tenor NATE EVANS joining TORIAN on lead vocals, though one the LP’s highlights was a re-recording of the group’s break through hit ‘For Your Precious Love’. Here the lugubrious lead is handled masterfully by SAM GOODEN who’d always sung it on stage anyway… he does a great JERRY BUTLER! ‘Take Everything’ is another wonderful tune – a Chicago classic with writer EUGENE RECORD re-visiting ever-so-slightly his ‘Soulful Strut’ period.

geneSVP’S second new Chi-Sound release is a double CD focusing on soul connoisseurs’ favourite GENE CHANDLER. The set offers three of the singer’s four Chi-Sound albums – ‘When You’re #1′, ”80’ and ‘Here’s To Love’ – along with a hatful of bonus, non-album cuts. Amongst those bonuses are the long version of ‘Let Me Make Love To You’ and the demo take of ‘Get Down’. GENE’S other biggie from this period – ‘Does She Have A Friend’ is also featured. But go beyond the hits (and maybe skip some of the “disco lite” and the ill-advised rap of ‘Skate’) and you can enjoy some wonderful moments from one of soul’s most distinctive voices. Try his version of the perennial ‘All About The Paper’ or the SAM DEES-penned ode to melancholy, ‘For The Sake Of The Memories’ for starters.

Both these albums will be available in August.