Various Artists

Underground Oldies, Vol. 2

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Compilation albums of R&B singles from the '60s and '70s usually contain either familiar hits or recordings so obscure that nobody has heard of them. Collectors love the rare singles. Usually, the companies only pressed a few hundred copies, which is why they're so scarce. The Underground Oldies series are different. These recordings, while rare and unknown to many, got played on local radio stations, some received spot play around the country. The tracks are slicker and better produced then the rare birds you find on Northern soul collections. Companies exhausted their bankrolls on production and had little left for promotion. Everyone involved hoped DJs would like them enough to give em' a few spins and generate interest. A bottle of Jack Daniels or Jim Beam was the only payola these companies could afford, so they had to make good records.

Underground Oldies, Vol. 2 differs from Vol. 1 because it contains more unknown tracks by well-known artists; the first volume had more unknown tracks by obscure artists. Obscurities by Billy Stewart "I'm No Romeo," written by Jan "Mama Didn't Lie" Bradley; "Something's Missing," by Bloodstone, "Familiar Footsteps," by Gene Chandler, and "You Can't Keep a Good Man Down" by James & Bobby Purify, makes the listening interesting. You can add "Wait a Minute," by the Lost Generation (Sly, Slick & Wicked) to the list, it employs fluttering, echo-filled backing voices, an ingenious fusion of urban R&B and doo-wop. The Symphonies "That's What Love Will Do" hooks you from the first note, the female group sings the tender ballad with conviction as they warn about the pains love can bring. Philadelphia's Ambassadors sound sensational on "Yes I'm Ready," likewise for Patti Hamilton & the Lovelites, a female group from Chi-town, who deliver on "This Love Is Real," and D.C.'s Frankie & the Spindles' melodic "Count to Ten."

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