Various: Eccentric Soul, The Big Mack Label (Big Mack/Southbound)

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Edd Henry: Your Replacement is Here (1961)
Various: Eccentric Soul, The Big Mack Label (Big Mack/Southbound)

The Big Mack label out of Chicago -- launched on a dollar and a dream by entrepreneur Ed "Big Mack" McCoy -- lasted 20 years from the early 60s without a hit, or even the suggestion of one.

While Motown ruled, Big Mack struggled on the margins, and yet it also produced some exceptional if cheaply recorded and somewhat ragged singles.

The deal for performers was simple: pay $14.95 and you got a one-take one-shot in the studio. At the end of the day your single was pressed, ready for you to pick up.

The label got to use this system as a star search, although while it turned up some real talent none went on to greater fame.

Needless to say there is a lot of soul and fast funk in this excellent 19-song compilation, but there is also the garageband organ-driven soul-rock of the Sleepwalkers with Mini Skirt, some energetic soul-funk (Mae Young), sultry sirens (notably Essence with Fever) and close harmony r'n'b.

This is a lolly scramble of styles and talents, but the pure energy is infectious and these really are "eccentric soul" songs.

(This is another volume in the on-going Eccentric Soul series which is unearthing obscure singers and songs. As the liner notes here observe: "The islands are deserted, but low tide leaves so much to be discovered.")

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