The Northern Soul off-shoot of the British mod movement became the U.K. equivalent of the stateside Motor City- and Memphis-based R&B factions, thriving in clubs and discotheques across England. Over two dozen representative selections are gathered here, demonstrating the scene's unmistakable fusion of beat-based rock & roll with rhythm and blues. The vast majority of these musicians didn't garner significant international recognition, however, thanks to Decca Records' assorted sub-genre defining 'Scene' related titles, selections including Frankie & Johnny's optimistic affirmation "I'll Hold You" or the sexy proto-Philly score heard on Sonny Childe's "Giving Up on Love" are finally getting their due. The Motown sound was an obvious influence on Elkie Brooks' reading of "The Way You Do the Things You Do," "My Smile Is Just a Frown (Turned Upside Down)" from Truly Smith and "Ask the Lonely" by the Fantastics. Interestingly, the latter combo originated in the United States as the Velours prior to touring Europe as the Drifters. Clyde McPhatter -- another musical ex-patriot and ironically the co-founder of the real Drifters -- became a sizable solo artist in England during the mid- to late-'60s, recording right up until his untimely passing in 1972. The workout "Baby You Got It" is a perfect example of the funky style he ultimately became associated with. Similarly, Tom Jones ("Stop Breaking My Heart") and David Essex' ("So-Called Loving") would gain similar notoriety for their occasional blue-eyed soul leanings, such as those on this package. Mickey Moonshine's aggressive and slightly trippy "Name It, You Got It," Jon Gunn's darkly baroque "I Just Made Up My Mind," as well as Tony Newman's propulsive "Let the Good Times Roll" are among the adventurous excursions, allowing for a much more comprehensive summation of the Northern Soul Scene.
AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer