James Carr's is the perfect soul/rock 'n' roll mystery story - unless you
happened to be James Carr. To many deep soul aficionados, Carr is the greatest
soul vocalist of all time, better than Otis, Aretha, Marvin, the lot. For the soul obsessive, this
collection of every A- and B-side from Carr's peak 1966-70 period is a bona
Don't feel too disappointed if the music doesn't hit you hard on first listen.
The Memphis-derived horns, organ and guitar is so like Stax you can almost call
the chord changes, as well as hearing how Van Morrison, Bob Dylan and The Band
picked up and ran with Carr's spooky country-soul ball. But Carr is addictive,
and he defines deep soul because he is not as extravagantly showy as a Redding
or an Al Green. His definitive performances - 'A Man Needs A Woman', 'Life
Turned Her That Way', the Bee Gees' 'To Love Somebody', 'You've Got My Mind
Messed Up' and his best-known classic, the infidelity-as-existential-doom
masterpiece 'The Dark End Of The Street' - showcase a swelling yet restrained
baritone, a desire to inhabit and submit to the depth of the lyric, an
interpretive mastery. When the screams and wails do come, they are not ecstatic
releases of tension, but the last gasps of a drowning man.