Various Artists: Sweet Inspiration, The Songs of Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham (Ace)

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Tony Borders: I Met Her In Church
Various Artists: Sweet Inspiration, The Songs of Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham (Ace)

Here's a long overdue collection, the songs of the Penn-Oldham songwriting team out of Alabama and Memphis whose songs were covered by the likes of Percy Sledge, Dionne Warwick, Charlie Rich, Etta James, Solomon Burke, the Box Tops and Irma Thomas, all of whom are here.

So here are 24 country-soul songs from their classic period in the Sixties (andJeanne Newman's previously unreleased It Tears Me Up), many recorded by production legends Chips Moman and Billy Sherrill (and Arthur Conley's In the Same Old Way produced by Otis Redding).

Among them are Burke with the self-pitying but sly Take Me Just As I Am, Art Freeman in Motown territory with Slippin' Around With You, the great Arthur Alexander with Cry Like a Baby (a hit for the Box Tops), the little known Tony Borders with a terrific version of I Met Her in Church (also covered with rock'n'soul ache by the Box Tops), country-pop princess Sandy Posey finding an aching soulful place on Are You Never Coming Home, Patti La Belle and the Buebells with Dreamer, the young Tony Joe White already sounding world-weary and broken on Watching the Trains Go By, Irma Thomas also making the Motown connection with Good Things Don't Come Easy . . .

And of course the Sweet Inspirations with the title track and their signature tune. 

Classic black and blue-eyed soul.

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Clive - Nov 7, 2011

I love this CD and have been playing it for weeks. Great songs and artists and the soul is flying. Check out Dan and Spooner on "Moments from this theatre", where they play their own songs and prove that as well as being great songwriters they are also great artists. also Dan sings with Lucinda on Steve Cropper's new one called "Dedicated" which is also a must have. In the same vein as 'Inpiration' is the keeper of the year called "Take me to the River - A Southern Soul Story 1961-1977". Three CDS, beautifully presented booklet - sort of a small box set. Graham you have to review it. It will blow you away.

Mike Rudge - Nov 20, 2011

Glad you pointed this out - I was able to immediately go out and find it - while I had a few of these there are some great additions to my Dan Penn collection - especially like the Charlie Rich, Irma Thomas, Patti Labelle and Tony Joe White additions. Interesting that the CD notes referenced Barney Hoskyns excellent book "Say it one more time for the broken hearted" on Country Soul. A book that took an interest into a journey of discovery!

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