This excellent soul compilation could very well have been titled The Story of Big John Hamilton, as his tunes make up exactly half of the forty tracks here, including his deep soul classics "I Have No One" and "How Much Can A Man Take." We were playing this in the shop the other night, and Big John was mistaken for Otis Redding: he's that good! In addition to Big John, there are twenty more tracks of top-notch southern soul, including the classic "A Shell Of A Woman" by Doris Allen.
"Having explored the West Coast with the three-volume Music City Sessions, Omnivore Recordings has set its sights on Southern R&B with The South Side Of Soul Street: The Minaret Soul Singles 1967-1976. This 2CD 40-track collection gathers all of the As and Bs of Minaret's soulful sides for the very first time. Many of these tracks have been out of print for decades, commanding top dollar on the collector’s market.
For decades, Memphis and Muscle Shoals have been praised to the skies as premier Southern soul recording capitals, and rightly so. But any comprehensive list of important R&B studio destinations should also include Valparaiso, located on Florida's Panhandle, not far from the Alabama state line. That's where Finley Duncan established Playground Recording Studio in 1969, producing a series of stunning singles for his Minaret Records label that inexplicably avoided the charts but stand treetop-tall with a legion of R&B aficionados.” - Omnivore Recordings