“Sweet Inspiration” does a bang-up job of assembling the key songs Dan and Spooner wrote together during the 1960s and early 1970s. A quick look at the track listing will show prospective buyers that my co-compiler Bob Dunham and I have tried hard to make sure that there’s a version of every major Penn and Oldham composition included. We haven’t always chosen the obvious versions, so there will be some nice surprises here for even the most avid collectors. It was difficult to bring what started out as a massive wish list down to just 24 selections, but we think our choices do justice to the performers of the songs and, most importantly, the writers.
Everyone will have their own highlights. Mine would include Arthur Conley’s Fame recording of ‘In The Same Old Way’ (which was originally written as a straight ahead country song) and country thrush Jeanne Newman’s riveting, previously unissued Goldwax recording of ‘It Tears Me Up’, one of the earliest songs Penn and Oldham wrote together. I’m also very partial to the Southern sincerity of the Box Tops’ ‘Everything I Am’ (a UK Top 3 hit for Plastic Penny in late 1967) and Tommy Roe’s little-known 1966 take on ‘Wish You Didn’t Have To Go’, a number made more famous a year later by James and Bobby Purify. But greatness abounds from beginning to end of this set, and it’s unlikely that any prospective purchaser will not be totally impressed by everything it contains.
A companion volume – which will also include songs co-written by Dan and/or Spooner with collaborators such as Donnie Fritts, Rick Hall, Marlin Greene and Chips Moman – will hopefully see the light of day next year. In the meantime, here’s over an hour of the sweetly inspired songwriting of Wallace Daniel Pennington and Lindon Dewey Oldham. Oh, what a power!
By Tony Rounce
|1.||OUT OF LEFT FIELD - Percy Sledge|
|2.||I'M YOUR PUPPET - Dionne Warwick|
|3.||SWEET INSPIRATION - The Sweet Inspirations|
|4.||A WOMAN LEFT LONELY - Charlie Rich|
|5.||I WORSHIP THE GROUND YOU WALK ON - Etta James|
|6.||I'M LIVING GOOD (VERSION 2) - The Ovations|
|7.||TAKE ME (JUST AS I AM) - Solomon Burke|
|8.||CRY LIKE A BABY - Arthur Alexander|
|9.||IT TEARS ME UP - Jeanne Newman|
|10.||SLIPPIN' AROUND - Art Freeman|
|11.||I MET HER IN CHURCH - Tony Borders|
|12.||ARE YOU NEVER COMING HOME - Sandy Posey|
|13.||LET IT HAPPEN (ALTERNATE TAKE) - James Carr|
|14.||EVERYTHING I AM - The Box Tops|
|15.||FEED THE FLAME - Ted Taylor|
|16.||WATCHING THE TRAINS GO BY - Tony Joe White|
|17.||IN THE SAME OLD WAY - Arthur Conley|
|18.||DENVER - Ronnie Milsap|
|19.||DREAMER - Patti LaBelle & The Bluebelles|
|20.||GOOD THINGS DON'T COME EASY - Irma Thomas|
|21.||I NEED SOMEONE - The Wallace Brothers|
|22.||HE AIN'T GONNA DO RIGHT - Barbara Lynn|
|23.||WISH YOU DIDN'T HAVE TO GO - Tommy Roe|
|24.||LET'S DO IT OVER - Joe Simon|
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