C8S5CD7 Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham any idea who they are No? Well I’m sure nearly all of you will have a song written by these guys. Soul Classics Dark End Of The Street, Do Right Woman, and I’m Your Puppet have all come from one or both of the pens of these Southern Gentlemen. These guys are song writers of the highest quality that nobody really knows about.
These guys write country soul, that then was beautifully sung by the likes of Aretha Franklin, James Carr, Marvin Gaye, Tammi Terrell and many others. Dan and Spooner and other guys from that time are now getting the acknowledgement they deserve and if you want to hear more of the artists check out the great compilations Country Got Soul Volumes 1 & 2 and the wonderful book, Say It One More Time For The Broken-hearted by Barney Hoskyns, which all give a fantastic insight into the writers behind the artists.
So this album a live recording from when they toured the UK. I was lucky enough to see the guys in a tiny theatre in Newcastle and they joked that they toured so they could holiday in the UK and the gigs paid for their wives shopping (or at least I think they were joking!) The guys are unassuming and happy that they playing music and people are paying to come and hear them play.
The CD covers there vast back catalogue of songs, Dan playing guitar and Spooner on keyboards, you hear the songs as they were written before they were giving a slick soul makeover and it’s a fantastic opportunity to understand where the songs that a lot of us know and love came from.
Dan Penn has a great voice and does justice to Do Right Woman and Dark End of The Street which are still my stand out tracks but in truth this CD is a joy from start to finish, meant to be enjoyed just because you are listening to 2 guys doing what they love doing and have loved doing for over 40 years, as that emotion absolutely shines out of this CD. Spooner’s day job is play in Neil Young’s band so he’s no slouch when it comes to playing the keyboard but this CD’s simplicity is one of its real attractions.
Lots of artists have covered Dark End Of The Street but at the gig I went to Dan was asked who’s version he thought was the best. His answer was James Carr, the artist he wrote it for. If you haven’t heard of James Carr then go look him up, a great, great soul singer with a trouble mind who never really got the recognition he deserved but boy what a voice.
Go buy this CD and if you ever get the chance to see them play live more hell and high water to get there, you won’t regret it.