Various Artists

Remembering Roots of Soul Vol. 2: Birth of Motor Town

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Detroit's LuPine Records is perhaps most notable as a historical footnote -- the label was the home of the Primettes, who subsequently were far better known to most listeners as Diana Ross & the Supremes. And to be certain, LuPine never reached the creative or commercial peaks of rival Motown, let alone smaller Detroit imprints like Invictus or Hot Wax. But the company's output nevertheless deserves more than token curiosity status: Remembering Roots of Soul, Vol. 2: Birth of Motor Town is a strong introduction to the music LuPine generated between 1963 and 1965, a set of tight, driving Detroit soul with a strong hit of southern seasoning. Many of the label's artists enjoyed greater success after leaving LuPine -- not only the Primettes, but also Eddie Floyd, Joe Stubbs, and Bettye Lavette -- and it's fascinating to hear how their formative efforts shaped their later, best-known hits. Interestingly, many LuPine acts would migrate south to labels like Stax and Malaco, and accordingly, many of these two-dozen cuts boast a rootsy, deep soul flavor far grittier than the standard Detroit soul sound. Highlights include Mack Rise's "My Baby," Lavette's "You Killed My Love," and Floyd's "I'm Her Yo-Yo Man."