Thursday, May 13, 2021

VA - Soul Treasures of Amy, Mala, & Bell Records (1963-1969) [2018] (2 x CD's)



VA - Soul Treasures of Amy, Mala, & Bell Records (1963-1969) [2018] (2 x CD's)

In the 1960's, Bell Records and its subsidiary labels put out a lot of soul of varying stripes, though sometimes these were via distribution deals with other companies. The scope of this 2 x CD compilation is impressive: 50 songs from all over the United States, many by obscure performers, others lesser-known tracks by artists of varying renown, including Gladys Knight & the Pips, Jimmy Jones, Larry Williams & Johnny Watson, Eddie Holman, Aaron Neville, Little Eva, the Emotions, Don & Juan, Gino Washington, and the Showmen. But perhaps because Bell and its sister imprints were issuing productions from all over instead of stressing self-generated product from one base, there isn't much of a consistent sound that carries over from cut to cut. It's just a collection of collectable soul, more often than not toward the poppier end, that happened to come out under the Bell bell. Only a few of them had chart success, and those tend to be the more memorable offerings, especially the pre-Motown, Van McCoy-produced Gladys Knight hits "Giving Up" and "Lovers Always Forgive." There are also some original versions of songs some listeners will associate more heavily with other performers, like Jimmy Radcliffe's "My Ship Is Comin' In" (covered by the Walker Brothers), Lou Johnson's "(There's) Always Something to Remind Me" (a British hit for Sandie Shaw), and, coolest of all, the Emperors' raw 1966 shouter "Karate," which was adapted by Santana into "Everybody's Everything." Much of the rest is just OK, though some tracks glow brighter, like Don & Juan's close-harmony goodie "Could This Be Love," Lou Johnson's uptown soul groover "Unsatisfied," Eddie Holman's orchestrated ballad "I'm Not Gonna Give Up," Tobi Legend's credibly late-'60s Motown-esque "Time Will Pass You By," and Aaron Neville's little-known 1969 single "She's on My Mind," which has vibrato singing the equal of those on his more famed waxings. For novelty seekers, there's "C'mon Cupid," a 1968 single by Roosevelt Grier, more known as a football star. Note, however, that the version of Jay Wiggins' well-remembered melancholy 1963 ballad "Sad Girl" is not the better-known one that shows up on hits compilations such as Rhino's Beg Scream & Shout! box, but a different, inferior one with a much sparser arrangement. (AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger)



Track lists


01 Emperors Karate 2:31

02 Jimmy Jones Personal Property 2:25

03 Lou Johnson There's Always Something There to Remind Me 3:14

04 Emotions Somebody New 2:43

05 Emperors My Baby Likes to Boogaloo 2:57

06 Moses My Elusive Dreams 2:17

07 Oscar Mack Put Out the Fire (Let Me Go) 2:22

08 Gladys Knight & the Pips Lovers Always Forgive (Mono) 2:35

09 Attractions Find Me 2:55

10 Ben & Spence You're the One for Me 2:10

11 Don & Juan Could This Be Love 2:36

12 Melvin Davis Save it (Never Too Late) 2:16

13 Emperors Looking for My Baby 2:16

14 Four Sonics It Takes Two 2:16

15 Gladys Knight & the Pips Giving Up (Mono) 3:01

16 Ben & Spence Woman, Hang Your Head in Shame 2:09

17 Don & Juan Pledging My Love 2:23

18 Oscar Mack I'm Glad It's Over 3:21

19 Jay Wiggins Sad Girl 2:05

20 Lou Johnson Unsatisfied 2:44

21 Emotions Brushfire 2:49

22 Moses Dillard Get Out of My Heart 1:57

23 Attractions New Girl in the Neighborhood 3:04

24 Ben & Spence Long Ago 2:55

25 Emperors Tic - Tac - Toe 2:58


26 Larry Williams & Johnny Watson Can't Find No Substitute for L 3:03

27 Chuck Brooks I've Got to Get Myself Together 2:29

28 Sam Hutchins Big D Breakdown 2:45

29 Showmen Medley 39-21-46, Hey Baby 2:19

30 Eddie Holman I'm Not Gonna Give Up 2:55

31 Sam Hutchins Dang Me 2:31

32 Roosevelt Grier C'mon Cupid 2:27

33 Aaron Neville She's on My Mind 2:43

34 Lloyd Hendricks Your Cold Heart 3:10

35 Emperors I've Got to Have Her 2:27

36 Larry Williams & Johnny Watson I Could Love You Baby 3:09

37 Bernie Williams Ever Again 2:30

38 Gino Washington I'll Be Around (When You Want Me) 2:09

39 Little Eva That's My Man 1:57

40 Showmen What Would it Take 2:48

41 Melvin Davis Love Bug Got a Bear Hug 2:46

42 Chuck Brooks Baa Baa Black Sheep 2:26

43 Tobi Legend Time Will Pass You By 3:04

44 Gladys Knight & the Pips Either Way I Lose (Mono) 2:35

45 Jimmy Jones Snap My Fingers 2:12

46 Sam Hutchins I'm the One for You 2:50

47 Eddie Holman I'll Cry for 100 Years 2:08

48 Showmen Action 2:13

49 Jimmy Radcliffe My Ship is Comin' In 2:49

50 Aaron Neville You Can Give But You Can't Take 3:45




  1. Onya Butterboy!! Love the Soul, especially the more obscure, regional music.

    1. Hi Jimmy,
      I think we are in the same club....


  2. Thanks for these obscure soul treasures!!! This compilation will get from me the attention it deserves!!!

    1. Hi Il Commendatore,
      I hope so.Its such a cool album.


  3. Replies
    1. Hi Bob Mac,

      You are welcome.
      A bit chilly today...


  4. 1963-1969 : for me, the best years of the soul music! A lot to discover here.
    Many thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Racati,
      Thanks for that.
      This is a nice collection.


  5. Hi Butterboy, please can you re-up. Many thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Roger,
      New link established, tested and working.