In New York, the shape of African-American music was changing in 1970. Funk was now the thing. Groups like the Isley Brothers and Kool & The Gang were leading the charge and almost everyone was following, as can be heard on most of the tracks here. The structure of the music business was altering as well. Prominent independent record labels like Veep, Diamond and Amy that had featured strongly in previous LPs in this series, had already closed their doors, while other large concerns such as Musicor, Jubilee, Kapp and Shout were on their last legs.
But despite this we’ve still been able to find 17 stunning soul songs to populate this album. And while funky rhythms predominate there is still room for mainstream soul, sweet soul and group harmonies to savour. Singers move from the rightly celebrated such as Garnett Mimms and Marva Whitney to the obscure Lee Jackson and Beverly Hammonds. But all of them demonstrate the power and prestige of Big Apple music at its best.
Notes by John Ridley
(to ship from June 12th)