Listen: Carolina Soul’s ‘Durham Soul Review’ Mix

Well, here’s a pretty stunning collection of soul gems from the tiny town of Durham, NC:

The living local encyclopedia on soul, Carolina Soul, has put together this mix in light of the recently started Bull City Soul Revival project. This project is currently putting on an exhibit dedicated to the soul scene in Durham (its artists, origins, influences, the history and politics, all of that) that also features a slew of LP and 45 artwork, entitled “Soul Souvenirs: Durham’s Musical Memories from the 1960s and 1970s.” This is all going on across town from Duke at the wonderful Hayti Heritage Center until May 30.

Whether or not a trip to the Hayti is feasible for you, this mix is instantly engrossing. Nick Allen’s  “Don’t Make Me Be What You Don’t Want Me to Be” is an early standout, a darker, near-sobbing take on the sentiment of The Temptation’s “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg.” Allen even sounds as good as David Ruffin. Two huge tracks from Johnny White and The Might Crusaders hit early on too. As the one-hour tick approaches, the sounds get progressively funkier (The Modulations’ “Who’s Going To Lose” bears an inexplicable energy).

If you’re a fan of the more popular Motown recordings (or even if you think you would be), you’ll appreciate these. I certainly didn’t expect 80 minutes of such polished, diverse acts from a town like Durham, but there is a very special history here that deserves consideration.