Bill Haney was an all-around entrepreneur -- producer, label owner, occasional songwriter -- whose Down South Productions generated a bunch of soul recordings in the 1960s and early '70s. Some were released on his own Chant label, some were leased to other companies, and some were unreleased. This 24-song compilation combines all of the above categories; indeed, half of it was previously unreissued. It's acceptable period Southern soul, varying from sweet romantic stuff to gritty son-of-Otis Redding-or-James Brown tunes, but it doesn't stand up to even the better unknown soul of the era. The only names familiar to general fans are Dee Clark, Roy Hamilton, and Arthur Alexander, all represented by unreleased songs, none recorded when the artists were at their peaks; Alexander's tune, "You Better Listen to Me," is nice but way too derivative of his famous "You Better Move On." The same lack of originality afflicts even the better cuts on this collection. Jarvis Jackson's "Something I Ain't Never Had," for instance, is a cop (and a rather good one) of the style Otis Redding used on "I've Been Loving You Too Long," and Stax-y riffs also surface on things like the Dino & Doc male-female duets. A less clichéd source was plundered for Charlie Thomas' "Don't Let Me Know," whose melody is uncomfortably similar to Gerry & the Pacemakers' "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying."
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger