Links – www.therabbitfactory.net
Another great set featuring a whole bunch of stuff coming out of the Birmingham scene from the vaults of Neal Hemphill, and digging the crates with rarities, unknowns and previously unissued. 24 tracks and superbly packaged.
Ranging from upbeat thru deep all with a hard southern soul edge, but with the Birmingham stamp on it. Some fantastic tracks on here, none more so than Chuck Mitchell’s superb Let Me Be Myself. Of course, David Sea is always consistent and good and that is confirmed with the excellent Work Hard
Take My Hand by Frederick Knight is also very worthwhile, an artist that I hadn’t really cared for too much previously. Soulful Sound of Music and Strickly Soul by Bobby Dobyne and the Barefacts are two examples of fine upbeat 60’s soul.
Set Me Free by Sam Frazier does a version of Set me Free. a song popularised in Northern Soul circles, by Ralph Jackson, who also features on an alternative version on this set, with his original version being on volume 1. Sam’s version actually is not too different, still good though. Set Me Free (demo version)Ralph ‘Soul’ Jackson
Stop By by Chuck Mitchell is a deep soul ballad of the highest order and Chuck is fast becoming my favourite artist on this compilation. Let’s Go To The End Together by Frankie is a wonderful sweet soul ballad.
I’m a Telling YouWes Lewis InstrumentalS.O.B. Da Da Dee Dee DaCortez Greer Everybody’s Doin’ The WormHope Parker It Slipped Right By YouFrederick Knight Oh When You Wake UpFletcher Flowers How When or WhereFrederick Knight Take Me BackSam Frazier Best Of My YearsWes Lewis Let Your Sweet Love Surround MeRalph ‘Soul’ Jackson . Knock In For A Second ChanceLee Wilson I’ve Been Lonely For So Long (demo version)Frederick Knight
I have been critical of some compilations that have dug into the vaults for the sake of rarity, ego, completeness or some other reason and issued substandard packages, which actually are detrimental rather than being positive. I cannot say this about this set, compiled with love, but also coming out with, by and large, a fabulous quality set.
The work here is mostly deep soul, but is often quite upbeat as well — a nice change from standard modes of Memphis, Miami, or Muscle Shoals at the time — and proof that the Birmingham scene really deserves a closer look. Titles include “Best Of My Years” and “I’m A Telling You” by Wes Lewis, “Work Hard” by David Sea, “Let Me Be Myself” and “Stop By” by Chuck Mitchell, “Instrumental” by SOB, “Testify” and “Da Da Dee Dee Da” by Cortez Greer, “Let Your Sweet Love Surround Me” and “Matchbox” by Ralph Soul Jackson, “Knock In For A Second Chance” by Lee Wilson, “Set Me Free” and “Take Me Back” by Sam Frazier, “Everybody’s Doin The Worm” by Hope Parker, “Let’s Go To The End Together” by Frankie, and “How When Or Where” by Frederick Knight.