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George Jackson and Dan Greer are recognised as two of the greats of southern soul: Dan for his work as a writer and producer at Sounds Of Memphis and his own labels, and George as one of that rare breed of soul songwriters whose biggest hits crossed over to the worlds of pop and rock.
Working together at studios around Memphis, they recorded demos to showcase their songs, enjoying their first taste of success as co-writers of ‘I Believe I’ll Go Back Home’, recorded for Goldwax by the Ovations. Over the next few months they had songs cut by Spencer Wiggins and James Carr and were signed as writers to Rise Music, Goldwax Records’ publishing arm.
Out of this came a single under the name George and Greer: ‘You Didn’t Know It But You Had Me’, an attempt at emulating the hit sound of Sam & Dave, backed with a version of Sam Cooke’s ‘Good Times’. The duo also recorded ‘Do The March’ and ‘To Me It’s Storming’, most likely for consideration as a follow-up 45.
The remaining 19 tracks here are from sessions George and Dan taped during 1966 and 1967. While it’s likely George is the singer on most, the pair’s voices are quite similar, so it is difficult to be 100% sure if it’s him or Dan on each number. A lack of documentation also means we can’t be certain who wrote some of the songs, although they are all probably the work of George and Dan, together or individually.
On ‘Don’t Wake Me Up’ the simple piano and vocal arrangement is spiced up by harmonies from an unknown vocal group, while ‘Nothing Can Touch My Love I Have For You’ is a fine ballad and ‘I Can See Sadness Ahead For Me’ is an especially poignant number with a jazzy piano backing. Elsewhere some of the songs are reminiscent of hit sounds of the day; ‘Come On And Make Up My Mind’ seems aimed at Wilson Pickett, ‘I Don’t Want To Be Hurt’ evokes Otis Redding, and ‘That’s Why I Love You’ is in the style of Marvin Gaye.
As with George’s later demos for Fame and Sounds Of Memphis, only a few of the songs were ever placed with artists, most notably ‘Love Attack’ and ‘Coming Back To You Baby’, both of which were recorded by James Carr. George’s own versions allow us a glimpse of how the songs were put together.