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The title of this compilation is more than a tad obscure, perhaps – at least for the uninitiated – but for soul music fans that know their stuff and like R&B esoterica, the letters GWP will have some significance. GWP was a Big Apple-based record company that sprang up briefly in the late 1960s. Its founder was Gerard W Purcell, a well-connected music biz entrepreneur who managed several big acts (including country singer, Eddy Arnold, and jazz chanteuse, Lena Horne) before eventually deciding to start his own production company focusing on R&B. The Kent label’s first foray into the small GWP catalogue was well-received by the soul community last year so this follow-up instalment – also compiled by the ever-resourceful Ady Croasdell – will be keenly anticipated by collectors. It features 24 tracks, some of which came out on GWP and some which – though recorded under the auspices of GWP productions – were released by other record companies. In addition, there are a clutch of tracks (a whopping eleven in all) that have languished in the archives and never seen the light of day until now. What’s really astonishing about this collection is the sheer quality of the music – amazing, really, given that GWP only issued nine (yes, that’s nine!) soul 45s in its short lifetime. Some of its productions, like Alice Clark’s George Kerr-helmed Northern Soul collectable, ‘You Hit Me (Right Where It Hurt Me)’ – included here – were released on Warner Bros, as was Plus 4’s ‘Happiest Girl In The World,’ another highlight of this set. As for tracks that were actually issued on GWP, Debbie Taylor’s ‘Never Gonna Let Him Know’ (which was a US R&B Top 20 hit) is a sure fire winner, as is its flipside, ‘How Long Can This Last.’ There are some fine tunes by the vocal group, The Persians – ‘Detour,’ this collection’s opener, is a super dance number, for example. There are plenty more top-tier dancers – like the wonderful ‘My Life Is No Better,’ a previously unissued side (previously recorded by The Dynamics) attributed to producer Larry Banks and his wife, singer, Jaibi (real name Joan Bates) and ‘Without Your Love,’ by Bobby Penn. ‘Go Away,’ an uptempo number by vocal group The Hesitations – which was discovered in the vaults a couple of years back and appeared previously on Kent’s ‘100 Club Anniversary’ compilation – is also included here along with tracks by such obscure vocal groups as The Devonnes, The Exceptions, The Modettes, and solo singers like Lilly Fields (her ‘Changes’ will go down well with the Northern Soul crowd), Benny Gordon, Larry Banks, and Little Rose Little. If anything, this second volume is better than the first – a must-have CD, then, for soul junkies.
(CW) 4/5