Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1099

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Review

Soul Power '68: Various Artists (Cherry Red Records)

Treasure Isle Presents Soul Power '68 - Various Artists (REVIEW)

9

6.3

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UK release date 12.03.2021

1968 was a very impactful year on the vibrant soul scene of the day. Many will recall 1968 as the year that soul music found its political voice. It was the year James Brown's radical funk came out with"'Say It Loud I'm Black And I'm Proud" and no doubt, heavily influenced by the Black Panther movement that was coming into its true ascendance. In essence here was the angry fringe and the smiling mainstream coming together.

Taking note thousands of miles away on the Treasured Isle label was Duke Reid and his ska/reggae stable and this wonderful compilation echoed, at the time, the black struggle of their American brothers and sisters in a vibrant and gloriously, Caribbean way.

The first dozen tracks are lifted directly from a recently discovered Trojan Records tape of a previously unissued compilation album, “Soul Power”, while the remainder of the material is still premium and prime rocksteady cuts, which all adds up to a spellbinding and vastly enjoyable 42 track collection of hits, rarities and previously unissued tracks.

There's obviously a distinct soul vibe to quite a few of the tracks that divert from the usual rocksteady rhythm. This in itself is fascinating!
"Good Bye Baby" and "Funky Beat" by Lloyd Williams, Tommy McCook & The Supersonics "Work Your Soul" and countless others sound like they have come straight out Stax and Memphis! These are unearthed gems... Doctor Bird have done it again! Not crate diggers but fully blown archeologists. This is essential listening and something to truly admire, highlighting exactly what the enduring Duke Reid achieved and what special magic he and his crews created.
Words Emrys Baird

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