Danny White

Natural Soul Brother: The Frisco Recordings and More 1963-1968

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Almost all of Danny White's 1960s recordings are contained on this compilation, including the A- and B-sides of ten singles he issued between 1963 and 1968, as well as a radio ad for his 1963 45 "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye." White has somehow passed under the radar of most histories of New Orleans soul, though he had some regional success with a few of his singles. If you're into the '60s New Orleans soul sound, however, you should hear this, as it has several of the key attributes of New Orleans soul at its best. It mixes wistfully melodic pop with R&B and a little blues; has sensitive, well-crafted arrangements with deft horns, backup vocals, and bluesy guitar; and benefits from White's own gritty, lively singing. If you're so inclined, you can hear echoes of far more famous performers -- some of the pop-R&B of Aaron Neville (though more in the songs and production than the vocal delivery), some of the soul-blues of Bobby "Blue" Bland, and (particularly on the toughest numbers) a little of Wilson Pickett and James Brown in their earliest, bluesiest days. Often when a review is crammed with references to bigger and better names, that spells trouble. Not so here -- White might not be as famous or good as any of the aforementioned stars, but he's got a fine slightly raw, committed wail, and it's refreshing to hear this sort of classic New Orleans '60s soul given a tougher slant than usual. Also of note are obscure, but quality, compositions by several famous songwriters, including Allen Toussaint (writing under the pseudonym of Naomi Neville), Earl King (writing as Earl Johnson), and the team of Isaac Hayes and David Porter (on mid-'60s sides cut in Memphis before Hayes and Porter became one of the hottest American songwriting duos). It's unfortunate that the CD is missing a few sides that would have made it a complete Danny White overview, most notably a couple Willie Mitchell-produced singles for Decca. In all, however, it's a highly commendable collection of a singer who has escaped the attention of even some New Orleans R&B collectors.

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