Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Country Soul Return of the Stepfather (Esquire?) of Soul!

Barbara Brown - Things Have Gone to Pieces (demo)

My, it's been a long time since we were together last! I survived the torrent of exams, a paper, family and law school graduation without a scratch, and now am glad to get back in the saddle with some fine soul music! (If anyone is interested in the aforementioned torrent, I've put together a quick-and-dirty photo website documenting the graduation, and those of you who are on MySpace can see those pics and more at my page there.)

It's a great thing that the CD era has brought from obscurity so many overlooked but awesome acts of the classic soul era, including Southern soul singer Barbara Brown and her family group, The Browns, featured on Kent's awesome 2007 anthology Can't Find Happiness, which presents the lion's share of the group's work and is a "must-buy" for any serious Southern soul fan. Rather than go into the group's story I encourage you to check out Sir Shambling's profile of the group for information and additional audio (check out his whole site, if you haven't already). Although their Stax single "Big Party" is my personal favorite of the group's recordings, this demo version of Barbara's solo-billed 1968 Tower single "Things Have Gone to Pieces" (from the Kent CD) is getting serious play on my iPod. The stripped-down demo (the single included backing vocals and strings) allows the country soul of the song to shine, and Brown's gospelly vocal really drives the song's lyrics home.

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