The Vinyl Say 007: Soul-Message

In every collection there are records that get played all the time, many of them for years, decades even. Then there are those that, while no less treasured, somehow fall by the wayside to lie in wait, ripe for rediscovery. This occasional series chronicles some of those nuggets as they resurface from my own back pages. So, put the needle on the record, put the needle on the record, put the needle on the record and it sounds like this…

Various Artists – Soul-Message (Warner Bros Musik Für Alle, 1969)

If memory serves, this Germany-only compilation was a charity shop find. I’ve dated it to 1969 purely on the strength of the inscription ‘Marjut Laine – 69’ on the back of the sleeve; although I suppose it could be some kind of Cold War code…?!

The tracks are culled from Warner’s frequently overlooked Loma imprint and flit back and forth across the border between driving R&B and proto-funk.

I picked it up having recognised Lorraine Ellison’s restrained smoker Try (Just A Little Bit Harder) – how Ms Ellison isn’t more widely revered is beyond me – and the name of JJ Jackson (But It’s Alright is a class mid-60s strut and the perfect preparation for the Northern stomper Come See Me (I’m Your Man) included here).

Further inspection reveals some genuine nuggets in the shape of The Mighty Hammond, a funk master with a fondness for filigree who hit big with the anti-war anthem Hymn No 5 and should have done better with the great big beats of Somebody in the World For You we find here.

Elsewhere, Bobby Reed’s snappy dancer I Wanna Love You So Bad is a trademark Van McCoy production with a brassy Motown zip, Lonnie Youngblood’s African Twist (Part 1) will tie you up in knots with its primal grunts and grooves that were almost certainly continued on Part 2, Ben Aiken’s lost Northern gem Satisfied and Roy Redmond’s extraordinary version of The Beatles’ Good Day Sunshine deservedly endorsed by Paul McCartney.

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