Take Me To The River: A Southern Soul Story 1961-1977 Various Artists (A Southern Soul Story)


Southern Soul
Catalogue Id:

The term Southern Soul usually evokes images of either some small studio in the Southern US states in the mid-60s to mid-70s, where the musicians are working at getting a suitable groove for a singer to pour heart and soul into some true-to-life lyrics, or a hot, sweaty chitlin’ circuit club, where the crowd is urging acts on to ever greater heights of emotion over the relentless groove of the house band. The best Southern Soul is a rich blend of blues and gospel, with a dash of soulful country added to the mix. Singers who came on the scene in its golden age grew up on their parents’ blues and gospel records, and hearing the (exclusively country) Grand Ole Opry on the radio. They usually started off singing in church, taking their gospel influences with them when they moved to soul. The majority of Southern studio bands mixed black and white musicians, each mixing sympathy with a singer’s vocal needs and knowledge they had to keep the music hard and tight enough to provide the solid framework that the songs needed.

“Take Me To The River” sets out Southern Soul’s story in an approximately chronological manner, from its early rumblings at the beginning of the 1960s, through its first golden era in the mid-60s and its second in the early 70s, and on to the valiant attempts to forestall its demise in the mid-to-late 70s. It features everything from million-sellers to obscure 45s that didn’t get beyond the ‘limits’ of the cities in which they were recorded. It carries repertoire from the genre’s greatest and best-known names, and from its greatest unknowns – all with an excellence factor that justifies their inclusion over hundreds of other magnificent recordings.

It’s important to stress that what this 3CD set offers is very much “A” Southern Soul Story, and not “The” Southern Soul Story. We don’t claim to be definitive and could have chosen 75 different tracks that tell our “Story” in an equally compelling manner. But, in the way that that Kent’s Dave Godin’s Deep Treasures series took Deep Soul to a much bigger audience than most had thought it capable of reaching, this set will, we hope, introduce another seminal strand of black American music to a wider public. We offer no apology to the ardent, long-time collector about the familiarity of some selections - each track here is an important piece of this jigsaw, regardless of whether it sold ten million copies worldwide or only to family and friends. To that end we have also tried to avoid overdosing on the previously unreleased and un-re-released, although several tracks are indeed making their CD debut here.

There have been incredible examples of Southern Soul cut in locations as far north as Detroit, Chicago and New York, but we have restricted ourselves to recordings made, mostly, in studios whose names are synonymous with the sound – Broadway Sound/Quinvy, Royal, Stax, Muscle Shoals Sound, Criteria, Fame et al. The one exception to this is Joe Simon’s ‘My Adorable One’ - in many ways, the archetypal Southern Soul classic, albeit one cut in Northern California. However, Simon is indelibly identified with Southern Soul, having recorded in Nashville, Memphis and Muscle Shoals exclusively between 1966 and 1971, and so we feel justified in accommodating a recording that was so crucial to the development of the genre.

We also limited ourselves to recordings made in Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Georgia. Recordings made in Arizona and Texas offer a largely different slant on Southern Soul, and did not really provide a comfortable musical fit. (We excluded New Orleans for the same reason). We had also originally intended to limit ourselves to one track per artist, but how do you pick just one James Carr or Otis Redding recording? Or choose one William Bell cut, when William made such fine music throughout the time span of this set? Thus we have allowed ourselves the luxury of a second bite of the apple where a select few are concerned, while keeping it to one track for most.

As early as 1962, many of Southern Soul’s pivotal figures had mastered its requisite ‘formula’. By 1964 the genre had fully invented itself – although it wasn’t yet named. Even in the late 60s, when overdubbed string sections were becoming increasingly commonplace, the end product was still so fundamentally Southern that it’s hard to notice attempts to “sweeten” such thrillers as Candi Staton’s ‘Another Man’s Woman’ or Marcell Strong’s ‘Mumble In My Ear’.

It’s the hope of everyone involved with this project that your journey through a decade and a half of unbeatable music will leave you with a desire for more Southern Soul than you thought possible. Welcome to 75 selections of great soul music for grown up tastes.

By Martin Goggin and Tony Rounce


Track listing


Side 1

  • 01 Preview You Don't Miss Your Water - William Bell

  • 02 Preview Go Home Girl - Arthur Alexander

  • 03 Preview These Arms Of Mine - Otis Redding

  • 04 Preview Steal Away - Jimmy Hughes

  • 05 Preview My Adorable One - Joe Simon

  • 06 Preview You're Gonna Make Me Cry - O.V. Wright

  • 07 Preview When A Man Loves A Woman - Percy Sledge

  • 08 Preview Losin' Boy - Eddy Giles

  • 09 Preview Try A Little Tenderness (Take 1) - Otis Redding

  • 10 Preview Something I Ain't Never Had - Jarvis Jackson

  • 11 Preview Ninety-Nine And A Half (Won't Do) - Wilson Pickett

  • 12 Preview Got To Make A Comeback - Eddie Floyd

  • 13 Preview When Something Is Wrong With My Baby - Charlie Rich

  • 14 Preview The Dark End Of The Street - James Carr

  • 15 Preview Let's Do It Over - Toussaint McCall

  • 16 Preview Do Right Woman, Do Right Man - Aretha Franklin

  • 17 Preview I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down - Sam & Dave

  • 18 Preview You Ain't Woman Enough (To Take My Man) - June Edwards

  • 19 Preview Let's Face Facts - The Masqueraders

  • 20 Preview She Ain't Gonna Do Right - James & Bobby Purify

  • 21 Preview Bless Your Little Sweet Soul - Al Johnson

  • 22 Preview Dirty Man - Laura Lee

  • 23 Preview Cover Me - Eddie Hinton

  • 24 Preview You're Gonna Miss Me - Reuben Bell with the Beltones

  • 25 Preview I'd Rather Go Blind - Etta James

  • 26 Preview Without Love (There Is Nothing) - Oscar Toney Jr

Side 2

  • 01 Preview You Left The Water Running - Maurice & Mac

  • 02 Preview I'll Go Crazy - Don Bryant

  • 03 Preview Rainbow Road - Bill Brandon

  • 04 Preview The One You Can't Have (All By Yourself) - Shirley Walton

  • 05 Preview Tell Him Tonight - William Bollinger

  • 06 Preview A Smile Can't Hide (A Broken Heart) - Ollie & the Nightingales

  • 07 Preview Up Tight Good Woman - Spencer Wiggins

  • 08 Preview I Forgot To Be Your Lover - William Bell

  • 09 Preview I'll Make It Up To You - Clay Hammond

  • 10 Preview Slip Away - Clarence Carter

  • 11 Preview That's The Way Love Turned Out For Me - James Carr

  • 12 Preview Polly Wally - Tony Borders

  • 13 Preview Another Man's Woman, Another Woman's Man - Candi Staton

  • 14 Preview Buying A Book - Joe Tex

  • 15 Preview To The Other Woman (I'm The Other Woman) - Doris Duke

  • 16 Preview Stealing In The Name Of The Lord - Paul Kelly

  • 17 Preview Faithful And True - Z.Z. Hill

  • 18 Preview Love's Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down (Part 1) - Chuck Brooks

  • 19 Preview I Went Off And Cried - Kip Anderson

  • 20 Preview If I Can't Run To You I'll Crawl - Barbara & The Browns

  • 21 Preview What I Don't Know Won't Hurt Me - Paul Thompson

  • 22 Preview Jody's Got Your Girl And Gone - Johnnie Taylor

  • 23 Preview Wish I Was Back - Thomas Bailey

  • 24 Preview I Can't Give You My Heart - Jimmy Braswell

  • 25 Preview Lead Me On - Gwen McCrae

Side 3

  • 01 Preview Mumble In My Ear - Marcell Strong

  • 02 Preview Breaking Up Somebody's Home - Denise LaSalle

  • 03 Preview Tired Of Being Alone - Al Green

  • 04 Preview I Can't Be Satisfied - Spencer Wiggins

  • 05 Preview Groove Me - King Floyd

  • 06 Preview She's All I Got - Freddie North

  • 07 Preview Jody, Come Back And Get Your Shoes - Bobby Newsome

  • 08 Preview Starting All Over Again - Mel & Tim

  • 09 Preview We Always Come Back Strong - Sam Dees

  • 10 Preview I've Been Lonely For So Long - Frederick Knight

  • 11 Preview (If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want To Be Right - Luther Ingram

  • 12 Preview I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down - Ann Peebles

  • 13 Preview I'm Through Trying To Prove My Love To You - Bobby Womack

  • 14 Preview It Hurts So Good - Millie Jackson

  • 15 Preview You've Got My Mind Messed Up - Quiet Elegance

  • 16 Preview I Get My Groove From You - Bobby Patterson

  • 17 Preview Take Time To Know Him - Tommie Young

  • 18 Preview How Can I Get Next To You? - George Jackson

  • 19 Preview I'll Be The Other Woman - The Soul Children

  • 20 Preview Heartbreak Woman - Clarence Carter

  • 21 Preview Take One Step (I'll Take Two) - Chet Davenport

  • 22 Preview Take Me To The River - Al Green

  • 23 Preview If You Got To Love Somebody - Tommy Tate

  • 24 Preview I'll Play The Blues For You - Geater Davis

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Press quotes


A belter...a collection that will haul in new listeners with its mixture of the accessible and predictable and satisfy established fans with a running order that contextualises, tracks and maps the music's growth. ★★★★


Surely one of the best compilations ever, in any genre. ★★★★★

Record Collector


(Soul album of year 2008)

Record Collector

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