Various Artists

Carnival of Soul, Vol. 3: I Wanna Be

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Many labels and label owners have been given unofficial sainthood by fans (all petitions to the Vatican are pending), but in the world of independent soul perhaps one of the most deserved of this massive praise is Joe Evans and his Carnival imprint. Spanning most of the '60s and taking occasional forays into the '70s and even the indie soul tundra of the '80s, Carnival quietly issued soul-blues rockers, somber ballads, northern classics, disco anthems, and crossover classics before most of those designations had been invented. Among the legends here are Lee Williams & the Cymbals' classic "I Need You Baby" (imagine Marvin Gaye singing lead with the Impressions), Phil Terrell and his fantastic "I'll Erase You (From My Heart)," Wilber Bascombe's bona fide funk anthem "Groove in G," and the sophisticated '80s surprise of New Jersey Connection's "Love Don't Come Easy." This is the third and final volume in Kent Records' reissue series that presents the entire catalog of Carnival, including previously unissued material. If you really want the whole story, though, you'll have to check out all three volumes; exhaustive notes and photos are provided in sequence throughout the thick booklets accompanying each disc.

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