Various Artists

Back to My Place Baby: '70s and '80s Seductive Soul

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Backbeats Records is strictly a compilation company based in the U.K. and distributed throughout the European Union at budget prices. What they do is simply compile collections of dance music by well-known and obscure artists from the disco era to the late '90s. And for what it’s worth, when it comes to licensing, they do a terrific job, and this set is a case in point. Compiled by Ian Dewhirst, this collection of '70s and '80s soul walks the end of the classic soul era’s foray into funk, disco, and beyond into the '80s high-production modes associated with that era. Dewhirst is a smart cookie, however, and while the '80s produced some of the lamest records ever in the name of soul, he’s avoided all of them on Back to My Place Baby, an excellent collection of babymakers. This is a set of pure soul seduction that kicks off with two stone soul classics in Al Green's “Still in Love with You” and Ann Peebles' “I Can’t Stand the Rain.” From there it moves into more adventurous terrain in track selection. There’s the 12" mix of Paris’ “I Choose You,” with its languid, ultra-nocturnal romantic vibe; Dexter Wansel's nearly X-rated killer “The Sweetest Pain” is also present, as is Windy City’s “I Still Love You.” Most people aren’t aware of the fact that the Average White Band was capable of fine ballads as well as funky steppers. Dewhirst has included one of them here in “A Love of Your Own.” He’s also picked Jean Carn's fine midtempo bubbler “Don’t Let It Get to Your Head,” and Walter Jackson's hip, slow-burning “It’s Cool.” This is a fine collection that further establishes Backbeats as a compilation label to be reckoned with when it comes to soul, funk, and house music.

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