The follow-up to 2001's The Goldwax Story follows the same format as its predecessor: a couple dozen tracks of Memphis '60s soul from the vaults of the Goldwax label, most known for recording James Carr. Carr himself is only represented here by one track, an alternate version of "A Woman Is a Man's Best Friend" that appeared on a 1977 Japanese reissue (Kent has issued several Carr compilations if you need to hear more of the singer). The rest of these singers are known mostly to soul collectors, except for O.V. Wright (heard on his sole single for Goldwax, 1964's "There Goes My Used to Be") and Timmy Thomas (with his radically rearranged 1967 cover of the Animals' hit "It's My Life," done five years before his huge hit "Why Can't We Live Together"). As for the rest, it's well-done but somewhat by-numbers Southern soul, heavy on the country influences in the songwriting, the gospel feel of the vocals, and some too-blatant approximations of Sam Cooke's singing by some of the artists. Some of the more distinguished items are Spencer Wiggins' "I Never Loved a Woman (The Way I Love You)," a gender-changed rearrangement of the Aretha Franklin hit, with Duane Allman on slide guitar; Gene "Bowlegs" Miller's instrumental "Toddlin'," co-written by a young Isaac Hayes; Dorothy Williams' "Country Style," an obscure Willie Dixon composition; and Percy Milem's above average interpretation of the Don Covay song "I Don't Know What You've Got (But It's Got Me)" (more famous as done by Little Richard). A few of the anthology's tracks didn't surface until 1977 in Japan, and six (one of which is credited to "Unknown") make their first-ever appearance here. The liner notes are comprehensive even by Kent's standards, including not just a track-by-track rundown, but excerpts from interviews with several of the performers and Goldwax co-owner Quinton Claunch.
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger
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