It’s often said about our musical cult heroes that they ‘could’a been a contender’. In the case of Danny White, he unequivocally should have been one. White’s torrid tenor was always a big draw in his New Orleans hometown, but he spent most of his career recording for a small, local label that always had to lease its material to majors when the chance of chart success came by. His signature song, Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye, is on a par with Aaron Neville’s Tell It Like It Is or Barbara George’s I Know but, unlike those time-honoured New Orleans classics, it never achieved the level of national success that it so deserved. However, anyone lucky enough to have seen Danny White live in the early 60s will tell you that he was among the best Louisianan performers and rates as highly as any of New Orleans more revered artists.
Danny’s career spanned virtually the whole of the 1960s, but his recorded legacy is quite meagre. His total tally of masters amounts to only six more than are presented on NATURAL SOUL BROTHER – Kent’s new collection of Danny’s complete Frisco/ABC, Atlas and SSS International recordings. Happily quality outstrips quantity. Not only was Danny White a great singer, he made all his recordings (including those tracks that we were not able to clear for inclusion) at excellent facilities - Cosimo Matassa’s in New Orleans, Willie Mitchell’s Royal Studios in Memphis or the former movie theatre on McLemore Avenue, Memphis that housed Stax Records and its studios.
Almost all of Danny’s repertoire was written by eminent tunesmiths such as Isaac Hayes, David Porter, Steve Cropper, Earl King and Sax Kari. On record he was backed by the finest musicians that New Orleans and Memphis had to offer, including what became the Hi Rhythm section and the MGs. But even with all this, not one of White’s 45 got within a sniff of the Billboard R&B chart – although Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye probably would have done, had its release not coincided with the suspension of the chart in that august publication.
We don’t let a little thing like a lack of chart action stand in the way of bringing great music to the masses. Thus we present the original mono singles mixes of almost all of Danny White’s great 45s together in one compilation, for connoisseurs of top drawer 60s soul. (It should be noted that it was our original intention to use the same tapes that had been used to master the original Frisco and ABC 45s, but Hurricane Katrina made that an impossibility. A pallet of tapes retrieved from the estate of Earl King, by former Ace colleague John Broven, was among the casulaties. However, rather than pull a project that was already some way down the line, we have gone ahead and made transfers of mint 45s.)
Here’s more than a score of vibrant 60s soul cuts, ranging from the dancefloor attack of perennial 6Ts favourites Keep My Woman Home and Miss Fine, Miss Fine to the sublime southern balladry of Can’t Do Nothing Without You and Moondreams. For lovers of true soul brothers, it’s hard to imagine anything more “Natural”’…
By Tony Rounce