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Name: Roots of Rhythm: I'm in Love
This item is out of stock or not available for purchase
artist: Roots of Rhythm (Various Artists)
label: Universal Records
release year: 2002
reviewed by: Bryan Dailey
The Roots of Rhythm is a series of CDs produced by Universal Music. More than just a compilation of great oldies tunes like the sets you see advertised on late-night TV infomercials, Roots of Rhythm is more like a history lesson in R&B and soul music. For this review, I chose the CD I’m In Love from the series, an album packed with 14 classic love songs including The Temptations’ “My Girl,” The Spinners’ “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love” and Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.’
Each of the CDs comes inside a small hardbound book that is slightly larger than the size of a standard CD case. In the full color pages of the booklet, it gives the history and interesting facts about each track and the artists who perform the songs. It’s like taking a college course called R&B 101 as you flip through the book and listen to the music. On the first track “My Girl,” we learn that this Motown tune with its lush string arrangements was the first #1 pop hit by The Temptations. We also learn how the Temptations formed in the late 1950s, when a little doo-wop group known as the Primes got together with Otis Williams and Melvin Franklin. They merged and became known as Elgins, then were called the Primes until finally deciding on the Temptations. These were all facts that I didn’t know before The Roots of Rhythm and if this were just a compilation of songs with no additional information, I probably wouldn’t have been so interested to listen to “My Girl” for the fiftieth time in my life.
On many of the songs, the booklet makes suggestions for other artists whose work may of interest. If you like songs by the Delfonics, for example, the Roots of Rhythm suggests you check out The Spinners, The Impressions, the O’Jays and Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes.
Because of the vintage nature of the songs, the sound quality is not always stellar. This set is mastered from very old source material, so as with all oldies that have been transferred to CD format, you’ll be able to hear the tape hiss on many of the tracks. It may drive audiophiles nuts to listen to vintage recordings on a CD, but that isn’t the target audience for this set. Roots of Rhythm is more about reliving memories and educating future generations about the history of this influential music. When we go back to 1939 for Billie Holiday’s “Them There Eyes,” the sound is thin, raw and beautiful, not because of these sonic qualities, but because of the honesty of the performances. When Marvin Gaye belts out “Let’s Get it On” in 1973, we can hear and feel how the world has changed, with the beginning of the sexual revolution, not to mention the improvements in recording equipment and techniques. History buffs and aspiring recording engineers will both learn from The Roots CDs.
Almost all of the songs on I’m In Love are true classics, so chances are, you’ve probably heard them all on oldies radio before. If you already have a large collection of soul, R&B and jazz vocal oldies, subscribing to The Roots of Rhythm means you’ll probably end up having a bunch of duplicates. Of course, being a special series offer, you can send back the ones you don’t want to buy, so that might solve this problem if you get a disc that is full of songs that you already own. If you are just starting your oldies collection and yearn to know more about the history of the music, there couldn’t be a better way to engage the creative and intellectual sides of your brain at the same time.
Review taken from: http://www.audiorevolution.com/music/revs/rootsofrhythm.shtml