Various Artists

Steppin Across the U.S.A., Vol. 5

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Sure, some of the previous volumes of the Steppin Across The U.S.A. series missed the mark, but that's no reason to discount this set. This collection is close to the skill of the third volume and brings more rare essentials to the table. The opening track, "Da Backseat" mix of Bobby Brown's "Good Enough," is a good way to start things off. Of course, that track and Lil' Louis' "Nyce & Slo" pale in comparison to the more genuine songs that fit into the stepping zone. James Brown's 1975 hit "Super Bad, Super Slick, Pt. 1" has the perfect beat and all but makes this volume worthwhile. Like the other volumes, this includes some tracks that are more balladic than dance-friendly. Pharoah Sanders and Phyllis Hyman's classic "As You Are" and Dee Dee Sharp's cover of 10cc's "I'm Not in Love" seem incongruous for this compilation, but they certainly sound great. On the other hand, two duds from the Moonglows and the Supremes really should have been replaced by a strong '70s song like Ben Vereen's "I'll Keep My Light in My Window." Vicious' "Nika" holds up the end of the newer tracks. Steppin Across the U.S.A., Vol. 5 isn't comprehensive or consistent, but it does offer several worthwhile tracks.

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