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Soul - Released June 1, 2021 | Funkeedee Music

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Soul - Released February 26, 2021 | Rhino Atlantic

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Roberta Flack's debut album, titled First Take in true underachiever fashion, introduced a singer who'd assimilated the powerful interpretive talents of Nina Simone and Sarah Vaughan, the earthy power of Aretha Franklin, and the crystal purity and emotional resonance of folksingers like Judy Collins. Indeed, the album often sounded more like vocal jazz or folk than soul, beginning with the credits: a core quartet of Flack on piano, John Pizzarelli on guitar, Ron Carter on bass, and Ray Lucas on drums, as fine a lineup as any pop singer could hope to recruit. With only one exception -- the bluesy, grooving opener "Compared to What," during which Flack proves her chops as a soul belter -- she concentrates on readings of soft, meditative material. A pair of folk covers, "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" and "Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye," are heart-wrenching standouts; the first even became a surprise hit two years later, when its appearance in the Clint Eastwood film Play Misty for Me pushed it to the top of the pop charts and earned Flack her first Grammy award for Record of the Year. Her arrangement of the traditional "I Told Jesus" has a simmering power, while "Ballad of the Sad Young Men" summons a stately sense of melancholy. Flack also included two songs from her college friend and future duet partner, Donny Hathaway, including a tender examination of the classic May-December romance titled "Our Ages or Our Hearts." The string arrangements of William Fischer wisely keep to the background, lending an added emotional weight to all of Flack's pronouncements. No soul artist had ever recorded an album like this, making First Take one of the most fascinating soul debuts of the era. © John Bush /TiVo
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Soul - Released February 19, 2021 | Abkco Music & Records, Inc.

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Soul - Released February 19, 2021 | Abkco Music & Records, Inc.

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Soul - Released January 11, 2021 | Davys Production

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Soul - Released December 20, 2020 | Inspired By Many

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Soul - Released December 20, 2020 | State of the Art (Sota) Ent.

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Soul - Released November 20, 2020 | Nuru Islamic Education

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Soul - Released October 28, 2020 | Monte Rosa Records

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Soul - Released June 26, 2020 | Chrysalis Records

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Soul - Released June 12, 2020 | Spiritmuse Records

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Soul - Released June 12, 2020 | Beat Bacterea Records

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Soul - Released May 15, 2020 | DIMASI Music

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Soul - Released April 29, 2020 | Tactless Sag

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Soul - Released March 5, 2020 | Housemaster Records

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Soul - Released February 21, 2020 | Craft Recordings

The Staple Singers released their first recordings in the mid-'50s, and they were highly influential and well-respected in gospel circles a decade later, but the mainstream audience was unaware of them as they began flirting with pop music forms without making a decisive move away from their spiritual roots. In 1968, they signed with Stax Records, one of America's strongest soul labels (who also had a sideline in gospel), and at Stax they not only enjoyed their greatest commercial success but learned how to make music that pleased the mass audience while maintaining a moral and spiritual authority that quieted any suggestion of compromise. The Staple Singers cut six original albums for Stax, and Come Go with Me: The Stax Collection is a handsome box set that brings them together in refurbished and remastered form, along with a bonus disc of non-LP single sides and live tracks from the soundtrack of the movie Wattstax. Come Go with Me makes it clear the Staple Singers didn't nail their hit formula right off the bat. The title of their first Stax LP, 1968's Soul Folk in Action, affirms no one was sure just where to classify them at first. That album and 1970's We'll Get Over were both produced by Steve Cropper, and while he and his Memphis crew gave the albums a polished and soulful sound, it didn't entirely flatter the Staples despite the excellence of their vocals, and the song selection wasn't always the best (there just wasn't room for them to bring anything fresh to "Games People Play" or "[Sittin' On] The Dock of the Bay"). Despite its singularly awful title, 1971's The Staple Swingers was a major improvement. Stax co-owner Al Bell took over as producer and took them to the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio to cut with their fabled house band, and the leaner, tougher grooves favored Mavis Staples' powerful, emphatic lead vocals, as well as the occasional vocals and incisive guitar work from Roebuck "Pops" Staples, her dad and the group's leader. The album gave the Staple Singers their first significant R&B hit, "Heavy Makes You Happy (Sha-Na-Boom Boom)," and 1972's Be Altitude was even better and produced a pair of stone classics, "Respect Yourself" and "I'll Take You There." 1973's Be What You Are and 1974's City in the Sky weren't quite as solid, but having secured their place on the pop and soul charts, the group felt free to return a bit of their churchy side into their vocals and lyrics, and their fusion of the sacred and the soulful was never more powerful, even if the records didn't cohere as well. Listeners looking for a concise introduction to the Staples' best work should pick up 1991's single-disc The Best of the Staple Singers, but Come Go with Me demonstrates how consistently rewarding and even moving their lesser work can be, and listened to in full, their Stax catalog is a soul-satisfying revelation. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Soul - Released October 25, 2019 | UNI - MOTOWN

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Soul - Released October 25, 2019 | UNI - MOTOWN

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Soul - Released October 25, 2019 | UNI - MOTOWN

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Soul - Released June 21, 2019 | Springstoff

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Soul in the magazine