Various Artists

Fatback's Soul Shop

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AllMusic Review by

A nod of the cap goes to Kent Records for their good sense to collect and reissue some of the finest moments on the highly revered Fatback record label straight out of Queens. Starting off with the timeless political message of Johnny King's "Peace Love Not War," the backbeat of the Fatback band grabs hold at a breakneck pace and refuses to let up throughout the record. The four-on-the-floor stomper "The Cat Walk" effortlessly fuses the influences of Motown with Latin and straight-ahead funk so thick you could carve your name in it. The Puzzles' "My Sweet Baby" is a brilliant combination of New York funk and trace elements of the future Chicago sound that Curtom would later trademark. Only with the appearance of Mary Davis' two ballads do things slow down for a spell, but that doesn't discount the quality of the performances, especially on Davis' gut-wrenching ballad "Stop Pretending," easily one of the highlights of the album. Complete with amazingly insightful liner notes courtesy of highly respected Northern soul connoisseur Ady Croasdell, this is an amazing snapshot at one of the finest and most revered Northern soul labels. And while the relative obscurity of Fatback's legacy might be a drawback to casual fans of soul music, those who are looking for adventure in unfamiliar waters will be rewarded with jewel after jewel of lost soul treasures.

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