By David Browne
Updated January 29, 1993 at 05:00 AM EST

Finally, in one 40-track package, The Anthology 1961-1977, the best of the great Chicago soul group (with shimmering gems like ”I’m So Proud” and ”People Get Ready”), plus a passel of Curtis Mayfield’s funky solo hits, including those from his magnificent Superfly soundtrack. As such, the set is more than just a long-overdue reissue; it also serves as a vivid mini-history of soul, from ’60s vocal harmony through ’70s blaxploitation. Essential. A