The John Schroeder Orchestra

Space Age Soul

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This 21-track compilation includes the entirety of his 1966 Working in the Soul Mine LP (which consisted mostly of covers of American soul hits), as well as some other tracks from the '60s, some credited to Sounds Orchestral and a couple previously unreleased (!). As much hip appeal as this may have in certain quarters, it's hard to fathom why you'd want to hear an easy listening-cum-go-go instrumental arrangement of "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" or "You Can't Hurry Love," except for a laugh (once). Occasionally, soulful female vocals wander in for a phrase or two, as if they've accidentally stumbled on the session without realizing that it's supposed to be instrumental. The relatively few originals (mostly found on the non-Working in the Soul Mine cuts) have the advantage of more, well, originality, as the arranger's working in a vein more akin to his experience. "Soul Coaxing," for instance, has some gorgeous strings and spectral moaning female vocals worthy of Ennio Morricone, and "Lovin' You Girl" weds some jelly-thick Hammond organ grooves to suitably mournful brass.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
2 2:38
3 2:27
4 3:40
5 2:30
6 3:18
7 2:42
8 2:20
9 2:30
10 2:48
11 1:49
12 3:47
13 2:48
14 2:40
15 2:27
16 2:19
17 2:26
18 2:43
19 2:30
20 3:31
21 2:32
blue highlight denotes track pick