For lovers of great soul music, you can't beat the thrill of hearing the Aretha Franklin classic "Respect" or Otis Redding's "Try A Little Tenderness." But, as VOA's Doug Levine tells us, soul fans now have even more to celebrate with the release of rare tracks of vintage soul from Atlantic Records, a two-disc set titled "Atlantic Unearthed: Soul Brothers and Soul Sisters."
Even the most seasoned soul fans might wonder who's who on Atlantic Unearthed. One reason is that some tracks have never been issued, including Wilson Pickett's "You Can't Stop A Man In Love."
Another reason might be name recognition. Aside from Atlantic's biggest hit makers, including Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Irma Thomas and Percy Sledge, there are many on the roster that didn't achieve superstar status.
Like Memphis singer Percy Wiggins, who helped define the Atlantic sound with his smoldering ballad "Book Of Memories."
Along with Percy Wiggins, the fine but hidden talents of vocalists Carl Hall, James Carr and Walter Jackson are unearthed on Soul Brothers.
At the same time, you won't get Sam and Dave singing "Soul Man," but you will hear Sam and Dave's seldom-played "You Left The Water Running."
And, what would Soul Brothers be without its companion disc Soul Sisters, where the "Queen Of Soul" sings Frank Sinatra, "The Chairman of the Board." On Atlantic Unearthed: Soul Sisters, Aretha Franklin sings the Frank Sinatra favorite "My Way."
That and five other tracks on Soul Sisters are first-time releases, including rare cuts by Patti Labelle and The Blue Belles, Dee Dee Warwick, Margie Joseph, The Sweet Inspirations and Bettye Swann.
For more mainstream hits from Atlantic's heyday, check out Atlantic Rhythm and Blues 1947-1974. But, for an introduction to America's soul pioneers, and the songs that bubbled under the Hot 100, Atlantic Unearthed is a good start.
Where else can you hear Laura Lee sing "What A Man"?