A compilation of album tracks, B-sides, and unreleased takes recorded during Ann Peebles' 1972-1977 tenure at Memphis soul mainstay Hi Records, Ann Peebles Sings Soul Classics consists entirely of covers of soul and R&B classics closely associated with other singers. Normally, this would be a recipe for disaster, but although the underrated Peebles only had a small handful of hits, she's easily among the finest soul singers of her generation. Add in the crack Hi Records session men (making classics for Al Green and O.V. Wright, among others, at the same time), and Ann Peebles Sings Soul Classics becomes a fascinating listen. Not all of the songs are the definitive versions, but Peebles has the self-confidence to cop from Aretha Franklin's rearrangement of Otis Redding's "Respect" and the talent to pull it off. The one misstep is the Peter Frampton-style guitar/vocal interlude that mars Peebles' otherwise masterful take on Wright's "You're Gonna Make Me Cry." The gorgeous "(Keep Me) Hangin' On" (not the Supremes tune) more than makes up for that.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason