Belated Best of ’10: John Legend & The Roots

I never got around to sharing my Best Songs You (Maybe) Didn’t Hear list for 2010 with the internets in general in December, so I’ve decided to mine it for fresh post material in ’11. I’m posting the songs in the order in which they would have appeared in the final playlist, so if you play along at home, you’ll have heard a tidy 80-ish minutes of great music when all is said and done. Today’s entry is some classic soul from John Legend & The Roots.

John Legend and the Roots, Wake Up!A collaboration like Wake Up! gives me hope that soul and R&B music still has a bright future. Both acts bring out the best in each other on this set of relatively obscure cover tunes from the 60’s and 70’s, with Legend’s smooth voice shining over the potent hip-hop inflected canvas laid down by ?uestlove and company. For a bunch of 30-year old songs, the album feels impressively vital, and your head’s gonna bob from beginning to end. The songs are all motivating and uplifting (especially the lone new song, the Legend-penned “Shine” that appeared in the film Waiting for “Superman”), but what ended up making the cut for my list was the sharp cover of Ernie Hines’ “Our Generation (The Hope of the World),” featuring an electric verse or two from CL Smooth:

It’s also just as potent live:

Like what you hear? Head over to Amazon MP3 & grab Wake Up!

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