Here for the first time, Dan Penn (acoustic guitar, vocals) and Spooner Oldham’s (vocals, electric piano) live recording album taken from their November 1998 tour of the UK and Ireland alongside an exclusive DVD, and only artist approved, full-length footage of them in concert. Recorded in London’s 17th century Sir Christopher Wren’s St. James’ Church in Piccadilly, 2006 it includes seven bonus songs to go with the 15 of the main show (I’m You Puppet” is appears twice), a wonderful occasion is shared, and like noted above complete in one package. And the Soul Legends, a must see experience are back here playing this month, JULY; 12th The Lantern, Colston Hall, Bristol; 14th Union Chapel, London; 16th Bridgewater Hall, Manchester; 17th, Summertyne Americana Festival, Gateshead
Both Penn and Oldham are legends in their own right, both wonderful songwriters they have written a bunch together and otherwise, plus there is the part played in the success of the famed Muscle Shoals scene. As a duo they place their own special stamp on their work; songs that have graced the pop, soul and country charts, especially the former. When it comes to songs I am lost to which to call up first but “I’m Your Puppet” quite rightly opens the recordings, and with other classics “Cry Like A Baby” (it sounds better here than I can ever remember), “The Dark End Of the Street” (Penn gives mention to Jimmy Carr’s version as being his favourite, even better than his own he jokes, is there a better song of its kind out there? It doesn’t stop there of in “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” and with the crowd welcoming them with the Dublin audience giving generous applause “Sweet Inspiration” and infectious Southern-steeped soul gospel “I Met Her In Church” and with Oldham for once take on the roll of lead vocalist his and Freddie Weller’s “Lonely Women Make Good Lovers” you have terrific performances. While on showing a greater feel of urgency “You Left The Water Running” (Penn, Rick Hall, Oscar Franck) lifts up the tempo, while with a feel of travel “Memphis Women And Chicken” lends a tasty soulful blues edge. Penn’s vocals steeped in Oldham’s trickery on piano see new heights obtained. Superb.
Of a mellow, melancholy feel “A Woman Left Lonely” slumbers along gracefully prior to giving way to sublime reflective ode, “I’m Living Good”; awash in tip-top harmonies and Penn’s ever fine lead it brings a tranquil ambiance to the show. To close you have “Ol’ Folks” edges, majestically on its way, quality in capitals. As for the DVD, you have all this and more; the pick of the tracks being “Rainbow Road”, “Glory Train” and the more urgent, “Tearjoint”, watching the ever so cool charismatic vocalist Penn and Oldham guide the music only adds to a memorable occasion. It is like taking a walk through music history.
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