3CDs, 75 songs, and a set list that definitely lives up to the title – a collection that not only brings forth the best of Northern Soul from the glory days of the 60s, but also features lots of tracks from that time that have only been discovered in recent years too! Northern Soul isn't just a static concept on UK dancefloors – and instead has been driven by decades of record collectors and DJs with an ever-shifting ear for a groove – one that's lead to a nicely expansive version of the music that's really continued to thrill us with collections like this.
Although there are several Kaukonen originals collected here, the strongest tracks are blues covers, including versions of Robert Johnson's "Walkin' Blues," Muddy Waters' "I Can't Be Satisfied," and a delightfully goofy and ramshackle take on Rev. Gary Davis' "Candy Man".
One of the most interesting and difficult-to-categorize singers in '60s pop, Gene Pitney had a long run of hits distinguished by his pained, one-of-a-kind melodramatic wail. Pitney is sometimes characterized (or dismissed) as a shallow teen idol-type prone to operatic ballads. It's true that some of his biggest hits – "Town Without Pity," "Only Love Can Break a Heart," "I'm Gonna Be Strong," "It Hurts to Be in Love," and "Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa" – are archetypes of adolescent or just-post-adolescent agony, characterized by longing and not a little self-pity.