Saturday, February 11, 2023

VA - Express Yourself, Soul In The 20th Century [2006] (4 x CDs)



VA - Express Yourself, Soul In The 20th Century [2006] (4 x CDs)

At first glance the track listing for this box of soul documenting R&B in the 20th century seems wildly erratic, out of chronological order, and jarring in transition. But closer inspection of the four discs reveals each one to deliver and unfold its presentation based on a theme. Disc one showcases the early roots of soul and R&B and its evolution from doo wop, jazz, gospel, and blues, eventually winding its way through the early years of funk and the Motown sound. Disc two is primed for the evolution of soul on the dancefloor, starting with Arthur Conley's stomping "Sweet Soul Music" and working its way into "No Diggety" by Blackstreet. It also makes well-deserved pit stops in Detroit for the later years of the Motown sound and the prime moments of the Memphis/Stax catalog before ushering straight into the disco era. Perhaps the best and most important disc in the box is the third, which focuses on the anthems that served as hymns for social change and civil rights during some of the 20th century's most potent and intense historic moments. Starting with "Dancing in the Street" (which was the anthem for many an angry rioter during the upheaval of Detroit in 1967), the 19-song survey also features Edwin Starr's "War," Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On," and the masters of the hip-hop social fight song, Public Enemy. Disc four showcases the evolution of the ballad, starting with some of the masters including Otis Redding, Smokey Robinson, and the Temptations and working its way into contemporary and quiet storm territory. But no matter which disc you listen to, Express Yourself is chock-full of hits with little to no filler involved. It might not be the ultimate tutorial of soul music, but it's an excellent starting point for those just starting to discover the treasure trove that is African American music in the 20th century. (AMG review by Rob Theakston)

This is a lovely set!


Pt.1    Pt.2 


Track lists


01 Louis Jordan & His Tympani Five Choo-Choo Ch' Boogie 2:43

02 Sonny Boy Williamson Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide 2:19

03 Sister Rosette Thorpe & Marie Knight Up Abowe My Head I Hear The Music In The Air 2:29

04 Mills Brothers With Hal Mcintire & His Orchestra The Glow Worm 2:41

05 Ink Spots Whispering Grass 2:43

06 Elmore James Dust My Broom 2:59

07 Big Mama Thornton Hound Dog 2:49

08 John Lee Hooker Hey Baby 3:26

09 Platters Only You 2:37

10 Bobby 'blue' Bland Don't Cry No More 2:27

11 Ray Charles Lonely Avenue 2:34

12 Chuck Berry School Day 2:41

13 James Brown Night Train 3:32

14 Booker T And The Mgs Green Onions 2:54

15 Marvin Gaye Can I Get A Witness 2:46

16 James Brown Papa's Got A Brand New Bag 2:06

17 Chris Kenner Land Of 1000 Dances 2:49

18 Drifters Under The Boardwalk 2:41

19 Supremes Where Did Our Love Go 2:31

20 Howard Tate I Learned It All The Hard Way 2:45

21 Nina Simone Wild Is The Wind 6:58

22 James Carr The Dark End Of The Street 2:32

23 Meters Cissy Strut 3:02

24 Percy Sledge When A Man Loves A Woman 2:56

25 Brook Benton Rainy Night In Georgia 3:52


01 Arthur Conley Sweet Soul Music 2:21

02 Sam And Dave Soul Man 2:38

03 James Brown Cold Sweat 7:25

04 Supremes Come See About Me 2:40

05 Stevie Wonder I Was Made To Love Her 2:35

06 Four Tops Reach Out I'll Be There 2:54

07 Jackson 5 I Want You Back 2:54

08 Jackson Sisters I Belive In Miracles 2:57

09 James Brown (Get Up I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine 5:16

10 Isaac Hayes Theme From Shaft 3:16

11 Al Green Take Me To The River 3:41

12 Rufus (featuring Chaka Khan) Tell Me Something Good 4:35

13 Donna Summer I Feel Love 3:45

14 Chic I Want Your Love 6:53

15 Gloria Gaynor I Will Survive 3:16

16 Gap Band Burn Rubber 5:34

17 Womack & Womack Teardrops 3:49

18 Will Downing A Love Supreme 4:45

19 Shanice I Love Your Smile 4:19

20 Blackstreet (featuring Dr. Dre) No Diggety 4:10


01 Martha Reeves & The Vandellas Dancin In The Street 2:38

02 Impressions Keep On Pushing 2:32

03 Fontella Bass Rescue Me 2:56

04 Marvin Gaye I Heard It Through The Grapevine 3:13

05 Martha Reeves & The Vandellas Nowhere To Run 2:57

06 Sly & The Family Stone Thank You 4:43

07 Aretha Franklin R.E.S.P.E.C.T 2:24

08 Edwin Starr War 3:20

09 Impressions People Get Ready 2:42

10 Marvin Gaye What's Going On 3:54

11 O'jays Backstabbers 3:03

12 Stylistics People Make The World Go Round 3:27

13 Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Rhytm Band Express Yourself 3:51

14 Temptations Message From A Black Man 6:02

15 Bill Withers Lean On Me 4:07

16 Isley Brothers Fight The Power 3:19

17 Stevie Wonder Heaven Help Us All 3:12

18 Curtis Mayfield Move On Up 3:40

19 Public Enemy (feat Stephen Stills & Shabach Community Choir) He Got Game 4:39


01 Sister Sledge Thinking Of You 4:23

02 Smokey Robinson Tracks Of My Tears 2:50

03 Otis Redding I've Been Loving You Too Long 2:55

04 Michael Jackson One Day In Your Life 4:08

05 Jackie Wilson (I Get The) Sweetest Feeling 2:56

06 Temptations Just My Imagination 3:55

07 Ben E. King Stand By Me 2:59

08 Four Tops Baby I Need Your Loving 2:45

09 Aretha Franklin I Say A Little Prayer 3:33

10 Rufus And Chaka Khan Ain't Nobody 4:26

11 Candi Staton Young Hearts Run Free 4:08

12 Jackson 5 I'll Be There 3:57

13 Dusty Springfield Breakfast In Bed 2:53

14 Earth, Wind & Fire That's The Way Of The World 5:47

15 Isley Brothers Summer Breeze 3:08

16 Roy Ayers Everybody Loves The Sunshine 3:58

17 Kool And The Gang Summer Madness 4:20

18 Smokey Robinson Quiet Storm 4:02

19 Erykah Badu On And On 3:47




  1. Replies
    1. You're welcome, lemonflag.
      A very enjoyable set.

  2. Hi Butterboy. Thanks so much for this and all the other superb offerings I have plundered over the years. You are always my first visit in the morning, and I'm never disappointed. All good wishes, my friend. Iggy

    1. Hi iggy.
      Thanks for those kind comments.
      I am delighted that you enjoy visiting here. There is always a surprise or two.