Monday, 18 April 2011

Random Review #46 Various Artists – Dirty Laundry The Soul of Black Country


C8S12CD4 This CD was picked by Chris Newby, mate and all round good guy. Oh yeah he’s useless at giving CDs back so lend at your peril.... (Only joking Chris)

So my second compilation and my second soul compilation and this one is a little bit more obscure than The New Orleans Funk reviewed in Random Review #27. This compilation is on the Trikont Label a German label that has put out a number of out soul compilations of outstanding quality that usually feature ‘left of centre’ subjects, songs about Black Power and the role of African Americans in the Vietnam War spring to mind. This album as implied in the title brings together established soul singers from the 60’s and 70’s attempting to cross over into the world of country music. 
This may sound mad but Ray Charles had paved 1&2. Charles was the first black artist to do this and others saw the potential. I know that Bobby Womack released a full album of Country Music BW Does CW and I suspect that other artists on this album did the same.

As with all Trikont releases the liner notes are substantial and comprehensive and I have to say the picture of Bobby Womack dressed as a cowboy, sitting on a horse, wearing a Stetson hat and smoking a pipe is worth the cost of the CD alone, but don’t worry there is enough great music on hear to justify the cost. We have a lot of the soul heavyweights here, James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, Etta James, Candi Staton, and Bobby Womack, and then some lesser know but great soul artists, Betty Lavette, Bettye Swann, Solomon and Solomon Burke and then the real obscure in Freddie North, Andre Williams, and Stoney Edwards. In total 24 artists, and 2 versions of Your Cheatin’ Heart (made famous by Ray Charles) and other classics like Stand By Your Man (Staton) You Are My Sunshine (Earl Gaines) are reproduced with very degrees of success and if I’m honest varying degrees of ‘Country’.

Some of the artists have really  tried to embrace the country music style and some have really just added some lap steel guitar to what essentially is a soul standard and then called it country. This compilation is somewhat of a novelty however the standard of the music is of such a strong quality you forget this very quickly.

I’m not going to single out individual tracks as this is an album that deserves to be listened to in its entirety. If you love soul music or country you will enjoy love this slightly off beat compilation or if you are just curious about an interesting time in the history of music then try this album out.

Video is a great peace of TV of James Brown singing Your Cheating Heart. Just brilliant!

Mark 8/10

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