VA - The Curtom Story (1996)

VA - The Curtom Story (1996)

Artist: Various artists
Title: The Curtom Story
Year Of Release: 1996
Label: Snapper UK
Genre: Soul, Pop, Funk, Soundtracks
Quality: Mp3, 320 kbps
Total Time: 02:34:23
Total Size: 373 Mb

Disc 1 - Windy City Mixture
01-01 Jamo Thomas - I Spy (For The F.B.I.)
01-02 The Five Stairsteps - Don't Waste Your Time
01-03 The Five Stairsteps - Come Back
01-04 June Conquest- - Take Care
01-05 Cash McCall - You Mean Everything To Me
01-06 The Fascinations - I'm So Lucky (He Loves Me)
01-07 The Mayfield Singers - I've Been Trying
01-08 The Fascinations - Girls Are Out To Get You
01-09 June Conquest - What's This I See
01-10 The Amazers - Without A Warning
01-11 The Symphonics - Guilty
01-12 The Winstons - Need A Replacement
01-13 The Five Stairsteps & Cubie - Don't Change Your Love
01-14 The Impressions - Fool For You
01-15 The Five Stairsteps & Cubie - Stay Close To Me
01-16 The Impressions - This Is My Country
01-17 Donny Hathaway & June Conquest - I Thank You
01-18 Baby Huey & The Baby Sitters - Mighty Mighty Children
01-19 The Impressions - Seven Years
01-20 Babby Franklin's Insanity - Bring It On Down To Me (Part 1)
01-21 Holly Maxwell - Suffer
01-22 The Impressions - Choice Of Colors
01-23 Nolan Chance - I'll Never Forget You
01-24 The Stridells - Mix It Up
01-25 Moses Dillard & The Tex Town Display - I've Got To Find A Way (Part 1)
01-26 The Impressions - Check Out Your Mind
01-27 Jesse Anderson - I Got A Problem
01-28 Freddie Waters - I Love You, I Love You, I Love You
01-29 Major Lance - Stay Away From Me
Disc 2 - Chicago Superpeople
02-01 The Impressions - (Baby) Turn On To Me
02-02 Major Lance - Must Be Love Coming Down
02-03 The Impressions - Ain't Got Time
02-04 Love's Children - Soul Is Love
02-05 Curtis Mayfield - Move On Up
02-06 Curtis Mayfield - Superfly
02-07 Leroy Hutson - So In Love With You
02-08 The Natural Four - Can This Be Real
02-09 Gene Chandler - Just Be True
02-10 The Triplett Twins - Get It
02-11 The Jones Girls - Will You Be There
02-12 Ground Hog - Bumpin'
02-13 Chuck Ray - Reconsider
02-14 The Natural Four - You Bring Out The Best In Me
02-15 The Notations - Superpeople
02-16 Leroy Hutson - Lucky Fellow
02-17 The Impressions - Sooner Or Later
02-18 The Notations - Think Before You Stop
02-19 The Staple Singers - Let's Do It Again
02-20 Mavis Staples - A Piece Of The Action
02-21 Linda Clifford - Runaway Love
02-22 Fred Wesley - House Party
It's a sad commentary that the only reasonably definitive retrospective of the most important Black-owned record label of the early '70s exists only as a British import. Charly Records' 51-song double-CD Curtom Story is the perfect companion volume to Rhino's Curtis Mayfield triple-CD set, with surprisingly little overlap -- more than 30 artists are represented, not only Curtis Mayfield (two songs) and the Impressions (five songs), and the expected stars like the Stairsteps, Leroy Hutson, the Natural Four, and Linda Clifford, but also Gene Chandler, Jamo Thomas (who was on Eddie Thomas' self-named label), the Fascinations, June Conquest, Donny Hathaway, Major Lance, Cash McCall, the Amazers, the Winstons, the Symphonics, the Stridells, Baby Huey, the Bobby Franklin Insanity, Moses Dillard & the Tex Town Display, Jesse Anderson, Freddie Waters, the Triplett Twins, the Notations, the Staple Singers, Mavis Staples, the Notations, and Fred Wesley. What's more, there's hardly a weak track anywhere on this set, which is also annotated with extraordinary thoroughness by Trevor Swaine. Additionally, in contrast to some Charly reissues of the '80s, The Curtom Story boasts stunning sound. The hits by each of these artists are here, from Jamo Thomas' 1966 "I Spy (For the F.B.I.)" to Fred Wedley's "House Party," from 1980, a range and a time span that speak volumes about Curtom Records' importance in the R&B field -- even the non-hits such as the Mayfield Singers' "I've Been Trying" show off a level of style and sophistication in its arrangement that pointed toward Curtis Mayfield's ambitious, early-'70s solo work; and even where the material isn't groundbreaking in some respect, as in the case of June Conquest's "What's This I See," the Amazers' "Without A Warning," the Symphonics' "Guilty" (with a delicious baritone sax solo that comes out of nowhere), or the Winstons' gloriously harmonized "Need a Replacement," it's so eminently listenable and enjoyable on its own terms, that the set is irresistible, especially the first disc, covering the earlier history of the company. The disco era material may be a little hard to absorb for those attuned to the label's earlier sound, but the assembly of tracks is so careful, that one more or less eases into that period, and there are so many hard-to-find singles included here, that it should be a part of any serious soul CD collection.

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