V.A. – Soul Diva Sessions

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Classic 60’s & 70’s Ladies Soul with attitude


Comprising 30 tracks spread across 2 CDs, “Soul Diva Sessions” features an imaginative blend of familiar and obscure female voices. From soul music’s Premier League you’ll discover cuts by legendary figures like Aretha, Nina Simone, a juvenile Patti LaBelle (with the Bluebelles in tow), Gladys Knight and Mavis Staples. The real gems, though, come from cult figures like Betty Lavette, Barbara Lynn, Liz Lands, Peggy Scott, Eloise Laws and Ann Sexton. Southern soul is represented by the feisty Millie Jackson, the tempestuous Ann Peebles (the classic Willie Mitchell-helmed “I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down”) and Jean Knight, whose infectious “Mr. Big Stuff” sounds as fresh and vibrant as it did on its original Stax release back in 1971. Soulful disco also gets a look in thanks to the sassy First Lady Of Curtom, Linda Clifford (“Don’t Give It Up”) as does sunny Florida soul, exemplified by Gwen McCrae’s first solo 45 from 1970, “Lead Me On.” Overall, a supremely entertaining femme soul fest.




1 Barbara Lynn – This Is The Thanks I Get

2 Betty Lavette – Let Me Down Easy

3 Betty Everett – Getting Mighty Crowded

4 Liz Lands – One Man’s Poison

5 Betty Harris – There’s A Break In The Road

6 Jody Gayles – You Gotta Push

7 Nina Simone – Save Me

8 Aretha Franklin – The Weight

9 Gwen McCrae – Lead Me On

10 Millie Jackson – A Moment’s Pleasure

11 Mavis Staples – Koochie Koochie Koochie

12 Ann Sexton – Color My World Blue

13 Eloise Laws – Love Factory

14 Linda Clifford – Don’t Give It Up


1 The Ad-Libs – Giving Up

2 Peggy Scott – Every Little Bit Hurts

3 P.P. Arnold – The First Cut Is The Deepest

4 The Fascinations – I Can’t Stay Away From You

5 Doris Allen – Hanging Heavy On My Mind

6 Patti LaBelle & The BlueBelles – All Or Nothing

7 Freda Payne The Easiest Way To Fall

8 Patti Jo – Make Me Believe In You

9 Ann Peebles – I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down

10 Laura Lee – I Need It Just As Bad As You

11 Jean Knight – Mr Big Stuff

12 Ike & Tina Turner – Cussin’, Cryin’ & Carryin’ On

13 Gladys Knight & The Pips – Stop & Get A Hold Of Myself

14 Mary Love – Lay This Burden Down

15 Betty Harris – Ride Your Pony

16 Barbara Lewis – Baby I’m Yours



There’s not much rhyme or reason to this two-CD, 30-track compilation of woman-sung soul from the 1960s and 1970s. With just two big hits (Jean Knight’s “Mr. Big Stuff” and Barbara Lewis’ “Baby I’m Yours”), it’s certainly not a best-of for the category. And though it does have tracks by a few hitmakers (Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Mavis Staples, Betty Everett, Patti LaBelle, Ike & Tina Turner, Gladys Knight & the Pips), none of those selections would count among these performers’ better-known recordings. As a kind of arbitrary but wide-ranging compilation of not-too-well-known soul, however — licensed from an impressive variety of labels — it’s a fairly good investment for someone who’s not a systematic soul collector, but wants something full of pretty high-quality stuff in a style that they probably haven’t heard before.

The focus is too sprawling to lend itself to quick summarization, but some of the highlights span several micro-genres — dramatic pop-soul (Betty Lavatte’s “Let Me Down Easy,” P.P. Arnold’s “The First Cut Is the Deepest,” Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles’ “All or Nothing”), pre-disco (Gwen McCrae’s “Lead Me On,” the Ad-Libs’ cover of Van McCoy’s “Giving Up”); upbeat dancefloor soul (Everett’s “Getting Mighty Crowded,” Knight’s pre-Motown gem “Stop & Get a Hold of Myself”); funky New Orleans soul (Betty Harris’ “There’s a Break in the Road”); arching ballads (the Fascinations’ “I Can’t Stay Away From You”); Hi Records soul-funk (Ann Peebles’ “I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down”); and an obscure Curtis Mayfield cover in the Superfly style (Patti Jo’s “Make Me Believe in You”).

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Conversation for album: V.A. – Soul Diva Sessions

  • DJ Abe
    Posted at 01:05h, 10 May 2008 Reply

    Thank you…..

  • albgardis
    Posted at 17:21h, 23 July 2008 Reply

    Thank you so much for this little gem! I like it a lot!!
    And just because it is walking off the beaten path, I appreciate that much more than the usual hit collections which everybody has already standing in their shelves. Really cool, this collection!!

  • Lisa
    Posted at 10:54h, 21 February 2009 Reply

    Brilliant, thanks! Have a good weekend!

  • kiko
    Posted at 23:22h, 01 June 2010 Reply


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