Lowell Fulson

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Soul Review

by Mark Deming

Lowell Fulson was one of the early artists to blend the tough melodic sensibilities of the blues with the more accessible (but no less emotional) framework of 1960s soul, and his 1966 set, Soul, finds him walking both sides of the fence on these 12 songs. Of course, some of these songs were a lot more soul- (or blues) flavored than others, and ironically Fulson would dig deeper into a soul groove on his next album, Tramp; perhaps using this title was a bit premature for him. For the most part, Soul sounds like straight-ahead blues session, through the bold horn charts on "Talking Woman" and "Change Your Ways" (among others) at once strengthen the arrangements and give it a more modern, uptown feel, while Fulson's vocals, rich without sounding heavy, certainly fit the boundaries of the soul idiom like a glove, and his guitar work is in fine fettle. Like a fine brandy, Lowell Fulson's best stuff manages to be potent and smooth at the same time, and that's just what he delivers on Soul.

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