The Soul of O.V. Wright isn't fancy, but it gets the job done. In that way, this solid 18-track compilation is just like its subject, one of the most underrated deep soul singers of his era. Although the Houston-based Wright had the grit of Otis Redding (minus Redding's occasional tendency to oversing) and the spiritual grace of Sam Cooke's pre-secular work, Wright only managed a couple of major hits on the R&B charts, and not even his best single, 1965's startling, Ray Charles-like ballad "'You're Gonna Make Me Cry,'" crossed over to the pop charts. Regardless, all 18 tracks here are sublime deep soul, from the testifying swing of his first single "'I Don't Want to Sit Down'" to his remarkable work with Willie Mitchell in the '70s. ("'I'd Rather Be Blind, Crippled and Crazy'" is every bit the equal of any of Mitchell's better-known work with Al Green from the same period.) There is plenty more to savor where this came from, but The Soul of O.V. Wright is a terrific introduction to this amazing performer.
The Soul of O.V. Wright Review
by Stewart Mason