Various Artists

Sanctified Soul [Kent]

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Both this and another Kent compilation, Our Turn to Cry, dig deep into the Atlantic vaults for a lot of slow soul from the 1960s and early '70s that's pretty hard to find, either in its original form or on reissue. Sanctified Soul, as the title would lead you to expect, is more oriented toward churchy, pleading songs than its companion volume is. The constant, emotionally wrought, deliberate pace of the tracks does make you wish for a little wider canvas of moods over the course of a 26-track compilation. It remains, however, a good group of tunes from one of the powerhouse soul labels, populated by unknowns and higher-profile singers with cult followings, like James Carr, Don Covay, Arthur Conley, Otis Clay, Judy Clay, and Bettye Swann. Relative heavyweights Wilson Pickett and Solomon Burke are also represented, with 1964 singles; there's also the only Atlantic solo single by Drifters lead vocalist Rudy Lewis, 1963's "I've Loved You So Long." The Soul Clan, the temporary soul supergroup of Arthur Conley, Ben E. King, Burke, Covay, and Joe Tex, lead off with their 1968 single "That's How It Feels." It's all reasonably satisfying, but not much is so outstanding that you'll be tempted to put it on selective tapes of rare soul gems. One interesting derailment from the hand-wringing love songs so common to the genre is Sam Dees' 1973 single "Signed, Miss Heroin," a look at drug use at a time when Curtis Mayfield's Superfly had opened up soul to such subjects. You don't find many soul covers of Bob Dylan songs, either, and J.P. Robinson's interpretation of "George Jackson" (from a 1972 single) is one. [This U.K. import is not available for sale in North America.]

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:36
2 2:53
3 3:12
4 3:20
5 3:35
6 3:01
7 2:42
8 2:47
9 4:08
10 3:32
11 3:29
12 2:47
13 3:24
14 2:35
15 2:38
18 2:47
19 2:32
20 2:10
21 2:32
22 2:46
23 2:58
24 2:35
25 3:43
26 3:36
blue highlight denotes track pick