The Monument Years

The Monument Years

by Arthur AlexanderArthur Alexander


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Between his most famous recordings in the first half of the 1960s, and his early-'70s album for Warner Brothers, Arthur Alexander kept sporadically active as a recording artist, putting out half a dozen singles on the Monument and Sound Stage 7 labels. None of these were hits, and as the original 45s are so hard to find, it remained a mysterious missing link in his career to most listeners. This CD rectifies that problem by collecting all of those singles, and adding 16 previously unreleased tracks that he cut in the last half of the 1960s and the early '70s. It's quite a useful service for fans, but it can't be denied that these performances aren't the high points of the fine soul singer/songwriter's career. The mix of soul, pop, and country forces at work in these sides is similar to those heard on Alexander's earlier efforts. However, the material, whether penned by Alexander or others, just isn't that outstanding, and sometimes sound like lesser reworkings of ideas and riffs he'd plied more effectively in prior days. When Alexander covers a well-known song like "Spanish Harlem" or "Cry Like a Baby," he adds little to it; when he tries to be uncharacteristically funny and risqué on "I Want to Marry You," it's embarrassing. On the later stuff, the pop influences become more prominent, usually to the disadvantage of the music. His distinctive brand of somber soul, with his reserved and sad, vulnerable vocals, does shine through to a large degree, and those that have enjoyed his other releases will find much to appreciate. But it should not be regarded as a first or second choice for the Alexander neophyte.

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