This latest edition in Motown's campaign to reissue albums from Gladys Knight & the Pips' tenure at the label features 1968's Silk & Soul and 1969's Nitty Gritty. Silk & Soul is an album of remakes featuring contemporary hits from the label and elsewhere. As a result, the album didn't fare particularly well due to the lack of a solid single to support it, but the performances here are top-notch, especially the rendition of Brenda Holloway's painful ballad "Every Little Bit Hurts." The second half of the disc is comprised of Nitty Gritty, and is much more potent and cohesive thanks in no small part to the contributions and chemistry found in their working partnership with Norman Whitfield. Much of the material on Nitty Gritty foreshadowed the raw soul that would become the common language of R&B in the '70s, and both Whitfield and the group are in fine form, with Motown founder Berry Gordy even bending his "no social or political statements" philosophy a bit with the song "Friendship Train."
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AllMusic Review by Rob Theakston