The Soul Children

Genesis

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    5
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A respectable record that, even more than many Stax albums from the late '60s and early '70s, has a substantial gospel influence. Gospel was an influence in just about every soul record, of course, but you really hear it with this quartet, especially in the opening, eight-minute "I Want to Be Loved." The mood is funky but a bit more low-key and subdued than was the case on many such LPs of the time, which is a plus -- it makes the record stand out from the crowd a little. The presence of different male and female lead singers, and shared leads within the same song, also gives it some welcome variety, even if the group didn't have what it took to be considered among the top tier of soulsters, either in terms of vocals or material. J. Blackfoot's hoarse, scratchy leads (like a muted mixture of James Brown and Otis Redding) provide the most distinctive voice. And it's his lead that paces "Hearsay," the album's upbeat hit single, which made number five on the R&B charts and the middle of the pop charts. The album was paired with 1974's Friction on a single-disc CD reissue.

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