Various Artists

Smooth Grooves: The '60s, Vol. 1: Early '60s

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The first of three chronologically divided compilations of '60s soul ballads has 1960-64 classics by Carla Thomas, Etta James, Ben E. King, Otis Redding, Solomon Burke, James Brown, Bobby Bland, Barbara Lewis, Jerry Butler and others. There are also a few worthy entries from names which won't be familiar to the casual collector, like William Bell, Ketty Lester, and Betty Everett. There's nothing terribly rare here, but it's a first-rate anthology of early soul's smoochiest sides, with thorough liner notes.

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