Various Artists

Rare Stax Vocal Groups of the 60s & 70s: Just a Little Overcome

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A much better collection than the previously issued Sweet Soul Music: The Stax Groups, which had 13 tracks compared to the 21 here. Detroit's Dramatics are featured on three tracks: the oddly arranged "Highway to Heaven," a nondescript "Since I've Been in Love," and "Your Love Was Strange," where lead William "Wee Gee" Howard mimics David Ruffin. The zany Mad Lads were all bred in Memphis, TN; unfortunately, their four selections aren't their most memorable. Ditto for the Temprees, known for sweet ballads. The Newcomers' selections are representative of their fine, underappreciated recordings. "Open Your Heart (And Let Love Come)" is a lilting beauty, and the chirpy "Girl, This Boy Loves You" displays the Newcomers' youthful innocence and energy. The Epsilons are represented on the doo wop-flavored, harmony-filled "The Echo," one of the best cuts here. Philly's United Image is represented by "Love's Creeping Up on Me" (the group later became the disco group Double Exposure). On "Anyone Can," the Leaders feature an airy falsetto and a pop-sounding tenor. The Stringers' only track is a gem, the determined "I Refuse to Be Lonely." "All Because of You" by the Limitations is vibrant, a stinging tenor backed by flitting harmonies that are mixed too low; the groups' energy level is better than the song.

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