Confessing: Deep Soul from New Orleans

Confessing: Deep Soul from New Orleans


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Whatever deep soul is or isn't as a genre (a thumbnail definition might be that it's soul only one DNA strand removed from straight black gospel), it's a music that stands or falls on the strength of the vocals, and the more impassioned the better. This fine compilation offers 20 examples of deep soul done up in New Orleans fashion, and given the somewhat insular nature of the Crescent City music scene, many of these sides, particularly those released on local or regional labels, are extremely rare, which means that collectors of the genre are going to love this set. Confessing is by no means a dance collection but leans instead on powerfully executed ballads, so it's quite likely to grind a Saturday night party to an introspective halt, but the emotional impact of the singing on display here is undeniable. Standout tracks include Little Johnny Williams' "A House Ain't a Home," which comes complete with an typically brilliant and understated arrangement from Wardell Quezerque; Joe Haywood's Sam Cooke-like vocals on "Say You Will"; the sparse but perfect arrangement of "Counting Teardrops" sung by James K-Nine (who was probably really Eddie Bo moonlighting); and the Herculoids' (vocalists Chuck Mitchell and Merle Spears) powerful reading of Sam & Dave's "When Something Is Wrong with My Baby." Great stuff, and not things one hears over and over again on the oldies stations. Grapevine Records does great compilations, and this is yet another one.

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