The Goldwax Story Vol 3 is intended to be our final volume of this fascinating, and for many, crucial series. However the revered Memphis label does seem to give up its treasures over years rather than months and more tapes may materialise yet.
Finished but unissued recordings by the Ovations, Ben Atkins, George (Jackson) & (Dan) Greer and the Lyrics will be enough to sell the CD to committed Goldwax fans but there is much more here than just those gems.
Some would have been scheduled for future Goldwax 45s, as several contracts list singles that were never pressed. The biggest discovery was that the George Jackson ascribed acetate of ‘You Hurt Me So Good’ / ‘You Gotta Have Soul’ was actually Chicago soul singer Lee “Shot” Williams: so please change the credit on your “Goldwax Northern Soul” CD. His take on the excellent O.B. McClinton ballad ‘You Hurt Me So Good’ is superior to James Carr’s to my ears if only for the more simplified arrangement.
The Ovations have a whacking four tracks: one that couldn’t be squeezed on to their solo CD; two authentic new Goldwax songs that will thrill; and one classic that has been misrepresented on Ace in the past. The original take of the Sound Of Memphis album track ‘I Can’t Be Satisfied’ is my favourite; it’s another case of less is more.
Even better represented is Unknown Artist. The tapes were well-preserved but there were a few cases where the box or reel had no annotation at all. Damaged or loss along the way, or perhaps a tired producer, after a long hot day left the note-making to tomorrow and let it slide. Two such tracks are the alternate vocal to the Ovations’ ‘Recipe For Love’ and possibly the original version of ‘What Can I Call My Own’ that James Carr and Marvin Preyer cut; both are fascinating listening for southern soul aficionados. Of the rest ‘I Think I’m Gonna Cry’ is a particularly notable deep mournful number, almost in the tradition of the haunting prison ballads of an earlier era.
George Jackson gets his name rightfully all over the credits, as apart from his duet with Mr Greer, he is represented by two sparse piano demos of his own songs. ‘Don’t Wake Me Up’ has the added bonus of a fine vocal group behind it and ‘I Can See Sadness Ahead Of Me’ is as bleak and soulful as the title suggests.
Issued 45s include Phillip & The Faithfuls oddball ‘Rhythm Marie’ which takes a few plays to get under the skin. Wee Willie Walker rips it up on the Beatles’ ‘Ticket To Ride’ giving it the full Memphis treatment, while Oboe, aka O.B. McClinton, crosses Arthur Alexander with Ernie “K” Doe and gets a possible homicide rap for ‘Mother-In-Law Trouble’.
This is a satisfying end to a long musical saga. Recently discovered company photos only serve to enhance the Memphis label’s professional reputation. We’re still praying for more tapes to filter their way out of Soul City USA but as you can’t depend on miracles, enjoy these last soulful minutes.
By Ady Croasdell