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The Ascots were a group made up of four singers, three of whom were brothers (Archie, Eddie and Jerome Powell, plus Irving Haywood) from Washington, DC. The group took some serious cues from The Impressions on this record, but the more aggressive style of drumming is pushed to the front of the mix, giving the record a very unique sound.
The harmonies are earthy and gorgeous, and the swinging and propulsive groove are gonna make you feel mighty fine.
Georgia born Arthur Conley started recording in 1959 with his group Arthur & The Corvets (whose small handful of singles didn't make much of an impression commercially). In '64, Arthur struck out on his own to cut his solo debut. Otis Redding heard the record and was so impressed that he had Arthur re-record both sides for release on his own Jotis label, which had national distribution.
While it took the Arthur-Otis collaboration two more years to strike gold with the massive "Sweet Soul Music", this brilliant double sider shows that Arthur Conley was equally adept at a deep soul ballad ("I'm A Lonely Stranger") or an uptempo stomper ("Where You Lead Me").
On this day (and every other), I'm most definitely THANKFUL for all those amazing folks (that we celebrate here) who bared their hearts, souls, and talent onto vinyl.