VARIOUS: Masterpieces Of Modern Soul Volume 2 (Label: Kent)

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VARIOUS: Masterpieces Of Modern Soul Volume 2

This is Kent’s second volume of modern soul “masterpieces” and, of course, in this crazy soul world “modern” here doesn’t mean brand-spanking new. Most of the material on this LP dates from the 70s – hardly modern, but in this context the word is used to define a brand of “old” soul that is distinctively different to classic Northern soul. Confused? Well, yes, it is confusing – but too many soul collectors and anoraks seem to like to surround the music in unnecessary complications and mystique. They operate in the same way as some computer geeks and car mechanics who like to make their work sound far too complicated for mere lay people to comprehend. Me? I’m all for just letting the music do the talking – old, new, Northern, modern… it doesn’t really matter. As a certain Mr. B. Gordy once observed there’s only good and bad music; and the good and the bad is all in the ears of the beholder – and this beholder’s ears hear some quite excellent soul music on this set. With a big 24 tracks, cherry picking is difficult – but here’s some personal standout cuts. First up, Ty Karim’s 1973 waxing, ‘Lightin’ Up’ still sounds fresh while Betty Fikes’ previously unreleased ‘The Fool Who Used To Live Here’ has a lovely, warm rolling southern sound to it. Darrow Fletcher’s ballad ‘Hope For Love’ is another previously unreleased gem as is the more up-tempo ‘More Than Just Somebody I Know’ from Brenda Wayne. Laura Lee’s take on ‘Your Song’ will have collectors checking it out against the Dells’ better-known version while another well-known name, Garland Green does a great job on Lamont Dozier’s ‘Always’. In honesty, though, there aren’t any duds here; it’s genuine, honest soul all the way and, moreover, the collection also puts a much needed spotlight onto one of soul’s shadier practises… i.e. the despicable way some collectors and DJs pirate records then trickle stock out slowly to inflate the value of said contraband. Case in point on this album is Johnny Watson’s delightful little floater ‘It’s Better To Cry’. When it was scammed by a UK collector it was changing hands for big, big bucks… now you can enjoy it (and lots, lots more) legally and at a very fair price.
(BB) 4/5