Every element of the title of Ace's 2013 compilation New Breed Blues with Black Popcorn needs decoding, at least for those who aren't deeply immersed within the minutiae of R&B record collecting. First of all, "New Breed R&B" refers to a certain segment of Northern soul fan, itself a very distinct subset of soul fan who favors bright, uptempo, wannabe pop crossovers in the '60s. "New Breed" generally refers to R&B that favors rhythm over blues, and that is certainly true of the 24 songs on this 2013 compilation, collecting sides originally released on the imprints Brent, Galaxy, Time, Serock, Carnival, Candix, Brent, Fraternity, Revellie, Crown, and others between 1959 and 1964, or recorded during those five years and kept on the shelves until this time. Basically, this music is sweet and bright, relying on both propulsive rhythms and big, irresistible hooks, and the slight emphasis on insistent dance music pushes it closer to the popcorn realm, a style that never emphasized digging deep. Occasionally, this collection spits out something surprising -- the insistent backing vocals of "Don't Knock It" never jibe with the harmonica and the results are wonderful -- but generally, this consists of songs which hit almost straight down the middle, connecting (or just avoiding) their given target. Perhaps it'd be more fun if it took a few detours, but this sticks to a familiar path and serves up fun if forgotten tunes that have gained just a bit of stature due to their age.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine