Various Artists

Bar-B-Que Soul-A-Bration

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Generally sounding like the soundtrack to a Black house party or outdoor BBQ of the 1960s, this gem-laden two-CD set focuses primarily on the soul music of that era, but isn't without some very R&B-minded jazz and organ-combo selections. Much of the package (which spans 1952 to 1989) falls into the Southern soul category, and anyone who's seriously into Southern-style R&B will be familiar with such classics as Aretha Franklin's "Respect," Sam & Dave's "Soul Man," Booker T. & the MG's' "Green Onions" and Wilson Pickett's "Land of 1000 Dances." Meanwhile, the sleeker approach of Northern R&B is represented by Billy Stewart's "Summertime," Brenton Wood's "The Oogum Boogum Song," the Capitols' "Cool Jerk" and Archie Bell & the Drells' "Tighten Up." The jazz that Rhino has included fits right in because it's groove-oriented and R&B-minded -- Jack McDuff's "Hot Barbecue," Mongo Santamaria's take on "Watermelon Man" and the Ramsey Lewis Trio's hit version of "The In Crowd" are a long way from the cerebral offerings of Ornette Coleman, Jackie McLean and Charles Mingus. And while this collection takes its key inspiration from the 1960s, it doesn't exclude Black party music of the 1950s (the Clovers' "One Mint Julep"), the 1970s (Betty Wright's "Clean Up Woman" and the Spinners' "Rubber Band Man") or the 1980s. Highly recommended.

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