Soul Clan

by: Various Artists

Sure, it doesn't live up to the billing; with Solomon Burke, Arthur Conley, Don Covay, Ben E. King, and Joe Tex all together on the same session, any soul fan worth his or her salt is going to expect a masterpiece, and the two-song repertoire of the Soul Clan falls a bit short of that description. But that's not to say they aren't two pretty great songs (with Don Covay and Bobby Womack once again demonstrating their gifts as songwriters), and the assembled talent performs at their agonized, churchy best on "That's How It Feels," while getting down on the rockin' and up-tempo "Soul Meeting." To listen to these songs, it sounds as if the Soul Clan was an idea as much as a singing group, but it was such a good idea -- and the two songs that resulted were strong enough -- that you can't help but wonder what could have been if these guys had a bit more time to work together (and had actually been in the same studio together when they cut these songs; due to schedule commitments, some of the artists cut their vocals in different studios at different times). The Soul Clan's album doesn't do a thing to build on the magic of that 45 -- the set is simply padded out with solo hits by the five headliners -- but anyone with an interest in vintage soul will want to lend an ear to the small but impressive legacy of the Soul Clan. (Incidentally, "That's How It Feels" appears on several compilation albums -- most economically on the soundtrack to the film Another Day in Paradise -- while "Soul Meeting" can be found on The Very Best of Solomon Burke.) ~ Mark Deming

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