If you are a fan of Soul, specifically Philly Soul, then this box set will set your world on fire. Hell, even if you aren’t a fan, it’s going to keep you busy for quite some time until you become a fan. This is the definitive collection of the label that started the Soul movement in the City of Brotherly Love. Founded in 1964 by WDAS-AM’s Jimmy Bishop, Arctic Records was the jump start that gave Philadelphia its S-O-U-L. With 60 A and B sides from every single the Arctic label ever put out as well as releases on the subsidiary label Frantic, this retrospective covers the label from the very beginning right until the end. A young Kenny Gamble, Harold Melvin, and Daryl Hohl aka Daryl Hall make appearances in groups on this box set alongside label stalwart Barbara Mason, plus Honey and the Bees, Dee Dee Barnes, The Volcanos and more. Some of these singles have not seen the light of day for 50 years.
The 6 CD set comes along with 5 double sided 45 bangers created from unearthed tapes in the Jamie/ Guyden archives. These 45s, which vinyl heads will delight over, include Barbara Mason, The Tiffanys, The Combo Kings, Kenny Gamble, The Ambassadors, and Winfield Parker with the Arctic label recreated in all its glory. Mason’s hit “Yes, I’m Ready” was the biggest for the label, but there are some really good sides from Teddy And The Finger Poppers, Herb Johnson, and the low profile Light Lunch and the Freeloaders. This often, overlooked Soul will be right up your alley, as it exposes another side to the label and the bands coming out of Philly in that time. It also comes with a 50 page history of the label and documenting every single written by Bill Dahl. This is a bonus, filling in the blanks for the public about this storied label and its releases. There needs to be more box sets like this. A superb job all together by Jamie/Guyden and something every Soul lover needs. Check out a track from the box set below.
Check out samples on their YouTube page.
Get the box set here.