Author

Matt Weingarden

For every smash hit like ” Love Train” or ”Rock Your Baby,” countless other pre-disco ’70s soul records of comparable quality, like Brenda and the Tabulations’ ” Walk On In,” went straight to nowhere. Lost Soul mines the vaults of CBS records for 20 of these pretty pieces of oblivion; a few roil (The Vibrations’ spirited ”Love in Them There Hills”), more soothe (Essence’s ”Relax, It’s Just Like We’re Dancing”), and almost all were worth unearthing.

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At Motown’s fabled quality-control meetings, Berry Gordy & Co. would weed out a shocking number of songs they deemed subpar. Here on Love Starved Heart, as part of a year-long slate of Marvin Gaye reissues, are some pickings from the Motown Dumpster: 16 rejected, unreleased sides from his mid-to-late-’60s prime. Not to second-guess Gordy, but the album sounds like an alternate-universe hits package.

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Best known as the influential (ask the Beatles) originator of distinctive early-’60s R&B standards like ”Anna” and ”You Better Move On,” Arthur Alexander recorded a much-praised comeback album last year—and promptly died of heart failure. This compilation of ‘72 nonhits, Rainbow Road: The Warner Bros. Recordings, is timelier: Amid the current vogue for duets between R&B and country acts, its gentle but gruff Southern country-soulishness reveals Alexander to have been a natural-born hybrid of both styles.

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One of the most thrilling of R&B singers, Wilson rarely recorded material worthy of his raw-silk voice. Wildly, characteristically inconsistent, The Very Best of Jackie Wilson, a collection of 1957-67 hits, veers from Berry Gordy’s hyper ”Reet Petite” through schmaltz like ”Danny Boy” to the turbo-charged gospel of ”Higher and Higher” — that transcendent 2 minutes 58 seconds when, for once, ”Mr. Excitement” found his match in a song. B

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