Various Artists

The Definitive Love Collection [K-Tel]

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Out of its 30 songs (spread over three discs), only three of the songs included on Definitive Love Collection are the original artist recordings. The remaining tracks are latter-day re-recordings by, as the disclaimer reads, "the original artist or one or more members of the original group." Obviously, this leaves a lot to chance, since the liner notes don't specify which song is performed by, say, Percy Sledge and which is performed by a guy who used to play bass in Sledge's band. But even if Definitive Love Collection doesn't make this clear, your ears will. The plodding version of Sledge's signature "When a Man Loves a Woman" that appears here is an obvious retread, possessing none of the original's desperate soul. While the same goes for an overwhelming majority of the set, there are a few bright spots. Takes on Mary Wells' "Two Lovers," Ben E. King's "I (Who Have Nothing)," and the Zombies' "She's Not There" do retain some of the originals' flair and feeling. Overall however, Definitive Love Collection is something decidedly less than that.

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