Disco began to rise in 1974, which is evident from the start of Bear Family's 1974 volume of Sweet Soul Music. Opening with Eddie Kendricks' "Boogie Down," the 23-track collection never shies away from disco, never suggests soul is only something down and dirty, which means it accurately reflects how the music was evolving in the mid-'70s. Certainly, there is still a lot of romantic harmony soul coming out of Philadelphia -- the Stylistics' "You Make Me Feel Brand New," the Three Degrees' "When Will I See You Again?" -- and the compilers don't shy away from soul-blues hits such as Bobby Bland's "I Wouldn't Treat a Dog (The Way You Treated Me)" and Latimore's "Let's Straighten It Out," and they find room for the monumental funk of James Brown's "The Payback, Vol. 1," but this disc emphasizes how slick, bright, and danceable soul became in 1974. The Jackson 5's "Dancing Machine," the Tymes' "You Little Trustmaker," George McCrae's "Rock Your Baby," the Hues Corporation's "Rock the Boat," and B.T. Express' "Do It (Til You're Satisfied)" all epitomize the shifting tides and help make this volume of Sweet Soul Music very sweet indeed.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine