South Side Soul Survey

Various Artists

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South Side Soul Survey Review

by Jason Ankeny

After leaving the Chi-Lites in 1964, Clarence Johnson shifted his focus from performing to writing and producing, helming a series of sublime harmony soul sessions instrumental in defining the classic Chicago soul sound. South Side Soul Survey assembles 22 highlights from Johnson's heyday, capturing the full scope of his lush, richly appointed sensibilities. The majority of these scarce, little-heard singles originally appeared on smaller indie labels including Lock, GEC and Red Balloon, most of them escaping the notice of previous Chicago soul retrospectives. The consistency and creativity of Johnson's vision further adds to the freshness and coherence of the material, although the sheer beauty of the vocal harmonies is what most plainly sets the music apart. Highlights include Deniece Chandler's "Mama, I Wish I'd Stayed Home," the Lovelites' "Oh What a Day" and Anna Raye's "Will You Be There."

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