An ingenious mix of 28 pivotal tracks from 1957-1965, mostly from the early '60s, that helped lay the groundwork for soul music. Some heavy-duty collectors may have wished these were all rarities, rather than a blend of hits and rarities. But it must be said that several of the hits here don't turn up on many compilations, like the ones by Inez & Charlie Foxx ("Mockingbird"), the Tams ("Hey Girl Don't Bother Me"), Joe Henderson ("Snap Your Fingers"), Bobby Bland ("Ain't Nothing You Can Do"), and the Marvelows ("I Do"). And there are plenty of nifty collector items as well: outtakes by Otis Redding and Wiliam Bell, "answer" records by Thelma Kilgore and Gloria Lynne, and early Southern soul by Jimmy Hughes. A special treat is the rabble-rousing city soul of Derek Martin's "Daddy Rollin' Stone," which became one of the Who's most obscure tracks when they covered it on the B-side of their second British 45 in 1965. The compilation may fall between the cracks of general soul listeners and soul specialists. But if you don't have most of the tracks yet, it's a good survey of early soul, with an all-encompassing diversity that includes many regional styles, and embraces both "down-home" and "uptown" productions.
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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger