Arthur Conley

Sweet Soul Music: The Best of Arthur Conley

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Conley was ultimately a minor soul performer, but he made his share of decent records. Aside from "Sweet Soul Music," most of them have been inaccessible until this 22-song compilation of 1965-70 material. There's no getting around the fact that "Sweet Soul Music" towers above his other efforts, but Conley was a decent exponent of Southern soul. This includes all seven of his chart singles, cuts from several albums, and half a dozen songs from non-LP singles. Conley sometimes sounded like a watered-down Otis Redding (particularly in his latter years), and some of his later singles were trendy and slight (like "Aunt Dora's Love Soul Shack" and the cover of "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da"). There are some good unheralded performances here, though, particularly on the pre-"Sweet Soul Music" singles; Conley emotes more heavily than would be his wont in later times, aided by material supplied by ace songwriters Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham.

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