Various Artists

After Hours: Northern Soul Masters from the Vaults of Atlantic, Atco, Loma, Reprise

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Just because the title references the kinds of major labels that you'd imagine have anthologized their soul records countless times over doesn't mean there's not still a wealth of classic material out there waiting to be discovered -- sure, After Hours draws on the vast catalog of Warner Bros. and its affiliated imprints, but the grooves here are as great and as obscure as anything you're going to find from record companies that operated in the middle of nowhere. If anything, this stuff's even better than the really backwoods finds, because these artists had the Warner studio muscle at their disposal -- meaning that even if the singles in question never cracked the charts, it wasn't for lack of spit and polish. There are familiar singers here as well -- the incomparable Barbara Lewis checks in with "I Remember the Feeling," Johnny Copeland contributes "Sufferin' City," and even Ella Fitzgerald turns up on "Get Ready" -- but the real scores are the never-weres, among them Alice Clark's "You Hit Me," Ben Aiken's "Satisfied," and David & Ruben's "I Love Her So Much It Hurts Me."

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