Although the packaging markets this to collectors, producers, and DJs looking for samples to plunder, to the layperson it might be better described as a compilation of obscure sweet soul from the mid-'70s to the early '80s. (Phillip Mitchell's "I'll See You in Hell First" bears a 1990 date, but sounds as if it was recorded considerably earlier.) There are a few hitmakers here, like Betty Everett, Shirley Brown, Isaac Hayes, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, the Detroit Emeralds, and Millie Jackson, but none are represented by hits, and most of the other names will challenge the memory banks even if you were avidly listening to black radio at the time. It's just average soul of the period, though, distinguished from many other compilations by its focus on a later era than most, and by an unabashed willingness to treat soul productions with sweet strings and slick arrangements as worthy of reinvestigation. Some tracks are better than others, like Coffey's "Sweet Taste of Sin," with his trademark funky guitar licks; Mitchell's "I'll See You in Hell First," which has a vibe akin to 1970s Curtis Mayfield; and Jackson's "It Hurts So Good," which plays it straighter than the risqué material for which she's known. This washes down easier than many sweet soul records if only because it's not overly familiar, but it can't be denied that it also reflects an era in which the soul genre itself became more saccharine and less interesting.
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger
|5||The Fantastic Four||04:20||Amazon|
|6||The Detroit Emeralds||05:05||Amazon|
|10||Isaac Hayes / Millie Jackson||04:28||Amazon|
|14||Johnny "Guitar" Watson||04:47||Amazon|