Various Artists

GWP: NYC, TLC, Vol. 2

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GWP productions and the GWP label worked with a host of soul performers based in New York and Detroit, though as the liner notes to this compilation frankly note, their "successes were few and far between." This 24-track CD has a couple dozen tracks cut under their direction from the late '60s and early '70s, half of them previously unreleased. A reissue with an unwieldy title such as GWP NYC TLC Vol. 2 is obviously geared toward the collector market, though even soul specialists might not view it as a jump-off-the-shelf item owing to the pretty average level of the music and the obscurity of most of the performers. Of the numerous artists here, only the Hesitations made a commercial impact, and a mild one at that, though some might recognize Larry Banks as the composer of the early soul classic "Go Now" (made into a British Invasion hit by the Moody Blues). As a composite, the CD is the sound of a company casting about for a hit, knowing what it's doing production-wise, and recruiting skilled performers, but not having that something special needed to make either a commercial or artistic impact. It sure tried a lot of approaches, tending toward the slightly glossier soul style of the period, though some bluesiness creeps into the efforts by Banks and Benny Gordon. Occasionally a track stands out as worthy of closer attention than most, like the Hesitations' lusciously harmonized cover of Barbara Mason's hit "Yes I'm Ready" or "How Long Can This Last" by Debbie Taylor, whose despondent wailing vocals have an urgency missing from many of these artists. Influences are sometimes pretty obvious for those who like music of a certain type, Alice Clark's "You Hit Me (Right Where It Hurt Me)" sounding a great deal like an end-of-'60s Motown production.