Monday, August 18, 2008
A Love Story, Revisited: Back to Birmingham
Cortez Greer - Testify
Back in 2006, I heaped praise on Rabbit Factory's excellent comp The Birmingham Sound: The Soul of Neal Hemphill, Vol. 1, and I'll defer to that post for some background info on Hemphill and about Rabbit Factory's John Ciba. Since that disc was released, Rabbit Factory's profile has grown in soul circles, in no small part due to the Rabbit Factory soul revues that have been put on in New York, in Chicago and at the Ponderosa Stomp, to name a few locales, in which Roscoe Robinson, Ralph "Soul" Jackson, Hermon Hitson, Wiley & The Checkmates and others sock soul power before appreciative audiences. Now the second volume of The Birmingham Sound is out, and I'm glad to say that I hold it in the same high esteem as the first. The CD carries over the '70s Southern soul vibe of the first, and the liner notes manage to provide more insight into Hemphill's life and work - dig a reminisce by Hemphill's daughter about her short foray as a recording artist - and profile the artists, some of whom also appeared on the first set. This CD is a "must-buy" for serious soul fans, and I encourage you to get it from Dusty Groove America or any other retailer of rare soul CDs.
Today's selection features the late Cortez Greer, who is described in the liner notes as a Delta baggage handler by day and as a knockout nightclub performer at night. Greer has an appealing gruff baritone, and it's put to good use on the rocking "Testify," which includes good background support by a femme chorus and a churchy coda.
POSTSCRIPT - Your ever-lovin' Stepfather of Soul is honored to have received an acknowledgment in the liner notes of this fine CD. Thanks to John and Rabbit Factory for putting out such great material!