Pied Piper: Follow Your Soul – Various Artists CD (Kent)
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A second serving of the outstanding talent created by this Detroit production team from 1965-1967.
Pied Piper Productions was a group of Detroit arrangers, writers, artists and musicians who unwittingly defined the Northern Soul style in their short 1965-1967 span. The main musicians – Jack Ashford, Mike Terry, Joe Hunter and Herbie Williams – were original members of Motown studio crew the Funk Brothers.
“Pied Piper – Follow Your Soul” features some of the biggest Northern Soul discoveries of recent times. Nancy Wilcox provides the pounding ‘He’ll Be Leaving You’ and the equally classy ‘More Than A Memory’. September Jones’ ‘Voo Doo Madamoiselle’, previously available only on one of our newly-minted Pied Piper singles, is one of the biggest dancefloor records of the past two years. Her previously unissued ‘You Better Know Why’ is more soul perfection, while the equally captivating ‘No More Love’ made it onto 60s vinyl.
Lorraine Chandler’s original take of the James Bond-themed ‘You Only Live Twice’ is even more urgent than the version we revealed in the 90s, while her ‘Lost Without You’ shows Pied Piper was also capable of mesmerising ballads. The Cavaliers are represented by the finished version of ‘Ooh It Hurts Me’ (featuring Jack Ashford’s rhythm track, missing from all previous versions) and the stunning ‘Without Someone To Tell Me’ (the acetate of which famously sold for a small fortune). Fellow Detroiters the Metros have a previously unheard number and one with a convoluted history.
There are established Northern classics by the Dynamics and Sharon Scott, plus newly discovered photos of both acts in the booklet. Harry Gates’ haunting ‘Love Will Find A Way’, which utilises the backing of Tony Hester’s ‘Just Can’t Leave You’, is a terrific find. Hester’s own ‘Watch Yourself’ is also included. The Pied Piper Players, the musicians on the sessions, can be heard uncluttered by any pesky singers on ‘Hold To My Baby’ and ‘Love Sick’. There are super mid-tempo ballads from Freddy Butler and the Hesitations, both of whom also provide a dancer apiece, plus cameos from Sam E Solo and Mikki Farrow.
All in all, this second collection of Pied Piper productions is at least as strong as the first, 2013’s “Pied Piper Presents A New Concept In Detroit Soul”. Ady Croasdell – Ace Records
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