Various Artists

Blue Light Basement Party, Vol. 9

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The long-running Blue Light Basement Party series makes no sense. Sometimes packaged without cover art and at best sporting half-assed track listings complete with numerous misspellings, they're CD-Rom compilations of vintage mellow soul cuts always popular on Chicago's Dusty Steppers scene -- 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 bag. The ninth edition of Blue Light Basement Party is more of a good thing, featuring 26 well-sequenced cuts that veer from much-anthologized hits like the Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'," and Dusty Springfield's "The Look of Love," to little-known material like Sheryl Swope's "Can't Get Him Off My Mind," and the Chymes' "My Baby's Gone Away." It's a good jumping-in point for the series as a whole.