Various Artists

Saturday Night at the Uptown

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The bright, crowd-pleasing rhythms of this revue recorded at Philadelphia's Uptown provide a good indication of what an average night at a soul concert sounded like in 1963. Opening with a cheerful, hit-heavy set from the Drifters, this soon cycles through a bunch of acts who aren't so well known, but the sequencing of Patty & the Emblems and frat-rocking Vibrations next to the ascendant Wilson Pickett helps show the variety of soul that year. This also gets kinetic energy from an audience that can be heard screaming throughout, and they're not a distraction; they're an enhancement to a raw, vibrant party. There aren't many live soul albums from this era so it's easy to cherish Saturday Night at the Uptown merely on its rarity, but it's also a delight, a rollicking good time.

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