Various Artists

Body and Soul: After Dark

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Since the late '90s, Time Life's Body and Soul collections have been one of the more reliable ones that specialize in classic and romantic R&B. Why Body and Soul volumes prosper is due to the uniform quality of the choices and sequencing. While the majority of these volumes aren't exactly a testament to "rare gems," Body and Soul: After Dark does offer a plethora of simply lovable tracks. Tracks like "I'm Ready" by Tevin Campbell, Atlantic Starr's "Always," and Bill Withers and Grover Washington, Jr.'s "Just the Two of Us" still hit the mark. Al Green's "Let's Get Married" and Aretha Franklin's "Until You Come Back to Me" are other solid tracks that give the other work here a certain strength. While many like-minded sets have collapsed under the weight of their popish leanings, oddly enough this set is better for the fact. Mid-to-late-'80s tracks like "Friends and Lovers" by Gloria Loring and Carl Anderson and James Ingram's "I Don't Have the Heart" come off very charming here. Although the surprises here are minimal, detours like Sheila E's 1987 quiet storm hit and Stacy Lattisaw's cover of "Love on a Two-Way Street" tilt this toward truly essential. Why this works is anyone's guess. It truly does, though, and even those who've heard it all before will find Body and Soul: After Dark captivating listening.