Various Artists

Soul Culture: 01

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One of the best things (some might say the only thing) that happens when a major distributor merges with another major distributor is that compilations sourced through the catalog departments become a lot more varied. Sony BMG's Soul Culture series takes advantage of the large pool of possibilities that open up when you consider all the funk, soul, jazz, disco -- and all fusions thereof -- that the two distributors have at their disposal. Covering cult favorites and obscurities released throughout the '70s and early '80s, the series begins in fine style with Idris Muhammad's "Could Heaven Ever Be Like This," Larry Young's "Turn Off the Lights," the Isley Brothers' "Get Into Something," Jon Lucien's "Would You Believe in Me," and Weldon Irvine's "We Getting' Down." Many of these cuts have shown up on compilations released since the mid-'90s, but curious listeners who have heard less than a handful of them should prepare to be knocked out.

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