Various Artists

Country Soul Sisters, Vol. 2

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Soul Jazz's sequel to their successful Country Soul Sisters collection follows the blueprint provided on the original 2012 compilation by focusing on the progressive country female singers of the '60s and '70s. This is not necessarily the same thing as country-soul singers. All and all, there isn't much soul here -- Jody Miller sings "Natural Woman," Linda Martell covers "Color Him Father," Barbara Mandrell tackles "If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don't Want to Be Right)," Diana Trask's "Don't Let it Get Away" plays like a lost smooth soul hit from the AM wilderness -- and there's an emphasis on colorful Baroque arrangements that push the boundaries of what Nashville considered hip in the '60s and '70s (and despite the subtitle billing of this covering 1956-1979, the extreme ends aren't heard much here and Patsy Cline's inclusion is jarring, as nothing else here remotely sounds like something that could be played in an old-fashioned dancehall). As long as you're not too attached to the idea that this is a collection of anything resembling soul, Country Soul Sisters, Vol. 2 is a nifty compilation, shining a spotlight on a lot of semi-obscure recordings from iconic names. Only Dolly Parton is represented by her hits -- "The Bargain Store" and "Jolene," two major singles and lasting standards, are here -- with selections by Jeannie C. Riley, Bobbie Gentry, Jean Shepard, Lynn Anderson, Tammy Wynette, and Loretta Lynn (the former duetting with Conway Twitty), all pushing the lyrical and musical boundaries of Nashville in the '60s. Perhaps the inclusion of Cher is a little questionable (in this context, Linda Ronstadt is a far easier fit), but part of the charm of Country Soul Sisters, Vol. 2 is how it captures the paisley-spangled progressive country of the heyday of the hippie and, in that sense, it winds up as a better listen than its companion volume.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 02:15
2 02:41
3 02:42
4 02:45
5 02:28
6 02:58
7 03:00
8 02:39
9 02:57
10 02:22
11 02:45
12 03:55
13 02:59
15 02:32
16 03:23
18 03:03
19 02:06
20 05:14
21 02:12
22 02:04
23 02:46
24 03:07
blue highlight denotes track pick