Monday, 22 September 2003

Album Review: Our Turn To Cry

Our Turn To Cry offers up an array of ballads – from the big city numbers to the deepest of Southern soul, not a single track on this collection is anything less than mesmerising. Fans of soul will be absolutely enchanted by the lost classics on offer here.

The compilation begins with the breathtaking What Can You Do When You Ain’t Got Nobody? by the Soul Brothers Six - one of the most heartbreaking songs ever written. Hailing from Philadelphia, The Soul Brothers Six had a very stripped-down sound, only two guitars, a bass and drums which allowed their gospel-drenched vocals to soar to the heavens. On this track, Willie John Ellison’s lead vocal is absolutely explosive and compares favourably with many of soul’s greatest performers. It’s unbelievable and almost criminal that more people have not heard this track.

The late James Carr may just have been the finest singer to ever grace the Earth and his track Hold On is one of the stand out tracks on this compilation. While later in his career, Carr’s voice would fade and although he was still releasing records in the 1990s, his vocals clearly weren’t what they once were. Here though, Carr is at his best, offering a majestic baritone rendition of Tommy Tate’s little-known classic. Hold On is probably the finest track in Carr’s metier.

I’ve Got Enough Heartaches by Florida native, Mighty Sam is just an awesome prospect. Sam’s powerful, fiery vocals are backed by a mass choir and a glorious rhythm section, which make this track sound unlike any other on this collection. As the track builds to its grandiose crescendo, I defy even the coldest heart not to be deeply moved.

My three favourite tracks on the collection are just the tip of the iceberg though. While not necessarily as immediately brilliant as some of the other tracks, Mike Williams’ Vietnam-era tale of woe Lonely Soldier, Johnny Adams’ bravura performance of The Temptations I Wish It Would Rain and What Can I Do by Bobby Marchan are all wonderful. Elsewhere, Burt Bacharach’s delightfully penned Please Stay (which was originally a hit for The Drifters) receives a touching overhaul from Lou Johnson, the almost unknown How Can You Baby-Sit A Man? by Ned Towns offers a lo-key sermon on love and Ed Robinson opens his lungs on The Knight Brothers classic Temptation’s ‘Bout To Get Me.

Twenty-six tracks and every single one of them is a bona-fide five-star classic. How many compilations can you say that about?

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