Eccentric Soul: Smart's Palace (Numero Group 027)
Smart’s Palace was anything but royal. Beyond the bloodlines of the Smart Brothers and their jester brother Leroy, the only kings and queens to be discovered there were JB and Aretha playing on the Wurlitzer. But between 1963 and 1975, the club held court for the entire Wichita, Kansas, soul scene. At its heart was Dick Smart: bassist, club and record store owner, DJ, promoter, and sole proprietor of the Solo label. Collected here for the first time are the story and songs that came out of this thriving, if not totally unknown scene. A decade in the making, leading soul historian Dante Carfagna has compiled 19 dizzying Wichita twisters—by the Smart Brothers Band, Theron & Darrell, Baby Neal, and more—covering the Solo, Kanwic, Vantage, and Lee-Mac labels, all fully annotated with a ransom of pictures, posters, and ephemera fit for a king.