Lattimore Brown

Little Box of Tricks

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Better known to hardcore soul and R&B aficionados than to the general music-listening public, Lattimore Brown was well respected during his heyday in the mid- to late '60s, and was invited to record at some of the top studios in Memphis, Nashville and Muscle Shoals. The tracks collected here were cut in those studios with a variety of backing bands including Booker T. & the MG's and the Memphis Horns. Though the sound quality is variable (and occasionally poor enough to seriously mar an otherwise impressive song, as on "So Says My Heart"), the performances themselves are consistently impressive and the songs, though less uniformly fine than Brown's performances, are generally very good. Brown is at his best on the swaggering, mid-tempo numbers -- the confident "I've Got Everything" and "Don't Trust No One" (with its gorgeous horn arrangements) are particular standouts on this program, and the anguish he invests in "Please Please Please" works nicely against its swinging rhythm to create a complex and emotionally satisfying performance. On "I'm Not Through Lovin'," on the other hand, he goes just a bit overboard, and "Cruise on Fanny, Cruise On" falls flat as a novelty answer song to "Mustang Sally." Overall, though, this is a valuable and very enjoyable tribute to an underrated talent. Recommended.

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