Various Artists

Black & Proud: The Soul of the Black Panther Era, Vol. 2

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Although not quite as uniformly strong as the first volume in the series (and there's still no Sly Stone in sight), the second volume in the Black & Proud series is another impressive entry -- equal parts time capsule and monster funk collection -- the disc further explores music's role as both a catalyst behind and product of the militant Black Power movement of the late 1960s. Outside of the Staple Singers' "Respect Yourself," there's little here that earned significant radio exposure, but even if their messages didn't reach quite as far, efforts like Marlena Shaw's "I Wish I Knew (How It Would Feel to Be Free)," and Gil Scott-Heron's "Who'll Pay Reparations on My Soul?" resonate with comparable conviction and righteous anger, not to mention deep, ferocious grooves. In a modern era where popular music is so often disposable and mindless, these 19 tracks recall an era when records were like reports from the frontlines -- the times may have changed, but the passion and power haven't diminished.

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