Various Artists

Sweet Soulful Chicago

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AllMusic Review by

This collection is the type of album soul music fanatics drool over, but casual fans have little interest in. Otis Leavil's chirpy, skippy "I Love You" is the only song that made any significant impact on the charts (#10 R&B and #64 pop), while many of these selections are virtually impossible to find on 45 rpm. Most of the artists here made few recordings, so various-artists collections like these are the only place to find these songs. "You Got Me Walking," an excellent example of Chicago soul by little-known Cicero Blake, was recorded in 1967 but never saw daylight until this release; an obscure Gene Chandler side, "My Baby's Gone," didn't escape the vaults until 1986 via his Sixties Soul Brother LP on Kent Records. Diehard Esquire fans didn't know about "The Feeling's Gone" until this release because the 1968 recording was buried on the B-side of the inferior "Why Can't I Stop." Other goodies include former Artistic lead singer Marvin Smith's final solo release for Brunswick, "Hold On," and Billy Butler's "Help Yourself." Erma Franklin, Barbara Acklin, LaVern Baker, Walter Jackson, Tyrone Davis and others are represented on the 16 underexposed tracks.

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