It may open up with Aaron Neville's 1993 rendition of George Jones' classic "The Grand Tour," but Ace's 2012 compilation Behind Closed Doors: Where Country Meets Soul focuses on the golden age of country soul -- the late '60s and early '70s, the age when the borders between these two strands of southern American music became decidedly blurring. And many of the 23 cuts on Behind Closed Doors are firmly within the Southern soul tradition -- slow, smoky, gritty, and soulful, anchored by languid stride piano and buttressed by muscular horns. Most of the sides slide by at a slow tempo, rhythms that usually groove to a deep funk and occasionally are given a sweet, smooth soul veneer (the Limelites' "Before the Next Teardrop Falls") but often the proceedings are stately, the better to showcase the singer (Percy Sledge's "Take Time to Know Her," Tony Borders' "Gentle On My Mind," Solomon Burke's "He'll Have to Go," Brook Benton's "She Even Woke Me Up to Say Goodbye"). All this slowness means that the cuts that do pick up the tempo really stand out from the pack: Cookie Jackson's take on Tammy Wynette's "Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad" blazes, and Moses & Joshua Dillard's ebullient rendition of Wynette & David Houston's "My Elusive Dreams" is positively addictive. But even if there's not a whole lot of variety here, there are plenty of good cuts that capture country-soul at its best.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine