Peggy Scott

The Very Best of Peggy Scott & Jo Jo Benson

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Peggy Scott & Jo Jo Benson never really hit it very big, but they hold a spot in soul music connoisseurs' hearts as one of the toughest, grittiest, most down-home duets of the late '60s. Scott had a voice that could peel paint from half a mile away, while Benson attempts to calm her with his deep crooning. The records they cut are resolutely funky, sprinkled with attitude and liberal doses of electric sitar, which makes things unusual and even more interesting. Their biggest hit was 1968's sweet groover "Pickin' Wild Mountain Strawberries," but a couple of others skulked around the fringes (1968's "Soul Shake" and "Lover's Holiday") and quite a few should have been hits (1998's "Pure Love and Pleasure," 1969's pounding "We Got Our Bag," "I Want to Love You Baby," and "True Soul Lovin'"). While the duo may not have made a huge splash in their day, they certainly have in the era of CD reissues, as their classic SSS International material from 1968-1969 has been released in various forms. Ichiban/Soul Classics got the ball rolling in 1995 with a 19-song collection, RPM has a fine 26-song collection, and Collectables' disc clocks in at 24. Varese's 18 songs look kind of puny compared to the last two. Suffice it to say that any of these are worth having; Scott and Benson are truly a dynamic duo who never seemed to have recorded a bad track. Which disc you pick depends on your completist tendencies and your financial situation. Once you hear one track by them, however, you are going to want to hear as many as you can. Keep that in mind.

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