Various Artists

Soul in Harmony: Vocal Groups 1967-1977

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Kent/Ace revive their Harmony soul series with 2013's Soul in Harmony: Vocal Groups 1965-1977, a 24-track collection of little-heard soul from the golden age of harmony groups (six of the tracks are unreleased). Strictly speaking, this collection runs to 1979, not 1977 (that's the date the shimmering "Baby (There's Nothing That You Can Do)" by the Joneses showed up on Spring, and there's a 1984 version of "Once Again" by Nightchill included for licensing reasons), and most of the cuts were recorded somewhere between 1968 and 1971 -- just after the rise of the Impressions and Motown and just before the dominance of Philadelphia International. Appropriately, this music is pitched somewhere between these eras, sometimes riding an effervescent groove but often sounding luxuriously dreamy in its rich harmonies. Often, the sound is more familiar than the names -- the Dramatics, the Pretenders, and the Mad Lads are arguably the most recognizable names here, but there are echoes of the Stylistics, the Impressions, and the Miracles here (the Magnificent 7 cover the latter's "Ooh Baby Baby") -- but there's much to be enjoyed in this, not just because it's comforting to hear this timeless sound performed well, but there are quirks and idiosyncrasies in the group interplay worth cherishing.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:40
2 3:34
3 2:58
4 2:41
5 2:57
6 2:59
7 2:36
8 3:55
9 2:41
10 2:23
11 2:45
12 2:36
13 2:47
14 3:24
15 2:32
16 3:23
17 1:59
18 3:10
19 3:04
20 3:05
21 2:46
22 2:50
23 3:48
24 3:22
blue highlight denotes track pick