Sunday, September 4, 2011

True Soul Vol. 1 & 2

Deep Sounds From the Left of Stax

Now-Again records has to be my favourite boutique label.  With the True Soul collection (I'll discuss both Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 here), label founder Egon has put together an amazing accounting of the work that came out of True Soul Records, an independent label which specialized in soul and funk during the 60s and 70s in Arkansas.

There is an impressive array of talent on these two CDs - much of which was never released before this came out.  There is work by York Wilborn's Psychedelic Six, The Conspiracy, The Leaders, Larry Davis, The Right Track, John Craig, Le'Chance, Albert Smith, Classic Funk, and more.  The best tracks on the compilations belong to Thomas East, who is incredible.

Each of these discs come in a hardcover book, with extensive liner notes.  In them, Egon talks about traveling to Little Rock while in college to meet Lee Anthony, the founder of the True Soul label.  He describes the impressive amount of work it took to get permission to issue this release, and he writes in a loving and respectful way of Anthony's accomplishments.  In many ways, I found this essay (included in both discs) to be the best part of the entire package.

As an added bonus, each album comes with a DVD that shows some TV appearances of the True Soul roster back in the day, with horrible TV production and all.  It's pretty charming and funky.  This is an amazing project.

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