Various Artists – Soulful Sounds From Soulville [2xLP] – New LP
For 18 bucks, get yourself 25 rare soul sides from Pennsylvania in the late 1960s and early 1970s, tracks originally released on the Soulville and Jay-Walking labels. Soulful started releasing singles in 1967 "to fill the void for a soul record label in the central Pennsylvania area" and Jay-Walking released singles in the first few years of the 1970s. The best of these are collected here, very much in the styles from this era, but also possessing their own unique rust-belt takes on those sounds (geographically and even perhaps stylistically coming from lands between Chicago and Philly/New York), most of the acts likely coming from the eastern half of the state, from capital city Harrisburg in central Pennsylvania to Pittsburgh over by the Ohio border. These might not be the best sides from this era, but this was one hot era for soul music, and it's always a joy to hear regional records like these. -- winch
Started in September 1967 by Bobby Fulton, Toby Young, Jimmy Walker and Hulie Diggs, Soulville Records was conceived to fill the void for a gospel/soul record label in the Harrisburg and central Pennsylvania area. The label’s first release was “Nobody To Blame”/“Nothing Matters” by the Soulville All Stars, a young racially mixed Harrisburg eight-piece band. Though this 45 didn’t garner much attention, their second did: “Be My Girl”/“I’m Gonna Get You” was very well-received.
Jay-Walking was started as another attempt to get more radio airplay. Like many labels, Soulville found that DJs wouldn’t play every release by a specific label. It was named to honor Jimmy Walker who ironically would dissolve his partnership soon after. Toby Young also faded in the background afterwards leaving Bobby Fulton as the main man. The departure was amicable and they all remained friends.
Fulton kept the rights to Soulville and Rob-Cole Music. In fact, Fulton would serve as road manager/organist for labels biggest success, the Continental Four. Bobby Fulton was also one a vocalist for the soul group the Emperors, who cut a one hit dance number called “Karate,” still popular in soul, dance and DJ circles! Although none of the other acts had national success, each and every cut reveals outstanding quality, ranging from soulful ballads to tuff funk to Motown-styled pop.
In 1972, Bobby Fulton moved to Pittsburgh to become director of operations for Black Circle Records. Although Soulville will not release another recording, for Bobby Fulton the label has always been alive. He still listens to the Soulville/Jaywalking recordings all the time and he is really pleased to finally share his exciting story and have the chance to revive the label. Soulville and the dream is still alive!