Various Artists

Barbecue Beat

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This collection of music is inspired by the lazy energy surrounding the backyard barbecue. The songs are culled from the R&B and soul circuits of the '60s in large part, but there are bits from before and after present, as well as some random rock & roll pieces. The album opens up with an old piece from the Jaynettes (their only hit), then moves into the jazz realm a bit with Mongo Santamaria's biggest hit in the mainstream world and Ramsey Lewis' "In Crowd." Dusty Springfield's classic "Son of a Preacher Man" returns the tone to soul, followed by Marvin Gaye's incredible "Let's Get It On." Bobby Fuller's "I Fought the Law" holds on to the summer tone, but both its speed and genre make it stick out from the pack. Jimmy Reed's broken-down blues return the lazy feel to the album, followed by a couple of items from any given oldies station, with Aretha Franklin and the Capitols each providing a song. Albert King provides a nice rendition of his signature song, Duane Eddy contributes his classic instrumental rock boogie, and the Staple Singers add their biggest Southern soul hit. Some N'awlins boogie-woogie comes courtesy of Professor Longhair, the Meters continue the Louisiana stretch, and the album closes on the Spinners' "Rubberband Man." It's a simple routine that mimics flipping between a random solid gold soul station and an oldies station in any city's radio band, which happens to be perfectly fit to the atmosphere that they're attempting to create here. Give it a listen not for new revelations in music, but for an enjoyable listen on a warm weekend afternoon.

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