Chronicle: Greatest Hits

by: Eddie Floyd

Like Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Wilson Picket, and Rufus Thomas, Eddie Floyd was among the artists who epitomized tough, rugged Southern soul in the 1960s. The Alabama native wasn't oblivious to what soulsters were doing up north -- in fact, he successfully embraced Northern-style soul on some of his albums. But because "Knock on Wood," Floyd's biggest hit, was such a definitive example of Memphis soul, he will forever be identified with Stax records and Southern R&B. Quite appropriately, this 48-minute best-of CD opens with "Knock on Wood," which soared to number one on Billboard's R&B singles chart in 1966 and received a disco-soul makeover from singer Amii Stewart in 1978. But not everything on Chronicle: Greatest Hits is as overtly Southern as "Knock on Wood." Spanning 1966-1974, this is a diverse CD -- one that ranges from very Memphis-sounding gems like "Soul Street," "Love Is a Doggone Good Thing," and "Raise Your Hand" to sleeker, more Northern-influenced treasures such as "I've Never Found a Girl" (a number two R&B hit) and "California Girl." One of the most interesting tracks is a remake of the Temptations' "My Girl," which started out as Motown soul but gets a very Stax-sounding makeover from Floyd. The singer/producer was quite capable of performing Detroit soul, but when he covers a song that Smokey Robinson co-wrote for the Temptations, he is in a Memphis state of mind. Technically, Chronicle: Greatest Hits is a misleading title for this 16-song CD because not all of these recordings were hits. But all of them are excellent, and Chronicle: Greatest Hits is a fine starting point if you are exploring Floyd's work for the first time. ~ Alex Henderson

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