JAMES CARR You Got My Mind Messed Up (Goldwax)
The late James Carr was a soul singer in the Otis Redding mould, and then some. Hearing him growl, chuckle and scream through "Pouring Water On A Drowning Man", opener on this 1967 debut album is an awesome experience, full-blooded and positively soaked in emotion. What follows are 11 more variations on the theme, arresting, pleading examples of Southern soul, like "Otis Blue" exploded exponentially. With the exception of the aforementioned opener and the original version of Chips Moman and Dan Penn's "The Dark End Of The Street", the songs - generic, cookie-cutter Southern soul, not necessarily bad but equally not the genre's most indelible - don't even seem important, they're just a delivery mechanism for Carr's towering baritone and the whirlpool of emotions it conveys. For once it really is the singer and not the song.
This vinyl reissue doesn't pride itself on authenticity - Barney Hoskyns' 21st century sleevenotes rather put paid to that - but it comes in a 1960s-style flipback sleeve and makes mention of "the original analogue sound recordings", both of which score brownie points. It also sounds excellent, vivid and guttural as this music demands.