Various Artists

Last Soul Company

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To celebrate their 30 years in the soul and blues business, the Jackson, MS-based Malaco label released a six-disc box set covering the years 1969-1999. Luckily for the less keen lovers of Southern soul, the company has put together this two-disc, 30-track collection from the larger set. And while most of the big hits found on the multi-CD box are missing here (Jean Knight's "Mr. Big Stuff," Anita Ward's "Ring My Bell," King Floyd's "Groove Me," Dorothy Moore's "Misty Blue," and Z.Z. Hill's "Down Home Blues"), there's still plenty of quality material from the label's bountiful vaults. Besides many established stars who found a home at Malaco during the funk, disco, and hip-hop decades (Little Milton, Denise LaSalle, Tyrone Davis, Johnnie Taylor, and Bobby "Blue" Bland), the collection also features the more obscure talents of Latimore, Ruby Wilson, Bobby Rush, blues great Fred McDowell, G.C. Cameron, and many others. This was the sound of urbane, blues and gospel-soaked soul -- the kind of music adults could still enjoy while their kids were going crazy for the latest acts on Def Jam, Tommy Boy, and Bad Boy.

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