Though released in 2001, the unique Sympathetic Sounds of Detroit compilation could've been recorded in the mid-'60s to early '70s; it's pure early rock/R&B from the heart of Detroit. Produced and laid to eight-track by none other than Jack White of the White Stripes, all 13 bands used the same microphones and amps in the same room to create this slice of retro-underground rock. Some of these groups have independent full-length releases, such as the Hentchmen, whose song "Accusatory" is an organ-stomping, frat rock romp. The White Stripes themselves contribute a great up-tempo song entitled "Red Death at 6:14," with their urgent modern take on the blues. There are plenty of highlights, including Ko the Knockouts' "Black & Blue," reminiscent of a revenge-oriented Leslie Gore tune, and Bantam Rooster's punchy crunch on "Run Rabbit Run." The Soledad Brothers offer up a Chicago-style, harmonica-laced blues number called "Shaky Puddin'," and Mick Collins, formerly of the Gories and later of the Dirtbombs, helps out on the insightful "I'm Through With White Girls." Other standouts are the Paybacks' opening track, as well as the piano boogie of "Shout Bama Lama" by the Detroit Cobras. There are a few inconsistencies in the quality of the bands, but loads of character and some great songs make this is a sonically cohesive and enjoyable take on the Detroit scene.
AllMusic Review by Ian Trumbull