Various Artists

It Takes Two, Vol. 1 [RPM]

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Subtitled "23 Prime Cuts of Classic 60s Soul and R&B Duets," this couldn't be hailed as a definitive best-of for that sub-genre. Not when there's no Sam & Dave, no Peaches & Herb, and no Righteous Brothers, not to mention part-time duet teams like Otis Redding & Carla Thomas, or Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell. Still, it's a respectable if idiosyncratically selected batch of soul duets, most but not all of the male-female variety. As for the big hits, there are barely any on board, other than Don Gardner & Dee Dee Ford's gospel-charged "I Need Your Loving" and Betty Everett & Jerry Butler's "Let It Be Me." As for reasonably well-known duet teams, there are only a few others: Inez & Charlie Foxx, Chuck Jackson & Maxine Brown, Peggy Scott & Jo Jo Benson, and Lee Dorsey & Betty Harris (well, one-half of the latter was well known, anyway). This, of course, makes this disc more enticing for collectors, who may well not yet have located the cuts by Birdlegs & Pauline, June Conquest & Donny Hathaway, or Laura Greene and Johnny McKinnis, for instance. As for the quality, it's good to average period soul, taken from the vaults of Vee Jay, Sansu, Red Bird, SSS International, Fire, Musicor, Curtom, and Wand, leaning a bit (but not far) toward uptown productions. The most satisfying obscurity is the bluesy and moody "Can't Stay Away" by Tarheel Slim & Little Ann, while Kane & Abel's "He Will Break Your Heart" sounds so much like the Phil Spector-produced Righteous Brothers singles that the liner notes wonder whether it might be that duo recording under a pseudonym.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:55
2 2:53
3 2:44
4 2:53
5 2:07
6 2:29
7 6:44
8 2:47
9 2:48
10 2:43
11 2:49
12 2:19
13 2:14
14 2:22
15 2:30
16
2:43
17
2:43
18
2:11
19
3:01
20 2:28
21 2:59
22 3:17
23 3:06
24 2:35
blue highlight denotes track pick