The civil rights movement of the 1960s found some of its greatest artistic expression through the giants of soul music. The compilation Movin' On Up includes thirteen of the era's most enduring statements of African-American pride. While this has a few Top Ten singles, it also brings to light several strong cuts by superstars like Otis Redding, Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield, James Brown, and Nina Simone that are not nearly as well known as their biggest hits. Among the most interesting finds here are Redding's interpretation of Sam Cooke's heartbreaking ballad "A Change Is Gonna Come," and Stevie Wonder's unexpected cover of Bob Dylan's "Blowin' In The Wind," James Brown's seven-minute declaration of black pride, "I Don't Want Nobody To Give Me Nothing (Open Up The Door, I'll Get It Myself)," Nina Simone's explicitly angry "Mississippi Goddam," and Donny Hathaway's gospelish version of Simone's composition "To Be Young, Gifted & Black." Detailed liner notes by R&B writer David Nathan clarify the connections between the music and the times.
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger