When Philadelphia became a major recording center in the early '70s, musicians such as Sound Experience gravitated to the City of Brotherly Love. A large group, they specialized in hard-edged Soul music with a distinctive Rock'n' Roll flavor, a sound described by one writer as "wah-wah electricism". The group's eclectic style is evident in this collection, which features their work done for the Soulville label.
1.Don't Fight The Feeling
2.40 Acres And A Mule
3.He's Looking Good, And Moving Fast
4.Your Love Belongs To Me
5.Where Love Has Gone
7.Can This Be True
8.You Don't Know What You're Doing
9.Don't You Know You've Broken My Heart
10.Devil With The Bus
11.Don't Bother Me
12.Sha Na Na Na Boom Boom
14.He Don't Really Love You
Sound Experience includes: Arthur Grant (vocals); Reginald Wright, Leroy Frailing, Anton Scott, Melvin Miles, Johnny Froman, Gregory Holmes, James Lindsay.
Liner Note Author: Mark Marymont.
This compilation covers the short career of Sound Experience, a large funk ensemble reminiscent of the Ohio Players who knocked out some impressive jams during their brief recording career. The surprising thing about this group's sound is the driving, rock-oriented style utilized on the up-tempo tracks: songs like "Don't Fight the Feeling" and "40 Acres and a Mule" prominently feature loud, fierce electric guitar lines among the expected driving basslines and jazzy horn arrangements. Sound Experience have also become something of a cult item thanks to songs like "Devil With the Bus," a clavinet-fueled track that balances a smoothly harmonized chorus with some throbbing, percussive rhythms, and "J.P. Walk," an instrumental epic that builds from some meditative electric piano lines into a horn-laden opus that features some tasty synthesizer solos on its tag (trivia note: this tune gained new notoriety when it was used as soundtrack music for the mock-porn films in Boogie Nights). Other tracks show the group had a winning way with ballads: "He Don't Really Love You" is an elegant track that effectively blends a gospel-styled piano melody with lush string orchestrations and "You Don't Know What You're Doing" is an anguished slow groove that highlights the group's strong grasp of slick, heart-tugging vocal harmonies. Some of the lesser tracks value groove over melody, but the arrangements and musicianship are so tight that funk fans won't care and all of the songs sport plenty of catchy riffs. All in all, The Soulsville Collection is an engaging portrait of a lesser-known funk group who are worthy of investigation by fans who have worn out their Ohio Players and J.B.'s albums. ~ Donald A. Guarisco
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