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  Listen Up! 11/5/02 Listen Up!

Tuesday, Nov. 5

Various Artists, “Pure Funk Volume 2,” Mercury Records. Twenty songs from the likes of the Isley Brothers, Dazz Band, Rufus, Hot Chocolate, Kool & the Gang, Average White Band, Carl Carlton, Junior, Joe Tex, Barry White, the Gap Band, Marvin Gaye, Eddie Kendricks. You can’t get too much of this sort of thing, you just can’t.

Johnnie Taylor, “Lifetime,” Stax Records. Four CDs, and I haven’t hardly heard any of this amazing material before. Papa Ray says he would rather hear Johnnie Taylor than any other soul singer, and a good case can be argued that this comment makes sense. Amazing stuff.

Stevie Wonder, “Fulfillingess’ First Finale,” Motown Records. In the 70s, Stevie Wonder pretty much made no wrong turns. His melodies were beautiful and constantly delivering surprises, his funk was inventive and massive, his musicianship exploratory and right in the pocket. The main thing I’m thinking right now is I haven’t spent nearly as much time listening to this stuff as I probably should have. The rewards are there to be had.

--Steve Pick



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