Sunday, August 5, 2012

James Carr The Essential James Carr 1995

One of the finer soul singers of his day, James Carr's original version of The Dark End Of The Street is the ultimate tale of forbidden love, and no one has ever bettered Carr's performance. In fact his singing takes most songs over- he inhabits a song, he haunts it.

You've Got My Mind Messed Up rivals the best of Otis Redding's work. Redding is the most immediate comparison, but Carr isn't a copy of anyone. The gritty southern soul of Love Attack, These Ain't Raindrops, I'm Going For Myself Now, and You Didn't Know It But You Had Me (a one-man Sam and Dave number) is as good as any of the Memphis soul you've ever heard before. The uptempo numbers like Stronger Than Love, Gonna Send You Back To Georgia, and Coming Back To You could fill the dance floor with ease. And what can you say about Pouring Water On A Drowning Man? That it wasn't a huge hit is unfathomable.

If you haven't heard James Carr and you have any affinity for what DJ and soul fanatic Dave Godin would call Deep Soul, you need to hear him. Great voice, great songs, great Memphis soul arrangements. Everything but the gold records, which is a shame. There are many other great unheralded soul singers from the 1960s. James Carr could have been, should have been, huge.

The Essential James Carr is out of print, but still widely available both new and used. The Complete Goldwax Singles 2001 covers almost the same material, and all the essentials are on either disc.

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