Soul Jazz's 2000 release New Orleans Funk was such a critical and popular success (well, relative popular success) that a sequel was nearly inevitable -- hence, the appearance of Saturday Night Fish Fry: New Orleans Funk and Soul in 2001. That subtitle illustrates the difference between this and its predecessor -- there's a heavier emphasis on soul, meaning R&B, on this volume. Frankly, that's why it's a better record than its sister, since it's much leaner, with a distinct focus on songwriting. That doesn't mean that the grooves have disappeared, since this is still very funky, but there's more structure here -- which means better songs and better singles. And that means that this isn't a compilation that's just of interest for sample-hounds and collectors into arcania -- those that will disregard acknowledged classics simply because they're acknowledged, preferring to dig into records unheard with the assumption that since the masses ignored it, it must be better -- it's for the listeners who have already absorbed and memorized those acknowledged classics and are looking for something else in that vein that will be a fun listen.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine