In 1997, Dave Godin launched his first Deep Soul Treasures CD. Of the genre he had so masterfully identified, Godin noted, It is certainly the music of the outsider," before adding that this glorious music he had so skilfully hewn from the rich musical landscape of black America, was, "a form of therapy by which we are brought face to face, with the worst thing we think could happen to us but by experiencing it through the artistic metaphor, we learn the lesson..."
Is it any wonder then that in an over-burgeoning compilation market, the Deep Soul anthologies remain the most eagerly awaited of them all? This anticipation should surprise no one. Godin's CD's have not only brought to light dozens of hidden artists, but his selections have been masterful, presenting a music that will never ever pale in time's shadow. "
Within the slap of a bass and the cry of a vocalist, the CDs became some of Ace's biggest-ever sellers and are now rightfully viewed as major releases, creating a standard which Godin himself acknowledges: I am particularly pleased with this particular compilation," he writes in his liner notes, "because in my view the standard of excellence achieved in previous releases has been well maintained."
Invariably, you will come to cherish your own choices, but right now I keep returning to the opening track, Temptation 'Bout To Get Me, by the Knight Brothers. The song's opening: muted trumpets and drum roll create the perfect setting for the boys impassioned plea for help against the demon that dogs us all.
The impeccable grace of Eddie and Ernie's, I Believe She Will, follows, an emotional state of affairs later sustained by the setting of the great Chuck Edwards' voice to a haunting organ and bassline on his song, I Need You. There's the zest and exuberant musical colours of Just Loving You by Ruby Andrews, as well as the casual accusatory tone the Black Velvet adopt for, Is It Me You Really Want, a song which gives way to the majestic classicism of Paul Kelly's, The Day After Forever, marked by its sublime chorus and poetic title.
The inventive musical touches that mark Jackie Lee's, I Love You, are not only ear catching, but make a claim for this Deep Soul collection to be the most varied yet, a point later strengthened by the inclusion of singer Tony Owens' uptempo stormer, This Heart Can't Take No More.
Yet, notwithstanding the songs mentioned, for me the heart of this collection resides in an incredible six-song sequence which begins with Doris Duke's I Don't Care Anymore, her resigned voice capturing the song's radical sentiment with amazing skill. We then move on to the previously unissued, You Make Me Feel Good, by Lawrence and Jaibi (a singer I get more excited about with each passing day), a footloose funky workout which nicely sets the stage for the solemn overtones of Barbara Brown's Can't Find No Happiness. The tragedy contained within her statement that, "these empty arms just bring me great pain", is then dispelled by the weighty vocal insistence of singer Garnett Mimms on My Baby, brilliantly accompanied by dragging horn lines, swinging drums and a fiery piano. Then there's just about enough time to catch your breath and suddenly the Webs are upon you, a lovely guitar lick mixed with great harmonies but the instrumentation played with an almost slapdash feel, as if both band and singers are on the point of breaking down. Which, when the song is called, It's So Hard To Break A Habit, is probably the point.
As with other projects Godin is not scared to include the more familiar. Thus the Miracles' exquisite Tracks Of My Tears and Irma Thomas' rousing Time Is On My Side, are also included, as is the lesser-known but equally as powerful Gladys Knight track Giving Up.
And then comes Jaibi's previously unreleased, It Was Like A Nightmare. This is a major new discovery-.-a great vocal performance that has lain dormant on unearthed tapes, a song that just keeps rolling and rolling and rolling, just like all the best nightmares do. To read of her early passing is to know the pain of regret all too well.
There's just time to pick out Roy Hamilton's grandiose vocal on the immortal, Dark End Of The Street, before we hit I Made It Over by Jimmy Robbins, a vocal performance rich with suggestion that the story is not as clear cut as his words claim. Bob and Earl's Don't Ever Leave Me, ends the trip, worth it just for the vocal performances alone, complex in their arrangement, so direct in their efficiency.
Want the word on Dave Godin's new Deep Soul CD? Superb. It's the only one that springs to mind, really.
By Paolo Hewitt"
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