Monday, July 18, 2005

Hard Luck And Trouble...

Bill Brandon - Rainbow Road

I want to tell you about a great, great Southern Soul compilation I bought a few years back. It's called "Down and Out: The Sad Soul of the Black South" and its on the Trikont Label. Trikont have built their reputation on the strength of their themed compilations: Roady Music from Vietnam, Finnish Tango, tracks from Russendisko (a Berlin club night) - all manner of out of the way stuff that just reminds you how absolutely bloody brilliant people can be.

The Southern Soul compilation has a photo of Willie Mitchell on the inside of the front cover. Mr Mitchell is assured a place in Heaven on the grounds of one action: he's the man who advised Al Green to stop barking like Otis and to try singing high and sweet. A great moment in 20th Century culture as far as I'm concerned. Add to that all the fantastic records he's produced and you've got a major figure.

Dan Penn and Donnie Fritts wrote "Rainbow Road", two more greats. Although it was written for Arthur Alexander, Brandon, a lesser known figure, puts in a fantastic performance, keeping his powder dry until the last.

The scene is familiar: a promise of fortune cruelly dashed. But, you know, it's all about the telling of the tale, and by the time he takes the Judge's sentence and he has to look at where he's ended up, you know you're listening to a man who can really get a song across.

There are lots of technically great singers. Forget them. Most don't have a clue about really getting it over. We're back to the one about the saxophonists. Young buck plays all over the horn, amazingly quick. Old guy says, "That's great, kid, but what's your story?"

Bill's got a story he wants to share with you. Oh yes, listen out for the trombone. It's pretty special, too.

Buy - Down and Out - The Sad Soul of the Black South
Visit - Trikont
Visit - Bill Brandon @ The Soul Cellar


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