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106 of 108 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...Gotta Have It...",
This review is from: Atlantic Soul Legends : 20 Original Albums From The Iconic Atlantic Label (Audio CD)Released Monday 1 October 2012 in the UK (9 Oct 2012 in the USA) - "Atlantic Soul Legends" is a European made Mini Box Set on WEA Music/Warner Music France/Rhino 8122797264. It contains 20 CDs in 5" x 5" Card Sleeve Repros with a 32-page booklet - and breaks down as follows:
1. RAY CHARLES - What'd I Say (1959, Mono, 10 Tracks, 30:10 minutes)
2. BOOKER T & THE M.G.s - Green Onions (1962, Mono, 12 Tracks, 35:17 minutes)
3. BEN E. KING - Don't Play That Song! (1962, Stereo, 12 Tracks, 29:10 minutes)
4. SOLOMON BURKE - If You Need Me (1963, Stereo, 12 Tracks, 30:12 minutes)
5. RUFUS THOMAS - Walking The Dog (1964, Stereo, 12 Tracks, 30:57 minutes)
6. THE DRIFTERS - Under The Boardwalk (1964, Stereo, 12 Tracks, 30:49 minutes)
7. DON COVAY and THE GOODTIMERS - Mercy! (1964, Stereo, 12 Tracks, 34:03 minutes)
8. OTIS REDDING - Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul (1965, Stereo 11 Tracks, 33:32 minutes)
9. WILSON PICKETT - In The Midnight Hour (1965, Stereo, 12 Tracks, 30:31 minutes)
10. PERCY SLEDGE - When A Man Loves A Woman (1966, Stereo, 11 Tracks, 29:06 minutes)
11. SAM & DAVE - Hold On, I'm Coming (1966, Stereo, 12 Tracks, 31:41 minutes)
12. BAR-KAYS - Soul Finger (1967, Stereo, 11 Tracks, 30:12 minutes)
13. EDDIE FLOYD - Knock On Wood (1967, Stereo, 12 Tracks, 35:07 minutes)
14. ARTHUR CONLEY - Sweet Soul Music (1967, Stereo, 10 Tracks, 26:07 minutes)
15. WILLIAM BELL - The Soul Of A Bell (1967, Stereo, 11 Tracks, 32:55 minutes)
16. ARETHA FRANKLIN - Lady Soul (1968, Stereo, 10 Tracks, 30:04 minutes)
17. DONNY HATHAWAY - Everything Is Everything (1970, Stereo, 9 Tracks, 41:24 minutes)
18. CLARENCE WHEELER & THE ENFORCERS - Doin' What We Wanna (1970, Stereo, 7 Tracks, 40:22 minutes)
19. HOWARD TATE - Howard Tate (1972, Stereo, 12 Tracks, 35:09 minutes)
20. SAM DEES - The Show Must Go On (1975, Stereo, 10 Tracks, 35:19 minutes)
Subtitled "20 Original Albums From The Iconic Atlantic Label" - they are all pictured on the rear of the box - which in itself has a distressed look like a DJ's carry case. The album sleeves follow their American releases and the colour artwork is gorgeous to look at. A smart move in the 32-page booklet is the reproduction of all album credits because you basically can't read the tiny print on most of the repro rears. The front covers are also pictured in colour at the top of each page (track details as well) and there's a 4-page introduction (in English and French) by Christophe Geudin - Editor of the "Funk U" magazine. His small biogs on each album are full of good details.
The only reference to mastering is a single sentence on the last page of the booklet which states - "the best existing masters have been used for the CD reissues included in this box set." Although I can't be sure, this suggests 'new remastering' to me (as opposed to the early Nineties issues when most of these titles were re-released). I'd also add that the same guy in Rhino France who co-ordinated and researched the 2010 Donny Hathaway 4CD box set "Someday We'll All Be Free" (which did have superb new remastering - see separate review) is involved in this box set too - DAVID DUTREUIL. Ray Charles, Eddie Floyd, William Bell - the sound quality is wonderful throughout...
It won't take long for rabid Atlantic collectors to work out that the last three titles in this box set are not just welcome additions to any Soul/Jazz collection - but two are seeing the CD light-of-day for the first time anywhere. And what a trio they are...
CLARENCE WHEELER gives us Saxophone/Organ funked-up instrumentals of The Beatles' "Hey Jude", Eddie Harris' "Sham Time" and Jack McDuff's "Theme From Electric Surfboard". The sound quality is really muscular - especially on "Doin' What I Wanna" where the trumpet of Sonny Covington does battle with Wheeler on Tenor Sax. The album's other ace is the nimble-fingers of Sonny Burke on Organ sounding like a souped-up Ramsey Lewis on "C.W." but then smoozing it with the best lounge-lizards on "Dream Bossa Nova". Class acts Cissy Houston and Judy Clay add their Backing Vocals to the funky "Right On" - and on the strength of this track alone - you can hear why this 1970 album is so sought after...
The self-titled HOWARD TATE LP by the Southern Soul man was put out by Koch Records some years back on CD but is not commonly seen - so it's inclusion here is a clever choice. Produced by the legendary JERRY RAGOVOY - he also contributed the lion's share of its excellent soul songs. I'm delighted to report that its sound quality is superb too - really clear - especially the brass that punctuates almost every track. It opens with the funky "She's A Burglar" - and I also love "Where Did My Baby Go" - so very Clarence Carter. The unemployment ballad "The Bitter End" is Tate's sole self-written track on here - and is done in a Rufus Thomas spoken style.
I'll admit the SAM DEES album is new to me - but my God what a find! All songs are originals or co-writes with members of his band. The opening six-minute social commentary on drugs taking over American cities is called "Child On The Streets" and it's fabulous. With its "Your father is a pusherman..." lyrics - it's a sort of Norman Whitfield slow funk vibe with layered echoed vocals and an organ sound that feels like it belongs on a Progressive Procol Harum song. Think Rare Earth, The Undisputed Truth and psychedelic shack Temptations - and you'll get the general idea. Then it goes into pure Eugene Record/Chi-Lites territory with a spoken ballad - "The Show Goes On" - his vocals beautiful. The strings, piano and soaring vocals give "Just Out Of My Reach" a Harold Melvin/Philadelphia International feel - lovely stuff. The funky "Claim Jumpin'" sounds like Ann Peebles done by a man - while "Troubled Child" once again has those impassioned lyrics ("...Streets instead of a playground...") and a great melody with a slow build.
To sum up - "Respect" from Redding's "Otis Blue", "Chain Of Fools" from Aretha's "Lady Soul", "The Ghetto" from Hathaway's "Everything Is Everything" - you could go on for hours. I'll be dipping into this for weeks.
"Atlantic Soul Legends" is a properly brill little box set - stuffed to the gunnels with an embarrassment of riches. And even if you know most of it - or own half of it - there are discoveries in here you need to make. What an astonishing label Atlantic Records was - and what a lovely way to celebrate its gigantic Soul Music legacy...
PS: Lovers of ATLANTIC and STAX Records should note that as of October 2012 there is a massive reissue program of classic albums going on in Japan - 100+ titles to be exact. They feature Fifties Blues and R'n'B, Sixties and Seventies Soul, Funk & Fusion etc. All are budget price (£7.50 per disc) and feature 2012 DSD remastering. Many of these titles are familiar - but a huge number are new to CD (numbers 1, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18 and 20 of this box set are NOT included so far - making these 10 exclusive to this UK/Euro issue). For a full detailed list of the Japanese reissues - see the 'comment' section attached to this review...
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 Stars - A bit of a mixed bag from the vaults of Atlantic....,
This review is from: Atlantic Soul Legends : 20 Original Albums From The Iconic Atlantic Label (Audio CD)I picked up a copy for under £30 which is outstanding value for money at ca. £1.50 per album. The sound quality too as has been commented on is largely A-plus with any faults discernible being down to the original source tape rather than shoddy remastering (which can be the case with these "cheap'n'cheerful" re-packaging jobs). I suspect the reason is that clearly extra care has gone into this set with regard to both sound and packaging as it originates from Warner France rather the UK division who tend to be a bit more cavalier with the peerless Warners/Atlantic catalogue. That said it is perhaps inevitable that the actual music is a bit hit and miss since most of these LPs come before the break through in black music in relation to long playing records as instigated by Isaac Hayes, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, etc in the late 60's/early 70's. Before these artists started conceiving albums as a single listening experience they'd mostly consist of hits plus filler and that is what a good 14 or so of the 20 here are so the truly outstanding tracks will be familiar from singles.
The worst culprit of hits plus filler must be Ben E. King's "Don't Play That Song" which apart from the singles is pretty much unlistenable with horrendously dated production and weak songwriting, this is strange since the contemporaneous album from his old band The Drifters ("Under The Boardwalk") is actually pretty strong bar one or two tracks - probably because they employed legendary Brill Building writers for even the filler. And so it goes throughout the set for every surprisingly strong LP [Sam'n'Dave] there is another which is spotty [Rufus Thomas] up to the late 60's where the transition to "modern" R&B LPs began.
The real meat for collectors are the final three LPs by Clarence Wheeler, Howard Tate & Sam Dees respectively. The Clarence Wheeler sounded underwhelming to me in advance apparently being a vocal-free soul-jazz set of mostly pop-music covers ('Hey Jude'!) but boy was I wrong. It is mostly excellent being filled with robust grooves underpinned by chunky organ and plenty of tasty horn licks layered on top --- a genuinely pleasant surprise. The '72 Howard Tate set produced by the ever unappreciated Jerry Ragovoy is even better comprising tough a funk-soul hybrid with an emphasis on unadorned funk (no signs of impending disco here!) with stellar vocals from the troubled Howard Tate towards the end of the 1st phase of his career, this one's an 8 or 9 out 10. Unfortunately I have to demure with most of the reviewers here regarding the Sam Dees LP which I'd been searching for years expecting a classic of tough street conscious soul. Whilst there are a couple of tracks that fit this description, such as the opening track, there are too many lyrically weak soppy ballads that even worse have long spoken intros which just haven't dated well into the 21st century and are largely toe-curlingly cheesy. Still two out of three for the collectors bait isn't too bad I suppose and overall the set is more hit than miss especially at this price so I think 3.5 stars is fair but it can be a bit of wild ride with extreme peaks and valleys.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Atlantic Boxed set - what next?,
This review is from: Atlantic Soul Legends : 20 Original Albums From The Iconic Atlantic Label (Audio CD)This is a great boxed set, excellently presented, fabulous sound quality and a wise selection of CDs. Other reviewers have criticised the Ben E King and Sam Dees items and of course music is a matter of taste - I love both of the LPs included, although they are very different.them both. It is fair to say that not all the CDs are the best work of the artists, some seem to have been slung together when a hit single arrived, but they are faithful replications of seminal LPs that were often groundbreaking at the time.
Rhino, is there any chance of a second set? My vote for inclusions would contain 'What is Soul' by Ben E King - a Bert Berns clasic production of a wonderful singer, or perhaps 'Spanish Harlem', a wonderful fusion of Latin with Soul. The great Ray Charles, Drifters, Percy Sledge, Wilson Picket, Solomon Burke and Aretha Franklin are on the set but they all did series of LPs that would deserve inclusion on Volume 2. I was surprised to see the Clovers, Coasters, Joe Turner, La Vern Baker, Ruth Brown, Clarence Carter and (if Dial LPs qualify)Joe Tex omitted. For out of left field choices maybe an Esther Phillips or Margie Joseph original, and the great Arif Mardin's Glass Onion, in which he conducts many of the great soul musicians of the era. Looking through Atlantic discographies there are LPs I have never heard, or even heard of, Lieber and Stoller's 'Big Band', arrangements of some of their hits, Killer Joe's 'International Discoteque' sounds like it should be great, as does Leslie Uggams 'A Time To Love.'I wait with baited breath...
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Atlantic Soul,
CD1: tracks 3,4,8,9 are stereo
CD3: only tracks 2,4,5,8-12 are stereo
CDs 5,8,9 are mono
CD11: track 3 is mono
CD14: mono, except tracks 6,9 which are stereo
Percy Sledge has a very strange sound - similar to the "stereo" version of Wicked Pickett disc in Original Album Series box. 90% of the sound comes from one channel, totally unbalanced. How on earth this could be launched to sell is beyond my understanding - or my disc is faulty.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At last Sam Dees on CD,
PS -- There are a good few other classics in there as well!!!!!!!!!!!
5.0 out of 5 stars Great collection for car riding,
The selected albums are great, I only wish that these CDs should have been not so short (30-45 minutes each).
Original cover and description is a plus.
5.0 out of 5 stars Catch up on some soul classics,
5.0 out of 5 stars Great,
5.0 out of 5 stars super collection,
4.0 out of 5 stars Days Gone By,
This review is from: Atlantic Soul Legends : 20 Original Albums From The Iconic Atlantic Label (MP3 Download)Fantastic classic Soul, who could ask for more. Loaded on my kindle, music on the go and at a really good price.
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Atlantic Soul Legends : 20 Original Albums From The Iconic Atlantic Label by Various Artists (Audio CD - 2012)
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