The long-running Blue Light Basement Party series is the very definition of no-frills. Sometimes packaged without cover art and at best sporting track listings complete with numerous misspellings, they're CD-Rom compilations of vintage mellow soul cuts always popular on Chicago's Dusty Steppers scene. And with no label information or copyright data in sight, it's safe to assume the discs are bootlegs, but they're available in some of Chicago's independent retail outlets and, unlike the vast majority of pirated releases on the market, the sound is startlingly good. The discs are clearly a labor of love for whoever's behind them, and given their dirt-cheap price point, they're definitely worth the investment if classic soul and doo wop is your thing. The second edition of Blue Light Basement Party is a particularly stellar entry thanks to its emphasis on hard-to-find material from the early 1970s: highlights include the mighty Ramp's "Everybody Loves the Sunshine," Eddie Kendricks' "Honey Brown," the Notations' "Make Me Twice the Man," and Billy Griffin's "Hold Me Tighter in the Rain."
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