Various Artists

Bubblegum Soul

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The liner notes of this excellent 21-song collection (never mind the subtitle) define bubblegum soul as "the sound of a million transistor radios between 1968 and 1973, the sound of summer, the sound of ebony and ivory living together in harmony!" In essence, we're talking breezy crossover soul bereft of the radical political content and psychedelicized production dominant in much of the black popular music of era; which is not to suggest, however, that the music doesn't still hold up. Far from it: the Foundations' "Build Me Up, Buttercup" is still the best record Motown never released, and the Chairmen of the Board's "Give Me Just a Little More Time" isn't far behind. Some of the songs don't really fit the disc's parameters -- P.P. Arnold's brilliant "The First Cut Is the Deepest" certainly transcends the "popcorn soul-pop" tag -- but it's tough to quibble with a set this consistently entertaining.

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