Various Artists

K-Tel Presents: Sweet Soul Music

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There's a disclaimer on the back of K-Tel Presents: Sweet Soul Music. "All selections are new stereo recordings by the original artists or one or more members of the original group" tells you all you need to know. Unsurprisingly, none of these re-recordings -- including the Box Tops' "The Letter," Candi Staton's "Nights on Broadway," Heatwave's "Boogie Nights," and Percy Sledge's "When a Man Loves a Woman" -- are preferable to the original versions. Even if this disc contained all the original versions, it wouldn't be recommendable since it's fairly random. Not many sets feature both Billy Ocean and Nina Simone, and it's not because compilers weren't imaginative enough to do it before -- it's because it's not very smart.

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