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Soul - Released January 1, 2001 | Ace Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
All 28 songs from Carr's 1964-1970 Goldwax singles are here, which is enough to make it a fair bid for a good best-of compilation, although it doesn't have everything he recorded. About half of the songs on this British import are not on the most well-known American CD compilation of Carr's work, The Essential James Carr, and those tracks are consistent with the level of his other Goldwax recordings, although they don't include anything on the level of "The Dark End of the Street" or "Pouring Water on a Drowning Man." This disc is particularly valuable for filling in some of his earliest 1964-1966 sides, which have a very slightly poppier and more up-tempo bent than his most esteemed songs. "That's What I Want to Know"'s groove is pretty Motown-ish, for instance, while "I Can't Make It" and "Only Fools Run Away" have Marvelettes-like chirping in the background. The 1970 funk update of "Row, Row Your Boat" isn't much to cheer about, though. There are plenty who will argue the point, but this doesn't quite live up to Carr's billing as the greatest '60s deep soul singer; Otis Redding (who Carr resembles in some respects) was better, and others had better and more imaginative material. It's good, certainly, and recommended to fans of artists like Redding who are looking for similar stuff that doesn't get played on the radio anymore. © Richie Unterberger /TiVo
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Soul - Released January 2, 2013 | Ace Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
If ever there was a soul singer who rivaled Otis Redding's raw, deep emotional sensuality, it was James Carr, and the proof is in the pudding with You Got My Mind Messed Up. Carr was one of the last country-soul singers to approach any chart given to him as if it was a gift from God. Carr was Redding's rival in every respect if for no other reason than the release of this, his debut album recorded in 1966. The 12 songs here, many of them covered by other artists, are all soul classics merely by their having been sung and recorded by Carr. Among them is the Drew Baker/Dani McCormick smash "Pouring Water on a Drowning Man," George Jackson's "Coming Back to Me Baby," a handful of tracks by O.B. McLinton, including "Forgetting You" and the title track, and the Chips Moman/Dan Penn hit "Dark End of the Street." And while it's true that few have ever done bad versions of the song because of the phenomenal writing, there is only one definitive version, and that one belongs to Carr. In his version he sings from the territory of a heart that is already broken but enslaved both to his regret and his desire. This is a love so pure it can only have been illicit. When he gets to the beginning of the second verse, and intones "I know time is gonna take its toll," he's already at the end of his rope; he knows that desire that burns like this can only bring about ruin and disaster, and it is precisely since it cannot be avoided that his repentance is perhaps accepted by the powers that would try him and judge him. He holds the arrangement at bay, and unlike some versions, Carr keeps his composure, making it a true song of regret, remorse, and a love so forbidden yet so faithful that it is worth risking not only disgrace and destruction for, but also hell itself. As the guitar cascades down the fretboard staccato, he can see the dark end of the street and holds it as close to his heart as a sacred and secret memory. By the album's end with the title track, listeners hear the totality of the force of Memphis soul. With Steve Cropper's guitar filling the space in the background, Carr offers a chilling portrait of what would happen to him in the future. Again pleading with the beloved in a tone reminiscent of a church-singer hell, he's in the church of love. He pleads, admonishes, begs, and finally confirms that the end of this love is his insanity, which was a chilling prophecy given what happened to Carr some years later. This is one of theMemphis soul records of the mid-'60s, full of rough-hewn grace, passion, tenderness, and danger. A masterpiece. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Soul - Released January 2, 2013 | Ace Records

Along with his other original Goldwax LP, You Got My Mind Messed Up, James Carr's Man Needs a Woman represents one of the high watermarks of Southern soul music. And beyond his tonal resemblance to Otis Redding, Carr was as distinct a voice as the genre ever produced. Compilations on both Kent (Complete Goldwax Singles) and Razor & Tie (The Essential James Carr) are certainly good places to start, but this LP might be even a better introductory title, especially considering the likelihood one will want to obtain all of Carr's prime late-'60s work. Whether Carr revels in the up-tempo soul of "I'm a Fool for Your" or stops the presses on sanctified slow-burners like "You've Got My Mind Messed Up" and the Dan Penn and Chips Moman-penned classic "Dark End of the Street," the intensity never falters. © Stephen Cook /TiVo
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Soul - Released November 24, 2017 | Ace Records

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Soul - Released June 24, 2016 | Ace Records

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Soul - Released November 24, 2017 | Ace Records

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Country - Released May 10, 2020 | James Carr

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Soul - Released October 26, 2018 | Ace Records

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Country - Released April 20, 2020 | James Carr

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Humour/Spoken Word - Released January 1, 1975 | Folkways Records