Various Artists

Soul Blues Hits, Vol. 3

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Memphis-based Ecko Records specializes in contemporary soul, blues, and R&B, working old-school soul sounds with a full awareness that it's a hip-hop world. With horn- and organ-driven arrangements that make full use of bluesy electric guitar lines, Ecko provides a viable alternative to what passes these days for modern soul. Nothing here on this third in a series of samplers from the label will make you forget Stax Records, but these artists are trying to carry that deep Memphis groove into a post-hip-hop universe, and while not everything catches fire on this collection, the pilot is on and the match is definitely lit. Among the most immediately striking tracks are two from O.B. Buchana, "That's My Bad" and the predictable but undeniably winning "Soul Heaven," and the set closer, Bill Coday's "It Was a House Until You Made It a Home."

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