‘Super Duper Love’ is Ace/Kent’s latest look at the back catalogue of New York indie label Mainstream and its various offshoots. Mainstream was founded in 1964 by jazz guitarist Bob Shad but prior to that Shad had been a jazz session musician who’d also produced numerous indie jazz recordings and worked over the years for the Mercury and Decca labels as well as fronting his own imprints (like Shad, Time and Brent). He intended Mainstream to be a jazz label, but market place pressures meant that he ended up recording and releasing pop, rock and, of, course, soul and here we can enjoy 24 classy and collectable soul outings.
Shad’s reputation in the biz meant that he managed to tempt some big(ish) names to record for him. Amongst the artists on this collection who had a measure of form are Lenny Welch, Freddie Scott, Doris Duke and The Dramatics. This set of Dramatics featured original Detroit group members Lenny Mayes and William Howard and their tune is a sweet yet gritty, ballad ‘Feel It’. It was the B side to ‘No Rebate On Love’ (featured on Kent’s last Mainstream collection) and features those typical Dramatic “switched” lead vocals. It seems that the “the other Dramatics” (Ron Banks et al) aimed some kind of action at Mayes and Howard, ‘cos for their next single the Mainstream “Dramatics” changed their name to “The Dramatic Experience”! And whist we’re unravelling Dramatics trivia, we need to tell you that this collection features a lovely, ‘Just In The Nick Of Time’ from Chocolate Syrup, who, of course, at one time featured L J Reynolds (a sometime Dramatic!)
On ‘Super Duper Love’ there are lots more sweet harmony items …. Special Delivery’s ‘The Lonely One’, ‘Then I Reach Satisfaction’ from the Eleventh Commandment and ‘Success Don’t Come Easy’ from the Steptones amongst them.
There are plenty of different favours to enjoy too… like Afrique’s funky version of ‘Soul Makosa’, Sandra Phillips’s steamy ‘I Need You Back Home’ and plenty of great soul crooning. Pick of that last bunch for me is J G Lewis’s ‘Let The Music Play’ … a hybrid of Jerry Butler and Lou Rawls! The album’s title cut, by the way, is from Sugar Billy and the tune, ‘Super Duper Love’, was, of course, eventually covered by Joss Stone. Like everything here, the Sugar Billy cut is appearing on UK CD for the very first time.