Everybody Plays the Fool: The Best of the Main Ingredient

by: The Main Ingredient

The Main Ingredient were one of the best smooth soul groups of the early '70s, but they've never been given much respect in terms of CD retrospectives. They were given two comps in 1990 -- Collectables' good but cheap Golden Classics and RCA's lengthier All Time Greatest Hits, which had more tunes but bad sound -- and in 1996 RCA issued Quiet Storm, a collection of their romantic ballads, but the group still needed a well-produced, remastered collection of their biggest hits. With RCA/Legacy's 2005 release Everybody Plays the Fool: The Best of the Main Ingredient they finally get that, and while it is three tracks shorter than the 19-track All Time Greatest Hits (which is now out of print), it's overall the better package. While this doesn't have every single charting hit the group had -- it's missing such smaller singles as "You Can Call Me Rover," "The Good Old Days," and "California My Way" (the latter two were on the 1990 CD), as well as their first charting single ("I'm Better Off Without You," 1970) and last ("Shame on the World," 1976) -- it does have all the big hits, such as "Everybody Plays the Fool," "Just Don't Want to Be Lonely," "Rolling Down a Mountainside," "I'm So Proud," "You've Been My Inspiration," and "Spinning Around (I Must Be Falling in Love)." The sound is excellent, as are the liner notes from Ron Wynn, making this disc the closest thing yet to a definitive Main Ingredient collection. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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