THE IMPRESSIONS: The Complete A and B Sides 1961 – 68 (Label: Eclipse, Universal)

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THE IMPRESSIONS: The Complete A and B Sides 1961 - 68

The Impressions are the real soul fan’s soul group. Together with top producer/arranger Johnny Pate, Curtis Mayfield, Sam Gooden and Fred Cash created the most sublime soul music ever. Its warmth and spirituality transcends time and place and repeated plays always offer new shadings and nuances; age will never wither it nor custom stale its infinite variety. Thankfully, Impressions’ devotees have been well served over the years by the reissue labels who have made almost all the group’s back catalogue readily available – but this new double CD, 60 tracker is a very welcome addition. Essentially the collection offers a chronological sweep of all the trio’s ABC singles between 1961 and 1968 and just a quick glance at the track list will show that my opening hyperbole wasn’t misplaced. All the big tunes are here of course – ‘It’s All Right’, ‘Amen’, ‘You Must Believe Me’, ‘People Get Ready’ and so on but the real beauty lies in the songs that don’t (sadly) get aired that often, or (even more sadly) have been neglected. I’m talking about songs like the jazzy ‘Too Slow’, the tender ‘I’m So Proud’, the pacey ‘You Always Hurt Me’, the totally majestic ‘I Need You’ and the song that was on its B – side on UK, HMV release, the starkly beautiful ‘Never Could You Be’. It’s hard to believe that this honest and outstandingly romantic paean was in fact a B-side and – till now – only available on a couple of compilations‚Ķ and that’s one of this set’s many attractions. It pulls together lots of forgotten gems in easily accessible format and makes the collection probably the year’s best old soul compilation.
(BB) 5/5

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