Various Artists
" Take Me To The River "
Kent Records

Blueswax 9
Rating 8

A Collectors and Musicologists dream, (09/23/09)

Take Me to the River is a very well thought out and solid three-CD box of soul music that was released in the fall of 2008. It is bursting with seventy-five tunes and gorgeously packaged with an incredible seventy-two page hardcover booklet that annotates each and every track with detailed track listings, recording dates, production credits, songwriting credits, track times, record label release info, the city the recording took place, and dynamite individual narratives. Compilers Tony Rounce and Dean Rudland thoughtfully sequenced the tunes in mostly chronological order of arguably some of the best Southern soul music recorded from 1961-77. This compilation is broken down into three CDs, each bearing their own title. Disc 1 is You Don't Miss Your Water. It starts with William Bell's title of the same name. Disc Two, The Rainbow Road, is the third track of the same name recording by Bill Brandon. Disc Three, The River, probably relates to Al Green's classic which is also the title of this excellent box set, Take Me To the River.

There are three previously un-issued tunes, Otis Redding's first take of "Try A Little Tenderness," Charlie Rich's "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby" which was eventually released in the UK in 1984, and Ollie and the Nightingales' "A Smile Can't Hide (A Broken Heart.)"

As you might expect, included in this illustrious package are soul greats such as Joe Simon, OV Wright, Wilson Pickett, Eddie Floyd, James Carr, Toussaint McCall, Aretha, Sam & Dave, James & Bobby Purify, Eddie Hinton, Etta James, Clarence Carter, Joe Tex, ZZ Hill, Johnnie Taylor, Denise LaSalle, King Floyd, Mel & Tim, Ann Peebles, Bobby Womack, and countless others. What is hip is that fact that many of the tunes are unaffected by some of the processed stereo re-releases, and are offered in their original glorious mono mixes. Not to quibble, but conspicuously missing are any New Orleans artists, but perhaps that box set might be lurking on Kent Records radar screen in the not too distant future.

As a lover/collector of southern soul, you might already have a vast amount of the tracks contained here, but this exquisite box is such a (all-in-a-box) synopsis of southern soul music that is painstakingly and carefully programmed. What makes this box set a treasure to own is that seventy-two-page booklet where there are so many tidbits of useful information. Thus making Take Me To The River-A Southern Soul Story 1961-1977 a collectors' and musicologists' dream for both novices and those well versed in this era of great music.

Bob Putignano a senior contributing editor at BluesWax. He is also the heart of Sounds of Blues at Bob maybe contacted at:

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