Country Soul Revue Testifying

Coming on the heels of his two revelatory Country Got Soul retrospectives, Jeb Loy Nichols has taken the next logical step and gathered together many of those artists for brand new sessions. As a style that has been virtually forgotten since the mid-’70s, this unprecedented assemblage of legendary, yet far from household names, like Dan Penn, Tony Joe White, Donnie Fritts, Bonnie Bramlett, Spooner Oldham, and Reggie Young, is close to being America’s own Buena Vista Social Club. The main similarity between the two projects, aside from each featuring musicians tied to a specific time and place, is that there is no sense of any passage of time in the performances. White’s opener, "Who You Gonna Hoo-Doo Now,” is typically menacing, Bramlett’s tribute to late singer/guitarist Eddie Hinton, "Where’s Eddie,” is perfectly bittersweet, and Penn’s "Chicago Afterwhile,” is another example of his tremendously underrated talent. But the real surprise is George Soule, whose soaring vocals on "It’s Over” and "I’m Only Human,” provide some of the album’s most gripping moments. That’s saying a lot for 13 tracks that are all irresistible and should remind everyone of this unique branch of Amercian music. (Casual)