The Drifters are soul institution. Indeed their ‘There Goes My Baby’ is often cited as the first uptown soul record. However, despite a hugely distinctive sound the group were more of brand than an actual entity. With the name owned by George and Faye Treadwell, who put band members on a salary, personnel came and went with an annoying regularity and it was no surprise that by the end of the sixties the soul hits started to dry up. Then something strange started to happen. In the early 70s several of their old sixties sides became re-issued hits in the UK and the band decamped to Britain to promote them. Led by veteran vocalist Johnny Moore, they packed audiences in the length and breadth of the cabaret circuit and as a result they landed a deal with Bell Records. The label put them in the studio with Roger Greenaway and Roger Cook and between them they concocted a sound that had little to do with the Drifters’ US roots, but it was a sound that was hugely successful in the UK charts. Sing-along pop ditties like ‘Love Games’, ‘Like Sister And Brother’, ‘Down On The Beach Tonight’ and ‘More Than A Number In My Little Red Book’ stormed the hit parade even though the band’s line-up remained in a constant state of flux. For those who are Drifters’ completists, the Cherry Red people have just re-issued all three Bell albums along with their Arista set, and yes the sound is poppy but it is a rather superior pop – and amongst the albums there is the odd old soul gem – like a great version of ‘Always Something There To Remind Me’. So, not to be knocked these albums … somewhere, someone will love ’em.