Various ‘More Dirty Laundry’ (Trikont) 4/5

Following up on the critically acclaimed first volume, this second instalment explores in further depth the long overlooked relationship between the compositions of country music and the soulful interpretations of the world of deep soul and soul-blues, and is a joy to behold. For those not already initiated to the cross- fertilisation of genres, country and black music have always been unofficial, but consensual bedfellows (and ones that compliment each other perfectly), and have evolved separately on either side of the railroad track. Indeed through the medium of radio even in geographically segregated neighbourhoods in the States, the music of the other half was always readily accessible. This new volume is great value at over seventy-one minutes and includes some of the cream of the crop of soul and blues vocalists. Sixties icons such as James Brown, Solomon Burke and Joe Tex feature as do a trio of ladies including Ruth Brown, Margie Joseph and Tina Turner. Of these Brown impresses with her radical jazz-blues reworking of Tennessee Waltz’ and Margie Joseph weighs in with a lovely take on Dolly Parton’s ‘Touch your woman’. Among the discoveries Lou Johnson cut some of the rootsiest southern soul for Atlantic at Muscle Shoals typified by the blues-inflected selection ‘She still thinks I care’, while in O.B. McClinton we find a voice ideally suited to country songs as illustrated on ‘Talk to my children’s mama’. Soul-blues legend Clarence Frogman Henry cooks up a storm on ‘I told my pillow’ with instrumental accompaniment reminiscent of late 1950s B.B. King. 

Detailed bi-lingual liner notes courtesy of deep soul aficionado Jonathan Fischer place the music in its rightful historical perspective and help to shed light on why so many soul and blues singers from the 1940s and 1950s have been influenced by the incredibly souful hues of rootsy country singers like Patsy Cline, Lefty Frizell and the incomparable Hank Williams. As ever with Trikont classy gatefold cover and photos of the artists are to the fore.

Tim Stenhouse