Gotta Get a Good Thing Goin': Black Music in Britain in the Sixties

Various Artists

  • AllMusic Rating
    9
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

Gotta Get a Good Thing Goin': Black Music in Britain in the Sixties Review

by Andy Kellman

Gotta Get a Good Thing Goin' documents the musical impact of postwar Caribbean and African immigration on Britain in the '60s and leaves ample room to accommodate selections by Black American expatriates. Its four discs celebrate Black artists whose music -- issued on labels ranging from independents Planetone, Blue Beat, and Island to the majors -- circulated first through domestic blues parties and mobile sound systems, extending to the annual Notting Hill Carnival (launched in 1959 as Caribbean Carnival, following a wave of racist attacks) and beyond. The deep-digging nature of the set is indicated by its title song. Among many tracks making a first appearance on CD, "Gotta Get a Good Thing Goin'" is an upbeat piece of group harmony pop-soul by the short-lived Soul Brothers, featuring Trinidadian Tony Wilson (before he co-founded Hot Chocolate). Many other shades of R&B fill the anthology's first half. Horn-decked swinging soul is served up by U.K.-stationed U.S. Air Force veteran Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band, an inspiration for Dexys Midnight Runners' chart-topping "Geno." London-based South Carolinians the Flirtations deliver the girl group cult classic "Nothing But a Heartache," a belter. Caleb Quaye draws the link to Ghana with the wild freakbeat of "Baby Your Phrasing Is Bad." The grandest and most riveting song here is provided by the Chants, a Beatles-approved group from Liverpool. Their "A Man Without a Face" is a sorrowful ballad that reveals: "I go and see a movie show, the people move when I come near/But when I'm standing on that stage, people shout and then they cheer." Incredibly, it was a B-side, and is among the tracks new to CD. Shifting focus, disc three focuses on Caribbean-derived styles such as calypso, ska, and rocksteady, offering apposite and largely underappreciated tunes from the likes of Laurel Aitken ("Scandal in Brixton Market"), "My Boy Lollipop" singer Millie (the Desmond Dekker-penned "My Love and I"), and Cab Kaye, Caleb Quaye's calypsonian father ("Everything Is Go"). The last disc casts a wider net, spotlighting artists as dissimilar as pop powerhouse Shirley Bassey (another B-side, "Sunshine"), folk singer/autoharpist Dorris Henderson (beside John Renbourn on "Watch the Stars"), and pianist Winifred Atwell (with the aptly titled instrumental "Bossa Nova Boogie"). In addition to the trove of music, there's an image-rich booklet with an extensive essay from Soul Survivors magazine co-founder Fitzroy Facey and track-by-track annotation.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1
The Soul Brothers 02:26 Amazon
2
The Flirtations 02:43 Amazon
3
Carl Douglas 02:24 Amazon
4
Jimmy Thomas 02:39 Amazon
5
Jimmy James & the Vagabonds 02:32 Amazon
6
Jackie Edwards 02:38 Amazon
7
Chris Rayburn 02:36 Amazon
8
Herbie Goins & the Night-Timers 02:39 Amazon
9
Jimmy Cliff 02:29 Amazon
10
The Ferris Wheel 02:13 Amazon
11
Geno Washington & the Ram Jam Band 02:25 Amazon
12
Cleo Laine 02:47 Amazon
13
Danny Williams 02:07 Amazon
14
Madeline Bell 02:57 Amazon
15
Watson T. Browne & The Explosive 02:43 Amazon
16
Ebony Keyes 02:47 Amazon
17
Sugar Simone 03:06 Amazon
18
Kim D. 02:07 Amazon
19
Brothers Grimm 02:23 Amazon
20
Lucas & The Mike Cotton Sound 02:38 Amazon
21
Fantastics 02:49 Amazon
22
Oliver Norman 03:07 Amazon
23
Owen Gray 02:37 Amazon
24
John L. Watson & The Hummelflugs 02:53 Amazon
25
Kenny Lynch 03:28 Amazon
26
Root & Jenny Jackson 02:53 Amazon
27
Kenny Bernard 02:25 Amazon
28
Ram John Holder 03:04 Amazon
29
Hoagy Benson 04:39 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 4

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1
Shirley Bassey 02:50 Amazon
2
Maxine Nightingale 02:26 Amazon
3
Peter Straker 02:22 Amazon
4
Peanut 02:23 Amazon
5
Mel Turner 02:25 Amazon
6
Joy Marshall 02:27 Amazon
7
Eldridge Devlin 02:38 Amazon
8
Cleo 03:08 Amazon
9
You
Lorraine Child 02:44 Amazon
10
Dorris Henderson / John Renbourn 02:15 Amazon
11
Mable Hillery 04:04 Amazon
12
Champion Jack Dupree / T.S. McPhee 02:19 Amazon
13
Otis Spann 03:24 Amazon
14
Screamin' Jay Hawkins 01:37 Amazon
15
The Joe Harriott Quintet 05:45 Amazon
16
Flash Domincii / The Supersonics 03:54 Amazon
17
Shake Keane 03:25 Amazon
18
The New Orleans Knights 02:41 Amazon
19
The Chariots 02:11 Amazon
20
The Southlanders 02:58 Amazon
21
Winifred Atwell 02:07 Amazon
22
Emile Ford & the Big Six 02:05 Amazon
23
Howie Casey & the Seniors 02:41 Amazon
24
Ricky Wayne & The Fabulous Flee-Rakkers / Ricky Wayne 01:50 Amazon
25
Ray Ellington 02:08 Amazon
26
Ray King Soul Band 02:36 Amazon
27
Fitzroy Coleman 02:39 Amazon
28
Davy Jones 02:59 Amazon
29
Geoff Love & His Orchestra 02:16 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick