Rare Grooves, Vol. 1: The Originals

Rare Grooves, Vol. 1: The Originals does fans of modern soul music a great favor by providing a treasure trove of the songs that influenced today's soul musicians. This generous compilation offers a diverse array of soul sounds from the 1970s and early '80s that have supplied hitmaking samples. The sweet, ballad-oriented side of soul is nicely represented by cuts like Barry White's soothing yet swinging "Playing Your Game, Babe," which is as smooth as velour, and Rose Royce's moving torch ballad "I'm Going Down," which shows off that group's great skill for working jazz-styled horn arrangements into their pop-soul sound. Straight-ahead funk is also represented by the Ohio Players via the relentless and grungy guitar-driven stomp of "Fopp," and jazz-funk gets its day in the sun through cuts like Grover Washington, Jr.'s gently grooving "Mister Magic." It's a diverse batch of material, but it is all sequenced in a style that allows it to flow like a good vintage soul radio show, and it highlights the diversity going on within this era's R&B music in the process. More importantly, Ben Yang Baller's liner notes put the contents of the set in perspective by pointing out how modern performers from Kris Kross to Mary J. Blige have covered and sampled the songs featured on this disc. As a result, Rare Grooves, Vol. 1: The Originals works both as a nice sampler of classic soul and as a trainspotter's guide to the influences that fuel modern R&B music. ~ Donald A. Guarisco

Please enable Javascript to view this page competely.