Perhaps it was the large amount of quality soul music available, combined with the myriad of independent labels releasing it, that prevented so much amazing 60s and 70s music from reaching a larger audience? Luckily, a few dedicated contemporary labels have come to the rescue and now shine a light on some of the lesser known material of the era. Jean Wells’s collection Soul On Soul is one such work, a compilation of all her tracks recorded for producer Clyde Otis.
The most well known cut here is the deep soul track ‘Have A Little Mercy’, which alongside similar fare like her version of ‘Drown In My Own Tears’, perfectly showcases Jean’s wonderful voice. She is a lot less well known for her uptempo cuts, but ‘After Loving You’ and ‘With My Love…’ are also highlights, along with ‘Somebody’s Been Loving You’ and ‘Keep On Doin It’ which have a funk edge, perhaps unsurprising considering Wells time spent working with Jerry Williams.
‘What Have I Got To Lose’ and particularly ‘Take Take To Make Time For Me’ are classic-sounding soul cuts and will be familiar to any listener after just one play, these two perhaps being a good starting point for anyone unfamiliar with Jean who would like to sample her material. The same cannot be said for the curious and conspicuous ‘Roll Up your Sleeves’ which, with it’s use of vintage synthesizer, sounds not unlike an early Sly Stone production, it is raw in a manner that may appeal to Patrick Adams fans. Previously issued by UK label Kent, this welcome reissue comes with three previously unreleased tracks, of which deep soul cut ‘I Want To Live’ is the standout, not perhaps for being Jean’s best vocal effort, but for the lovely, accompanying guitar embellishments.