Various Artists - J And S Harlem Soul (Music CD)

Release Date: 03 November 2008
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Run by Zell Sanders, the J&S label was a very small New York company that nonetheless released quite a few R&B, doo wop, rock & roll, girl group, and soul discs in the 1950s and 1960s, even in the absence of notable commercial success. J&S Harlem Soul concentrates on the soul-oriented singles they put out in the 1960s and early '70s, which are pretty rare even by the standards of major soul collectors. Even the two artists here who did have hits, Johnnie & Joe and the Jaynetts, are represented by obscure 45s cut long after their flash of fame. Compilations such as these certainly do a service to soul fanatics who couldn't find or hear most or all of this otherwise. On pure musical terms, however, it's not all that impressive. Certainly most of it's pretty derivative, if generally rawer and not as sweet as the typical soul getting pumped out in the New York area. That's not necessarily an asset; the production on quite a few of these tracks is on the bare side, to the point where some of them sound like demos (especially Jimmy Armstrong & the Pins' "I Want to Be Close to You," where virtually the only accompaniment is a spooky gospel-ish organ). Quite a few of the actual tunes are on the mediocre side -- the Jaynetts' repetitious, outdated 1967 45 "Be My Boy Friend" being one example -- the responsibility lying to large degree with label owner Sanders herself, as she's the songwriter credited with writing over half the songs. Even with all those things considered, it's hardly a rotten anthology; these obscurities are largely competent slices of various shades of '60s soul, though there's not a single cut that stands out as a notable find. The label's fairly prolific and varied output, however, seems more a testament to Zell Sanders' stubborn perseverance in the absence of tangible reward than it does to the label's actual vision and talent. ~ Richie Unterberger
Release Date: 03 November 2008

1. Disappointed Bride - Washington, Baby & The Hearts
2. Leaf Is Just Like Me - Morrison, Catha
3. I'm A Working Man Who Needs A Good Woman - Ashe, Clarence
4. She Said I'd Be A Failure - Ashe, Clarence
5. Dream I Had Came True - Dicky & Billy
6. I Got A Feeling - Dicky & Billy
7. Money And All Your Love - Allyne, Freda
8. I Won't Ever Try To Change You - Hodge, Henry
9. I Want To Be Close To You - Armstrong, Jimmy & The Pins
10. I Pray To Keep Our Love Strong - Johnnie & Joe
11. Let Your Mind Do The Walking - Johnnie & Joe
12. Every Night The Same Time - Richardson, Johnnie
13. Ha Baby I'm Coming On Back - Pratt, Lee
14. Let Sleeping Dogs Lie - Miss Johnnie
15. It Doesn't Matter - Dezel, Neice
16. You Needn't Tell Me - Sity & James
17. Stay Away From My Baby - Lee, Taffie
18. Life Of Love - Freeman Brothers
19. 24 Hours Of The Day - Gillettes
20. You Haven't Been Like You Should - Gillettes
21. Don't Let Me Down - Hearts
22. Be My Boyfriend - Jaynetts
23. Say You Love Me - Relations
24. Dancing In A Dream World - Jimmy & Arthur

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Catalogue No: CDKEND306