When it comes to soul music meeting country music there have been a number of golden eras; at the top of the list there’s performances heard on this star-studded compilation that is primarily taken from1962. The words classy and quality come to mind throughout the eclectic compilation.
The 29 track release comes with a handful from 1958 –1959 and 1961, as you have such acts as Ray Charles, Solomon Burke, Fats Domino, Clyde McPhatter, Little Willie John, Ben E. King and LaVern Baker among others heard covering material from Hank Williams, Fred Rose, Dickey Le Lipscomb, Hank Cochran, Jimmy Work, Hank Snow, Gene Autry and Johnny Bond among others.
Loaded in brass and harmony vocals and other appropriate flavours the material is sure to please both country and soul fans. I have lost count on tracks where I’ll habitually press replay, among those at the top of the list you have Baker singing “Hey Memphis” (an answer song to Elvis Presley’s hit “Little Sister”), Varetta Dillard’s “A Little Bitty Tear” and of course Ray Charles and his killer versions of “Take These Chains From My Heart“ and “Making Believe”, plus the all too often under appreciated Arthur Alexander (“I Wonder Where You Are Tonight” and “I Hang My Heart And Cry”) and the great Fats Domino with “Your Cheatin’ Heart”. Possessing a burning desire and mood striking feel you have 'Little Esher' Phillips serve up a stunning version of “Am I That Easy To Forget”, and with Ray Charles decked out in mouth-watering strings and female harmony vocals following with above noted treasure “Makin' Believe”, and shortly after Adam Wade with answer song (to “Please release Me”), “I'll Release You”.
For a slick, smoother sound Solomon Burke delivers “Just Out Of Reach”, and for a real show - stopper (and a half) LaVern Baker’s version of “Shake A Hand” has it all, and on pulling out all the stops she knocked me sideways with her terrific take of “Little Sister”; performed as “Hey Mister” it is an explosive affair. Follow that anyone!
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