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Booker T & the MG's - Uptight!
(P-Vine PCD-4472 Jap-97 225:-)

This soundtrack album to Jules Dassin's film of the same name proved a successful endeavor for Booker T. and the MG's; the music here was as adventurous and diverse as anything they'd done. For starters, it required the band to focus more on their already exceptional "ambient" elements, stretching out in slower, spacier grooves than their studio albums (or record-buying audience) would allow.

Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve.
Byrd, Bobby - Got Soul: Best of Bobby Byrd
(Polydor 527987-2 EU-95 175:-)

As is the case with the JB's and other James Brown protégés, Bobby Byrd's legacy is spread over numerous out-of-print, difficult-to-find vinyl records. So this 22-song retrospective, which gathers numerous singles, and a couple of previously unreleased tracks spanning 1964 to 1973, is a welcome consolidation of his most significant work into one package.

Solid stuff, covering both standard soul from the '60s and hard funk (usually featuring the JB's) from the early '70s, though it sounds a lot more like a James Brown record with a different vocalist than a Bobby Byrd record that happens to benefit from James Brown's backing crew. Brown produced (and occasionally contributed to) all of the recordings here, and duets with Bobby on the 1968 single "You've Got to Change Your Mind."
Cropper, Steve - With a Little Help
(P-Vine PCD-4407 Jap-9? 225:-)

After years of being a team player, Steve Cropper got to make a solo album for the label he helped put on the map, Stax Records (actually their Volt subsidiary). As you might figure, it turned out as an instrumental soul album, and a darn good one, too. It's a bona fide Telecaster-soaked dance workout, with Cropper turning in signature versions of "Land of a Thousand Dances," "99 1/2," (which features a particularly nasty period fuzz guitar), "Funky Broadway," "Boo-Ga-Loo Down Broadway," "In the Midnight Hour," and original instrumentals like "Crop Dustin'" and the closer "Rattlesnake." A solid and soulful little side project that holds up quite well years later.

Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve'
Step by Step - I always wanted to be in the Band!
(Victor VICP-64287 Jap-08 225:-)

Quite possibly the greatest soul band ever to come out of Milwaukee – and a tight little ensemble who've got a really great sound! The overall feel of their work is a bit hard to peg – as the group are equally great at mellow midtempo group numbers as they are at tighter, clubbier tunes that snap with a bit more of a horn-heavy sound – and throughout the record there's a really playful feel that shows that whatever the sound, whatever the setting, these guys just had a heck of a great time working with each other! That quality can be heard especially well on the title track "I Always Wanted To Be In The Band" – a great little number that's almost an updating of the TSU Tornadoes sound for the 70s – but the whole set's great, and other tracks move into some great super-dope production that we really love! Titles include "I Am A Lonely Man", "People", "Cool Days Are Out Of Style", "I Ain't Never Gonna Let You Go", and "Cash Money".

Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve'
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