Twelve songs are not near enough to represent the best of soul music, but this collection does a decent job. Most of the tracks are drawn from the Atlantic and Stax archives and include stomping tracks like Sam & Dave's ""Soul Man" and the wicked Wilson Pickett's "In the Midnight Hour," and heart-wrenching ballads like Otis Redding's "Try a Little Tenderness" and Percy Sledge's ""When a Man Loves a Woman." The disc deserves major points for including the incredibly emotional "Stay With Me" by Lorraine Ellison and the super funky "Express Yourself" by Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band, but loses a couple points by including obscure tracks by the Staple Singers (""Let's Do It Again") and Aretha Franklin ("Baby I Love You") instead of one of their signature hits. Listeners may be disappointed by the narrow range of the selections, but will most likely enjoy the stirring sounds that are here.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra