Various Artists

Northern Soul Stompers

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Wow. One of the virtues of the whole Northern soul scene in England is that it keeps in print a lot of artists whose work would otherwise never be heard at all (and even occasionally leads them back to the concert stage, in England). But this set is generous even given the expectations one might have -- four CDs and 80 songs, covering such artists as Maxine Brown, Billy Butler, the Dynamics, the Exciters, P.P. Arnold, Sidney Barnes, and more, all solid, first-rate '60s/early-'70s soul singers, mostly American with a few who were based in England mixed in (but all American-style in their music), usually doing some of their best songs, and in excellent sound. There's no annotation whatsoever -- that would have made this better than perfect, but also would have driven the cost up higher than the eight dollars per disc it is priced at -- but the mix of songs and sounds is so delightful that it's impossible to say a bad word about this collection.

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