Shrine Records: The Rarest Soul Label

Shrine Records: The Rarest Soul Label


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Based in Washington, D.C., the Shrine label was around for a couple of years in the mid-'60s without landing any hits, but holds fascination for soul collectors for a couple of reasons. It was co-run (with husband Eddie Singleton) by Raynoma Singleton, who, as Berry Gordy's second wife, had been instrumental in helping Motown get off the ground in the late '50s and early '60s. In addition, its releases, as the title of this compilation indicates, are really hard to find, in part because they didn't sell well, and in part because much of the remaining stock copies were destroyed. Because of those factors, this 24-track compilation of Shrine sides -- almost half of which had to be dubbed from disc in the absence of masters -- is a significant grail for Northern soul fans. The artistic value of the material does not corroborate with the original copies' hefty price tags, however. It's fair but unremarkable mid-'60s soul with echoes of Motown, Chicago soul, and New York uptown soul, without the exceptional material or performers necessary to either compete with the influences, or carve a persona of its own. It's not a bad template for playing announce-the-influence games; Les Chansonettes' "Don't Let Him Hurt You" sounds like a poor person's Martha & the Vandellas (though Motown would have never let the out-of-tune horns pass quality control), some of the male vocal cuts have Impressions-like harmonies, Bill Dennis' "I'll Never Let You Get Away" takes a vintage Marvin Gaye approach, Ray Pollard's "No More Like Me" has a pleading, early Stax quality, and the Cavaliers' "Do What I Want" is near-instrumental soul with a live "party" atmosphere reminiscent of the Ramsey Lewis hits.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/25/1998
Label: Kent Records Uk
UPC: 0029667216029
catalogNumber: 160

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