Various Artists

Soul Culture: 02

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Sony BMG's Soul Culture series drifts in with its second volume, and this time the compilers have looked to their stockpile of black music released during the '70s and early '80s for a mellow batch of blissed-out, lightly groove-oriented material. While a very small percentage of these selections threatened to reach near the top of any chart, a very high percentage of them have at least found a slow-growing cult of admirers. And though most of what's here can be found on other compilations released since the mid-'90s (multi-volume series from Mastercuts, Harmless, and BBE spring immediately to mind), the thematic consistency is remarkable. Two of the most beloved tracks from Don Blackman's excellent 1982 GRP album are included, along with Mtume's "Juicy Fruit," the New Birth's "Never Can Say Goodbye," Weldon Irvine's "I Love You," and Phyllis Hyman's "You Know How to Love Me." Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band's "Sunshower," which sounds exactly like its title, sets the tone perfectly.

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