The Chappells ‘Are You Ready’ (Bedford) 5/5

This album came as a monumental surprise and to up the anti a little further on vinyl too. The Chappells were one of a myriad of groups who came together briefly, released two 45’s, got ripped off by some one they thought was looking out for them and subsequently walked away from music finally shutting up shop in 1972. Both 45’s are revered as classic mid 60’s and much sought after, in more recent times “You’re acting kinda strange” has had a revival, due in the main to the plethora of Sunday soul sessions that have sprung up over the past 18 months, most of which are presenting the slower side of our music. The aforementioned tune is a lovely well produced mid-pacer that fits the bill perfectly, I’ve spun it several times at my Sunday Soul Sessions at Stanwick.
The four sides of the two 45’s are here but the remaining seven are unissued and it’s these I acquired the album for and I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest, all could quite easily have made it to 45, in fact if this album had come out in 1964 it would be considered a holy grail today.
Let’s get straight to the real meat on here, “Searchin” and “She needs him” are gloriously produced skipping dancer’s, very much in the Constellations’ “I don’t know about you” sound – and just how big is that now? Once word is out amongst the Northern Soul fraternity I can almost guarantee some ars-hole will boot them (all in the name of getting the music out there of course). The reason we have this album now is that a set of lo-fi demos tracked on portable reel to reel were found in a basement, capturing the evolvement of the group to a self contained band.

The crossover boys will cream there pants when they hear “Moan for you” with its relentless choppy beat, tinkling pianos, muted horns, superb tune every way, “Don’t take a trip” is straight out of that wonderful ‘Newsounds’, ‘Pretenders’ sound, a strolling beast of a sound. I must warn you though the sound is lo-fi but that doesn’t affect the sound quality at all, I have “Everybody needs someone” playing as I type this and I’m shaking my head in sheer wonderment, another dancer that would have them up dancing at any thinking mans soul night.
This album isn’t easy to get hold of and it ain’t cheap but just buy it and like me wallow in the shear beauty of a lost sound from a time long gone and never to be repeated. For me, the release of the year so far and it’s going to take something quite special to knock this off top spot. There is a suggestion that this surfaced at the tail end of last year but it certainly wasn’t available to the likes of me until February this year.

Brian Goucher