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Album Review

This typically generous collection from Rhino focuses on a lesser-known but worthwhile proponent of Southern soul. The songs collected here represent '70s R&B music at its most laid-back and thoughtful: The definitive track on Straighten It Out: The Best of Latimore is the title cut, a gorgeous midtempo ballad that features Benny Latimore pouring out his heart in a gospel-tinged style over a simmering midtempo beat dominated by his fluid electric piano work. Most of the material here follows the same style, highlights including a jazzy, finger-popping take on the old standard "Stormy Monday Blues" and "Somethin' 'Bout Cha," a mellow groover reminiscent of Al Green's mid-'70s work. This consistency is both a blessing and a curse: Despite the overall solid nature of the material here, the lack of stylistic variation makes the songs repetitive after a while (especially during the second half of the collection). That said, Straighten It Out: The Best of Latimore does include all of Latimore's chart hits from his '70s era and allows the listener a convenient way to pick this material up in one fell swoop. As a result, it is worth a spin for hardcore '70s soul fans. ~ Donald A. Guarisco, Rovi


Born: September 7, 1939 in Charleston, TN

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Deep-voiced Latimore's sultry mid-'70s output for Miami's Glades label was a steamy marriage of soul and blues. Initially billed as Benny Latimore, the Tennessean began recording for Miami mogul Henry Stone in 1965, and his late-'60s Dade singles are solid deep soul. Dropping his first name on Glades, Latimore finally found stardom in 1973 with a jazzy reading of T-Bone Walker's "Stormy Monday." He topped the soul lists in 1974 with the anguished "Let's Straighten It Out," a simmering soul/blues...
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Straighten It Out: The Best of Latimore, Latimore
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