Tuesday, May 4, 2010
When Goldwax closed its doors in 1969, it effectively ended the career of James Carr. Several other labels, including Atlantic Records which contracted him for one single 1970‘s “Hold On“, expressed interest in signing him, but his behavior in the studio was so erratic that none of the deals ever stuck. Carr ended up living in a Memphis housing project with his sister through the ‘70’s and ‘80’s with his only output being a 1977 single “Let Me Be Right (I Don’t Want To Be Wrong)” for the River City label. He did attempt one other comeback in 1994 with the record Soul Survivor, but while his voice was as solid as ever, the recording was marred by a dated, synth heavy production.
James Carr’s voice should have landed him in the same echelon of performers as Sam Cooke, Wilson Pickett, or Otis Redding, but probably due to his mental problems his career never reached those heights. While I want to feature one of my favorite tracks of James Carr today, “You Gotta Have Soul”, I’m also going to include a soul stirring version of “At the Dark End of the Street”. Take time and listen to these, and I think you’ll find that the real tragedy of James Carr is that he has sadly been all but forgotten.