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Boomkat Product Review:
"Numero drop another archival essential! By 1967, East St. Louis, Illinois, once dubbed an "All American" city by the US Chamber Of Commerce, had become St. Louis, Missouri's evil twin. Unemployment, drug addiction & vicious gang activity put a dark & heavy lid on a bi-state area that once cooked-up world-changing talent by the likes of Chuck Berry, Josephine Baker & Miles Davis. But both cities still spawned heroes, and ALLEN MERRY was one of them. Already a living legend for his early work w/ Ray Charles & Ike Turner, Merry channeled his talent into teaching, forming the YOUNG DISCIPLES through the South End Community Center to keep kids off the streets, out of the gangs & into the studio, where young men & women spiraling downward could ride the spiral groove upward on Merry's own YODI, GATEWAY & MERRY labels. With nearly 80 local youths involved from both sides of the Mississippi, the YOUNG DISCIPLES (named after one of the area's most notorious gangs) encompassed solo acts, duos, male & female vocal groups, a massive horn section & a troupe of African dancers. Every sweat-drenched recording included here emerged from this grass-roots organization that changed, if not saved, lives."