Various ‘The Wants List Vol 4: The Return Of The Soulful Rare Grooves’ 2LP/CD (Soul Brother) 5/5

The highly regarded Wants Lists series continues with the fourth instalment of the Soul Brother Records compilation. Here, 17 carefully chosen soul flavours are selected, and as the title suggests, these are primarily 1970s tracks of the two-step, mid tempo and modern soul variety. The compilation begins with The Harold Wheeler Consort and ‘Black Cream’ (1975), a one-off album track by the prolific producer and keyboard player, which possesses touches of soul, jazz and disco with strings parts a la Love Unlimited Orchestra. Almeta Lattimore and ‘These Memories’, a (pricey) Mainstream Records 7” co-written by Almeta, is a stunning slab of deep soul and as like many others here, was reissued on a Soul Brother 7” in 2017. Ty Karim and the shuffling ‘Lightin’ Up’ is a genuine rare soul piece from the obscure Romark label, although, Kent Soul have previously re-released the track on two occasions.

Mary Clark ‘You Got Your Hold On Me’ which was originally a B-side to the massively in-demand boogie monster ‘Take Me I’m Yours’, is another swinging soul bouncer. This was removed from the official 2017 reissue 12” of ‘Take Me I’m Yours’ and replaced with the previously unreleased instrumental, and thus, this would set you back £100+ for the original 12”. Zulema ‘Wanna Be Where You Are’ is a remake of the Jackson 5, Leon Ware and ‘T’ Boy Ross produced record (their first collaboration), from the self-titled 1975 ‘Zulema‘ album. The first minute prior to the noticeable vocal parts is the strongest part of the track. Buddah Records have two inclusions, Bobby Wilson and ‘Don’t Shut Me Out’ which comes from his only 1975 LP ‘I’ll Be Your Rainbow’ and The Ebonys ‘A Love Of Your Own’, cut from the second of their three 1970s long players are both worthy additions. Tommy McGee ‘Now That I Have You’ is a bit of a cult classic and is featured here in its 1981 form and not the later boogie remake.

The sought after Dee Edwards ‘(I Can) Deal With That’ has been a known favourite on the soul scene since the ‘90s, but this is the uncredited ‘Strings’ version which has a slightly different mix to the standard release – but also possesses marginally inferior audio quality than the original. This version again appeared on a limited Soul Brother 7” in 2016. McArthur and ‘It’s So Real’ from their only release on Mainstream Records subsidiary Brown Dog is a sweet male ballad which recently appeared in 2016 on a Soul Junction UK repress. And unknown to this writer, Jocelyn Brown ‘If I Can’t Have Your Love’ is a pretty obscure 1981 7” only cut from Posse Records from New York, who are also known for their early 80s rap releases. This puts Jocelyn in a genuine soul context for this Keith Barrow written number for a more subtle performance by the legendary vocalist.

One time Spinners vocalist G.C. Cameron and his double negative insinuating ‘Love Just Ain’t No Fun’, was recorded in 1980 but first issued in 2014 on a Soul Brother 7” – but this is its first appearance since that release. Natural High ‘Trust In Me’, was also featured on a 2016 Soul Brother 7” as a B-Side to ‘I Think I’m Falling In Love With You’, both taken from their impressive debut and solitary 1979 album. The Impressions ‘We Go Back A Ways’ is taken from ‘Finally Got Myself Together’ (1973), and although it’s both a post-Curtis and Leroy Hutson Impressions track, it still manages to capture the essence of the Chicago group with this strong two-step groover. The Manhattans and their ultimatum offering ‘Give Him Up’ from their ‘With These Hands’ (1970) album on Deluxe from their pre-Columbia days, is one of my personal favourites here from the popular New Jersey group.

Aretha’s sister Carolyn Franklin’s ‘Sunshine Holiday‘ has been a known two-step preference for years and is taken from Carolyn’s fifth and final album ‘If You Want Me’ (1976). Pat Lundy and the bouncy ‘Let’s Get Down To Business’ from her 1976 album ‘The Lady Has Arrived’ is a nice inclusion, as is Margie Joseph ‘Ridin’ High’, taken from ‘Sweet Surrender’ (1974) with its deep strings, electric piano, sweet horns, background organ and warm flute touches. Aretha Franklin’s ‘Daydreaming’ is the most obvious track here plucked from one of Aretha’s strongest LPs, ‘Young, Gifted And Black’ (1972). Surprisingly, this was never issued on 7” – except in Peru! ‘I Want Sunday Back Again’ has Maxine Weldon recollecting about happier times and was featured on a US promo only 7” (1975) but more commonly from Maxine’s fourth solo album ‘Alone On My Own’ on Monument.

There isn’t a poor inclusion here on Wants Lists 4. And I appreciated that it is not just a compilation of very rare or ‘trending’ records because as we all know, a rare record is not always a great record, and around 50% of the tracks featured can be bought in their original vinyl form for under £25. I commonly find that many of the records that are slightly under the vinyl digging radar are more interesting than the rarities.

Damian Wilkes