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Künstler: VARIOUS
Label: Hi


Having Al Green on their artist roster was at once a blessing and a curse for Hi Records -- while Green was arguably the finest and most distinctive R&B vocalist of the 1970s, and a major hitmaker to boot, his work was both popular and unique enough that it tended to blunt recognition for the label's other artists, and this compilation makes it clear that Hi had plenty of other top-rank soul men recording for them. While the trademark studio sound that Willie Mitchell brought to Green's recordings pops up on a few other sides featured here -- most notably Syl Johnson's cover of "Take Me to the River" and Gene Anderson's title track -- there's a pleasing diversity of styles here, from the sweet soul of Willie Walker's "Love Makes the World Go Round" to the gruff heartache of Otis Clay's "That's How It Is," with the bluesy lament of Lyndon's "The Very First Time" and the dance-friendly groove of "Hitch-Hike to Heartbreak Road" sitting somewhere in between. This set also takes an open-minded approach to what makes a great soul record by including Charlie Rich's heartfelt rendition of "When Something Is Wrong with My Baby," and worthy unknowns such as Teacher's Edition, T-99, and Norman West get their due alongside O.V. Wright and other label stars. The remastering sounds great, and John Ridley's liner notes tell listeners much of what is known about the artists on board; Forgive This Foolish Man is an excellent overview of the Hi Records legacy, and a treat for those who love the sound of vintage soul. ~ Mark Deming