Twenty-four slices of mostly upbeat, dance-oriented soul cuts released on Chess between 1961 and 1971, though all but two date from 1964-1969. It's peppy, well-produced stuff that, like most of Chess' soul, bears the influence of both Motown and the Windy City productions of Curtis Mayfield and Carl Davis. It'll please Northern soul collectors, though it's more pleasant than compelling. Includes performances by a few big names (Gene Chandler, Billy Stewart, Etta James, the Dells), though most of them are only known to serious soul hounds, and some of the best tracks (James' "Seven Day Fool," Stewart's "A Fat Boy Can Cry") have been readily available on those artists' own compilations. Among the obscurities, Doug Banks' "I Just Kept on Dancing," on which he sounds like he's trying to become the Black Gene Pitney, is worth noting for its sheer oddity value. The Radiants' upbeat sweet soul harmonies on "Hold On" gave them a small R&B hit in 1968, though it has enough pop appeal to sound like a lost Top Ten hit of the late '60s.
Just Keep on Dancing: Chess Northern Soul Review
by Richie Unterberger
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