Soul City Chicago

Various Artists
FORMAT: Audio CD - 2 Disc
Release date: 16 Sep 2013


"Third in the excellent series compiled by Clive Richardson...traces the evolution of blues to soul" 4/5 Record Collector

"Clive Richardson has done an admirable job mixing the well known with the totally obscure to produce two fine collections" Blues & Rhythm

“well worth the trip...proving beyond all doubt that the Soul City express is the only way to travel” Vintage Rock

"Essential listening" 7/10 Vive Le Rock!

CAT No: FVDD172UPC TEXT: 5055311001722

Full details

Chicago Labels and the Dawn of Soul Music

Soul City Chicago provides examples of the emergent “uptown” style that became indicative of so many soul recordings from what has become known as the “classic era”. “Uptown” was descriptive of the sophistication of both arrangements and performances, with coarser, hard-edged recordings adapting into a more melodic and orchestrated sound without detracting from the intrinsic “soul” of the artists’ delivery. Soul City Chicago is the third instalment in Fantastic Voyage’s Soul City series, compiled and annotated by soul music authority Clive Richardson.

Chicago benefitted from the creative talents of arrangers including Riley Hampton, Carl Davis and Curtis Mayfield, the latter dividing his time between recording duties and production work. Among the labels, OKeh and the multi-imprint Chess empire were particularly receptive to recording artists with the new and progressively more sophisticated “uptown” style.

The main focal point of this anthology is Michigan Avenue, in the early 1960s a veritable hotbed of musical activity. There were George and Ernie Leaner with their cleverly-titled One-Derful label, Leonard and Phil Chess five blocks north with their eponymous company and, just across the street, Vivian Carter and Jimmy Bracken with Vee Jay Records. OKeh Records launched their Chicago soul venture in 1962 in hiring Carl Davis as producer, and examples from their catalogue also feature, along with tracks produced by city veteran Bill “Bunky” Sheppard.

The Chess, OKeh and Vee Jay labels were all veterans of the rhythm & blues era, adjusting their roster and repertoire to accommodate changing musical styles in the new decade, Chess nudging their bluesmen towards the contemporary market, with Howlin’ Wolf, Little Milton and Buddy Guy reaping the benefit. Soulful ladies Etta James, Sugar Pie DeSanto and Betty Everett combine gritty R&B with mellow ballads on Disc One along with Billy Stewart and Jerry Butler, while Disc Two shines the spotlight on vocal groups including the developing Dells, the soulful Sheppards and some rare tracks by the Corsairs, along with hard-to-find discs by Dee Clark, Walter Jackson and Wade Flemons, the latter including early songs penned by Curtis Mayfield. All three companies were equally adept in adjusting their musical targets to gain maximum commercial impact, and Soul City Chicago is a showcase for their success in this respect.



  1. Something’s Got A Hold On Me (Etta James)
  2. Waiting For Charlie To Come Home (Etta James)
  3. Open Your Heart (Sugar Pie Desanto)
  4. Ask Me (Sugar Pie Desanto)
  5. Your Love Is Important To Me (Betty Everett)
  6. I’ve Got A Claim On You (Betty Everett)
  7. Losing Hand (Little Milton)
  8. So Mean To Me (Little Milton)
  9. You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover (Bo Diddley)
  10. No More Lovin’ (Bo Diddley)
  11. Just Like I Treat You (Howlin’ Wolf)
  12. I Ain’t Superstitious (Howlin’ Wolf)
  13. Wang-Dang-Doodle (Howlin’ Wolf)
  14. Ten Years Ago (Buddy Guy)
  15. When My Left Eye Jumps (Buddy Guy)
  16. Doctor Feel-Good (Dr Feelgood & The Interns)
  17. Mister Moonlight (Dr Feelgood & The Interns)
  18. Rinky Dink (Dave “Baby” Cortez)
  19. Getting Right (Dave “Baby” Cortez)
  20. Reap What You Sow (Billy Stewart)
  21. Fat Boy (Billy Stewart)
  22. The Town I Live In (Mckinley Mitchell)
  23. No Love [Like My Love] (Mckinley Mitchell)
  24. All Of A Sudden (Mckinley Mitchell)
  25. I Found An Angel (Mckinley Mitchell)
  26. I’m So Glad (Mckinley Mitchell)
  27. Make It Easy On Yourself (Jerry Butler)
  28. It’s Too Late (Jerry Butler)
  29. A Little Too Much (Clarence “Frogman” Henry)
  30. I Wish I Could Say The Same (Clarence “Frogman” Henry)


  1. Father Knows Best (Radiants)
  2. One Day I’ll Show You (Radiants)
  3. Swinging Teens (Dells)
  4. Hold On To What You Got (Dells)
  5. The (Bossa Nova) Bird (Dells)
  6. Eternally (Dells)
  7. Walk On With The Duke Of Earl (Duke Of Earl)
  8. Duchess Of Earl (Pearlettes)
  9. Anytime (Vibrations)
  10. If He Don’t (Vibrations)
  11. HamBurger On A Bun (Vibrations)
  12. I’ll Take You Home (Corsairs)
  13. Sittin’ On Your Doorstep (Corsairs)
  14. At The Stroke Of Midnight (Corsairs)
  15. Listen To My Little Heart (Corsairs)
  16. Tragic (Sheppards)
  17. Come To Me (Sheppards)
  18. Loving You (Sheppards)
  19. Elevator Operator (Sheppards)
  20. I Don’t Want To Suffer (Walter Jackson)
  21. This World Of Mine (Walter Jackson)
  22. Hold On (Dee Clark)
  23. Always Together (Dee Clark)
  24. You Left Me (Gene Chandler)
  25. You Threw A Lucky Punch (Gene Chandler)
  26. Rainbow (Gene Chandler)
  27. Devil In Your Soul (Wade Flemons)
  28. At The Party (Wade Flemons)
  29. Half A Love (Wade Flemons)
  30. Welcome Stranger (Wade Flemons)