Various Artists

R&B (With a Little Soul) at Abbey Road 1963 to 1969

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Constructed in 1830 and renovated by the Gramophone Company Ltd. (later EMI Records) in 1931, the facility located at 3 Abbey Road in London is the most famous recording studio in popular music history -- on June 6, 1962, the fledgling Beatles descended on Abbey Road to cut the four songs with producer George Martin that would earn them a record contract with EMI, and on September 26, 1969, the street in question was immortalized as the title of their final LP recording as a working band. But the Beatles were far from the only act that recorded at Abbey Road at a time when London was the unrivaled center of the musical universe -- the excellent R&B (With a Little Soul) at Abbey Road 1963 to 1969 compiles 26 cuts from the heyday of the beat boom, an era where white British artists translated their love of American R&B into a raw, vital sound that heralded the rebirth of rock & roll. There are big names here -- Rod Stewart covers the Sam Cooke classic "Shake" and Manfred Mann contribute a serviceable rendition of the Screamin' Jay Hawkins landmark "I Put a Spell on You" -- but the real highlights come via little-known acts like Ottilie Patterson ("Baby Please Don't Go") and the Toggery Five ("Bye Bye Bird").