Various Artists

Free Soul: The Classics of Stax and Volt, Vol. 2

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Hard to believe there's even more lost classics languishing in the Stax/Volt vaults, but the second volume of Free Soul: The Classic of Stax and Volt [sic] is every bit as strong as the first. Mind you, this Japanese series rarely if ever disappoints, with each successive volume digging even deeper into the proverbial crates to discovering a wealth of timeless music that may be rare but is very well done. Once again, Stax luminaries like Otis Redding and Sam & Dave are given short thrift in favor of lesser-known material from the early '70s, a period that heralded the company's shift from gritty deep soul to funky, scintillating grooves; highlights include Roy Lee Johnson & the Villagers' "The Dryer," Calvin Scott's "Shame on the Family Name," the Charmels' "As Long as I've Got You," and 24-Carat Black's "Ghetto: Misfortune's Wealth."