Album: James Carr

You Got My Mind Messed Up, Ace
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The Independent Culture

Considered by many aficionados the greatest of all Deep Soul singers, James Carr grew out of the same mulch of Southern influences that spawned Otis Redding. The second in Ace's reissue of Carr's Goldwax recordings, this features the recently deceased soulman's magnificent 1967 debut album in all its glory, sensitively remixed for stereo along with a dozen previously unavailable out-takes, some of which rival his finest work. Comparable in depth of emotion, quality of material and intensity of performance to Otis Blue, it's an extraordinary collection of songs that includes at least three all-time classics in the title-track, the abasement anthem "Pouring Water on a Drowning Man" ("You push me when I'm falling and you kick me when I'm down/ I guess I missed my calling, 'cos I should have been a clown"), and the quintessential cheater's lament "Dark End of the Street". The true mark of Carr's greatness, though, is that even when he was called on to do little more than recycle others' successes – as on "My Adorable One", a dead ringer for Percy Sledge's "Warm and Tender Love" – he could draw on apparently alchemical vocal abilities to transform base metal into gold. Raw, sore, and as real as soul music gets, You Got My Mind Messed Up is one of the landmark recordings of 20th-century black music.