While it lacks the band's biggest hit, "Tighten Up, Part One" (in which Archie Bell informs his listeners that he and his bandmates can dance just as good as they walk), this two-fer reissue of Archie Bell & the Drells' second and third albums for Atlantic captures the group at the height of their powers while including their other hits, "I Can't Stop Dancing," "Do the Choo-Choo" and "(There's Gonna Be A) Showdown." While soul music was starting to deal with more serious themes and taking on psychedelic accents in the late 1960s, Bell & the Drells are still old-school entertainers down to the bone on I Can't Stop Dancing, offering up floor-filling dance tunes with a slight lean towards funk such as "Do You Feel It" and "Jamming in Houston," while Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff added a bit of production polish on two cuts. (The album also includes an odd rewrite of "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay" which moves the song from San Francisco to Germany, perhaps influenced by Bell's hitch in the service.) Gamble & Huff produced and arranged ten of the twelve tunes on There's Gonna Be a Showdown, and the results were a far more polished album, with a greater emphasis on Bell's soulful vocal style and the harmonies of the Drells (though there's still plenty of beach-friendly dance material on deck). If it lacks the grittier charms of Bell's earlier material, it also shows off a lot more of his vocal range, and the Philly-style arrangements are fine. A great package for followers of classic soul, though since it comes in at under an hour, couldn't Collectables have thrown in "Tighten Up" just for fun?
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming