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Ike and Tina Turner

Even with Ike Turner freshly buried, it's tough not to approach his and Tina's music with a bit of apprehensiveness, the burden of hindsight regarding what was actually going on in their private lives. But as someone once said, it's important to separate the art from the artist, especially when the artist was an abusive asshole who just happened to be a musical genius. If you're able to do that, the rewards of the music are abundant.

This three-disc set is, surprisingly, the first career-spanning retrospective of the duo, and it's something of a revelation for anyone who hasn't heard this stuff lately--or at all. Sure, we're all familiar with their explosive, "nice ... and rough" version of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Proud Mary," which they truly made their own, and the flawless "River Deep, Mountain High" (sadly included here due to licensing issues as a live version, as opposed to the Phil Spector-produced classic). But have you heard 1964's nonhit "Finger Poppin'," which is elevated from just another soul groove to furious R&B stomper by Ike's grand arrangement and Tina's TNT vocal performance? How about "Sweet Rhode Island Red," a raw, three-minute slice of delicious corruption which has Tina bragging, "All the men say that I'm sweet as honey / 'cause I'm 44, 38 and 22 at the tummy." All are worth seeking out, and this set has done the crate-digging for you.

The third disc here comprises the 1969 live album In Person in its entirety. Heavy on cover songs and medleys, it's enjoyable but inessential.

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