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Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes (Featuring Teddy Pendergrass), Blue Notes and Ballads (Epic Associated/Legacy): even if Teddy's not fully himself, Harold's not half Jerry Butler, and Sharon Paige is Sharon Paige ("If You Don't Know Me by Now," "To Be True"); The Box Tops, The Best of the Box Tops: Soul Deep (Arista): Alex Chilton's first vehicle went deeper than "The Letter" and "Cry Like a Baby," but I won't fib about how deep until "You Keep Me Hangin' On" makes CD ("I Met Her in Church," "Choo Choo Train"); Tanya Tucker, Super Hits (Columbia): adding "Greener Than the Grass (We Laid On)" to the kiddie-porn Greatest Hits, a boon; replacing the rape-Gothic "No Man's Land" with "You Are So Beautiful," an obscenity ("Would You Lay With Me [in a Field of Stone]," "The Man That Turned My Mama On"); XTC, Upsy Daisy Assortment (Geffen): the best songs come from the best albums, an inconvenience ("Grass," "Making Plans for Nigel," "Dear God"); Memphis Minnie, Queen of the Blues (Columbia/Legacy): pretty much past her prime, but not so's she's ready to admit it ("He's in the Ring," "Call the Fire Wagon," "New Orleans Stop Time"); Ray Charles, Ray Charles and Betty Carter/Dedicated to You (Rhino): 12 Ella & Louis bids with Betty, 12 songs to women whose names he's long since forgotten ("Baby, It's Cold Outside," "Takes Two To Tango"); Rufus Thomas, The Best of Rufus Thomas: Do the Funky Somethin' (Rhino): rock's most literal link to minstrelsy ("Walking the Dog," "Do the Funky Penguin [Part I]," "Somebody Stole My Dog"); Joe Simon, Music in My Bones: The Best of Joe Simon (Rhino): he did teen, he did soul, he did country, he did disco, and after the hits stopped coming he hit the pulpit ("Moon Walk Part 1," "The Chokin' Kind"); The Jimmy Castor Bunch, The Best of the Jimmy Castor Bunch (Rhino): not a one-joke band--a two-joke band ("Troglodyte [Cave Man]," "Bertha Butt Boogie," "Hey Leroy, Your Mama's Callin' You"); Woody Guthrie, Muleskinner Blues: The Asch Recordings Vol. 2 (Smithsonian Folkways): knew a good tune when he stole it, no great shakes at singing them ("Muleskinner Blues," "Rubber Dolly"); James Brown's Original Funky Divas (Polydor): give the ladies some! Now give 'em some more! One more time now! Don't stop 'til they get enough! (Lyn Collins, "Think [About It]"; Marva Whitney, "Unwind Yourself"); Ray Price, Super Hits (Columbia): honky tonk Iglesias ("Crazy Arms," "City Lights"); Madness, Total Madness (Geffen): original white ska band, not to be confused with the Jam except maybe over the telephone ("One Step Beyond," "Our House"); Lesley Gore, Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows: The Best of Lesley Gore (Rhino): depressingly boy-identified for a protofeminist icon ("You Don't Own Me," "It's My Party"); Paul Kossoff, Blue Blue Soul: The Best of Paul Kossoff 1969-76 (Music Club): lesser guitar god, solo when he wasn't Free, suffered slowly, died twice ("The Worm," "Molten Gold").


Music Club, c/o Koch, 2 Tri-Harbor Court, Port Washington, NY 11050; Smithsonian Folkways, 955 L'Enfant Plaza SW, Suite 2600, Washington, DC 20560; Yazoo, c/o Shanachie, 37 East Clinton Street, Newton, NJ 07860.

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