Review ·

He scored the go-go soul hits “Dresses Too Short” and "Come On Sock It To Me." The opening break on his "Different Strokes" is a cornerstone of hip-hop sampling. His 1970 album, Is It Because I'm Black?, is both a highly regarded piece of civil rights movement-era soul and a valuable item in the record collector's market. And his voice! That straining, semi-shouting voice is one of the most distinctive. However, Syl Johnson does not get nearly as much recognition as chitlin' circuit survivors like Ike Turner and Andre Williams because he does not have their level of ubiquity.

Leave it to reissue maestros Numero to rectify the matter with this comprehensive retrospective. Four CDs or six LPs cover Johnson's long career of blues, rhythm & blues, soul and funk. Expect plenty of deep cuts, in addition to the aforementioned essentials.

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