TY KARIM: The Complete Ty Karim (Label: Kent)

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TY KARIM: The Complete Ty Karim

Ty Karim was a stunning, elegant Los Angeles soulstress who recorded for her husband, Kent Harris’ Romark label. Some of her 60s cuts became (and indeed remain) big on the Northern soul scene while material she recorded in the 70s and 80s were as good as anything contemporaneous – indeed one of her songs, ‘If I Can’t Stop You (I Can Slow You Down)’ went on to become a success for Johnny Bristol. Until now Ty (who sadly died in 1983) has remained largely unknown and the Romark singles that do exist change hands at prices that only Russian oligarchs can handle. Now, thanks to the dogged detectives at Kent/Ace we can all enjoy the lovely Ty’s back catalogue without resort to a loan shark or back-handers from Premiership footballers. That this album exists at all, though, is a tribute to Ty’s daughter Karime who came to London in 1998 to pursue a musical career – knowing (but not fully understanding) her mother’s role on the Northern soul scene. A chance meeting with Kent’s Ady Croasdell eventually led to her performing her mother’s songs at a Cleethorpes’ Weekender and the eventual release of this comprehensive 23 tracker, and listening, you’ll realize that in a sporadic 20 year career Ms. Karim’s music touched most black music bases. Here we have blues, pop-soul, socio-soul, big ballads, proto-disco and, of course, glorious dancers and it will be cuts like ‘Lighten Up Baby’, ‘You Really Made It Good To Me’ and ‘Help Me Get That Feeling Back Again’ that will attract initial attention. They’re good – of their kind – but there’s better… much better. Case in point is the wonderful floater ‘Lighten Up’. Cut in 1973, the strings are truly heavenly, befitting Ty’s angelic delivery. It’s truly outstanding and vies with the aforementioned and previously unissued ‘If I Can’t Stop You (I Can Slow You Down)’ as the LP’s standout, though the beat ballad, ‘All At Once,’ runs ’em both close. Sadly, Ty Karim won’t enjoy the plaudits that this collection will surely bring; her family, though, will surely relish the recognition that this release brings.
(BB) 4/5