Cleveland's Saru is the subject of Numero's 20th Eccentric Soul anthology. Active during the tail end of the '60s and the beginning of the '70s, the label was owned by entrepreneurial cousins who provided O'Jays member Bobby Massey with an outlet to write, produce, and develop talent. Just over a dozen singles were released on Saru (and sublabel Pisces), with some recordings never reaching the public. The O'Jays themselves recorded for Saru just prior to their resurgent and greatest success with Philadelphia International. "Shattered Man" launched the label and set its tone in sweeping, dramatic style, and David Peoples' high-powered "Got to Get My Broom Out" is basically an O'Jays record with a different frontman. Otherwise, Massey and O'Jays keyboardist Bobby Dukes, and to a lesser extent Parliament/Funkadelic's Calvin Simon, were the architects, composing and directing the majority of Saru's output. This included material from youngsters the Ponderosa Twins Plus One, whose bittersweet "Bound" became the basis of Kanye West's "Bound 2"; the Out-of-Sights, who contributed several tough sides; and Dukes himself, whose rolling "Just to Be with You" is another highlight. Only Sir Stanley's "I Believe," a heavy psych-funk maelstrom, diverts from traditional soul. Numero's characteristically in-depth backstory narrative is more consistently fascinating than the music, which tends to be at least adequate in quality and high in spirit when lacking distinction. For Numero devotees and Midwest soul fanatics, this neatly complements Eccentric Soul: The Way Out Label, Boddie Recording Company: Cleveland, Ohio, Tinmine Soul Supply, and Lou Ragland's I Travel Alone.