Various Artists

Mod Fave Raves, Vol. 2: 20 Collectable Modern Soul Classics

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Despite what its title suggests, Mod Fave Raves, Vol. 2 doesn't collect tracks from British groups like the Who and Small Faces -- instead, this U.K. compilation gathers songs from the Tamla Motown acts that inspired the mod movement, including the Miracles, Earl Van Dyke, Junior Walker & the All-Stars, and the Marvelettes. Considering the reverence with which the U.K. still treats this music, it's not surprising that this collection digs deep into Motown's catalog, offering songs that may not be hits but do exemplify the label's stylishly soulful sound. Indeed, out of its 20 selections, only a handful of Mod Fave Raves, Vol. 2's tracks -- the Four Tops' "I Can't Help Myself," the Temptations' "(I Know) I'm Losing You," and Martha & the Vandellas' "(Love Is Like A) Heat Wave" -- continue to have much airplay (in the U.S., at least). That's really the beauty of the collection, though; it's not the same prefabricated collection of Motown's best-known hits. Whether it's relatively obscure tracks by the label's stars, such as the Miracles' "Come On Do the Jerk," Gladys Knight & the Pips' "Just Walk in My Shoes," and the Isley Brothers' "Just Ain't Enough Love," or the relatively big hits from the slightly less well-known artists, like Kim Weston's "Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me a Little While)" and Shorty Long's "Function at the Junction," the collection is full of Motown music that still sounds fresh since it hasn't been overplayed. Mod Fave Raves, Vol. 2 is also uniquely tailored to British tastes, featuring songs by U.K. favorites such as Chris Clark's "From Head to Toe" and tracks like Barbara McNair's 1965 single "You're Gonna Love My Baby," which features a similar (and perhaps inspirational) arrangement and production to the hits that British divas like Lulu and Petula Clark had at that time. Overall, Mod Fave Raves, Vol. 2 offers a fresh perspective on the Motown sound that should please not just U.K. fans, but just about anyone looking for a collection that goes beyond the all-too-predictable Motown compilations.