I really had to trust Ace/Kent on this one as I knew neither the artist, Dan Greer (actually a writer-producer-vocalist), nor a single song on this collection of his 1971-73 work at Sounds of Memphis. As usual, my trust was rewarded.
A number of these tracks are a bit barebones since they were essentially demo recordings looking to be matched with other artists; yet this proves to be an asset in virtually every case - especially when it was the Hi rhythm section (on loan from Willie Mitchell) putting down the instrumental tracks. Greer and the Hi guys are at their best on the propulsive and catchy [no pun intended] "Hook Line and Sinker," which would have been ideal for Hi artists Syl Johnson, Otis Clay or Ann Peebles. On another up-tempo gem, "Mistaken Identity," intended for a female singer, the unfinished quality of the recording really lets the delightfully punchy electric guitar part (which would have otherwise been deeper in the mix) stand out.
Greer was a master at composing in just about any subgenre of soul that was out there at the turn of the seventies, including social message songs, here bearing the titles "Peace & Love," "When Will It All End" (strongly pro-environment and anti-war), the humanistic "Share" (released as a Dan Greer single), and the optimistic "So Good to Be Young." This latter track (the disc's closer) is a fully realized masterpiece, featuring a stellar arrangement with a chorus and Greer's most assured vocal, that had huge soul and pop hit written all over it -- except it was never issued until now!
Three singles were released under Greer's name during his three years at Sounds of Memphis. Oddly, the first A-side ("Masquerade") is not included here due to "time constraints." (Huh?) Its fine B-side, "Thanks to You Girl (I Can Make It)," is this CD's leadoff track. The aforementioned "Share" was released in 1972, and his funkiest groover "Hell Paso" was put out on the MGM label in '73. This one stirred up some local interest, but as compiler/liner notes writer Dean Rudland explains, Greer was just too busy in the studio to go out and promote the record.
Many of these songs deserved to be widely heard forty years ago, but for now I am just grateful this terrific collection is available. Thanks again, Ace/Kent.