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Russell Gersten


  • Sweet Exorcist

    Like many an overextended or depleted artist, Mayfield has dug into his past for material for this album, which sounds hastily conceived and then competently executed to meet some contractual deadline. Four of the seven tunes were written prior to 1971, during the time Mayfield was trying to find himself as a solo artist. "To […]

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  • Hey Now Hey (The Other Side of the Sky)

    Aretha Franklin has been straying beyond the conventional boundaries of soul for some time (most successfully on last year's awkward but powerful Young, Gifted and Black) but the new album is her biggest stylistic departure from R&B to date. The ominous spectre of Roberta Flack hovers over the enterprise, first in the use of the […]

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  • Get On The Good Foot

    There was a time when James Brown really was Soul Brother Number One. Though it was only six, seven, eight years ago, it seems like a lot longer. Back in the early and mid-Sixties, Brown's shows had the same mythical stature for soul audiences that the Stones now have for the rock audiences. His influence […]

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  • Young, Gifted And Black

    The hype on the new Aretha Franklin album would have us believe that this is her best work since the Sixties, when a string of now-classic albums with Jerry Wexler and Arif Mardin established her as the definitive female soul singer. Even the press bio that accompanied Who's Zoomin' Who? claims the record has been […]

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  • Roots

    Roots, Curtis Mayfield's third solo album, is a confused and confusing record. It's undoubtedly been influenced, both conceptually and technically, by Marvin Gaye's What's Going On? Gaye's record surprised a lot of people by its strong religious content, coming from someone who had previously recorded only love songs. Curtis, on the other hand, wrote and […]

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  • Greatest Hits

    Greatest hits albums usually lack focus. Time after time, for some obvious reasons, andsome mysterious ones, the essence and real greatness of the group or individual artist eludesattempts at collections. The Jackson Five, one of Motown's most commercially successful groups,suffers dramatically from this process. On this package the limitations of the group — mainly theslickness […]

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  • Greatest Hits Vol. 2

    In a recent interview, Stevie Wonder said, "I think the ultimate is one's nakedness — being stripped of all these [material] things, and if there's such a thing as the soul that speaks — which I do believe — then that would be seen." These almost mystical ideas have a lot to do with the […]

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