Various Artists

Got a Good Thing Going

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Subtitled "25 R&B Radio Hits of the 60s," Billy Vera compiled this with the intention of giving listeners some prime soul singles that weren't huge hits, but also not selected simply on the basis of obscurity. Besides J.J. Jackson's "But It's All Right" and Freddie Scott's "Hey Girl," however, you'd be hard-pressed to recognize any of these, unless you listened to soul stations all the time in the '60s. The attention to quality over rarity, however, has resulted in the one of the finest anthologies of semi-obscure and very obscure '60s soul that you're likely to come across, with lots of diversity, ranging from gospel-tinged shouters to uptown New York productions to exquisite ballads. Almost all of this is very good, and some of it's a lot better than that -- the original version of "You're No Good" by Dee Dee Warwick (covered by Betty Everett in the '60s and Linda Ronstadt in the '70s) is a stunner. Little Buster has a fine Sam Cooke soundalike, Jimmy Ricks has a deep croon that sounds like a 45 playing at 33 RPM, Mary Wells offers an overlooked bluesy cut from the late '60s, and Valerie Simpson and Nick Ashford are heard on a rare 1965 single attributed simply to Valerie and Nick. And the mysterious Mighty Hannibal's "Hymn No. 5" is a must-hear for any '60s soul/rock fan, its creepy gospel/soul moan offering one of the best understated protests against the Vietnam War ever recorded.

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