Patty & the Emblems

A Tribute to Patty & the Emblems

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The awkward title of this CD is somewhat misleading, implying perhaps that this is a tribute record to the lead singer of Patty & the Emblems, rather than actual Patty & the Emblems recordings. Not to worry, this is a compilation of Patty & the Emblems records, most of them from 1964-68. Their sole song to make any notable commercial impact, "Mixed Up Shook Up Girl," is here, along with 18 other tracks from the mid- to late 1960s that reflect the development of the early Philly soul sound. It's a mix of late doo wop, prime girl group, and '60s pop-soul, pretty attractive for what it is, though the material's only average. "Mixed Up Shook Up Girl," a fine slice of brassy and sassy uptown soul, is the best cut by a fair distance, with some of the others taking some obvious cues from Motown and other soul trends of the day. It's a good listen, nonetheless, for most soul collectors; songs like the ballad "I've Got Nothing to Lose" and the bittersweet "Give Me Time" enduring as examples of the nascent Philly sweet soul sound, with luscious backup harmonies and careful mix of rock and more orchestral instruments. It would have been nice to have more liner notes (the ones on the sleeve are extremely perfunctory), though dates and songwriting credits are given. There are also five songs recorded by Patty Russell in 1999, shortly before her death, that are slick and unmemorable updates of the vintage soul sound, including a remake of "Mixed Up Shook Up Girl."