Various Artists

Billboard Hot Soul Hits: 1973

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Other collections may offer more for the money, but Rhino's Billboard Hot Soul Hits discs deliver the perfect dose for all those top-of-the-charts trainspotters. With 1973 in focus, these ten tracks chart the period's fertile mix of Stax and Motown roots (Four Tops, Staple Singers), nascent funk (Fred Wesley), and proto-disco strains (Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes' Philly bump). As usual, gospel fervor fuels the ride, whether in smoldering (Gladys Knight), sanctified (Al Green), or revival fashion (Pop Staples and company). And the typically elastic nature of that musical wellspring is demonstrated quite impressively, too, notably on Timmy Thomas' lithe organ and drum machine groove, "Why Can't We Live Together," and the Isley Brothers' Hendrix-in-a-quiet-storm jam, "That Lady, Pt. 1."

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