Various Artists

Treasury of Northern Soul: 60 Golden Nuggets of Soul

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Assembling a staggering 60 tracks across three CDs at bargain-basement prices, Treasury of Northern Soul is an exemplary introduction to the enduring Northern Soul club culture. While all of the material has appeared on previous collections issued by the Castle and Sanctuary family of labels, the set doesn't merely settle for the same old chestnuts that appear on every other Northern primer -- instead, the selections are far more eclectic and obscure, which is actually far more in keeping with true Northern aesthetics in the first place. Indeed, the real joy of seeking out rare soul collections like this one is discovering should-have-been-classics for the very first time, and on that count Treasury of Northern Soul succeeds whether this is your first Northern compilation or your 100th. Highlights include Lorraine Silver's brilliant "Lost Summer Love," the Yum Yums' "Gonna Be a Big Thing," the Fascinations' "Girls Are Out to Get You," and the Playthings' "Stop What You're Doing."