Liner Note Author: Ady Croasdell.
Recording information: TCB Studios.
Five years after the first installment comes Dave Hamilton's Detroit Soul, Vol. 2, a deep dive into rarities recorded by Detroit producer Hamilton between 1961 and 1984. Despite this wide range, most of these sides were recorded sometime between 1966 and 1974 and 18 of these 24 tracks were not released at the time, with a whopping 15 of them making their debut here. By definition, this music is obscure and there aren't even many names that repeat from the 2001 set: Hamilton himself and Chico & Buddy, but that's about it. If the acts don't ring a bell, the sound certainly does, grounded in the slick uptown groove of Motown of the late '60s but feeling thinner and funkier even when it doesn't slide into the elastic rhythms of the early '70s. Sometimes, this does mean the music sounds so gritty that it almost feels unfinished, bordering on the level of a demo, but that's also its charm: it feels like snapshot of a time, when musicians could hustle hard to score a quick hit. Occasionally, the comp drifts into unexpected territory -- there's a bit of a jump to "Four O'Clock Blues" or the quiet storm of "Remember Me" by Jimmy Scott (not the one you're thinking of), while the analog synths that pop up are always disarming -- but what's nice about this collection is how faithful it is to its era, alternating between down-and-dirty workouts and slick sweet pop tunes that never hit their intended mark but still sound sweet. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine