The Box Tops


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There were mild signs of artistic progression and evolution on the Box Tops' final album. For the first time, Dan Penn was not involved in the record (as either producer or songwriter), and Alex Chilton was allowed no less than three original compositions. A couple of these clearly hinted at an original songwriting voice. "I Must Be the Devil" was a wrenching, grind-it-out blues/soul ballad worthy of the mid-'60s Animals, and "(The) Happy Song" was an uncharacteristic (for the Box Tops) wistful Dylanesque tune (Dylan's "I Shall Be Released" was covered elsewhere on the LP). Closing the record was a pointless, nine-minute "Rock Me Baby," which the group had already recorded (in a much shorter version) on Nonstop. The rest of the album consisted mostly of the journeyman soul-pop that people had come to expect from Box Tops long-players, though "Soul Deep" (by the composer of "The Letter," Wayne Carson Thompson) gave the group their last big hit. The 2000 Sundazed reissue has five bonus tracks, including the mono single versions of "Soul Deep" and "Sweet Cream Ladies, Forward March," as well as two non-LP cuts from 45s, "King's Highway" and the Chilton-penned "I See Only Sunshine." There's also a previously unissued cut, "Lay Your Shine on Me."

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