Chronicle: The 20 Greatest Hits

by: Johnnie Taylor

Johnnie Taylor's career covered enough ground (and enough different record labels) that trying to sum it up on a single disc would really take some doing, and Chronicle: The 20 Greatest Hits is not the LP designed to do that job. Despite the title, Chronicle is a collection focusing exclusively on Taylor's work for Stax, meaning his disco-funk material for Columbia (including his biggest chart hit, "Disco Lady") doesn't make the cut; neither do his late-period soul-blues recordings for Malaco, nor his early gospel material with the Highway Q.C.'s or the Soul Stirrers. But if you're looking for a single-LP anthology of Taylor's best stuff for Stax, this will give you what you need; it includes several late-'60s/early-'70s hits, including "Who's Makin' Love?," "Cheaper to Keep Her," and "Stop Doggin' Me," as well as a number of lesser-known classics that capture the gruff but heartfelt vocal style and "learned-it-the-hard-way" lyrical perspective that were the hallmarks of Taylor's work. Deciding which Johnnie Taylor collection to get is largely a matter of deciding which part of Taylor's career you're most interested in, but if you want a solid dose of his Southern soul sides for Stax, then Chronicle: The 20 Greatest Hits is just what you need. ~ Mark Deming

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