Sunday, November 13, 2005

James Carr - You Got My Mind Messed Up

Some soul junkies like to refer to James Carr as the greatest soul singer who ever lived. Of course, a lot of them are probably insufferable dweebs who think their obscure tastes prove they're better than you. I'm not willing to say Carr was greater than Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye or Levi Stubbs. But he could sure as hell hold his own.

His is certainly a twist on the doomed sould singer story. After all, he didn't meet his end in the flames of a plane crash or at the barrel of a gun. Basically he recorded a bunch of records in the late 60's, had a few small hits, but never quite broke through. He did get his mind messed up though and a lot of the time he should have been singing he was in seclusion or various mental institutions blowing whatever chance he had to finally make it. That's worse, isn't it? For the record, he died in 2001 at the age of 58, having made just the smallest little comeback in the early 90's before he got sick.

There's a hint of detatchment in the music, perhaps the result of Carr's mental state. However, this stuff still sends shivers up my spine. The sound is absolutely classic. The voice is the epitome of soul, and the backup is tight - completely free of the cheesiness that sometimes marred the output of other greats. Carr could make even a silly song sound deep. I'll stop gushing. The songs below (including the classic Dark End Of The Street, of which you have no doubt heard later renditions), say it all.

A great article on Carr can be found here

You should also buy the CD.

Dark End Of The Street
You Got My Mind Messed Up


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