Superstar DJ Jonathan Toubin is dropping a new compilation today and that's reason to rejoice for anyone who loves classic rhythm-and-blues. Called New York Night Train: Souvenirs of the Soul Clap, Vol. 5, the set is out as of now on Norton Records, and it swings. Add in liner notes by D.C.'s own Ian Svenonius (The Nation of Ulysses, The Make-Up, Chain and the Gang), and you've got an essential purchase to make this week.
As per usual, Toubin has unearthed 16 obscure cuts including one that was made famous later on by George Harrison. On the whole, the set works well as a compilation and it swings admirably. One-time Chess Records artist Eddy Jacobs starts things off with "Friday Night Get-Together" while The Stars try their hand at "Ain't Got No Home", known better in its Clarence "Frogman" Henry version. Elsewhere, the superb "El Monkey" by Saxie Russell whips up a furious rhythm and "Popcorn", by Ralph and Pattie and The Naturales, offers up a sort of rough take on the same kind of fast-paced r'n'b perfected by James Brown. The well-known Piano Slim contributes the fine "Playin' Hookey" here, while the strut of Nelson Sanders' "Mojo Man" pushes things forward in a blast of energy. The vocal group-based "Boy in Mexico" by De Vaurs serves up a slice of rough girl group fun, and "I Got My Mind Set on You" by James Ray reveals the track that inspired Beatle George Harrison so effectively in 1987. The original here is clearly one of the high points of New York Night Train: Souvenirs of the Soul Clap, Vol. 5 and Toubin is to be commended for unearthing tracks like these and setting them aside each other with such precision.
Another fine release in his ongoing series, DJ Jonathan's Toubin's New York Night Train: Souvenirs of the Soul Clap, Vol. 5 compiles more than a dozen rare sides from an era when American soul was full of fire and fury and a real sense of risk for musicians. The cuts burn with energy throughout and even the more precisely-produced selections here shine with real spirit, the sort of thing that was lacking from later eras' more finely-refined soul cuts.
New York Night Train: Souvenirs of the Soul Clap, Vol. 5 is out now via Norton Records.