Sunday, March 18, 2007

C.D. Review; Do The Shing A Ling (Goldmine)

This is another confounding Goldmine compilation. On the one hand, there are plenty of seriously rare, quality soul cuts on here to make the disc worthwhile (even if it is a mere 50 minutes long), but once again, it is a typical no-frills, information-free package.

The collection celebrates the Shing A Ling dance a couple of times, and a few other dances along the way. The Isley Brothers were the first to popularize the Shing A Ling, at least in song-form, but an Ohio garage band called The Human Beinz also had some success with this upbeat dance number. The two versions of the title track featured here are by the Bean Brothers and the Liberty Belles respectively. Apparently the Shing A Ling was a big dance around 1967-68.

The dance party motif is as thematic as any Goldmine compilation ever gets these days, but the dance craze quickly gives way to a random selection of other singles, including some very easily available songs like the Ohio Players’ “Love Slips Through My Fingers” and Rose Batiste’s “I Miss My Baby”, which Goldmine seldom misses a chance to slap on to another Detroit soul compilation.

Then again, the seldom heard tracks that show up on Goldmine releases are what keeps them in business. Honey Townsend’s “The World Again” is one of those quirky tunes that has probably not been heard by many people, and this rather limited release on an obscure soul compilation from a small British label is probably the most exposure this cut has ever had. It would be a typically enjoyable Detroit soul instrumental, presumably recorded as a backing track intended for someone to sing over, but the violin playing is not syrupy, but instead it is more countrified than one would expect to hear on a soul release. Then there is something that sounds like a sitar on Tojo’s “Broken Hearted Lover”, but in such small doses that the song doesn’t lose a drop of its soul to psychedelia. The closer, an instrumental called “Midnight Brew” by Melvin Carter borrows liberally from “Respect”, but it’s changed up enough to create an acceptably ‘new’ track and title. As usual, the paltry running time and the lack of information are the drawbacks associated with Goldmine product, while the obscurity of many of these cuts renders Do The Shing A Ling a worthwhile collection.

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