Various Artists

The Story of Soul Music

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Over the course of three discs, this Spectrum box set appears to define soul music as nearly any performance of the last half of the 20th century that features emotion -- "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" by James Brown deserving entry just as much as "Do That to Me One More Time" by Captain & Tennille. Very few will agree with the scope, but as usual for the label, there's scads of great music here for those wanting to expand their collection inexpensively. There are a few acknowledged soul classics on display -- "Help Me Make It Through the Night" by Gladys Knight & the Pips, "Rescue Me" by Fontella Bass, "People Get Ready" by the Impressions, "War" by Edwin Starr, "Shop Around" by the Miracles, "Love Rollercoaster" by the Ohio Players, "Brick House" by the Commodores -- as well as a few selections that intriguingly stretch the idea of what soul music means (Nina Simone's "I Put a Spell on You," Dinah Washington's "Mad About the Boy"). Soul also features an enjoyable look at obscure Motown tracks by Jimmy Ruffin, the Elgins, and the Tams. Overall the box set is nowhere near definitive, but fun nevertheless.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:52
2 3:59
3 3:04
4 2:44
5 3:44
6 3:17
7 3:50
8 3:26
9 3:59
10 3:48
11 2:48
12 2:59
13 3:39
14 3:36
15 3:02
16 3:57
17 4:45
18 2:54
19 3:33
20 3:19
blue highlight denotes track pick