on 6 November 2012
Fans of any of the great soul singers from the 1960's , Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Percy Sledge, Arthur Alexander, Joe Tex, Wilson Pickett, Arthur Conley, or Alex Chilton of the Box Tops will relish this treasure trove of Muscle Shoals gems sung by the composer of many of the classics from the same era. When your hear his voice you will find it hard to believe he is white, sounds like a mixture of all of the aforementioned greats. This is an album to listen to all the way through and to let soak in, you will like it right away but it will also grow on you with repeated playing. If this sounds like your cup of tea I highly recommend that you seek out the rare cds Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham Live "Moments From THIS Theatre", Dann Penn's "Do Right Man", which both contain more polished versions of "You Left The Water Running" and "It Tears Me Up". Also look for Arthur Alexander's "Rainbow Road" and Best of James and Bobby Purify and "Dark End Of The Street" by anyone one who has ever recorded it. I admit I am biased towards this genre of American music as I was a teenager in the 1960's but to me this is music of substance that has stood the test of time.
on 5 November 2012
We all know Dan Penn as the songwriter who didn't like to step into the limelight himself.
He wrote the hits for others often with Spooner Oldham but also with Donnie Frits or Marlin Greene or Bob Killen.
We all know the big hits he's written for others: The Letter By The Box Tops, Dark End of The Street, I'm your puppet, Do Right Woman.
You will not find many of Penn's solo output rather many compilation albums of his songs sung by others.
Yeah, that kind of man.
But now, with the Fame recordings,you'll find a whole album of Penn's demo's (most in fully recorded form).
Some of his hits are here: The Puppet (as it was originally called) and You left the Water Running and It Tears Me Up.
Lesser known beauties as Rainbow Road and Far from the Maddenning Crowd are certainly worth their weight.
Anyway, 24 tracks that are all worth of your time.
This really is the album to get for 2012.
on 10 January 2013
Fascinating. While the civil rights movement was growing and the KKK were bombing churches and burning homes across the south here are four white guys with an obvious connection to black music and, in the case of Dan Penn himself, a real feeling for what we now call soul music. No wonder Dan Penn never got the recognition he deserved - he must have been in fear of his life from the people in the recording industry at the time. The songs are utterly constrained by the economics of the black music industry at the time - each one 2-3 minutes in length with simple chord changes and lots of crude fade-out endings. Made for a recording studio that rented its studio to poor black singers by the hour. But the songs - some of them are way ahead of their time - are great and the singer...! No wonder black soul singers wanted to sing Dan Penn songs. Tell me there's no such thing as white soul and I offer you this classic trailer trash album, with Penn's electrifying voice in front of an appallingly bad recording of his backing group, as incontrovertible evidence to the contrary. I remember some of these tracks recoded by southern soul legends in the 1960s and would have offered them up then as evidence of soul music as the true representation of the civil rights movement. Now I have a more nuanced view of that history but Dan Penn takes me back there and makes me weep as I listen. Forget modern 'production values'. Forget the myth of black soul as the only real voice of the dispossessed. Remember where these guys were singing and when and give thanks that these amateurish, tinny classics have survived as a representation of a better world in the making.