Unknown Contributor Roles: Curtis Mayfield; James Brown; Jerry Butler; Sam & Dave; Stevie Wonder; The Impressions; The Intruders; The Temptations ; The Undisputed Truth.
The soundtrack to Dead Presidents was an unexpected chart hit, mainly because it served as a superb one-stop sampler of classic '70s funk, soul and R&B, albeit with a darker, harsher edge. Dead Presidents Vol. 2 follows in the same vein. It may be hard to remember when (or even if) these songs actually appear in the film, but there's no question that the selections are clearly selected by knowledgeable fans (namely, the film's directors, Allen and Albert Hughes). Curtis Mayfield, in particular, is well represented. Of all the '70s soul singers, he was always one to face down the demons of the era, and by selecting some of his more obscure, though equally extraordinary songs (no "Freddie's Dead" here), the producers have done a great job of fitting the atmosphere established with the previous collection. Similarly, credit is due for unearthing some less famous tunes from the era, such as the Undisputed Truth and Intruders songs, which fit both thematically and musically. As on the last set, the compilers lighten the mood with more romantic songs, which in this case means with the sweet beauty of the Temptations and Sam & Dave tracks, but even those are far more bittersweet than hopeful. Dead Presidents Vol. 2 may not be necessary for die-hard soul fans, since they're sure to already have most if not all of these cuts, but for neophytes looking to discover some lost classics from the era, this is as good a place as any to start. ~ Victor W. Valdivia
Q (12/96, p.125) - 3 (out of 5) - "...emphasis once again on early-'70s soul and R&B, James Brown opens and closes this second compilation....In between, the poignant Impressions feature strongly....another strong set, capturing the atmosphere of the period without resorting to the crass or the cliched."
Melody Maker (9/21/96, p.51) - "...[this] isn't a patch on the first CD, but half of it still shames almost anything released this year, or any year. Music this stylish, heartfelt and expansive doesn't go away..."
I Got The Feelin' - James Brown
Keep On Pushing - The Impressions
Smiling Faces Sometimes - The Undisputed Truth
Right On For Darkness - Curtis Mayfield
Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me) - The Temptations
Cowboys To Girls - The Intruders
Never Gonna Give You Up - Jerry Butler
I Was Made To Love Her - Stevie Wonder
I Want To Go Back, (Man Oh Man) - The Impressions
When Something Is Wrong With My Baby - Sam & Dave
We People Darker Than Blue - Curtis Mayfield (live version)