Marshalled by BUTCH INGRAM (with the help of his brothers) , Philadelphia’s Society Hill Records is keeping the flag flying for the classy soul music we will always associate with the City of Brotherly Love. The label’s regular releases also provide an outlet for the wealth of soul talent still to be found in Philly.
Society Hill’s latest album is the epitome of the “classy soul” we’ve just mentioned. The newie is ‘JAZZY LADIES OF SOCIETY HILL VOL.#2’ (Vol 1 seems to have missed our radar!) and it’s a set of 11 songs – some covers and some Ingram originals. Soul seekers will no doubt go straight to the Jean Carne track – the lazy, jazzy ‘Bye Bye Baby’ which sets the tone for the album’s sophisticated, late-night sound. Amongst the other artists is Carla Benson, who anoraks will recognize as one of Philly’s busiest and most versatile backing singers. She takes centre stage on ‘You Should Be Here’ and the jazz standard ‘Autumn Leaves’. Impeccable vocals, as you’d expect.
Amongst the other covers are Melissa Manchester/Diana Ross’ ‘Come In From The Rain’ (Rene Goodwin on vocals), Stevie’s ‘Overjoyed’ (with Marki Fields at the mic) and Rodgers and Hart’s ‘Where Or When’ which is treated beautifully by Toni Richards… an album highlight.