San Francisco-based cultural explorer Oliver Wang (aka O-Dub) regularly discusses new music on NPR and has written for major publications throughout his 12-year career as a journalist. Known primarily for his work in hip hop, he was also at the forefront of the MP3 blog movement a few years back with his site Soul Sides (soul-sides.com), providing clickable listens to rare or otherwise overlooked soul songs. The folks at Zealous Records were fans of Soul Sides — so much so that they offered Wang the opportunity to create a compilation based on the site, starting the journey of tracking down these hard-to-find tunes for real. Soul Sides the collection is as tight as one would expect from the musical gems on Wang's site. It gives reverence to the classic and dearly departed (such as the spectacular Donny Hathaway, who appears here with “Jealous Guy”) and to newer artists channeling the same spirit (as with Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, who close out with “All Over Again”). Wang's a very talented writer, but with this disc he may have found his true calling.
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