Geater Davis

The Lost Soul Man

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Geater Davis was a singer from Texas who had the chops to be one of the great men of the soul era, but bad luck and bad timing kept him from enjoying the success he deserved. Davis would have been a perfect fit at Stax or Atlantic in the mid- to late '60s, but his recording career didn't get rolling until the early '70s, when his brand of gruff but passionate blues-based R&B was losing ground in favor of funkier sounds. And while producer Allen Orange consistently drew fine performances from Davis in the studio and gave him powerful and sympathetic backing, Orange's record labels (House of Orange and Seventy-Seven Records) didn't have much muscle in the marketplace. Davis recorded for other labels over the course of his career, including Ace and Luna, but they didn't fare much better with him than Orange's imprints, and Davis was little more than a cult figure when he died in 1984 at the age of 38. The Lost Soul Man collects 25 tracks Davis recorded during his tenure with Orange, and while the presence of repeated alternate takes and unreleased tracks that didn't get the studio polish they need dull the impact of this set just a bit, it's still a potent testament to his talents. At his best, Davis' singing suggests the cool passion of Bobby "Blue" Bland blended with the gritty fire of Wilson Pickett, and he's good enough to merit both comparisons; the slow slink of "I'm Gonna Change," the lover's regret of "I've Got to Pay the Price," the potent groove of "Ain't Worrying About Jody," and the primal shouter "Hot Buttered Love" are all stellar performances and leave no doubt this man could and should have had some hits under more favorable circumstances. While Charly's Sad Shades of Blue offers a broader portrait of Geater Davis' career, The Lost Soul Man does restore some of the man's best moments in the studio to circulation, and fans of great Southern soul will want to give this a thorough listen.

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