Various Artists

Thelma's Detroit Collective

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This is the second volume on the Thelma Records story issued by Northern soul freaks Goldmine. The 24 selections here focus mainly on releases from the cult labels Thelma and Ge Ge, with a couple from Apollo. Here is the place to hear the demo version of "Hit and Run" by a very young Martha Reeves, the inimitable Joey Kingfish covering the Professionals' "Did My Baby Call," the three A-sides from Martha Starr, a few from Billie Kennedy, and, of course, Emanual Laskey and the early O'Jays. Tom Storm is in the house, as is Joe Matthews himself. In addition, there are rare singles by the Fabulous Peps, the Fabulous Playboys, Mancha, the Professionals, Eddie Hill, the San Remo Golden Strings, Holidays, and the Thelma All Stars. Perhaps more than anything else, this gives yet another side of the Thelma story, a label considered even by Northern soul fans to be as collectible or as aesthetically valuable as Motown. Those points are arguable of course, but one listen to the material here offers a solid view of all things Detroit soul in the 1960s. Ingeniously arranged and produced sessions, great songs, and phenomenal singers are what gave Motown its moniker, and the Thelma, Ge Ge, and Apollo labels were no exception. This, the sound of the 1960s, marked a time of great promise, a musical terrain in which anything was possible as long as you had the chops and the opportunity to cut a single. The music here is timeless, savvy, and sexy as hell. Thelma's Detroit Collective is essential listening for any fan and/or collector of soul music.

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