‘Crossover To Soul’ is one of Backbeats six new, excellent soul compilations which retail for around a fiver! This set’s title implies that all 24 cuts have/had the potential to appeal right across all of soul’s sub sections (specifically “modern” and “northern”) and, listening, you can’t argue with that premise. It’s obvious. Anyone who claims to love any kind of soul music couldn’t find fault with material from artists like The O’Jays, Johnnie Taylor, Laura Lee, Willie Hutch, The Shirelles and Aretha Franklin. They’re just some of the big names in this wonderful “crossover festival”. Aretha, in fact, has two tracks on the set – the stately, Ashford-Simpson song ‘Cry Like A Baby’ and the beautiful 1965 ballad ‘One Step Ahead’.
Other famous names in the collection include Freddie Hughes, Walter Jackson, Major Lance, Esther Phillips, The Soul Children and Syl Johnson. The Esther Phillips’ inclusion is the ever-harrowing ‘Home Is Where The Hatred Is’ while the Major Lance cut is the joyous ‘Think Nothing About It’ – two songs at opposite ends of the emotional spectrum – underlining the boundless variety of soul – “crossover” or whatever!
Amongst the other inclusions are General Crook (‘Thanks But No Thanks’), Ujima (‘I’m Not Ready’), Africano (‘Satisfactorise Your Mind’) and Will Hatcher (‘Who Am I Without You’).
Favourites and highlights? Well, I’m a sucker for a classic Goffin/King ballad and here there’s the superb ‘It’s Gonna Be Alright’ from the wonderful Maxine Brown – but hit any of the 24 selections and – in the soul stakes of whatever delineation – you simply won’t go wrong!