Here we go again. The 10th installment of Real Side Records’ soul compilation is upon us, with 20 tracks recorded between 1967 and 1981, including a lot of totally forgotten gems, unheard of material, and legends like Bobby Womack, Al Hudson, Willie Hutch, or Betty Lavette. Womack’s “Give It Up” from 1979 opens this wonderful collection of soul anthems, with Patrick Moten’s thick production work including soaring strings. Mister Hutch is included with his 1970 beauty “Let’s Try It Over Again” from his “Season For Love” LP, currently being traded for around 100 USD. And Frau Lavette’s ultra-strong and soulful voice graces “You’ll Wake Up Wiser”, originally the B side to her 1972 hit “Heart Of Gold”, and never released on a proper LP.
Three highlights at the beginning of this set, but it’s getting even better with the group Whirlwind and their 1975 goodie “Don’t Let Him Get The Best Of You”. Al Hudson & The Soul Partners are here with a pre-One Way soul ditty. “When You’re Gone” was also recorded before Al came out with his first album “Especially For You” in 1976. Mid-tempo bliss continues with Joe Anderson and his 1975 Buddah Records showstopper “You And I”. Magic stuff. Post-doo wop sounds come from Fred Waters on “Singing A New Song” (1970), reminding me of a lot of Motown tracks from that time period, and the Smallwood Brothers, who only recorded four singles in the 70s, have won us over immediately with “Day Before Tomorrow”.
There’s a classic Van McCoy production on “Girl You Cheated On Me” by The Presidents (1971), and one of the highlights of the album is “Ain’t No Need” by Ralph Graham (1974), an immaculate piece of soul with strong backing vocals, some jazzy soulful sax thrown in, and Ralph’s sympathetic voice. Steve Flanagan’s 1967 entry “i Need To Be Loved So Bad” sounds much younger, and Bob Relf is one of the names I never heard of before. His 1968 “Girl, You’re My Kind Of Wonderful” again oozes Motown class. There are very few filler tracks here, like the 1973 “This Time Around” by S.O.U.L. which doesn’t really click with me. Or the James Brown-produced I Can Remember” by Wendy Lynn who sings like she’s having a serious cold. There’s a very Barry White-sounding “Can’t Stop A Man In Love” by Mirage.
You can’t go wrong with legendary producer Patrick Adams who is at the helm of “My Baby’s Got E.S.P.”, the classic disco track from 1976 by Four Below Zero which is still unbeaten. Obscure and rare stuff is added with “Truth And Love” by The True Pages Of Life who didn’t release more than this one particular track. A shame. You just can’t go wrong with this series if you like your soul to be on the proper, honest and, yes, real side.