VARIOUS; It Hurts So Good (Soul4Real)

Over the past few years, Alex Subinas’ SOUL4REAL label has done sterling work for serious and proper soul collectors. So far, the label has issued 31 quality vinyl 7” singles – each one snapped up by the knowing collector. Now, for the first time, Soul4Real is dipping its toe into the album market with this remarkable 11 track vinyl collection.

As you can see the album’s called ‘It Hurts So Good’  and, oddly maybe, the Mille Jackson/Philip Mitchell classic of that name isn’t included  but, that’s not the point. The point is that the title suggests to proper soul  fans that this  is a properly serious soul collection. People who really know and love soul music know that it’s  a sort of emotional roller coaster. Classic soul is full of songs of lost love, heartbreak, yearning, loneliness and cheating – all painful subjects! The paradox is  how can something  painful sound so damn good! We soul lovers just know that it does!

Here on ‘It Hurts So Good’ we can enjoy some real big soul names on songs that perfectly illustrate that very paradox. So enjoy the passion and pain of beauties like Aretha’s ‘Cry Like A Baby’ (one of her early Columbia recordings), Dionne Warwick’s ‘Last One To Be Loved’ (the previously unissued Arista version, not her classic Scepter version), Willie Hutch’s ‘Let’s Try It Over Again’ , Lou Courtney’s ‘The Common Broken Heart’ and  the Insiders/Main Ingredient’s ‘I’m Better Off Without You’.

The album offers plenty more big names – Marvin Gaye, Walter Jackson, Esther Phillips and James and Bobby Purify amongst them – some offering songs that deliver glimpses of positivity and happiness, like Gladys Knight and the Pips’ ‘Rainbow Ride’ (another of the 6 previously unissued tracks!) But whether the tune is positive or painful, the common denominator for each track here is real soul.  This  wonderful collection offers up a perfect aural definition of the genre. Soul 4 Real, for real!

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(BB) 5/5