Bobby Powell

Louisiana Soul

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Baton Rouge's Bobby Powell had some minor chart success in the '60s, most notably with his version of the blues classic "C.C. Rider," which hit the top spot of the R&B charts in 1965, and his cover of "The Bells" bumped into the Top Twenty nearly a decade later in 1974, but that was pretty much it, and the blind pianist and singer is barely known today. Powell signed with Senator Jones' Mississippi-based Hep Me label in 1979, releasing a couple of regional singles as well as two or three LPs on the imprint before leaving secular music for a relatively low-key gospel career. This brief set collects a handful of those Hep Me tracks, including the powerful and moody "When You Move You Lose," a sturdy if hardly flashy "A Fool for You," and the stomping "Late in the Evening/Reprise," which closes things out here. A gifted piano player (although there is very little of his piano on this collection) and a solid gospel-inflected soul singer, Powell's Hep Me tracks still seem somehow less than the sum of their parts, as if they were sketches rather than completed records. Westside Records released a 28-track collection of Powell's 1966 to 1971 output with the Whit and Jewel record labels called Into My Own Thing in 2002, and since it includes the original single version of "C.C. Rider" and a version of "The Bells," it is the disc to get. There isn't much else out there, though, so in that sense Louisiana Soul is a welcome addition to a pretty sparse discography.

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