Reviews Zone

Archie Bell & The Drells: Let’s Groove – The Archie Bell & The Drells Story (50th Anniversary Collection) Out Now (Big Break Records)

5 Stars (5 / 5)


Wow. We get a stonking 44 tracks on this double CD gem celebrating 50 years of this great R&B and soul group.

The set includes all of the group’s chart hit singles and dance classics from 1967-1979. Newly re-mastered with rare single mixes, complete with a 20-page booklet and detailed liner notes.

Archie Bell & The Drells were one of the most popular soul groups of the sixties and seventies, retaining a legacy that has kept their records on dance floors ‘til this day.

This is the first ever 2CD complete career retrospective, featuring all of their Billboard R&B, Pop and Disco hit singles, as well as the rarer tracks that became legendary hits on both the Northern Soul and Rare Groove scenes in the UK.

The group came from Texas and first released a few singles on local label, Ovide Records. One of them, “Dog Eat Dog,” was picked up for national distribution by Atlantic Records. Atlantic realised that the B-side, “Tighten Up,” was selling the release in New York and reissued it as the A-Side.

The song topped both the Soul and Pop charts in early 1968 and started a run of hits that included “I Can’t Stop Dancing,”) “Do The Choo Choo,” “(There’s Gonna Be A) Showdown,” “Girl You’re Too Young” and “My Balloon’s Going Up.”

Many of their Atlantic hits were produced by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, including the minor 1969 hit “Here I Go Again,” which became such a massive hit on the Northern Soul scene that it prompted a UK reissue which made #11 in 1972, just after the group had parted ways with Atlantic. A timeless classic.

Continuing with producer Prince Philllip Mitchell, the group signed to Henry Stone’s Glades Records in 1973 and released a few singles including the hit “Dancing To Your Music.”

The group enjoyed a huge revival when they reunited with Gamble & Huff at their Philadelphia International ‘Philly Sound’ label in 1975 when “I Could Dance All Night,”  “The Soul City Walk,” and “Let’s Groove,” all became hits on the TSOP imprint.

“Don’t Let Love Get You Down,” and “Where Will You Go When The Party’s Over,” continued their legendary status on UK dance floors and “Strategy” gave them a final hit in 1979.

A long overdue tribute – 28 & 16 cuts on two discs – to a great group who delivered some real joyous music which lives on and on. Nice job BBR.

 

By Simon Redley

 


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