The San Remo Golden Strings

Hungry for Love

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The San Remo Golden Strings occupy a unique place in the history of Detroit soul. A revolving group of local session musicians (among them members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra) assembled by the fledgling Ric-Tic label to create easy listening-style instrumental renditions of contemporary pop hits, what should have been bland, cookie-cutter records instead tapped into the universal Motown groove -- there is a genuine soulfulness and swagger to their recordings that is completely unexpected, and entirely welcome. Not only was 1965's "Hungry for Love" a Top 30 pop hit, but for a while, the San Remo Golden Strings even included moonlighting members of Motown's own legendary house band the Funk Brothers -- in fact, this incarnation of the ensemble backed singer Edwin Starr on his classic "Agent Double O Soul," and when Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr. discovered the ruse, he fined each guilty Funk Brother $1,000.00 for the transgression. The limited-edition Hungry for Love compiles 27 of the group's finest instrumentals. Not surprisingly, given the music's Motown-wannabe roots, there's a pronounced Northern Soul vibe hanging over the proceedings, and some of these renditions are even more eminently danceable than the originals. Highlights include "Lonely One," "Joy Road," and "Blueberry Hill."

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