R&B

The Staple Singers - Stax Profiles

Throughout the distinct phases of their recording career, from straight rhythmic gospel to Civil Rights protest anthems, to what might be called soul folk to the funky grit of their Stax years, the Staple Singers always delivered songs that said something, and even when the grooves of songs like ...

Big Joe Turner - Tell Me Pretty Baby

Lusty, romping jump blues and boogies from 1947-1949 that team Big Joe Turner with his longtime piano partner Pete Johnson and a coterie of solid L.A. sessioneers. The two dozen entries include party rockers like "Wine-O-Baby Boogie," "Christmas Date Boogie," "I Don't Dig It," and an incredibly r...

Stephanie Mills - Something Real

Mills' final set for MCA is a mixed bag of midtempo ditties and ballads. The singer is in fine vocal shape, but the songs often suffer from numb melodies and meandering arrangements. Dry, overly synthesized outings like "I Found a New Love" and "24-Hour Woman" are heavily produced and caustic, wh...

Carla Thomas - Hidden Gems

Twenty outtakes recorded for Stax between 1960 and 1968, a number of which are gems. In fact, it is really surprising just how good the unreleased Stax stuff was in the '60s. "Loneliness," "Sweet Sensation," and "It Ain't No Easy Thing" all could have been superb singles.

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Patti Austin - Love Is Gonna Getcha

With apologies to Dianne Reeves, Patti Austin has always quite simply been the best jack-of-all-genre singers on the planet, crossing effortlessly from jazz to pop and R&B with a voice that's so sweet, rich, and lovely, it can't help but warm the heart. On the heels of her 1988 masterpiece The Re...

Eric Serra / Tina Turner - Goldeneye [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]

Apart from the awkward title song, performed by Tina Turner and written by U2's Bono and the Edge, the soundtrack to Goldeneye, the first James Bond movie starring Pierce Brosnan is an enjoyable collection. Most of the disc is devoted to Eric Serra's score, which builds on John Berry's classic Bo...

Dawn Richard - Redemption

Dawn Richard's "heart" trilogy began with Goldenheart (2013), continued with Blackheart (2015), and ends with Redemption (2016). Between the second and third volumes, Richard issued a batch of non-album singles and an EP, and was featured on tracks by Machinedrum and Star Slinger.

Each rel...

The Detroit Spinners / The Spinners - The Platinum Collection

More than one writer has pointed out the jolly irony that the Spinners, proud sons of Detroit and billed as the Detroit Spinners in the United Kingdom, were perhaps the definitive Philly soul group, cranking out a long and memorable series of hits under the tutelage of producer Thom Bell in the c...

Ty Karim - The Complete Ty Karim: Los Angeles' Soul Goddess

Ty Karim's lengthy if sporadic career is covered in depth on this 23-song compilation, which includes cuts she issued on singles on several labels between 1965 and 1980, as well as ten previously unissued tracks; her 1967 45 credited to Towana & the Total Destruction; and a duet with George Griff...

Kinny - Can't Kill a Dame With Soul

A classically trained mezzo-soprano, Canadian-born, Norwegian-based vocalist Caitlin Simpson, aka Kinny, has been compared to everyone from Ella Fitzgerald to Erykah Badu since straying into jazz-soul territory in the early 2000s. Under the guidance of production trio Souldrop (who contributed to...

Irma Thomas - Ruler of Hearts

Sides from her early-'60s Minit sessions. The most New Orleans R&B-influenced of Thomas' early work, it includes "Cry On," "It's Raining," and "Ruler Of My Heart," as well as lesser-known but equally moving cuts like "Two Winters Long" and "It's Too Soon To Know."

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