The Thelma label is considered by many (including me) as one of the catalysts for the addictive rare-Soul curiosity we all suffer from. As young-gun Soul enthusiast this label would crop up in sales boxes, sales lists and conversations during the very early 70's, begging the question why such a consistently impressive label with not a bad record among it's catalog would have had so few releases... most of my teenage years were spent accumulating as many Emanuel Lasky 45's I could find. I just loved his voice, then I discovered Billy Kennedy, then Martha Star.. I knew nothing about the label but it's stark black & silver simplicity really appealed to me...most of my acquisitions came from the legendary Brain 45 Phillips.. former "Twisted Wheel" DJ would mail highly anticipated sales lists of USA rarities.. it was an education to read and even more exciting buying "blind" on the word of his one line comments, I was rarely disappointed. One day I bought what would turn out to be Thelma's most coveted 45, not then it was virtually unknown but today it certainly is Thelma's "Top-Dog"
The pre-Wigan era the search for stompers was my imperative "Love Is The Only Solution" ticked all the boxes for me. A crowded instrumental intro, brandishing honkin'-horns, Piano whacks, pumping sax and a femme-vocal dripping with attitude, strutting through that forest of instruments scything down all before her, oh that instrumental break, the away it lifts up and up to a crescendo.. Brilliant Detroit.. and I hadn't even noticed the covert girl-chorus in the background that today I think is a masterstroke...allowing Martha's vocal the rip it up.
It was for a 19 year old exactly what the Doctor ordered, to drive me on towards another Brian recommended 45...
Oh how foolish is youth.. I don't think I even gave the flipside a brief listen.. it was not until the 80's that it hit me, the very greatest Thelma recording was on the flipside.. "I'm Lonely" is saturated in everything Detroit Soul was in the mid-60's. Vibes, squealing girls, driving mid tempo beat and Martha's rich purring, pouring out imploring lyrics of loneliness, I just drowned in it's glorious despair..
Two killer tunes on one disc, with "I'm Lonely" out stripping most any girl tune you care to throw at me, for truly effective Northern Soul.. it shimmers alone it it's brilliance..
Utterly flawless in every way - condition is as good as it get. Not a blemish to be found - anywhere