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Recommended Gamble & Huff CDs
Recommended funk and disco CDs
Recommended jazz/funk fusion CDs
Blue-Eyed Soul POP/SOUL
Recommended blue-eyed soul CDs
Chill Out Electronica ELECTRONICA
Recommended chill out electronica CDs
West Coast Soft Rock WEST COAST
Recommended west coast soft rock CDs
CD want list CD WANT LIST
Care to help me track down some much sought-after CDs?

Average White Band
"Cut the Cake" and "Pick Up the Pieces".

Benson, George
Jazz-soul guitarist extraordinary.

Burke, Keni
Created a timeless and classic bass-line.

Earth, Wind & Fire
My own tribute to jazz/soul/funk’s finest. A 300 pages surfers guide!

Gaye, Marvin
"What’s Going On" – Probably the best album ever recorded!

Hall & Oates
Blue-eyed soul.

Hayes, Isaac
Black Moses!

Hyman, Phyllis

Isley Brothers
Still have "Work To Do" after more than 40 years.

Jarreau, Al
A unique vocalist.

Jones, Quincy
Truly the dude.

Lattimore, Kenny

Mayfield, Curtis
The superfly.

Marie, Teena
Found "Portuguese Love".

Marvin Gaye of this millennium.

Frankie Beverly and his companions.

Russell, Brenda
"Piano (player) In The Dark".

Never As Good As The First Time".

Scaggs, Boz
Blue eyed soul.

Scott, Jill
"Who is Jill Scott?"

Stansfield, Lisa
Certainly "All woman"!

Vandross, Luther

Ware, Leon
Singer-/songwriter/ producer/arranger extraordinary.

Warwick, Dionne

Wilson ,Nancy
40+ years in the business.

More than 30 years of smooth vocal harmonies.

White, Barry

100 million albums sold worldwide!

Sophisticated coffee-table soul and smooth jazz.


All Music Guide
If you don’t find it here, – forget it!

Famous Name Changes
Wonder what their real name is?

How band got their names
Steely Dan: A dildo in the William Burroughs novel "Naked Lunch".

Lyrics World
Like to sing in the shower, but can’t quite remember the words?

Ultimate Band List
More info, sound samples and links

…and yes, – just what you were looking for!
Misheard Lyrics Archive
Hilarious! " ‘scuse me, while I kiss this guy"

Charles & Eddie

The Delphonics

Melba More

Nancy Wilson

Oleata Adams: Circle Of One – 1990
Label: Fontana/Polygram
Produced by: Roland Orzabal & Dave Bascombe
Discovered by Tears For Fears while performing solo in the lounge at Hyatt Regency, Kansas City, and was featured prominently on their Seeds Of Love album. Tears for Fears member Roland Orzabal produced her excellent "Quiet Storm" 1990 debut album Circle Of One which was nominated for a Grammy. Featuring the Brenda Russell hit "Get Here".
Anita Baker: Rapture – 1986
Label: Elektra
Produced by: Michael J. Powell & Anita Baker
This is Anita Baker’s 2nd solo album after leaving Chapter 8, and  Rapture is definitely her best. An album that single handedly introduced the "Quiet Storm" genre. 8 strong mellow songs and a very good production by Michael J. Powell
Blue Magic: Soulful Spell [Best of] – 1996
Label: Atlantic/Rhino
Produced by: Various
R&B vocal quintet formed in Philadelphia and signed to Atlantic Records in 1973. They hit the Top40 of the R&B singles chart with their first three 45s before breaking through and crossing over with "Sideshow" in 1974, which went gold, topped the R&B charts and became a Top Ten pop hit. Their next single "Three Ring Circus", made the R&B Top10 and the pop Top40. They are all included on this great 20 track compilation.
Buy it at amazon.com
Johnny Bristol: The MGM Collection – 2004 (limited edition)
Label: Hip-O/Universal
Produced by: Johnny Bristol
Bristol comes across as something between Barry White, Marvin Gaye and Isaac Hayes. The 21 track MGM Collection gathers his two very much underrated releases for the MGM label, "Hang On in There Baby" (1974) and "Feeling the Magic" (1975), plus the rare 1980 re-recording of "Hang On in There Baby" with Alton McClain that is otherwise unavailable on CD.
Tom Brock: I Love You More and More – 1974
Label: 20th Century Fox/Soul Brother Records UK
Produced by: Barry White
Another very good mellow soul album complete with the unmistakably sound of Barry White. Tom’s only release and finally available on CD thanks to Soul Brother Records in the UK. For more of the same, check out Gloria Scott’s "What Am I Gonna Do", also produced by Barry White and released in 1974. Now available on CD.
Randy Brown: Welcome To My Room – 1978
Label: Mercury/ Universal Special Products
Produced by: Homer Banks & Carl Hampton
A forgotten soul gem finally available on CD!
Charles & Eddie: Duophonic – 1992
Charles & Eddie: Chocolate Milk – 1995

Label: Capitol
Produced by: Josh Deutsch
Very 70’s soul inspired and with voices that harmonize beautifully, Charles Pettigrew & Eddie Chacon delivers classic soul on both "Duo…" and "Chocolate…". Although both albums are a bit uneven, a compilation consisting of the best cuts would have been a killer and right up there with the best of the best soul releases ever!
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Con Funk Shun: The Ballads Collection – 1998
Label: Mercury/Polygram
Produced by: Skip Scarborough and others
12 remastered ultra strong ballads by California based Con Funk Shun, compiled by the two leaders Felton Pilate and Michael Cooper themselves. Too bad they didn’t include one of my all-time favorites "By Your Side". Nevertheless a great collection of romantic slow jams.
Buy it at amazon.com
Delfonics: The Definitive Collection – 1999
Label: Bell/Camden UK
Produced by: Thom Bell
Among the originators of the Philly soul sound of the late ’60s and pre-disco ’70s, the Delfonics cut several hits with the same basic formula of ultra-romantic three part harmonies on top of a supremely mellow accompaniment with lush string orchestrations. This is the UK version of the US CD "La La Means I Love You: The Definitive Collection". The 20 tracks are the same, but the cover is different. If you like Blue Magic and Stylistics, get this!
The Dells: I Touched a Dream/Whatever Turns You on – 1980/1981
Label : 20th Century

The Dells: Passionate Breezes – Best of 1975-1991 – 1995
Label: Mercury
Produced by: Eugene Records & Carl Davis
This Chicago quintet formed in 1955 have made only one personnel change in their entire professional career. Perhaps that’s why the venerable R&B vocal group can boast such a remarkably consistent track record. Their style has shifted from doo wop and soul to disco and urban contemporary. Their harmony remains as striking as ever, with Marvin Junior’s earthshaking lead enduring as the group’s focal point.
After a couple of pretty weak albums in the mid 70’s their career was at a halt until they changed label to 20th Century in 1980 and released "I Touched a Dream" followed by "Whatever Turns You On" in ’81. Both strong albums and now available as 2-on-1 from UK Southbound Records.
For more of the same, check t
he compilation "Passionate Breezes" containing 15 tracks from between 1975 and 1991 including "I Touched a Dream", "Whatever Turns You On", "Stay In My Corner" and "All About the Paper".

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Dramatics: Be My Girl – Greatest Hits Vol.1 – 1998
Dramatics: Say The Word – Greatest Hits Vol.2 – 1999

Label: MCA
Produced by: Various
Detroit R&B vocal group that scored numerous hits for Volt and maintained their momentum through the disco era. The early Dramatics hits for Volt lived up to their billing with the emphatic vocals of Ron Banks powering the funky "Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get", their first big-seller in 1971, and the R&B chart-topping ballad "In the Rain" in 1972. The quintet was just as successful later in the decade, signing with ABC in 1975 and scoring repeatedly throughout the disco-fever days. These two compilations – with a total of 30 tracks – contains most of the songs you need, including their classic version of the Hall & Oates penned "Do What You Want, Be What You Are".

Michael Franti & Spearhead: Stay Human – 2001
Label: Six Degrees
Produced by: Michael Franti
Spearhead’s third album is much in the lineage of Marvin Gaye’s "What’s Goin’ On". On the 13 musical tracks, – there are 9 radio segments between tracks, – Franti sometimes sings, sometimes raps or recites, and often delivers his words in a mode somewhere in the middle of all three. The album has a strong old-school soul feeling, complete with string arrangements, and is very political dealing with death penalty, the environment and medical marijuana. (Listen to Gov. Shane in the radio segments and try to figure out who’s voice it is 🙂
Buy it at amazon.com
Earth, Wind & Fire: The Promise – 2003
Label: Kalimba
Produced by: Maurice White ++
Oh yes!!! EW&F first album of new music since 1997, and what an album it is!
This is – maybe except for Millennium (1993) – their best effort since the much underrated Faces album back in 1980! Produced by Maurice White and features Angie Stone, Gerald Albright and The Emotions together with a little help from Bill Meyers, Wayne Vaughn, Jerry Hey, Carlos Rios, Paulinho Da Costa and others. The sound is excellent and the songs are in good EW&F tradition – great melodies and arrangements, strong grooves, real horns and lots of superlative ballads – many featuring Maurice on lead vocals. Get it I say! More on EW&F
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Marvin Gaye: What’s Going On – 1971
Marvin Gaye: I Want You – 1976

Marvin Gaye: Here My Dear – 1978
Label: Motown
Produced by: Marvin Gaye
What’s Going On – probably the best album ever recorded! A must in every record collection! With classics like "What’s Going On", "Mercy Mercy Me" and "Inner City Blues". You should definitely go for the 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition release. A double remastered CD set with 26 (!) bonus cuts containing the early original Detroit mix of the entire album and 12 previously unreleased live tracks from The Kennedy Center back in 1972.
Also released in the excellent Deluxe Edition series is another Gaye classic, the 1976 I Want You. The album has an unmistakably Leon Ware sound since most of the tracks were to go on Ware’s Motown debut, Musical Massage [see below], until Motown’s Berry Gordy got a listen and decided that they’d be even better for Gaye, as the artist had not released a studio album since 1973’s Let’s Get It On. The Deluxe Edition of I Want You contains 15 previously unreleased outtakes, alternate mixes etc.
Highly recommended is also Gaye’s very much underrated double LP (1CD) "Here My Dear" from 1978. A 13 track testimony about his marriage and divorce from Anna, sister of Motown founder Berry Gordy.
Buy it at amazon.com
Buy it at amazon.com
Buy it at amazon.com
Donny Hathaway: Extension of a Man – 1973
Label: Warner Bros.
Produced by: Arif Mardin
Including "Someday We’ll All Be Free", "Valdez in the Country" and "I’ll Love You More Than You Ever Know", this is truly a soul masterpiece! Being one of the brightest new voices in soul music in the early 70’s, Hathaway suffered from severe depression which occasionally got him hospitalized. He more or less retreated from the spotlight after "Extensions…", and in 1979 Hathaway was found dead on the sidewalk below the 15th-floor window of his room in New York’s Essex House. The glass had been neatly removed from the window, and there were no signs of struggle, leading investigators to rule Hathaway’s death a suicide.
Isaac Hayes Black Moses – 1971
Isaac Hayes: Shaft – 1971
Label: Stax
Isaac Hayes: XL (Best Of) – 2000
Label: Amigo Sweden/Stax 
Produced by: Isaac Hayes
Few had greater influence over the music of the 60’s and 70’s than Isaac Hayes; after laying the groundwork for the Memphis soul sound through his work with Stax-Volt Records, Hayes began a highly successful solo career which predated not only the disco movement but also the evolution of rap. He reached his commercial peak in 1971 with the release of "Shaft", the score from the Gordon Parks film of the same name. Not only did the album win Hayes an Academy Award for Best Score (the first African-American composer to garner such an honor), but the single "Theme From ‘Shaft,’" a masterful blend of funk and pre-rap monologues, became a #1 hit.
Also check out the superb Black Moses album also released in 1971. Both "Shaft" and "Black Moses" were originally released as double albums.
There are lots of Isaac Hayes compilations out there. Definitely one of the best is the 21 track 2 CD-set "XL – Best Of" compiled in 2000 by Amigo Records, Sweden. This has all the classic tracks from his peak period at Stax, most of which are long-running album versions.

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Leroy Hutson: Lucky Fellow – The Curtom Anthology – 1999
Label: Sequel
Produced by: Leroy Hutson
If you enjoy Donny Hathaway, Marvin Gaye or Johnny Bristol, you’re gonna love this! Subtitled ‘The Curtom Anthology’, this collection is the first definitive retrospective of the soul legend’s hits for Curtis Mayfield’s Curtom label from 1972-1978. The first disc contains 17 tracks from this period; the second disc contains his final album for Curtom, the 1979 "Unforgettable". All tracks superb remastered from the original master tapes.
Phyllis Hyman: Under Her Spell [Best of] – 1990
Label: BMG (UK) 
Phyllis Hyman: In Between the Heartaches/ The Soul of a Diva  – 2003
Label: Expansion (UK) 
Produced by: Various
The UK version of the Under Her Spell collection has 14 tracks instead of the poor 10 track US version. The UK version is probably now deleted, so you should instead check out the brilliant 1996 2-CD set "Legacy of Phyllis Hyman" on Arista. 28 songs ranging from light pop soul to smooth R&B jazz including her classic version of "Betcha By Golly, Wow".
UK Expansion Records has done it again! The "In Between the Heartaches" is a superb collection of various demo sessions and forgotten recordings together with the unreleased, but excellent 1982 McCoy Tyner tracks.

Impressions: Ultimate Collection – 2001
Label: Hip-O/Universal 
Produced by: Curtis Mayfield and more
Among all the different compilations done on The Impressions, this is by far the best. Hip-O/Universal have done a splendid job: 20 tracks from between 1963 and 1975, including the classic and one of the all-time feel-good songs, "It’s All Right". Great sound, rare photos, and very good liner notes. Curtis Mayfield wrote songs that were catchy and had substance to them. When he, Fred Cash, and Sam Gooden sang in unison, it was like hearing one voice multi-tracked, until they split into their harmonies. This is great doo wop/soul, made even more important by the passage of time.
Isley Brothers: Greatest Hits – 1997
Isley Brothers: Love Songs – 2000
Label: Sony Legacy
Produced by: Isley Brothers
Isley Brothers: Eternal – 2001
Label: Dreamworks/SKG Music 
Produced by: R. Kelly and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis ++
There are dozens of Isley Bros. compilations out there. Personally I find both these Sony releases, – the 13 track ballads-only "Love Songs" and the more funky 15 track "Greatest Hits", very good. The Sony Legacy crew has once again done a great job with the sound. If you just can’t get enough, try the 3 CD box-set "It’s Your Thing: The Story of the Isley Bros". A truly timeless collection!
After more than 40 years and 40+ albums, the 2001 "Eternal" rates among some of their best work. Although just Ronald and Ernie are left of all the brothers and cousins, this is as good as it gets. 14 smooth (and extremely sexy) R&B tracks with Ernie’s almost Jimmy Hendrix-like guitar in the background, binding it all together. His guitar work on "Ernie’s Jam" is just excellent, and the cover versions of Chic’s "Warm Summer Night" and Chicago’s "If You Leave Me Now" are both killers. The production team – consisting of R. Kelly and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis among others – never takes completely control. They simply let Ronald and Ernie do what they do best. This is not the case on their latest offering –  the 2003 "Body Kiss" – which in fact should be called R. Kelly feat. the Isley Bros.
Buy it at amazon.com
Ron Isley & Burt Bacharach: Isley Meets Bacharach – 2003
Label: SKG Music
Produced by: Burt Bacharach
Bacharach classics sung by veteran Ron Isley’s, who’s voice is sweeter and more resonant than ever. This is a fantastic and beautiful effort that combines the classic pop song with the emotion of great soul singing. Get it!

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Millie Jackson: Lovingly Yours – 1976
Millie Jackson: For Men Only –  1980
Label: Spring/Polydor 
Produced by: Brad Shapiro
Millie Jackson’s uncensored raps have earned her a reputation as an X-rated soul artist who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. The Georgia native moved to New Jersey as a teenager, making her debut in 1970 for MGM, then moved to Spring Records the next year and embarked on a long string of soul hits. Also check out Millie’s "Totally Unrestricted – Best of" from 1997.
Al Johnson: Peaceful – 1978
Label: Marina
Al Johnson: Back For More – 1980
Label: CBS/Sony Japan – SRCS 6131
Produced by: Norman Connors
Born Alfred Orlando Johnson in Washington, Al started as out as lead singer with The Unifics in the mid ’60’s. In 1978, he became part of the group Positive Change, who released one album on Fortress Records (Available on CD from UK label Expansion). Also in 1978, he recorded his debut solo album "Peaceful" for the Marina label (including his original version of ‘I’ve Got My Second Wind’). In 1980, Norman Connors produced Al’s CBS album "Back For More" which is a bit disco, but definitely worth checking out because of the 3 killer mellow tracks "Back For More"Al Johnson: Back For More – a duet with Jean Carn, "Tonight’s the Night for Love", and the remake of "I’ve Got My Second Wind"Al Johnson: I've Got My Second Wind. Both albums are Jap. CD releases only.

Joneses: s/t – 1977  
Label: Epic
Produced by: Bobby Eli
Starting out in 1969 in Pittsburg, The Joneses signed to Mercury in the early 70s where they had US hits like "Hey Babe" and "Sugar Pie Guy". They broke up in 1975, but in the following years there were four resurrections of the group, the first in 1977 and the last in 1992, and each time the only constant in the new line-ups being Glenn Dorsey. Their excellent 1977 album was produced by Bobby Eli which provided the group with a bit of a Philly sound. Jap. CD release only.
Kenny Lattimore: Kenny Lattimore – 1996
Kenny Lattimore: From the Soul of Man – 1998

Label: Columbia
Produced by: Various
Marvin Gaye meets Donny Hathaway on these two great mellow soul albums from Kenny Lattimore. "From The Soul Of Man" is excellent produced by himself and co-producer Colin Gayle and Lattimore sings with all the emotion and soul of his heroes Marvin and Donny. Lattimore had at least a hand in writing most of 14 tracks on "…Soul of Man" (incl. 1 unlisted bonus track), but he also made some inspired choices of material to cover. His version of Al Cooper’s "I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know" (a tribute to the version by his idol Hathaway) is a killer, and doing George Harrison’s "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" as soul, – sounds great.

Ephraim Lewis: Skin – 1992
Label: Elektra
Produced by: Kevin Bacon (?) & Jonathan Quarmby
Sounding a bit like Seal at times, this is an excellent mellow and only release from Ephraim Lewis, who sadly died in a car crash some years ago. Including the jazzy minor hit "Drowning in Your Eyes"
Main Ingredient: Afrodisiac – 1973
Label: RCA
Produced by: Bert DeCoteaux
Lead by Cuba Gooding (father of film actor Cuba Gooding Jr.), Main Ingredient are best remembered for their 1972 classic ”Everybody Plays the Fool”, but they released a number of other great singles, mostly during the first half of the ‘70s when they hooked up with producer Bert DeCoteaux, who had an excellent sense of lush orchestrated soul sound. The 1973 Afrodisiac is truly a soul gem, recently re-issued on CD for the first time. Including the beautiful ballad "Goodbye My Love" and their excellent version of Isley Brothers’ "Work To Do".
For more of the same you should check out the 1992 Golden Classics on Cellectables Records. This anthology includes their biggest chart hits and is a soul ballad bonanza. Alternatively go for the 20 track remastered "A Quiet Storm" on BMG.
Manhattans: Kiss and Say Goodbye [Best of] – 1995
Label: Columbia/Legacy 
Produced by: Bobby Martin & Leo Graham
19 tracks of great vocal harmonies! A venerable soul quintet from New Jersey, whose career has spanned the dawn of soul and the death of disco, although they have steadfastly preferred ballads over the years. Led initially by George Smith, who died in 1970, the Manhattans first charted in 1965 with "I Wanna Be (Your Everything)". After a string of solid R&B sellers on Carnival and DeLuxe, Gerald Alston replaced the late Smith and the group moved to Columbia. In 1976 they struck pay dirt with the elegant platinum-selling ballad "Kiss and Say Goodbye", which topped both the pop and soul lists. Several more huge R&B hits preceded their uplifting 1980 gold record "Shining Star," and still more followed.
Buy it at amazon.com
Teena Marie: Love Songs [Best of] – 2000
Label: Sony
Produced by: Teena Marie
Teena Marie: La Dona – 2004

Label: Cash Money Classics/Universal
Produced by: Teena Marie
No white artist has sang R&B more convincingly than Teena Marie, whose big, robust vocals are so black-sounding that when she was starting out, listeners wondered if she was a light-skinned African-American. The singer/songwriter/producer was in her early 20s when, around 1977, she landed a job at Motown Records and met her mentor Rick James, who ended up doing all of the writing and producing for her 1979 debut album "Wild And Peaceful". "Love Songs" has 14 of the more romantic, urban-adult contemporary songs which Marie recorded from 1981 through 1990, including the big hits "Ooo La La La" and "If I Were a Bell". The classic "Portuguese Love" is missing though.
25 years after her debut she’s back with La Dona. Confident as ever and in excellent voice, most of the material stands proudly next to her best work. It runs however a bit long and should probably been cut 20 mins. or so.

Maxwell: Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite – 1996
Maxwell: Embrya – 1998
Label: Sony
Produced by: Maxwell & Stuart Mathewman
Marvin Gaye of the 90’s! Definitely two of the best soul albums of the 90’s! The atmospheric, cool-breeze soundscape comes courtesy of Maxwell and Sade cohort Stuart Mathewman. His third album "Now", released 2001, is in my opinion not as good as the first two. Except for a great cover version of "This Woman’s Work" by Kate Bush, the production and sound is far better than the songwriting.
Curtis Mayfield: The Best of – 2000 [2-CD set]
Label: Charly
Produced by: Various
Judged merely by his records alone, the man’s legacy is enormous. As the leader of the Impressions, he recorded some of the finest soul vocal group music of the 60’s. As a solo artist in the 70’s, he helped pioneer funk, and helped introduce hard-hitting urban commentary into soul music. "Move On Up", "It’s All Right", "People Get Ready", "Freddie’s Dead" and "Superfly" are merely the most famous of his many hit records. He wrote most of his material, at a time when that was not the norm for soul performers. He was among the first, – if not the very first, – to speak openly about African-American pride and community struggle in his compositions. He was a key architect of Chicago soul, penning material and working on sessions by Windy City soulsters like Gene Chandler, Jerry Butler and Major Lance. Mayfield was also an excellent guitarist.
He left the Impressions to begin a solo career in 1970. His first few singles boasted a harder, more funk-driven sound; singles like "(Don’t Worry) If There’s a Hell Below, We’re All Gonna Go" found him confronting ghetto life with a realism that had rarely been heard on record. He really didn’t hit his artistic or commercial stride as a solo artist until Superfly, his soundtrack to a 1972 blaxploitation film. Yet Mayfield’s falsetto vocals, uplifting melodies, and fabulous funk-pop arrangements gave the oft-moralizing material a graceful strength that few others could have achieved. 
On August 14, 1990, he became paralyzed from the neck down when a lighting rig fell on top of him at a concert in Brooklyn, NY. Curtis Mayfield died at the age of 57, 26. December 1999.
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Miracles: Collection – 2002
Label: Spektrum (UK)
Produced by: Freddie Perren
Miracles: Love Machine – The 70s Collection – 2003
Label: Motown
Produced by: Freddie Perren
The 19 track "Collection" is a great overview of their post-Smokey Robinson recordings on Motown with Billy Griffin doing the lead vocals. The CD contains the complete 1975 best-selling "City of Angels" album incl. "My Name Is Michael", "Waldo Roderick DeHammersmith", and the pretty controversial "Ain’t Nobody Straight in L. A.". Other great songs are "Do It Baby," "What Is a Heart Good For," and the super-classy "Don’t Let It End".
I’ve always preferred Billy Griffin over Smokey Robinson, so if you are like me and just can’t get enough, also get the 2003 "Love Machine". Some songs doubles, but together these two compilations contains most of the Miracles 70s work. 

O’Jays: Collectors’ Items – 1977
Label: Philadelphia International Rec.
Produced by: Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff
O’Jays: For The Love – 2001

Label: MCA
Produced by: Eddie Levert & Walter Williams
"Collectors Items" is a great 14 track compilation, featuring the classic "Backstabbers" , "For the Love of Money" and "I love Music" . Originally released as a 14 track double LP. The CD was out in 1990, but on some pressings the track "Darlin’ Darlin’ Baby" has been removed. Excellent Philly Sound production by Gamble & Huff. Highly recommendable is also their 1978 release "So Full of Love", containing the hit "Used to Be My Girl". [More Philly Soul]
Buy it at amazon.com
Esther Phillips: Anthology – 2003
Label: Soul Brother UK
Produced by: Creed Taylor, Wayne Henderson, Benny Golson, Harvey Mason
Although Esther Phillips is probably better know for doing blues and jazz material, and even though many of the session musicians are jazz players like the Brecker Brothers, David Sanborn and Steve Khan, this is pure R&B.
Sade: Diamond Life – 1984
Label: Epic
Produced by: Robin Millar
Maybe not real soul, but nevertheless a great mellow jazz/soul/pop album. Contains the excellent "Smooth Operator" and "Sweetest Taboo". For more info, check my very own tribute to Helen FolaSADE Adu and her band.
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Jill Scott: Who Is Jill Scott? – 2000
Label: Epic
Produced by: Grand Wizards, Andre Harris, Ed King
Mixing jazz, hip-hop, and classic soul, "Who Is Jill Scott?" sails on smooth, down-tempo beats and modest arrangements that highlight Scott’s vivid, sometimes spoken-word lyrics and expressive voice. In an R&B landscape that often suffers from overproduction and too many sound-alike artists, "Who Is Jill Scott?" is a refreshingly honest release from a singer-songwriter who deserves to be heard.
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Marlena Shaw: Go Way Little Boy – The Sass &  Soul Of.. [Best of] – 1999
Produced by: Various
Label: Sony
After a few years with Blue Note in the early 70’s (first female signed to that label), Marlena moved to CBS in 1977 releasing 3 albums containing more R&B/soul (and a little disco) than her jazzy Blue Note years. This 14 track compilation covers her CBS years and is very stylish all the way from her signature ballad "Go Away Little Boy" to the disco rendition of "Touch Me In The Morning" (12" remix and prev. very hard to find).
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Spinners: The Very Best Of Vol.1 & 2 – 1993 & 1997 Spinner: Could It Be I'm Falling In Love
Spinners: Chrome Collection [3 CD box set] – 2003
Produced by: Thom Bell and others
Label: Atlantic/Rhino
The Spinners were rivaled only by the O’Jays as the greatest Philly soul group, and The Very Best of the Spinners offers a concentrated dose of sweet soul magic. It also shows the excellent work of Thom Bell, Philly soul’s "other" great producer besides legendary Gamble & Huff. The Spinners’ records were tastefully, elegantly romantic and mostly built around the magnetic leads of Philippe Wynne. Thom Bell’s gorgeous production frames his voice with just the right amount of sweetness. Essential for anyone even remotely interested in ’70s soul. Volume 2 rounds up the lesser-known hits that didn’t make the Volume 1.
Still can’t get enough lush soul? One of a kind – The Sublime Soul of the Spinners showcased on their first-ever boxed set (62 tracks on 3 CDs), a career-spanning collection featuring choice album cuts, previously unreleased tracks, and all the hits! Excellent hard-back 60-page digibook packed with photos and liner notes by Dionne Warwick, David Bowie and Elvis Costello.
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Surface: 3 Deep – 1990
Produced by: David Conley & David Townsend
Label: Columbia
The ’80s soft soul vocal trio’s third and final release. Excellent songs and crisp production. "The First Time" was the first single from Surface’s "3 Deep" album and went gold hitting #1e R&B and holding the #1 pop for two weeks in early 1991. The hits continued with "All I Want Is You", "Never Gonna Let You Down" and "You’re the One". Where are they now? Anybody? (Beware of reggae group also called Surface).
Tavares: Madam Butterfly – 1979
Produced by: Bobby Martin
Label: Capitol
Produced by Bobby Martin – who was highly regarded in Philly Soul circles, "Madam Butterfly" is very Philly-sounding and not the disco usually associated with Tavares. Including highlights as "Straight From the Heart", "My Love Calls", and the major hit "Never Had a Love Like This Before". This is pure Northern Soul and working with Bobby Martin proved a wise decision indeed.
Tavares: Madame Butterfly
V/A: Natural High vol. 1-4 – 2001/02/03/05
Label: Warner UK
Produced by: Various
This excellent compilation series contains some of the best late 70’s/early 80’s mellow soul tunes that you are unlikely to find on a conventional compilation from that era. Creating an irresistible alternative to the kind of soul and disco songs that were in the charts at the time.
V/A: Spirit Of Philadelphia – 2002
Label: Expansions UK
Produced by: Various
18 tracks showcasing the 70’s sound of Philadelphia beyond the walls of Philadelphia International Records. In other words; Philly sound not on PIR. Excellent liner notes by Ralph Tee. Read more about PIR
Leon Ware: Musical Massage – 1976
Produced by: Leon Ware
Label: Motown
At last on CD! Originally released in 1976 and truly a masterpiece. With five bonus tracks, including a duet with Minnie Riperton, this is a must have for all serious soul freaks. Ware’s voice is smooth and silky, much like Marvin Gaye, – and both Gaye and Bobby Womack does guest appearances. A little earlier the same year Motown released another classic – I Want You by Marvin Gaye – written, produced and arranged by …. Leon Ware!
Lenny Williams: Ultimate Collection – 2001
Produced by: Various
Label: Hip-O/Universal 
With an easily recognizable voice and a great passionate approach to a song, Lenny used to be lead singer with Tower of Power in the early ’70s. This compilation has 16 tracks, and except for "Don’t Change Horses (In The Middle Of A Stream)"  with TOP, all songs are from his solo albums. Again Hip-O/Universal have done a fine job putting it all together. Great sound.
Buy it at amazon.com
Whispers: Bingo – 1974
Label: Janus
Whispers: One For the Money – 1976
Whispers: Open Up Your Love – 1977
Label: Soul Train
Whispers: Headlights – 1978
Label: SOLAR
Produced by: Dick Griffey & The Whispers
In my opinion these are some of the Whispers’ best work, with the 1974 "Bingo" as their all time best offering. Excellent vocal arrangements and harmony singing led by the very smooth voices of twin brothers Scotty & Walter Scott. Also check out "In The Mood" – a "best of ballads" by The Whispers. Most Whispers albums have been reissued (and remastered) by Castle Records (UK).
Bill Withers: The Ultimate Bill Withers – 2000 [2-CD set]
Produced by: Various
Label: Columbia
This 2 set package is really superb! Including all the classics such as "Lovely Day", "Ain’t no Sunshine", "Lean on Me" and "Just The Two Of Us" (with Grover Washington jr.). A must in every soul collection!
Buy it at amazon.com

[ Gunnar Homdrum, Marbella, Spain © 2004 -2005 ]