The Impressions

The Very Best of the Impressions [Rhino]

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A wise buy for those curious about the kings of Chicago soul, The Very Best of the Impressions is a tad brief, but it hits on all cylinders for most of its running time. Beginning with the early hits "Gypsy Woman" and "It's All Right," this chronological 16-track collection compiles the best from the Impressions' growing social consciousness ("People Get Ready," "Keep on Pushing," "Amen"), then charts the later Curtis Mayfield days with "We're a Winner," "This Is My Country," "Choice of Colors," and "Check out Your Mind." As sometimes happens on a Rhino set, however, the compilers were overly reliant on the pop charts: many superior songs from their early and middle years -- "I'm So Proud" and "Mighty Mighty (Spade and Whitey)," to name only two -- are sacrificed for three post-Curtis Mayfield songs, when only one, "Finally Got Myself Together (I'm a Changed Man)," was really necessary. Still, even if the title isn't 100 percent accurate (Greatest Hits would've been the right choice), The Very Best of the Impressions is the most succinct set of Impressions material available.

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