Various Artists

Backtrack, Vol. 6

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The popular conception of the Track label as the haunt of Jimi Hendrix, the Who, Arthur Brown, and a crop of (commercially) lesser British acts takes a major blow from Backtrack 6, one of the poorest-selling of all the releases in the series; and, correspondingly, one of the scarcest.

Following the mod obsession with American R&B, which in turn translated to the Northern Soul movement of the late 1960s, Track licensed a number of singles from various Stateside labels. The first, Tony Simon's "Gimme Little Sign," was issued in mid-1967, just a dozen singles into the label's life; it was followed within weeks by efforts from the Debonaires, the Precisions, the Sandpipers, Al Kent and, representing George Clinton's first-ever U.K. record releases, the Parliaments. Their "Testify" is one of four Parliaments numbers to be featured on Backtrack 6 -- the last of the six Backtrack albums to be released on the same day in May 1970. "If This Is Love," "Love Power," and "You've Got to Pay the Price," the next three singles in the Track numerical catalog, are each included here, together with their B-sides. The Debonaires' "I'm in Love Again," released in 1970, and two other Parliaments cuts that somehow slipped the schedule, complete the package. Not one of the singles sold particularly well, but Track's faith in the genre is borne out by the fact that two of them, "Testify" and "Love Power," would be reissued in 1968, while the quality of each release is only amplified by their collection here. In terms of simple listening power, Backtrack 6 is one of the finest albums in the entire series.

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