Arthur Alexander

Lonely Just Like Me

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As a songwriter, Arthur Alexander's work often dealt with people for whom happiness was dashed by unexpected tragedy, and his own life seemed to reflect this. Poor management and simple bad luck put paid to Alexander's brief moment of fame in the 1960's, and despite occasional flurries of activity, and bursts of chart activity, by 1990 Alexander was out of music, and, by most accounts, bitter about his experiences. However, producer and fan Ben Vaughn lured Alexander back into the studio in 1992 for a session released as part of Elektra/Nonesuch's "American Explorer" series, which previously gave Charlie Feathers, Johnny Johnson, and Boozoo Chavis their first hearing on major-label vinyl. Alexander's album, Lonely Just Like Me, proved that time had done very little to dim his gifts despite a long layoff from the studio. Alexander's voice shows a few slight signs of wear, but the blend of bluesy passion and southern grit that marked his best sides is still very much in evidence, and this collection of songs -- some new, most cherry-picked from his large and impressive catalog -- makes it clear that this gentle powerhouse of southern soul still had plenty to offer as both a singer and a songwriter, and the sessions (featuring appearances by legendary session hands and longtime admirers Dan Penn, Spooner Oldham, and Donnie Fritts) were the perfect match for Alexander's material. Lonely Just Like Me was released in early 1993, and only a few months later, Alexander died of a heart attack at the age of 51; it was the sort of fate that would befall the protagonist of an Arthur Alexander song, but at least Lonely Just Like Me gave this worthy artist a final, richly deserved, moment in the sun, and one could hardly have asked for a better summation of what he did so well as one hears on this album.

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