Various Artists

Soul of Minit Records

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New Orleans-based Minit Records was founded in 1959 by Joe Banashak and Larry McKinley, but for all intents and purposes the label belonged to Allen Toussaint -- he wrote, arranged, and produced the majority of its biggest hits, creating a loose, vibrant sound that is an essential component of the Crescent City soul legacy. Home to acts including Aaron Neville, Irma Thomas, and Benny Spellman as well as the launching pad for hits like Jessie Hill's "Ooh Poo Pah Doo, Pt. 2" and Ernie K-Doe's "Mother-in-Law," Minit wasn't long-lived -- Toussaint exited in 1963 to serve in the U.S. Army, and the label was sold to Imperial not long after -- which makes the sheer quality and consistency of its output all the more remarkable. But aside from the above-mentioned chart hits, the Minit catalog has not been well-served on CD, a problem EMI's Soul of Minit Records goes some way to solving -- compiling two dozen largely forgotten cuts begging for rediscovery. Even if Minit wasn't a hit machine, the label's knack for discovering talent was uncanny -- Ike & Tina Turner, Gloria Jones, Bobby Womack, and Homer Banks all turn up here, not to mention highlights including Tina Britt's "Sookie Sookie," Dee Irwin's "I Can't Stand the Pain," and Clydie King's "Shing-a-Ling."

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