Sunday, February 24, 2008

Memphis 70

This week I got news through about an exciting release from Ace's BGP label for anyone interested in Memphis music.

Here is the track listing and publicity blurb:

1. Mississippi Mud - Smithstonian
2. I Can't Tell No Difference - David Porter
3. Two Paces Ahead Of Love - Willie Walker
4. Pullin' - Minits
5. Strange Things - Jerry Miller
6. Shake - Ovations
7. No Ending - Stacy Lane
8. Tip Toeing - Alvin Cash & Doris Porter
9. It's Bump Time - Bow-Legs Miller & Friends
10. Blackrock Yeah Yeah - Black Rock
11. Keep The Faith - Mel & Tim
12. Who's Been Warming Your Oven - Sir Walter
13. Come What May - John Gary Williams
14. Watchdog - Barbara & The Browns
15. Way Of Me - Kannon16. Don't Boom Boom - Lilian Hale
17. Take A Giant Step - Lacleve Milon
18. Papa Killed A Chicken - Willie Toliver
19. Hard Times - Billy Cee
20. Dig It (She's In The Groove) - Optimistics

The death of Otis Redding in late 1967 was a watershed in the sound of Memphis soul. He had been the figurehead and defining figure as Stax had taken a distinctly gritty take on soul to the top of the US charts. "Memphis 70" shows what happened next as local musicians emerged from Otis' shadow and created new and exhilarating sounds. The most successful of these sounds meant artists such as Isaac Hayes eclipsed Otis' success, but in typical BGP style we take the road less travelled to bring a selection of sought-after rarities and unreleased gems that perfectly reflect the era.

* Our earliest cut is the in-demand funk/ R&B groove of Stacy Lane's `No Ending' produced by the legendary Packy Axton, the founder of the Mar-Keys. We have plenty of funky grooves for those that want to keep the dancefloor moving, such as Alvin Cash's duet with Doris Porter, `Tip Toeing', the incredibly rare `Hard Times' by Billy Cee, the collectable break-beat `Mississippi Mud' by the Smithstonian, and an amazing unreleased version of `Shake' by the Ovations. There are also great slices of funk by the Optimistics, Lillian Hale, Blackrock (a favourite of Paul Weller) and Bow-Legs Miller.

* The rest of the compilation is made up with some pieces of soul music that are truly for the connoisseur. There is an unreleased masterpiece from David Porter from the end of the Stax era, an unreleased version of Aretha Franklin's `Pullin'' by the Minits and an amazing two-stepper by the under-recorded Willie Walker, one that will please the collectors. We also have an Al Green-style take on `Who's Been Warming Your Oven' by the unknown, Sir Walter. The soul sides are rounded off by a couple of pure classics by John Gary Williams', `Come What May' and Mel and Tim's - `Keep The Faith'.

* The whole lot is rounded up with some fantastic pictures, in-depth notes and an amazing cover image to make this a fine start to 2008 for BGP.

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