James Carr, 'Dark End of the Street', 1967
Info: Ranked at #23 in the best albums of 1967 on www.rateyourmusic.com, You Got My Mind Messed Up was one of only two albums by the largely overlooked American rhythm and blues singer James Carr. As with many of his contemporaries, Carr was born into a religious family, (his father was a Baptist preacher), in 1942 in Coahoma, Mississippi. Learning his trade in the church's gospel choirs, Carr signed for Goldwax Records in Memphis in the mid-sixties following rejections by major Rn'B label Stax, home to Otis Redding and Sam & Dave. Carr struggled with depression throughout his career and the illness greatly restricted his output, when his record company folded in 1969 it more or less marked the end of his career, efforts to reignite same in the early 1990's were more or less unsuccessful before he succumbed to cancer, aged 58 in 2001. There is no doubt among soul and rhythm and blues aficionados that, had it not been for his debilitating depression, Carr would have made the crossover into the popular charts, his emotional, powerful voice rightly drawing comparisons with Redding, Aretha Franklin and perhaps, more closely from my view, Percy Sledge.
1966 saw Carr's first entry into the Rn'B charts with the albums self-titled single, 'You Got My Mind Messed Up' which reached the Top Ten. The most successful and well-known single was, however, to be 'The Dark End of the Street' (above video), written by Dan Penn and Chips Moman and subsequently covered by Percy Sledge himself, Bruce Springsteen, Aretha Franklin and Elvis Costello among others, it is also performed in 1991's The Commitments, by the band themselves. Again the single reached the Top Ten in the Rn'B charts, but only made it to 77 in the Billboards. The lyrics themselves are of fond memories spent with a now long-lost love, and filled with regret that such moments are forever bound to the past. Other highlights include 'Pouring Water on a Drowning Man', the pained 'These Ain't Raindrops In My Eyes', and the barnstorming 'Forgetting You'. Overall, a great soul album without one bad song to be found within.
1. Pouring Water on a Drowning Man
2. Love Attack
3. Come Back To Me, Baby
4. Don't Want To Be Hurt Anyone
5. That's What I Want To Know
6. These Ain't Raindrops In My Eyes
7. The Dark End of the Street
8. I'm Going For Myself Now
9. Lovable Girl
10. Forgetting You
11. She's Better Than You
12. You Got My Mind Messed Up