Various Artists

The Ultimate Northern Soul Album: The 51 Biggest Northern Soul Classics of

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Along with the equally egregious "extreme," the word "ultimate" has lost all meaning thanks to endless overuse. So when something comes along with a title like The Ultimate Northern Soul Album comes along, it's impossible to take its claims seriously, especially when the package is saddled by cover art that seems stolen from a rejected advertisement for Pepsi Cola. It's a shame, because on closer inspection this is a damn fine Northern soul overview indeed, its 51 songs comprising most if not all of the resurrected should-have-been hits most casual soul fans might hope to own. There's not a bum note to be found here, and the distance separating the highlights from the remaining material is marginal. That said, the Carstairs' "It Really Hurts Me, Girl," Gloria Jones' "Tainted Love," Dobie Gray's "Out on the Floor," and Frank Wilson's "Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)" are all as good as soul music gets in the past, present, and future.

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