Joe Stampley

Soul Song

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Soul Song is an appropriate title for Joe Stampley's second Dot album, since his rock and soul inclinations were never far from the surface when he turned to country music. His soul approach to country is influenced by Charlie Rich and Ray Charles rather than Hank Williams, and, accordingly, Stampley covers Rich's "The Most Beautiful Girl" and the Four Tops' "I Can't Help Myself" on Soul Song. The title track was Stampley's career hit, a chart-topping country single that, thanks to its B.J. Thomas-styled crossover sound, also sold well to the pop audience. Soul Song contains no fewer than four big hits, and marks the arrival of a major force in contemporary country music. Stampley may have been the kind of artist Claude King criticized when he sang "He Ain't Country" in 1972, but there is no denying that Stampley and his kind won the popularity contest.

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