Thursday, 26 April 2012

“Soul Men/I Thank You…Plus” by SAM and DAVE. A Review Of Their 3rd and 4th LPs on Stax and Atlantic Records - Now Reissued By Edsel Of The UK On CD In 2012.

This review is part of my "SOUNDS GOOD: Exceptional CD Remasters Soul, Funk & Jazz Fusion" Download Book available to buy on Amazon to either your PC or Mac (it will download the Kindle software to read the book for free to your toolbar). Click on the link below to go my Author's Page for this and other related publications:


"…Good God Almighty!"

I’ve already reviewed the 1st disc reissued for Sam Moore and Dave Prater in this Edsel series - “Hold On, I’m Coming/Double Dynamite” - which covers their first and second albums on Stax in 1966 (and some singles around those releases). This 2nd reissue gives us their 3rd and 4th albums on Stax and Atlantic and is just as stunning in every way – sound, presentation and (despite it being a 2CD set) value-for-money price. Here are the finite details…

UK released 26 March 2012 (10 April 2012 USA) - Edsel EDSD 2131 breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 (35:14 minutes): 
Tracks 1 to 11 are the album "Soul Men" – released October 1967 in the USA on Stax Records ST-725 [Mono] and STS-725 [Stereo]. The STEREO mix is used.
Tracks 13 and 12 are “Soothe Me (Recorded Live In London, England)” and "I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down” – see Singles List below

Disc 2 (53:48 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 12 are the album “I Thank You” – released November 1968 on Atlantic Records SD-8205 [Stereo]
Track 13 is “This Is Your World” – non-album - see Singles List below
Tracks 14 and 15 are “Can’t You Find Another Way (Of Doing It)” and “Still Is The Night” – non-album - see Singles List below
Tracks 16 and 17 are “Soul Sister, Brown Sugar” and “Come On In” – non-album - see Singles List below
Tracks 18 and 19 are “Born Again” and “Get It” – non-album - see Singles List below

This 22-track 2CD set will also allow fans to sequence the following US Stax and Atlantic 7” singles surrounding the two albums [13/1 = Track 13/Disc1 etc]:
1. Soothe Me (Recorded Live In London, England) [13/1] b/w I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down [12/1] – Stax 45-218 (June 1967) [see NOTE]
2. Soul Man [1/1] b/w May I Baby [2/1] – Stax 45-231 (September 1967)
3. I Thank You [1/2] b/w Wrap It Up [4/2] – Stax 45-242 (February 1968)
4. You Don’t Know What You Mean To Me [6/2] b/w This Is Your World [13/2] – Atlantic 45-2517 (May 1968)
5. Can’t You Find Another Way (Of Doing It) [14/2] b/w Still Is The Night [15/2] – Atlantic 45-2540 (August 1968)
6. Everybody Got To Believe In Somebody [2/2] b/w If I Didn’t Have A Girl Like You [5/2] – Atlantic45-2568 (October 1968)
7. Soul Sister, Brown Sugar [16/2] b/w Come On In [17/2] – Atlantic 45-2590 (December 1968)
8. Born Again [18/2] b/w Get It [19/2] – Atlantic 45-2608 (March 1969)
[Note: the ‘studio’ version of “Soothe Me” rather than the ‘live’ cut was used as a UK 7” single on Stax 601004 in March 1967 with “Sweet Pains” as its B-side – both tracks are on the “Double Dynamite” album – available on the 1st CD by Edsel mentioned above]

PHIL KINRADE at Alchemy Studios in London has done the mastering and it's a fantastic job – muscular and pounding out of your speakers like those old 45's used to do. Being 60's Soul and recorded with indecent haste in less than audiophile conditions - there's hiss on occasion and some muddiness to the bass every now and then – but mostly this remaster sounds 'so' clear to me – the brass, drum whacks and guitar - much better than the early Nineties Rhino discs I've had for years now. And as a sucker for those 45's and their double-shots of brilliance – I also love the fact that this release allows me to line up those songs for play – and in top sound quality too.

The 20-page full-colour booklet featuring a 4000-word essay by noted Soul expect and aficionado TONY ROUNCE is superlative. Rounce has had a long-time association with both Edsel and Ace Records of the UK and their Philadelphia and Chess CD reissues - and his work here is typically indepth, knowledgeable and enthusiastic in a way that only British Soul nuts can be. Pages 12 and 16 have gorgeous full colour plates of each album sleeve and the rest of the text is peppered with insert photos of the Florida (Sam) and Georgia (Dave) boys in various live shows. There's a track-by-track Discography at the rear and it even reproduces the original liner notes that graced the back of each American LP sleeve. Rounce’s liner notes also extend to their later years (aged 76, Sam Moore is still with us and singing). In other words Edsel could have taken the easy way out and put in foldout 3-page filler that would have sufficed – but they haven’t – and they're to be praised for this.

To the music – the album “Soul Men” is considered by most to be their best album and it’s easy to hear why. Fast or slow – the song quality is tops. Lesser-heard album tracks like ”Hold It Baby” and “I’m With You” are brilliant (lyrics above) – equal to any of the single releases. The torch ballads “May I Baby” and “I’ve Seen What Loneliness Can Do” are belters too. I have to say that I find the ‘live’ version of Sam Cooke’s “Soothe Me” ok – I much prefer the album cut on the “Double Dynamite” LP. But I can so see why Elvis Costello covered the superb non-album B-side “I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down” – another slowy with Soul power. The title track is of course their most famous song - it hit the number 1 spot in many countries around the world and was quite rightly inducted into the US ‘Grammy Hall Of Fame’ in 1999.  

“I Thank You” opens with the band sounding ‘so’ tight on the title track. But it’s the inexplicable non-charting of “Everybody Got To Believe In Somebody” that impresses even more. Penned by the inimitable duo of ISAAC HAYES and DAVID PORTER – it should have been a smash, but alas the 45 waned at the same time their career did. Other highlights include the piano/guitar ballad of “If I Didn’t Have A Girl Like You” and the building intensity of the holy-roller cover “That Lucky Old Sun” finishes the album is style. The singles are fab too – I especially like the quality B-sides “This Is Your World” and “Come On In”. Scottish Soul Rockers DEACON BLUE did a lively B-side cover of the superb “Born Again” on their “Real Gone Kid” CD single in 1988. Like I say – it’s an embarrassment of riches.   

To sum up - presented well, sounding spiffing and cheaper than a soiled paper napkin in Buckingham Palace – this is a huge amount of top Sixties Stax Soul for peanuts money.

So good – and thoroughly recommended.

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