Liner Note Author: Ady Croasdell.
Recording information: 1965-1967.
Pied Piper: Follow Your Soul, Ace's 2015 sequel to 2013's Pied Piper Presents: A New Concept in Detroit Soul, covers the same ground as its predecessor, rounding up 24 tracks the production team of Pied Piper crafted during the glory days of 1965-1967. Pied Piper's membership was fluid but key members Jack Ashford, Mike Terry, Joe Hunter, and Herbie Williams were movers and shakers at Motown, so it's no surprise the singles their crew created do sound like the Motor City: grand arrangements underpinned by an insistent bounce, the kind of records that defined not only the brief, brilliant blast of the heyday of Motown but also Northern soul. Apart from clever flair -- the seductive spy undertones of Lorraine Chandler's "You Only Live Twice," the splashy compressed funk of the Pied Piper Players' party instrumental "Love Sick," a bit of fuzz guitar on Nancy Wilcox's "More Than a Memory" -- there aren't many surprises in terms of style or sound. All of this is straight-down-the-middle '60s Detroit soul, usually incandescent in its danceability but also occasionally slowing down to something shimmering and sweet (September Jones' "No More Love"), and if the songwriting is generally not as indelible as the tunesmiths from Motown, the real attraction of Pied Piper: Follow Your Soul is those gorgeous, ornate arrangements and passionate singers. They don't make music like this anymore and it's great to have this snapshot of how good things could be just outside of the spotlight. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine