Hall of Fame, Vol. 2

Hall of Fame, Vol. 2


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Ace's excavation of the FAME vaults began in 2011, when the label released the exceptional three-disc box The Fame Studios Story: 1961-1973. That set explained the importance of the FAME studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, but it hardly contained all the great music recorded there, so Ace dug further with its series Hall of Fame, a various-artists collection spotlighting the best unheard sides from the famed FAME studio. Hall of Fame, Vol. 2 -- a 24-track collection released just over a year after The Fame Studios Story and a few months after the first Hall of Fame collection -- has a few of the studio's stars (Clarence Carter is here twice, Joe Simon is represented once) but the spotlight shines not on individual singers but rather the studio as a whole, how FAME had an exceptional ear for songs and talent, picking singers so strong they still command attention even when their names aren't not known (as is the case with the opening "Another Good Woman Gone Bad" which is credited to an "unknown female." and "Got to Get Over," which is credited to an "unknown male"). What impresses is the studio's stamp, how everything here bears their authoritative sound, including such lighter numbers as George Soule's "Midnight Affair" and gritty groovers as Otis Clay's "That Kind of Lovin'." Most of this is deep, funky southern soul, but there's a nimbleness to the rhythms and a lightness to the melodies that distinguish these sides, and that's what makes this collection of unheard and little-known FAME recordings so valuable: perhaps there is nothing as powerful as the hits that came out of this studio, but this collection of rarities and unheard tunes illustrates how deep the talents of FAME ran.

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