Various Artists

Underground Oldies, Vol. 1

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Compilation albums of R&B singles from the 60s and 70's usually contain either familiar hits, or recordings so obscure that nobody has heard of them. Collectors love rare singles. Usually, companies only pressed a few hundred copies, which is why they're so scarce.

The Underground Oldies series are different. These recordings, while rare and unknown to many, got played on local radio stations, some received spot play around the country. The tracks are slicker and better produced then the rare birds you find on Northern Soul collections. Companies exhausted their bankrolls on production, and had little left for promotion. All hoped the D. J.'s would like their records enough to give em' a few spins to generate interest. A bottle of Jack Daniels or Jim Beam was the only payola these companies could afford, so they had to make good records.

Eighteen tasteful selections make up Volume One. Including "Please Say It Isn't So," by Lee Williams & the Cymbals, an emotional tear jerker sung in William's expressive, vibrant tenor. The Cymbals had one song that cracked the R&B Top 40, the dramatic "I Love You More" (not included here). The Pretenders, like the Cymbals, recorded for Carnival Records, their best recording "For The Rest of My Days" is worth the price alone, their multi leads, and flowing harmonies are precious. The only R&B hit "The Temptation Walk," by the Entertainers 1V, is a catchy dance tune, based on the Temptations' stage moves. Ear delights by the Superbs, the Four Mints (out of Columbus, OH), the Brothers of Soul, Natural Resources, the Magic Tones, Natural Resources, the Gliders, the Debonairs, and the Whispers, will have you humming.

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