With "Wake Up!" (Columbia), John Legend and The Roots bring back the very specific era of '70s soul that was both political and inspirational, realistic and still uplifting.
They don't tamper too much with the originals from the legendary Donny Hathaway ("Little Ghetto Boy") and Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes ("Wake Up Everybody") and the shoulda-been legendary Baby Huey ("Hard Times").
But they don't really need to.
Legend's rich soul vocals and The Roots' equally lush soul arrangements succeed in updating these classics subtly, making them fit admirably both in the past and the present.
JOHN LEGEND & THE ROOTS
The reinvention of recession-era soul