When deep soul balladeer William Bell realized he wasn't going to get rich on his royalties from Stax , he started up the Peachtree label in Atlanta with his manager/agent Henry Wynn and began releasing singles by Mitty Collier , Gorgeous George and Eddie Billups , some of the best of which are compiled on the UK Grapevine label's Atlanta Soul: The Peachtree Records Story disc. In lieu of Collier's uptempo classic I Can't Lose - oddly absent - the killer here is James Fountain 's charging Seven Day Lover, but Peg Leg Moffett 's floor filler The S(h)ocker runs a close second.
It wasn't a great surprise to learn that heavy rockin' Swedish exports Soundtrack Of Our Lives were big - er, make that huge - BTO fans, but the release of their CBC-recorded live jam session with Randy Bachman on You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet, Takin' Care Of Business and Rock Is My Life is an unexpected treat. The 12-inch picture disc package (www.randybachman.com) is a stunner and comes with a CD version just in case you want to frame the disc for your Ebbot Lundberg shrine.
Versatile saloon singer Kay Starr is likely best remembered for the early 50s pop hit Wheel Of Fortune, but she's also an excellent jazz stylist and, according to Billie Holiday , "the only white woman that could really sing the blues." The Exemplar label's classy two-fer release of her early 60s Capitol albums - the big-band concept Jazz Singer and the small-combo session I Cry By Night (with Ben Webster on sax) - show Starr note-bending and tempo- shifting her way through 30s-era jazz standards just as effortlessly as she swings through moody after-hours affairs. Delightful. Also check out her brassy Movin' concept disc at www.exemplarmusic.com.
It wasn't going to be easy for vinyl archivist Eothen "Egon" Alapatt to one-up his own fabulous Funky 16 Corners comp, but he makes a serious topping bid with the amazing Soul 7 (Now Again) box. It's a beautifully packaged set of seven certified funk scorchers - from Bad Medicine, Soul Vibrations, Booker T. Averheart and others - on 7-inch vinyl along with a 32-page booklet with biographical notes and photos. Apparently, only 1,000 boxes have been hand assembled, so treat yourself to an early gift.