1. I Can't Stand It - Al Gardner - Al Gardner </di

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  • Various - Jack Ashford – Just Productions (CD)


    When Jack Ashford and Shelly Haimes Pied Piper Productions folded in late 1967, Ashford continued to produce soul music in Detroit with Pied Piper artists and songwriter and artist Lorraine Chandler taking on a producer’s role. Ashford’s contacts from his time as one of Motown’s Funk Brothers were considerable and he continued to work with some of the city s top musicians and singers. His new set-up, Just Productions, found a brilliant new talent in the gruff-voiced Eddie Parker whose Love You Baby and I’m Gone made a little noise in the Motor City but stunned UK Northern Soul fans in the 70s with the soulful intensity of music and vocals. It was perfect for adrenalin-charged youths and took uptempo soul to a new level; the records were heavily bootlegged. Like I’m Gone , the Four Sonics Tell Me You’re Mine and Al Gardner’s Sweet Baby creatively utilised tracks from the Pied Piper days. Billy Sha-Rae was a Pennsylvanian-based singer whose band, the Soul Congress, became the nucleus of the Just Productions musicans. Their song Do It was a hit but the instrumental version by ex-Funk Brother Billy Griffith was even more powerful and is hugely popular in soul clubs nowadays. Sha-Rae was an exciting vocalist whose excellent take on Parker’s beat ballad Crying Clown is featured. Just Productions appeared on their own Sepia, Triple B, Ashford and Awake labels and there were licenses to Jay Walking, Buddah, Spectrum, Premium Stuff and Inter Soul. Ray Gant & The Arabians Don’t Leave Me Baby was a musical high-point: the song was covered by Maxine Brown on her Epic LP. In the mid-70s they approximated the Philly Sound with the Smith Brothers brilliant double-sider Payback’s A Drag / There Can Be A Better Way on Soul Dimension. In 1975 Eddie Parker cut the now in-demand Body Chains and also But If You Must Go unreleased until MAM-Miko issued it after Ashford moved to Los Angeles around 1976. Revered Detroit drummer J.C. Heard supplies a rare early instrumental groove J.C. s Grit Gitter and from the later period is Sandra Richardson’s club favourite Stay Here With Me .

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