Emerging from the Muscle Shoals music scene of the 1960s, Dan Penn wrote an incredible number of Southern soul, pop, and rock classics, many of them with Spooner Oldham, and most of these in the span of a couple years, and since he generally wasn’t the one cutting these gems in the studio, it’s sometimes difficult to grasp just how good and varied Penn's songwriting talent actually were. Ace Records earlier compiled a collection of some of Penn's best songs written with Oldham on a single disc under the title Sweet Inspiration, but Penn co-wrote with other partners, too, as well as penning (no pun intended) several great songs on his own, and this set covers some of his non-Oldham compositions as a kind of follow-up to that earlier collection. It's an impressive catalog and legacy, with tracks here like Albert King's "Like a Road Leading Home," Percy Sledge's "Rainbow Road," Billy Young's "You Left the Water Running," and Roy Hamilton's "The Dark End of the Street" simply underscoring that fact. One of the clear highlights here is Penn's own 1965 version of his first-ever song, "Is a Blue Bird Blue," written when he was only 14 years old.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett