Various Artists

Pure Soul 1997

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In the mid-1990s, there was talk in the music press of a "soul revival" -- a return to R&B's basics after so many years of pop/crossover aspirations on one hand and formulaic, hip-hop-minded new jack swing recordings on the other. This soul revival was more hype than anything, and the fact remains that most of the R&B that came out in 1995 was hardly in a class with the magnificent soul music of 1960s and 1970s. Even so, the mid-1990s R&B scene wasn't without its pleasures, some of which can be found on Pure Soul. Released in late 1997, this compilation contains some of the period's more memorable urban contemporary recordings, including Solo's Bobby Womack-like "Where Do You Want Me To Put It," Mokenstef's silky "He's Mine," Joe's emotional "All the Things (Your Man Don't Do)" and D'Angelo's Isley Brothers-influenced "Lady." Though Pure Soul contains hits by Barry White ("Practice What You Preach") and Quincy Jones ("You Put a Move On My Heart" featuring Tamia), younger artists like Johnny Gill, Mint Condition, Boyz II Men, Tony! Toni! Tone! and Montell Jordan are dominant. Not everything on Pure Soul is a gem, but its strengths exceed its weaknesses.

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