Various Artists

Sweet Soul Sounds, Vol. 1

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This collection of rare R&B sides (mostly in the Northern soul tradition) for the most part offers nuggets from a roster of talented unknowns, though there are some obscure recordings from the Dells and the Impressions on deck to give this a bit of star power. This is mostly smooth and sophisticated stuff rather than all-out rave-ups, though the Vibrations' up-tempo take on "Since I Fell for You" is solid if unlikely dancefloor fodder. Elsewhere, the Exits offer a solid Impressions-style number with "Under the Street Lamp," Michele Wiley's silky and seductive "Feel at Home Here" is a lost quiet storm classic (how's "I don't usually take my clothes off in a guy's apartment" for an opening line?), "Sitting There That Night" by Darrow Fletche is both intelligent and absorbing, and Derek Martin turns "You Better Go" into an ideal slice of end-of-the-night romance. However, this collection is better suited for collectors and obsessives rather than dabblers -- there are no liner notes or track information beyond title and artist, and these tracks were obviously rescued from vinyl sources, some in far better condition than others. Soul boys will revel in this -- others may wish to listen before they purchase.

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