Various Artists

The Goldwax Story, Vol. 1

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The Memphis '60s soul label Goldwax is most known for its lengthy series of singles (many of them R&B hits) with James Carr, but also recorded several other artists during the decade. Three of the 24 tracks on this anthology belong to Carr, including his most famous song, "The Dark End of the Street." Otherwise, though, most of these names will draw blanks, except for O.V. Wright (who did just one single for the label) and Timmy Thomas (whose jazzy 1967 organ instrumental, "Liquid Mood," with some scat singing, preceded his big vocal hit "Why Can't We Live Together" by five years). Deep Southern soul fans will enjoy this release mightily, as it has so many of the stocks-in-trade of Southern soul in general and Memphis soul in particular: tight soul backup, urgent, pleading vocals, and a leaning toward slow, emotional balladry in the songwriting (with some up-tempo tunes thrown in). It isn't, though, on the same level as the somewhat similar and much more famous soul being done in the same town at the same time at Stax Records. The vocalists are too often derivative of Otis Redding and Sam Cooke; the Ovations' Louis Williams sounds like a Sam Cooke clone, so close are his vocals and so obvious is his role model. The George half of George & Greer, heard on their lighthearted, up-tempo 1966 single "You Didn't Know It, But You Had Me," was well-known songwriter George Jackson. For some variety, you get the instrumental "Here It Is Now" by Gene (Bowlegs) Miller, which strongly recalls the work of Stax instrumental groups Booker T. & the MG's and the Mar-Keys. The Lyrics' "Darling," the first Goldwax release in 1964, is the most doo wop-indebted cut, with some ludicrously over-the-top crying at the cut's outset.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 2:47 Spotify
2 3:01 Spotify
3 2:37 Spotify
4
2:24
5 2:59 Spotify
6 2:25 Spotify
7 2:24 Spotify
8 2:20 Spotify
9 2:29 Spotify
10 2:11
11 1:57 Spotify
12 2:42 Spotify
13 2:12
14 2:31 Spotify
15
2:20 Spotify
16 3:34 Spotify
17 3:00 Spotify
18 2:29 Spotify
19 2:37 Spotify
20 2:16 Spotify
21 2:46 Spotify
22 3:15 Spotify
23 2:43
24 2:32 Spotify
blue highlight denotes track pick