In 2005, the Australian “Aim” label issued 3 collections of small-label 60’s/70’s soul singles, one volume each devoted to Earl Gaines, Geater Davis, and Roscoe Shelton. All are first-rate and well-worth owning. However, there is a slight problem with the Roscoe Shelton album, “Deep In My Soul”. Of course, the cheesy budget-label graphics are a problem, as is the vague liner note essay that says nothing about the enclosed recordings, just providing a potted bio of Mr. Shelton.
No, the problem is that anyone listening to the album, even half-listening while in the other room, will notice that tracks 15 and 16 are clearly NOT by Roscoe Shelton. Shelton’s soaring, flexible, gospel-drenched soulful R&B voice is instantly recognizable, whether on his early recordings for Excello, his later recordings for Appaloosa, or anything in between. I could listen to Roscoe Shelton sing the phone book. He is the voice of Tennessee Soul and R&B. However, tracks 15 and 16 are clearly by someone else, a white artist, kind of in the Johnny Tillotson vein, or maybe Lou Christie without the falsetto. Did anyone actually listen to this album while assembling it? How much of a Roscoe Shelton fan can you be and issue an album with two straight tracks right in the middle of it NOT BY Mr. Shelton? And what about the “critics.” This album was not widely reviewed, looking like a budget release and having no recording info, but the All Music entry and a newspaper review from Florida (the two original reviews of the album I found online) do not notice this. DID THEY EVEN LISTEN TO THE ENTIRE ALBUM BEFORE WRITING ABOUT IT? Evidently not.
It took me about 90 seconds on the internet to discover what the two tracks are. A single by one HARRY CHARLES on the Rowax label, Rowax 802. How did this get mixed up with Roscoe Shelton mastertapes from a label in the US south put out on an Australian label? Well, the Rowax 45 states “A Rich Production.” Could that be John R. Richbourg, the man behind Sound Stage 7 Records and who produced most if not all of the material on the Shelton CD? Who knows. Rowax has a NY address, but that’s for the distributor. I also found a Rowax 801 and 803 online—–803 seems like a novelty single (The Bloopers) and 801 was being sold as a vaguely Northern Soul single. As someone who runs a label myself, albeit a small micro-label, I cannot believe that you would not at least LISTEN TO the album you are releasing, and stated earlier, NO ONE could fail to notice that the two tracks are not by Mr. Shelton.
In any event, DEEP IN MY SOUL is a wonderful collection of mid-60s Tennessee Soul from Roscoe Shelton, coming from his Sims and mostly his Sound Stage 7 period. I used to own a Charly label LP, STRAIN ON YOUR HEART, with Sound Stage 7 material, pictured below. That album had excellent liners and clearly was issued by people who cared about Roscoe Shelton’s music.
Back in the day, SOUND STAGE 7 issued an album of Shelton material, MUSIC IN HIS SOUL, SOUL IN HIS MUSIC, some of which is on the Aim CD, some of which isn’t. That album is pictured below.
Shame on you, AIM Records. Anyone issuing vintage material should care about the material enough to tell us where it’s from and provide SOME discographical info, even general info, and certainly should LISTEN to the albums they release…