Picks and Pans Review: Sweet Soul Music: Voices from the Shadows

updated 11/23/1992 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/23/1992 AT 01:00 AM EST

Various Artists

As the soul music disc jockeys of yesteryear used to say, here's one that'll make your knees freeze and your liver quiver: A collection of lost soul nuggets from the late '60s and early '70s, each song lovingly plucked from obscurity by two of the genre's most devoted keepers of the flame, blues authority Peter Guralnick and Sire Records honcho and former Rolling Stone contributor Joe McEwen.

Gratefully, you won't find "Soul Man," "In the Midnight Hour" or any of the other overexposed baby-boomer anthems. Yet several of the cuts may be familiar to aficionados—among them "Some Kind of Wonderful" by the Soul Brothers Six, "Hold On (To What We've Got)" by James Carr, and Otis Clay's soul-shouter adaptation of "She's About a Mover," originally made famous by the Sir Douglas Quintet. Aretha Franklin, the only household name on the disc, checks in with "My Song," a gospel-tinged ballad that somehow got lost among her many hits.

But it's the songs that lack all recognition that stir the most: Percy Sledge's catchy "True Love Travels on a Gravel Road," O.V. Wright's heart-wrenching "Nickel and a Nail," Eddie Giles's funked-out "Losing Boy" and Laura Lee's coming-of-age plea "Separation Line." Maybe most memorable of all is "Crying in the Streets," recorded in 1971 by George Perkins and the Silver Stars, a disquieting supplication that could easily serve as a modern-day hymn for the dispossessed. (Sire)"

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