Shaolin Soul: Episodes 1, 2, 3

Label: Because Music France

Nowadays,  there are very few compilation series’ that are still going strong after twenty years. They’re in the minority, as most compilation series don’t last more than one or two  volumes. However, there exceptions including the Shaolin Soul series which began in 1998 and twenty years later Shaolin Soul: Episodes 4 was recently. It was a welcome addition to this long-runny and successful series  that has prided itself in releasing compilations of top quality soul music.

Many of the tracks on Shaolin Soul: Episodes 1, 2, 3 which has just been reissued as a box set by Because Music France inspired many hip hop producers.’ They sampled many of the tracks on Shaolin Soul: Episodes 1, 2, 3 which provided the inspiration for many all known hip hop tracks.  These tracks are a reminder of these tracks from the golden age of soul.

Shaolin Soul: Episode 1

Shaolin Soul: Episodes 1 was released twenty years ago in 1998, was an all-star compilation that featured nineteen tracks funky and soulful tracks from labels like Atlantic, Hi, Motown and Stax. 

Compiled by Uncle O Shaolin Soul: Episode 1 featured the great and good of soul, including Ann Peebles, OV Wright, David Porter, Donny Hathaway, Syl Johnson, OV Wright, Booker T and The MGs and Barry White. Amongst the  highlights were Al Green’s You Ought To Be With Me, Lyn Collins ‘Ain’t No Sunshine, Syl Johnson ’s Is It Because I’m Black, The Dramatics’ In The Rain and Gladys Knight and The Pips’ heartfelt cover of The Way We Were. 

When Shaolin Soul: Episode 1 was released in 1998, it was to widespread critical acclaim. The big question was would their be a followup?

Shaolin Soul: Episode 2.

Three years later, in 2001, Shaolin Soul: Episode 2 was released and featured another nineteen tracks, including some of the artists that featured on the first instalment in the compilation series.  Syl Johnson three contributions included the guiltridden I Hate I Walked Away, which was joined byAnn Peebles classic I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down and Al Green’s Simply Beautiful which was one of two tracks he contributed to Shaolin Soul: Episode 2.These familar faces were joined by new names to the series.

This included The Emotions, Black Ivory and the Jackson 5 who were joined by Southside Movement and George Jackson’s Aretha, Sing One For Me. The highlights of Shaolin Soul: Episode 2 included Eddie Holman’s It’s Over, Laby Siffre’s I Got The (Blues), The Sweet Inspirations’ Why Marry? and Teddy Pendergrass’ Come Go With Me. Uncle O had dug deep into the vaults of Hi, Stax, Westbound and Motown  on Shaolin Soul: Episode 2.

When Shaolin Soul: Episode 2 was released in 2001,  it was to plaudits and praise on a compilation where soul classics, cult classics, beautiful ballads  and hidden gems sat side-by-side. Following the release of Shaolin Soul: Episode 2 the third instalment in the series was much-anticipated. Surely it would arrive within a couple of years?

Shaolin Soul: Episode 3

Thirteen long years later, Shaolin Soul: Episode 3 was released in 2014 and featured twenty slices of  blues, funk and soul.  Just like the previous two instalments was compiled by Olivier Carrié, aka Uncle O. This time around, each artist featured just once and some old friends returned for a third time. This included Ann Peebles who contributed The Handwriting Is On The Wall while The Dramatics’ Tune Up,Willie Mitchell’s take on Mercy, Mercy, Mercy and The Sweet Inspirations’ You Roam When You Don’t Get It At Home. These tracks were just part of the story.

They were joined by songs of the quality of Sidney Joe Qualls’ How Can You Say Goodbye, Barbara and The Browns’  In My Heart, Bobby Bland’s Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City and BB King’s Chains and Things. However, Judy Clay’s It Ain’t Long Enough, Joe Tex’s I’ll Never Do You  Wrong, Ann Sexton’s I’m His Wife (You’re Just A Friend) and The Persuasions ‘ Gypsy Woman were among the highlights of Shaolin Soul: Episode 3 which marked the long-awaited return of the series.

When Shaolin Soul: Episode 3 was released in 2014, it was to the same critical acclaim as the two previous instalments. With its mixture of bluesy, funky and soulful music Shaolin Soul: Episode 3 was another success for compiler Uncle O. He had triumphed yet again with Shaolin Soul: Episode 3, which picked up where the second volume left off thirteen years previously. 

Since then, the first three volumes in the Shaolin Soul series have become rarities, much in demand amongst collectors of soul and funk, and of course the hip hop producers. However, as each year passed the first three volumes of Shaolin Soul became harder to find  and the price increased. What was needed was a reissue of Shaolin Soul: Episodes 1, 2, 3.

Just a few weeks after the release of Shaolin Soul: Episodes 4, Because Music France have reissued Shaolin Soul: Episodes 1, 2, 3 as a box set. This is welcome reissue with fifty-eight bluesy,funky and soulful songs on Shaolin Soul: Episodes 1, 2, 3. They feature soul classics, dancefloor fillers, hidden gems and underground  tracks on Shaolin Soul: Episodes 1, 2, 3 which documents the first sixteen years in this longrunning and critically acclaimed compilation series.

Shaolin Soul: Episodes 1, 2, 3.

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