By 1967, East St.Louis, Illinois, once dubbed an ‘All – American’ city by the US Chamber Of Comerce, had become St Louis, Missouri’s evil twin. Unemployment, drug addiction and vicious gang activity put a dark and heavy lid on a bi-state area that once cooked-up world-changing talent the likes of Chuck Berry, Josephine Baker and Miles Davis. But both cities still spawned heroes, and Allen Merry was one of them. Already a living legend for his early work with Ray Charles and Ike Turner, Merry channeled his talent into teaching, forming the Young Disciples through the South End Community Center to keep the kids off the streets, out of the gangs and into the studio, where young men and women spiraling downward could ride the spiral groove upward on Merry’s YoDi, Gateway and Merry labels. With nearly eighty local youths involved from both sides of the Mississippi, the Young Disciples (named for one of the area’s most notorious gangs) encompassed solo acts, duos, male and female vocal groups, a massive horn section and a troupe of African dancers. Every sweat-drenched recording included here emerged from this grass-roots organization that changed, if not saved, lives. Former East St Louis Mayor Carl Officer had a slogan he liked to pitch: “ There’s A City Under Here.” Here’s the musical proof of that possibility.