One Kent release many of us have been waiting for, The Pied Piper Masters. You will have to wait a little longer as it is scheduled for release on 28th January.
This CD heralds the biggest unearthing of Detroit and Northern Soul masters for decades. It is as important and thrilling as the Scepter, Wand and Musicor cache, the Dave Hamilton tapes or the unissued RCA treasure of the 80s and 90s.
On this volume alone there are previously unheard gems from the Cavaliers, September Jones, Lorraine Chandler, Nancy Wilcox and Willie Kendrick; not forgetting two great instrumentals from the Pied Piper musicians. There are also the original Giant label releases that were issued in 1966 on Tony Hester, The Sandpipers and Mike & Ray, while the first Pied Piper productions for indy labels like Mikki Farrow on Karate and Sam E Soul on Ruby are also included.
Working with the master tapes was a pleasure and to hear these wonderfully produced Detroit masterpieces as they were laid down has been a revelation.
The original, substantially faster version of Lorraine Chandler’s Northern Soul classic ‘I Can’t Hold On’ is a fresh and exciting take on a record that has been played solidly for nearly forty years. Her alternate vocal to ‘Mend The Torn Pieces’ is quite a shock. It is in a very different, deep soul style to the poppier, girly version that we issued on the Rare Collectible And Soulful CD in the mid 90s. Nancy Wilcox only had one 45 release but cut six tracks for the company and ‘Gambler’s Blues’ has been played to great acclaim at Northern dances over the past eight years from a very expensive publisher’s acetate.
The company’s own imprint was Giant, the earlier Detroit version as opposed to the slightly later Chicago label (which confusingly also had writer and saxophonist Mike Terry’s involvement). Tony Hestor’s first single before he teamed up with his writing partner Popcorn Wylie is a masterpiece of lilting, anguished soul that has grown in stature in recent years. The Sandpipers atmospheric ‘Lonely Too Long’ and Mike & Ray’s ‘If You Only Knew’ on the label also fetch big money, as does the Karate only release by Mikki Farrow ‘Could It Be’.
The reason Pied Piper has been so esteemed over the years is due to the number of Northern Soul classics played in the 70s heyday of the scene. The Hesitations ‘I’m Not Built That Way’ and Freddy Butler’s ‘That’s When I Need You’ were massive records back then and along with the previously mentioned tracks meant the words Pied Piper were spoken with reverence. What makes this CD so exciting are the new tracks by established Northern stars like the haunting ‘I Hear Music’ by Lorraine Chandler and Willie Kendrick’s unique vocal style applied to the Metros’ number ‘Time Changes Things’.
Mid 60s Detroit recordings rarely slowed below mid-tempo but Sam E Solo ‘Tears Keep Falling’ is a fabulous soul number with a lazy, catchy beat that bucked that trend. The Cavaliers ‘We Go Together’ is a very classy mid tempo take on a song that co-owner Shelley Haims co-wrote in the 50s for the Moonglows and was later cut by Jan & Dean. This 1966 soul version has excited the North’s top DJs and is certain to be a monster sound in 2013.
The most exciting discovery for a lot of people will be the original version of Rose Batiste’s ‘I Miss My Baby’ which Pied Piper recorded several months before the Revilot release. This recording is titled ‘This Heart Is Lonely’ as the song was originally written. Shelley remembered it as being by Telma Hopkins the Detroit backing singer who went on to fame with Dawn in the early 70s and recently as a top US actress. However the vocal style is so similar to that of Rose Batiste on Revilot, we are assuming it is her. How the tape ended up first with Revilot and secondly in an instrumental form as ‘Bari Track’ by Doni Burdick on Sound Impression another year later, is a mystery that is still unravelling.
Finally, almost in the Little Ann category for having her light hidden under a bush, September Jones gives us four of her eight Pied Piper sides that resulted in just one solitary 45 release licensed to Kapp. This expensive single ‘I’m Coming Home’ is as fine an example of Detroit’s soul craft as was ever committed to wax; tortured and moody, superbly produced and delivered with a hypnotic beat. The unissued sides are equally fine and with another four gems to be featured on the second volume, her time in the spotlight is assured.
Compilation and comprehensive sleeve notes by Ady Croasdell.
1. I Can t Hold On (Original Version) - Lorraine Chandler
2. Stuttering Sam - September Jones
3. Gamblers Blues - Nancy Wilcox
4. This Heart Is Lonely - Rose Batiste
5. She Won t Come Back - The Hesitations
6. Just Can t Leave You - Tony Hester
7. We Go Together - The Cavaliers
8. That's When I Need You - Freddy Butler
9. Give Me All Of Your Love - September Jones
10. That s What Love Is - The Pied Piper Players
11. Time Changes Things - Willie Kendrick
12. I Fell In Love (Can t Help It) - Freddy Butler
13. Could It Be - Mikki Farrow
14. I Hear Music - Lorraine Chandler
15. I m Coming Home - September Jones
16. Mend The Torn Pieces Of My Heart (Original Version) - Lorraine Chandler
17. He ll Be Leaving You - The Pied Piper Players
18. Chink A Chank Baby - September Jones
19. I m Not Built That Way - The Hesitations
20. In The End - Nancy Wilcox
21. If Only You Knew - Mike & Ray
22. Lonely Too Long - The Sandpipers
23. Tears Keep Falling - Sam E Solo
24. Tell Me Your Mine - Lorraine Chandler