Various Artists

Let's Copp a Groove: Lost UK Soul 1968-1972

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Beacon was a British label run by a fascinating character named Milton Samuel. It lasted from 1968 to 1972, and specialized in hard-edged soul music made by Brits and Americans. Let's Copp a Groove: Lost UK Soul 1968-1972 collects 27 of the highlights released by this unsung, but really good, label. The best tracks combine deep soul voices, and a kind of groovy musical backing stationed halfway between soul and rock. Case in point: Jon and Jeannie's "We Got Lovin'," which features Jon and Jeannie trading lines back and forth in a soulful frenzy, while the guitar player doles out whip-smart hard rock solos behind them. Other tracks in this vein are Root and Jenny Jackson's cover of Aretha's "Save Me," Bobby Wells' awesome "Let's Copp a Groove," Joyce Bond's "First in Line," and the Eddy Grant-written and -produced "Black Skinned Blue Eyed Boys," by Tony Morgan and the Mussel Power Band. The label also released a lot of bubblegum soul (Cinnamon's "You Won't See Me Leaving," and Root and Jenny Jackson's "Let's Go Somewhere," to name two), quite a few tracks with an island feel (Sugar Simone's lilting "Turn on a Heatwave," Ram Jam Holder's "Yes I Do"), and also made forays into funky psych-rock (John Fitch & Associates powerful "Romantic Attitude"), instrumental novelty tracks (the Clangers' silly but cool "Dance of the Clangers"), and political soul-rock (Black Velvet's "Peace & Love Is the Message"). Despite the wide range of releases, and judging by this collection, Beacon rarely put a wrong foot forward. Let's Copp a Groove is a fun, funky, and educational listen, and a nice view of a part of British musical history that is often overlooked.

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