Various Artists

Super Bad

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While the companion Super Bad Is Back kicked up the funk, its predecessor, Super Bad, brought some of the era's sweetest soul to turntables everywhere. K-Tel may now be the butt of jokes and guffaws, but at the time, and in between some real frights, the label pulled together and presented for the mainstream some absolutely amazing sets -- full of songs that many would otherwise never hear. Super Bad certainly fits the latter mold. The album taken as a whole is full of smooth grooves and smoother moves, while still adding a little funk to the mix. And like its counterpart, the disc keeps a fair uniformity in sound that is lacking on many later K-Tel releases, as the label seemed more intent on packing any old hits together to get a bigger bang for the buck. That said, however, both sides have their own energy. From Isaac Hayes' "Theme From Shaft" to Barbara Mason's "Give Me Your Love," the softer side of the decade is revealed. And, of course, what compilation would be complete without a Barry White contribution? Love Unlimited's "Walkin' in the Rain" fills the slot nicely. Funk is on fire next door, meanwhile, as James Brown, Chairmen of the Board, and the Chi-Lites mix it up. And while K-Tel compilations may now be forgotten, at the time, they certainly had their pulse on the nation's musical heartbeat.

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