Just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri, sits that city's rough-and-tumble little brother, East St. Louis, Illinois. Despite decades of poverty and urban blight, any city would be proud to spawn the gritty, heartfelt soul of the East St. Louisans compiled on Chicago-based label the Numero Group's Eccentric Soul: The Young Disciples. Songs like Third Flight's self-titled antidrug wah-wah number, "Third Flight," point out that not only did some incredible musicians call East St. Louis home, but actually gave a damn about the city as well. Running the gamut of '60s and '70s soul — from sweet female ballads like Sharon Clark & the Product of Time's "I'm Not Afraid of Love" to psychedelic soul-filled horn workouts like the recently deceased Eddie Fisher and Allan Merry's "Homeboy Part One," which sounds poised for a Blaxploitation soundtrack that was never made — Eccentric Soul is these artists' cry for their tattered city even as their spirits attempt to lift themselves above it. A story of what happens when you take teenage gang members off the street and into a community center where they replace guns and knives with guitars and drums, Eccentric Soul continues the impressive line of vintage-soul-filled urban retrospectives Numero has released in recent years.
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