Various Artists – Express Yourself: Soul In The 20th Century

Four-CD, 83-track box with 36-page booklet tries to summarise soul music

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Compiler Daryl Easlea has assembled these four CDs thematically, one each devoted to roots, dance, politics and love songs (CD four includes a sublime sequence: EW&F’s “That’s The Way Of The World,” Roy Ayers’ “Everybody Loves The Sunshine,” Kool And The Gang’s “Summer Madness” and Smokey’s “Quiet Storm”). It gives token stylistic nods to the likes of Louis Jordan and John Lee Hooker, though it mostly settles for Motown, Stax, JB and ’70s disco.

Though the music is largely faultless, this anthology can only hope to scratch the surface.

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