Various Soulful Sounds From Soulville Records

Soulville was a small-scale label based in Harrisburg, PA. Harrisburg has never been soul central, but like so many regional centres in the pre-disco U.S., it supported a thriving local scene. Enter Bobby Fulton, currently a Reverend, but back in the day he was a soul man supreme. Soulville and sister label Jaywalking were like a 100 other black independent labels of the era, scraping together what money they could to record local talent. Every indie soul comp contains its share of hidden gems. Fulton's "Standing on The Corner" is an "off the wall" Vietnam protest, beseeching Uncle Sam to send some boys back home because "I just can't handle all these women by myself." Beverly Hills gives us three minutes of Greek tragedy with the Swamp Dogg penned "I Just Don't Care Anymore," describing her descent into prostitution. The grooves betray the influence of neighbouring Philly, in their use of masses of horns and string sections, but obviously on a budget. This compilation is put together with great affection, but ultimately the quality of the material and the recordings aren't that great and are, at times, lousy. The liner notes are bittersweet, as Fulton (a man who truly values his community) recounts how he couldn't make a go of Soulville, yet still feels musical passion as strongly as ever in the church. (Get Hip)