This short (28 minutes) album is primarily made up of outtakes from the sessions for Reigning Sound's 2004 scorcher Too Much Guitar, but if that disc was too much rock and not enough soul for you, then you're in luck. Home for Orphans is dominated by the sort of moody, low-key laments that are Greg Cartwright's real secret weapon when he isn't cranking his amp up to ten, along with a superb cover of Gene Clark's "Here Without You" that fits this set like a glove. While "If You Can't Give Me Everything," "Funny Thing," and "Medication" all appeared on Too Much Guitar, these versions turn down the volume and dig into the lonely heart and soul of these songs, and prove that there are few people who can write and sing modern-day soul with the same passion and skill as Cartwright. His band offers understated but solid support (especially Alex Greene on organ), and it's hard to imagine why songs as good as "Find Me Now" and "What Could I Do" didn't find a lasting place in their repertoire, given how good they sound in this context. Cartwright also gives his fans a bummed-out Christmas classic with "If Christmas Can't Bring You Home" (the A-side from an out of print holiday single), and a roaring live take of "Don't Send Me No Flowers, I Ain't Dead Yet" closes the set with a solid dose of rock action. Reigning Sound's throwaways are better and more satisfying listening than what most bands have to offer as top-shelf merchandise, and Home for Orphans is a fine collection of garage-shot soul that whets the appetite for the next proper Reigning Sound record.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming