James Carr, The Best Of (Kent Records)

James Carr reissues have appeared over the past three decades on vinyl and CD. While all of the tracks here can be found on other collections, let it be said there is no such thing as an inferior James Carr album. The poster child for Deep Soul, of all the great Memphis vocalists, along with O.V. Wright, he could worry a note like no other. Carr benefitted by having the best studio musicians, and songwriters like Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham offering his producer Quinton Claunch material. The ultimate cheating song, “The Dark End of The Street,” opens, and no matter how man times you hear the song, you can’t help but being put in Carr’s shoes. Likewise “Pouring Water On A Drowning Man” is sold by Carr’s tortured delivery. Similarly on the aptly titled “You’ve Got My Mind Messed Up,” the man sings with desperation, confusion and passion. Carr even turns his cover of the Bee Gees’ “To Love Somebody” into an epic soul classic. Of course his better-known material is presented (Carr, who recorded for Goldwax, never had a single that got him off the chitlin’ circuit) including “Love Attack,” “Freedom Train,” and the emotive “A Man Needs A Woman.” Along with the “familiar” material a few obscurities are included that are just as satisfying. That would include “A Lucky Loser,” “You Hurt So Good” and especially “Let’s Face Facts” (how did this song sit on the shelf for 10 years?). Brilliant stuff here. If you’re looking for background music, avoid this. This is the kind of music that seeps into your body.