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.