Liner Note Author: Robert Pruter.
Photographer: Robert Pruter.
During the '60s, Alvin Cash was something of a staple in the Chicago soul scene, thanks to his grooving instrumental hit "Twine Time" -- a dance record produced by Andre Williams. He never quite capitalized on that single, despite it going all the way to 14 on the Billboard charts in 1965, but it wasn't for lack of trying. He kept recording throughout the '60s, racking up similarly bright, breezy, grooving sides like "The Barracuda," "The Philly Freeze," "Alvin's Boo-Ga-Loo," and "Keep On Dancing," but rarely getting heard outside of the Windy City and, then in the years afterward, he was relegated to hardcore cult status, partially because his music never saw reissue on CD. Charly's long-overdue 2012 compilation Windy City Workout finally rights that wrong, offering 39 sides Cash recorded for Mar-V-Lus, Toddlin' Town, Seventy-Seven, and Sound Stage Seven, including all of his lone LP, Twine Time, plus various rarities. The fidelity may be a little rough -- and not just by design from Williams on those early tracks, either -- but that's fine, considering the rarity of these tracks; plus it sounds fitting that these grooves are pumping away on an AM radio. Almost all of these tracks are about good-time vibes: they're dance songs, no matter which era they're from. As the '60s gave way to the '70s, Cash rode a couple of fads, contributing a popcorn single ("Poppin' Popcorn"), covering Wilson Pickett's "Funky Broadway," and stealing bits from James Brown. There are no knockouts here, but they're fun as soul artifacts, capturing a time, sound, and style that were only around for a few years, and it's nice to finally have these singles reissued so Alvin Cash can finally get his due as an appealing second-string Chicago soul singer. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine