The Big Apple had long been an important centre of Afro-American music, following on from its Tin Pan Alley status, and this trend continued after World War Two. Together with large independent labels like Atlantic and Jubilee, smaller labels jostled for sales in a crowded marketplace, recording almost all the black music styles: country blues, city R&B, gospel, doo wop – and everything in between.
By 1966, soul was the dominant musical genre throughout the US, and New York was THE recording centre, producing more records than anywhere else. This CD avoids the better-known hits, and you may not have heard of a lot of the singers, but these tracks, often from tiny labels, represent the sound of the city rather better than many big label productions. This is the sound from the streets and clubs – music that got heard and appreciated way below the radar.
We’ve brought together all the branches of the soul tree from funky R&B to sweet group soul, from pounding uptempo dancers to big city cry ballads. There’s something in these grooves for the feet and for the heart – what more could anyone want?