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Ghost Canyon

Title - 'Let's Groove: Archie Bell & The Drells Story'
Artist - Archie Bell and the Drells

For those not in the know, the fabulously talented Archie Bell and the Drells was an American R&B vocal group from Houston, Texas, and one of the main acts on Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff's Philadelphia International Records.

The band's hits include "Tighten Up", "I Can't Stop Dancing" (both 1968), "There's Gonna Be A Showdown", "Girl You're Too Young" (1969), "Here I Go Again" (also a UK hit in 1972), "Soul City Walk" (1975), "Let's Groove", "Everybody Have A Good Time" (1977), and "Don't Let Love Get You Down" (1976).

Many of their Atlantic hits were produced by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, including the minor 1969 hit "Here I Go Again" which became such a massive hit on the Northern Soul scene that it prompted a UK reissue which made #11 in 1972, just after the group had parted ways with Atlantic. Continuing with producer Prince Philllip Mitchell, the group signed to Henry Stones Glades Records in 1973 and released a few singles including the hit "Dancing To Your Music" (R&B #11/Pop #61).

Big Break Records (via Cherry Red Records) has just released Let's Groove: Archie Bell & The Drells Story, the 50th Anniversary Collection and trust me when I say it's a doozy, ladies and gentlemen! Complete with all of the groupís chart hit singles and dance classics from 1967-1979, there are also some 12" Single mixes on here too!

Disc: 1: 1. Tighten Up (Part 1) 2. Dog Eat Dog 3. A Thousand Wonders 4. A Soldier's Prayer, 1967 5. I Can't Stop Dancing 6. Do the Choo Choo 7. Love Will Rain on You 8. (There's Gonna Be a) Showdown 9. Go for What You Know 10. I Love My Baby 11. Just a Little Closer 12. Girl You're Too Young 13. My Balloon's Going Up 14. Here I Go Again 15. A World Without Music 16. Don't Let the Music Slip Away 17. Get It from the Bottom 18. I Wish 19. Wrap It Up 20. Deal with Him 21. I Just Want to Fall in Love 22. Love at First Sight 23. Archie's in Love 24. I Can't Face You Baby 25. Dancing to Your Music 26. Ain't Nothing for a Man in Love 27. You Never Know What's on a Woman's Mind 28. Girls Grow Faster Than Boys

Now, being that there are an INCREDIBLE 44 songs on this 2CD collection, I won't be going into each and every one of them, as usual. But, I will highlight the, well, highlights, in my humble opinion. Such as the first track out the gate, "Tighten Up (Part 1)" which is a drummers haven from the off. Like a jam session coming together, the track is a flashback to an era when coaxing instruments to come and jam, one by one, was seen as a joyous method of establishing the band to their audience.

The next track is another favorite of mine, "Dog Eat Dog", and no, not just because it has the same title as my all-time favorite band, Adam & The Ants. It's a seamless R&B soulful moment of chart pop and flows perfectly, as do both "I Can't Stop Dancing" and "Do the Choo Choo". The foot-tappin' continues ever onward with tracks such as the soul sway of "Girl You're Too Young", "My Balloon's Going Up" and their hit "Here I Go Again".

Other lovely, heartwarming tracks on the first disc include the upbeat, and infectious groove on "Get It From The Bottom", the Hammond organ-inspired "Love at First Sight", the chitty-chatty fun of "Archie's in Love", and both "I Can't Face You Baby" and groovy ("Never had the nerve before, to get up on the floor") "Dancing to Your Music".

Disc: 2: 1. I Could Dance All Night 2. Let's Groove 3. The Soul City Walk 4. Dance Your Troubles Away 5. Nothing Comes Easy 6. Don't Let Love Get You Down 7. Where Will You Go When the Party's Over 8. Everybody Have a Good Time 9. Glad You Could Make It (12" Disco Version) 10. It's Hard Not to Like You 11. I've Been Missing You 12. On the Radio 13. Old People 14. Strategy 15. Show Me How to Dance 16. We Got 'Um Dancin' (12" Disco Version)

The upbeat flow of "I Could Dance All Night" kicks off the second disc of 16 tracks, and in some fine style. The true sound of Philadelphia track is a Soul Train classic, and is backed by the introductory (quite literally) soul sounds of "Let's Groove" and then the groove line under "The Soul City Walk". Another fine song, and one that showcases a softer, more methodical side to the band is "Where Will You Go When the Party's Over', and then the vocals gymnastics of "Everybody Have a Good Time".

The second disc is then brought to a close with tracks such as "Glad You Could Make It (12" Disco Version)", a funky, funky song to extend at the best of times, the gentle balladry flow of "I've Been Missing You", and the funky grooving of "On the Radio". The last two tracks are gems also, with "Show Me How to Dance" ("I've got to dance like I've got ants in my pants") and the 12" Disco Version of "We Got 'Um Dancin'" bringing a close to an outstanding collection from Archie Bell and the Drells to, hopefully, a whole new generation of listeners.

Newly remastered with rare single mixes and presented in a super jewel case complete with a 20-page booklet and detailed liner notes, Let's Groove: Archie Bell & The Drells Story, the 50th Anniversary Collection is a must for all Soul, Pop, Funk and Disco fans everywhere!

'Let's Groove: Archie Bell & The Drells Story' CD Purchase Link