VARIOUS: Larry Banks’ Family Album (Label: Kent)

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VARIOUS: Larry Banks' Family Album

Soul researchers will know all about Larry Banks. The Korean War veteran was a major player on the U.S. East coast 60’s soul scene – recording, writing and producing for a number of labels – but it wasn’t until he struck up a friendship with the UK soul journalist Dave Godin that his work became known over here. Godin had contacted Banks because of the usurpation of the Banks’ penned song ‘Go Now’ by Brummie beat group, the Moody Blues. Dave, rightly, believed that the original by Larry’s wife, Bessie, was far, far superior and, through Godin’s advocacy for the original, the pair became friends. Dave long harboured a wish to issue a compilation of songs that Larry had been associated with, but his untimely death put the project on hold. For the last couple of years Kent’s Ady Croasdell worked on the case and this esoteric 24 tracker is the result. The album offers a cross section of soul styles, ranging from the deep passion of Jaibi’s ‘What Good Am I’ through to the Northern froth of the Devonnes’ ‘Doin’ The Gittin’ Up’ (more than a hint of the Esquires’ ‘Get On Up’ on that one). Other featured artists include Larry himself, the Hesitations, the Dynamics, and Kenny Carter whose ‘You’d Better Get Hip Girl’ ‘ is one of the album’s highlights. Good though it is, it comes nowhere near Bessie Banks’ monumental ‘Go Now’ which rightly kicks off proceedings. Now well over 40 years old, it still stirs my emotions and, I hope, yours.
(BB) 4/5