Billy Paul

Going East

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Billy Paul's Philadelphia International label debut boasts few of the hallmarks of its breakthrough follow-up 360 Degrees of Billy Paul, let alone Philly soul as a whole -- if anything, the album hews far closer to jazz, with a potent spiritual dimension that defies expectations even further. Apart from the Gamble/Huff composition "Love Buddies," the material draws from sources outside of the Philly International sphere, spanning from Rodgers & Hart's "There's a Small Hotel" to Gene McDaniels' "Compared to What." The arrangements are complex but deeply funky, perfectly suited to Paul's sagelike vocals. A fascinating, genre-defying record, finally reissued on CD in 2007 as part of a two-fer with the subsequent War of the Gods.

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