CD Masterpieces of Modern Soul, Vol. 2 (CD 4448884),
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Masterpieces of Modern Soul, Vol. 2
1. I Can See Him Making Love To You - Mayberry Movement
2. Hope For Love - Darrow Fletcher
3. It's Better To Cry - Johnny "Guitar" Watson
4. That's The Way Our Love Is - The Radiations
5. Take All The Time You Need - Checkmates Ltd.
6. You're Gonna Lose Me - Freddie Hubbard
7. Your Song - Laura Lee
8. Lovin' - The Pacesetters
9. I'm A Dreamer - Bobby Burns
10. I Wanna Stay High On You - Higher Feelings Music
11. Always - Garland Green
12. Broken Heart Cries, A - The Pretenders
13. Lightnin' Up - Ty Karim
14. Fool Who Used To Live Here, The - Betty Fikes
15. More That Just Somebody I Know - Brenda Wayne
16. Staying At Home Like A Woman - Lynn Varnado
17. All In My Mind - The Unknown
18. Still A Part Of Me - The Minits
19. I'm In Love - The Ovations
20. What Hurts - Grover Mitchell
21. You Gotta Be A Lady - The Chargers
22. Double Love - The California Playboys
23. Wear Your Natural - Towana & The Total Destruction
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 310
These two dozen tracks aren't masterpieces of modern soul. They're just rare soul recordings spanning the late 1960s to the early '80s -- some of them previously unreleased, and some of them not first issued until the '90s or 2000s -- though the bulk of them are from the '70s. You might recognize a name here or there if you're a big soul fan, but Garland Green and jazz trumpeter Freddie Hubbard (here represented by a 1981 cut featuring vocalist Jeanie Tracy) are the only big ones, even if a few artists (like Laura Lee, the Ovations, and Ty Karim) had their flashes of success and subsequent cult followings. There's even a song credited to "Unknown Artist" that sounds about as professional as everything else on the disc. (And no, the vocal group called the Pretenders is not the same as Chrissie Hynde's outfit!) It's sort of like what a subscription-only radio service might play if they had dedicated "Deep Tracks" programming for '70s soul, very much capturing the feel of '70s soul trends without presenting any familiar songs. Like numerous other Ace soul various-artists anthologies with a generally similar mission, there's nothing that sticks out as a neglected classic or should-have-been hit. Taking it for what it's worth, however, it's a pleasant and nicely varied selection that captures the mood of the era, with many of the stylistic signatures of '70s pop-leaning soul -- the Stevie Wonder "Superstition"-like riff in Lynn Varnado's "Staying at Home Like a Woman," for instance -- presented and accounted for. Clipped funk riffs, soaring strings, good-natured singing (even when the topics are somewhat sad), modest wah-wah guitar, affable gospel-funk-flavored songwriting, and cooing group harmonizing all crop up too. It's not an earthshaker, but it's a welcome entry in a CD reissue niche that stripmines '60s soul far more than soul from the following decade, largely avoiding the too-slick production afflicting much '70s soul (Garland Green's disco-tinged 1983 cut "Always" being an unfortunate exception). ~ Richie Unterberger
Record Collector (magazine) (p.97) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[S]uperb....Hotspots include the opener Grover Mitchell's delicious 1971 cut, 'What Hurts'...[and] New York's Johnny Watson's sublime reading of The Appreciations' 'It's Better To Cry'..."
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