More deep soul rarities from the unstoppable Numero reissue label! The mid-1960s soul explosion left no metropolis untouched, with each eruption attaching its own regional fuse. Motown was the spark certainly, but these tiny enterprises were missing something Berry Gordy had quite a bit of by 1965: Money. Most of these operations were of the shoestring variety. Few had more than a dozen releases or lasted more than five years, and the ones that did became more labors of love than legitimate businesses. The best burned bright and fast, burning out in a fury of failure and greed, disappearing without so much as a whimper. Their legacies are three figure singles and a few curled promotional photos, all tucked away in the recesses of the collector abyss. Founded by two hook blade-slinging, middle school-teaching, coed-trapping thugs, the Deep City Label would ultimately change not only the face of Miami soul music, but soul music as a whole. The sound was unique, drawing influence from Willie Clarke and Johnny Pearsall’s marching band days at Florida A&M University, as well as the island sounds drifting over Miami’s airwaves from points unknown. The rhythm section is full of flams and paradiddles and the guitars have an unmistakable reggae chink. It was this sound that would put Miami on the map, drawing outsiders like Aretha Franklin, James Brown, and Wilson Pickett to the roomy Criteria Studios, and pave the way for Henry Stone’s TK label to become the most important independent imprint of the 1970s. The Deep City Label is something of a departure for this series in that genuine stars were born out of its brief existence. Clarke and Pearsall’s partnership launched the careers of Paul Kelly, Clarence “Blowfly” Reid, and Betty Wright, before the two went their separate ways in 1968. Clarke would take both Betty Wright and Gwen McCrae to the top of the R&B charts with funky-disco cuts like “Clean Up Woman” and “Rockin’ Chair.” He became the in house producer at disco powerhouse TK, and won a Grammy for Wright’s “Where Is The Love.” Pearsall’s trajectory is true to the Eccentric Soul form; he quit the business, married the label’s can’t-miss-but-did star Helene Smith, and spent the rest of his life in school administration. All that remains from its four-year run are the deepest soul sides from south of the Mason-Dixon, served up here with loving sound reproduction, carefully unearthed ephemera, and a thoroughly researched history. While every city may have had a Capsoul or a Bandit, Deep City was truly poised for international fame, making The Deep City Label not only eccentric, but essential.