Philly collectors will be delighted to learn that an obscure Philly soul classic is set to be reissued thanks to the good offices of German downtempo label/band, SONAR KOLLEKTIV.
The story begins in 1965 at Frank Virtue’s famous Philly-based Virtue label. He had cut a popular instrumental called ‘Bird Walkin’’ which was credited to Emanon’s Orchestra but he always felt that it needed a vocal. Enter young SHIRLEY TURNER who was chosen by Virtue to add a vocal to the track. The song was duly recorded and dub plates made but it seems it was never officially released.
Fast forward now and Shirley’s son Hollis P. Monroe (now a member of Sonar Kollektiv, of course!) found and played his mother’s dubplate copy of the song and was intrigued about his mum’s track. Research eventually led Hollis to UK soul collector/DJ Andy Rix who also had a dubplate of the song – this one credited to “Anne Robinson”. The tracks were the same and Hollis was delighted to set the record straight about who the real singer was.
Fast forward one more time and Hollis and the rest of the Berlin-based Sonar Kollektiv crew have cleaned up and remastered that old Virtue dubplate and are, at last, issuing the song with the full and proper credits – artist Shirley Turner and writers Weldon A. McDougal III, Johnny Stiles and Eddie Holman!
Not only that, Sonar Kollektiv then commissioned Hamburg four-piece The KBCS to deliver their own interpretation of this timeless piece of music. The result is a sophisticated, balladic reworking (Nora Becker on vocals) that respects the original but gives it a very different twist that should please lovers of modern and two-step soul alike.
The KBCS / Shirley Turner – I Wish You A World Of Happiness released on 7” and digitally via the Sonar Kollektiv label, 24th November.