If you're in the mood for Southern soul, your first stop should probably be Stax/Volt's monumental nine-volume Complete Singles Collection, but after you digest that, by all means move on to the lesser-known but almost equally excellent five-disc Soul Patrol anthology. While every CD in the series is packed with superlative examples of the gritty country- and blues-spiced music that made Southern soul famous, volume one is probably the best. Many of the 24 tracks -- including Al Green's "Let's Stay Together," and James Brown's "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," Otis Redding's "I've Been Loving You Too Long," B.B. King's "The Thrill Is Gone," and Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing" -- probably need no introduction here. But there are also some relatively obscure and hard-to-find wonders (many of which happen to be about adultery, a subject that's almost as big in soul as it is in country). Chief delights include James Carr's "The Dark End of the Street," one of the best cheating songs ever, which somehow never got past number 77 on the Billboard charts; and Percy Sledge's "Take Time to Know Her," which is as memorable in its way as his much-better-known "When a Man Loves a Woman." The liner notes are skimpy -- it would have been nice to have chart data and a little more detail on each selection in a collection of this sort -- but at least the package includes a few sentences about every track. That's more than what's available on Vol. 2 through Vol. 5 of this series' those include nothing beyond a list of songs.
AllMusic Review by Jeff Burger