The liner notes that accompany this collection note that '70s soul music has never really gotten its due. One could argue that point for days, but hubris aside, there's no denying that Can You Dig It pays serious homage to the golden years of American soul. The new box set contains 6 CDs and 136 cuts, 65 of which hit the No. 1 spot on the R&B and/or pop charts. As you'd expect with a project that mines such a rich era (the CDs are compiled chronologically), it represents a who's who of stars. Among the notables: Marvin Gaye, Sly Stone, Curtis Mayfield, the Spinners, the O'Jays, the Staple Singers, James Brown, Chairmen of the Board, Laura Lee, Freda Payne, and Jean Knight. Lesser lights also get to shine, i.e., El Chicano, who deliver the salsafied hippie anthem "Tell Her She's Lovely." But let's be honest–the selling point is the hits, and from the uplifting "Ooh Child" to the sassy "Want Ads," if you grew up in the '70s (hands up), then these tracks are beloved. Sure, the hard-core fan will probably wish for more obscurities, and the exclusion of Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, and George Clinton is troublesome, but anyone wanting an at-home jukebox loaded with classic R&B will certainly dig this.
This is a great little collection of Mid/Late '70s Soul that crept out courtesy of Italian label IRMA back in 2002.
Body and Soul: Christmas features a number of holiday songs performed by some of the best soul artists of the late 20th century. You get '60s soul legends (the Temptations' "Silent Night," Otis Redding's "White Christmas," and the Surpremes' "Twinkle Twinkle Little Me"), '70s soul icons (Isaac Hayes' "Mistletoe and Me," the O'Jays' "Merry Christmas Baby," the Ohio Players' "Happy Holidays"), and some more contemporary artists (SWV's "Christmas Ain't Christmas," Boyz II Men's "Let It Snow"). The Marvin Gaye performance, "I Want to Come Home for Christmas," is also noteworthy. Overall, a broad and epoch-ranging collection of holiday music done soul style by many of the style's greatest figures. ~ Jason Birchmeier
Double-CD, career-spanning retrospective that offers little in the way of surprises: it's a tastefully selected overview of her career highlights, heaviest (and justifiably so) on her late '60s albums. There's the inevitable feeling of letdown as disc two progresses; her post-early '70s material is far less interesting than her earliest work, even if it's inoffensive. All of the first five albums (through 1971's Gonna Take a Miracle) are now on CD, so this is most suitable for the fan who isn't passionate enough to be a completist. Includes a couple of previously unreleased live tracks from the 1990s; the version of "Sweet Blindness," unfortunately, is not the original late-'60s recording, but from a late-'70s live album.