Solid Sixties Soul
roscoeboucher | Toronto, Ontario | 06/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Atlantic Records had the "southern soul" music market well covered during the sixties with a roster that included legends Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding, along with a host of other soul music stars. Arthur Conley, while definitely in Atlantic's second tier of performers, nevertheless made many worthwhile recordings that have aged well. He was a protégée of Otis Redding, although he sounded more like Sam Cooke. While "Sweet Soul Music" overshadows any of Arthur Conley's other records and is the song for which he is best remembered, there are enough other hard-to-find goodies on the "Platinum Collection" to satisfy any lover of "southern soul" music.
The "Platinum Collection" is one of over 20 collections that Warner Music UK (in conjunction with Rhino) has issued to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of Atlantic Records, and although this is not the best Arthur Conley compilation ever produced (that honor goes to "Sweet Soul Music The Best of Arthur Conley" (Ichiban, 1995)), it's the best one that is currently available. It features selections from each of Arthur's four Atco albums that were released during the period 1967-1969, including five tracks from "Sweet Soul Music", one from "Shake Rattle and Roll" (the title track), five from "Soul Directions," and a whopping eleven from "More Sweet Soul." Unlike the now out-of-print 1995 Ichiban compilation, which included a half dozen tracks that were only issued as "A" or B" sides of singles, there are no non-album tracks on "Platinum Collection."
Arthur Conley's Atlantic recordings were made with the cream of the crop of "southern soul" session musicians. The four recordings that Arthur made for Otis Redding's short-lived Jotis label were done at the Stax Studio in Memphis and were included on his first album. "Platinum Collection" includes "I'm A Lonely Stranger" and "Who's Foolin' Who," both of which feature the outstanding Stax crew (Booker T and the MGs, the Memphis Horns, etc.) The remainder of Arthur's first album, as well as his second, came from recordings made at the Fame Studio in Muscle Shoals. His third album, "Soul Directions", which showcased "Funky Street" and "People Sure Act Funny" was recorded at American Studios in Memphis with legendary producer Tom Dowd. Arthur's fourth and final Atlantic album ("More Sweet Soul") included tracks from both Memphis and Muscle Shoals. Three of the Fame Studio cuts feature Duane Allman on guitar, "Stuff You Gotta Watch," "That Can't Be My Baby" and "Speak Her Name."
Excellent underrated Soul
Andre M. | Mt. Pleasant, SC United States | 05/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the kind of underrated, excellent Soul that is known today only to those wonderful Brits who (deservedly) treasure this music like diamonds in their "Northern Soul Movement" or those of us who had an ear to Black R&B radio at the time.
Arthur Conley was a mentee of sorts to Otis Redding. Both had gravelly, gut-bucket voices, but Conley sang at a higher pitch. In either case, the songs here are great. Of course "Sweet Soul Music," (based on Sam Cooke's "Yeah Man"), the one song most people know him for today is here. "Funky Street" is quite a workout and lives up to its name. The version of "Shake Rattle and Roll" here does the incredible feat of being even more joyous and lively than Joe Turner's original (and goes rings around Bill Haley's rendition). Also, he does a lovely tribute to his mentor "Otis Sleep On," recorded shortly after Redding's untimely death.
After hearing this Cd, you'll wonder where this has been all your life. Enjoy."
"...The Mini Dresses Really Shaking...Hey Man...I'm Down At
Mark Barry at Reckless Records, Lon | UK | 04/16/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Arthur Conley is one of the great unsung-heroes of Atlantic's extraordinary soul roster - unfairly overlooked as a poor man's Otis Redding or Wilson Pickett clone. It's true that vocally and stylistically, he was the same (Redding discovered and mentored him) - but what's also true is that his albums and singles contained some blistering Sixties soul - and this cheap and cheerful compilation is a great way of accessing a fair dollop of them.
He made 4 albums for Atlantic/Atco and issued over a dozen UK and US 7" singles. Unfortunately this compilation sticks with the albums only - a shame that as he had many non-album B-sides (some A's too) which are unavailable anywhere (a Rhino Handmade box set please?). The four albums were...
"Sweet Soul Music" (Tracks 1, 8, 10, 16 and 20)
1967 USA Stereo LP on Atco SD 33-215 and UK LP on Atlantic 587 069
"Shake, Rattle & Roll" (Track 4)
1967 USA Stereo LP on Atco SD 33-220 and UK LP on Atlantic 587 084
"Soul Directions" (Tracks 2, 6, 7, 21 and 22)
1968 USA Stereo LP on Atco SD 33-243 and UK LP on Atlantic 588 128
"More Sweet Soul" (Tracks 3, 5, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18 and 19)
1969 USA Stereo LP on Atco SD 33-276 and UK LP on Atco 228 019
The inlay is a useless gatefold slip of paper, but the sound is lovely - very clean and clear - typically excellent Rhino remasters. Here's the breakdown (56:47 minutes):
1. Sweet Soul Music
2. Funky Street
3. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
4. Shake, Rattle & Roll
5. Aunt Dora's Love Soul Shack
6. Hear Say
7. People Sure Act Funny
8. Who's Foolin' Who
9. I Got A Feeling
10. I Can't Stop (No, No, No)
11. Something You Got
12. Stuff You Gotta Watch
13. That Can't Be My Baby
14. Run On
16. I'm A Lonely Stranger
17. Is That You Love
18. Speak Her Name
19. Take A Step
20. Take Me (Just As I Am)
21. This Love Of Mine
22. Otis Sleeps On
There are times when it all goes horribly wrong like the awful soul cover of The Beatles "Ob-La-Di..." and the heavy-handed out-of-place rock guitar in "Speak Her Name", but these are countered by fantastic brass-chopping workouts like "Funky Street" and "Hear Say". In the UK "Aunt Dora's Love Soul Shack" b/w "Is That Your Love" was issued as a 7" on Atco 584 224 in November 1968 and criminally sank without a trace. I mention it because it's a truly superb Sixties Soul 45 - great funky A, slow soulful B (they reversed its order in the USA on Atco 6622). There's great discoveries like that on here...
For less than six dollars this 2007 Rhino remaster (import) is a tremendous introduction to the man - and for those wanting more, his 4 albums and some of his non-album single tracks are out there on other CDs (but often at a cost).
In the meantime "Platinum Collection" is highly recommended.
PS: the other Atlantic artists in "The Platinum Collection" series are: LaVern Baker (see REVIEW), Archie Bell & The Drells (see REVIEW), Brook Benton (see REVIEW), Booker T & The M.G.'s, Ruth Brown, Solomon Burke, Clarence Carter (see REVIEW), The Clovers (see REVIEW), Don Covay, The Detroit Spinners, Eddie Floyd, King Curtis, Barbara Lewis (see REVIEW), The Mar-Keys, The Persuasions, Sam & Dave, Percy Sledge (see REVIEW), Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas, (Big) Joe Turner (see REVIEW) and Betty Wright"