Various Artists

Northern Soul of Dore: Rare Masters, Vol. 1 and 2

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Launched in 1958 by Era Records owners Herb Newman and Lou Bedell -- with an A&R department headed up by Lou Adler and Herb Alpert -- the Hollywood-based Dore Records immediately topped the charts with the Teddy Bears' "To Know Him Is to Love Him," but the company never quite seemed to hit its stride, subsequently becoming best known for a series of comedy and novelty efforts. But during the mid-'60s, Dore was also a source of solid if little-known soul records, scoring a handful of hits with the Whispers. Compiling 53 cuts across two CDs, The Northern Soul of Dore: Rare Masters, Vol. 1 and 2 documents the best of the label's output, which spanned breathy, sweet-soul ballads to driving proto-funk, all sunkissed by a typically shimmering L.A. production ethos. Highlights include Frances Lark's "Hold Back the Dawn," Puff's "Moon Out There," Ray Marchand's "Your Ship of Fools," and Bobby Jean's "Street Dance."