Various Artists

Chess Soul: A Decade of Chicago's Finest

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Chess Soul: A Decade of Chicago's Finest Review

by Cub Koda

While Chess made numerous legendary contributions to the fields of blues and rock & roll, its reputation as a major mover and shaker in the soul field from 1961 to 1971 is unassailed. This 2-CD, 45-track compilation is another excellent entry in the Chess 50th Anniversary Series and shows why the label had the Windy City almost sewn up when it came to brand-name artists and material. Whether the tracks were master purchases from a smaller Chicago or Southern label (Jan Bradley's "Mama Didn't Lie," Cookie and the Cupcakes' "I've Been So Lonely," the Kolettes' "Who's That Girl?," Big Maybelle's "Don't Pass Me By" or Denise LaSalle's "A Love Reputation") or in-house productions from Billy Davis and Leonard Caston, next to Stax or Atlantic, no one stood for soul music in the 1960s like Chess Records. Featuring the label's strong hitmakers and soul shouters Etta James (the devastating "Only Time Will Tell"), Billy Stewart (the scat classic "Summertime"), Fontella Bass ("Rescue Me"), Gene Chandler ("I Fooled You This Time"), Mitty Collier ("I'm Satisfied") and Sugar Pie DeSanto ("Soulful Dress") alongside isolated moments of Chi-Town brilliance (the Radiants' "Voice Your Choice," the Knight Brothers' "Temptation 'Bout to Get Me" and Tony Clarke's "The Entertainer") with early Muscle Shoals productions thrown in to give the big picture (Laura Lee's "Dirty Man," Maurice and Mac's "You Left the Water Running"), this is one very potent two-disc anthology and an essential addition to anyone's soul collection.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Jan Bradley 02:04 SpotifyAmazon
2 Billy Stewart 02:10
3 Cookie & the Cupcakes 02:16 SpotifyAmazon
4 Sugar Pie DeSanto 02:52 SpotifyAmazon
5
Johnny Nash 02:16 SpotifyAmazon
6 The Kolettes 02:54 SpotifyAmazon
7 Tony Clarke 03:15 SpotifyAmazon
8 Mitty Collier 03:43 SpotifyAmazon
9 The Gems 02:59 SpotifyAmazon
10 Fontella Bass / Bobby McClure 03:02 SpotifyAmazon
11 The Radiants 02:35 SpotifyAmazon
12 Jackie Ross 03:20 SpotifyAmazon
13 Tony Clarke 02:35 SpotifyAmazon
14 Billy Stewart 03:01 SpotifyAmazon
15 James Phelps 03:30 SpotifyAmazon
16 Fontella Bass 03:34 SpotifyAmazon
17 The Knight Brothers 03:27 SpotifyAmazon
18 Sugar Pie DeSanto / Etta James 03:02
19 Jackie Ross 02:34 SpotifyAmazon
20 The Valentinos 02:48
21 Mitty Collier 02:03 SpotifyAmazon
22 Bobby Moore & the Rhythm Aces 02:32 SpotifyAmazon
23 Etta James 03:24

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Fontella Bass 02:56
2 Bobby McClure 02:55 SpotifyAmazon
3 Joanne Garrett 02:59 SpotifyAmazon
4
Billy Young 02:32 SpotifyAmazon
5 Ramsey Lewis 03:29 SpotifyAmazon
6 Gene Chandler 02:53 SpotifyAmazon
7 Big Maybelle 03:11 SpotifyAmazon
8 Andrea Davis 03:06 SpotifyAmazon
9 Gene Chandler 02:57 SpotifyAmazon
10 Barbara Carr 02:27 SpotifyAmazon
11 Eddie & Ernie 03:00 SpotifyAmazon
12 Marlena Shaw 03:06 SpotifyAmazon
13 Denise LaSalle 02:47 SpotifyAmazon
14 Laura Lee 02:55 SpotifyAmazon
15 Fred Hughes 02:44 SpotifyAmazon
16 The Radiants 02:58 SpotifyAmazon
17 Irma Thomas 02:36
18 Maurice & Mac 02:44 SpotifyAmazon
19 The Dells 02:49
20 Little Milton 02:49 SpotifyAmazon
21 Etta James 03:01
22 The Dells 04:34
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