Southern Soul Showcase: Cryin' in the Streets

Southern Soul Showcase: Cryin' in the Streets


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A former U.S. Marine turned Mercury Records staff producer responsible for everything from Bruce Channel's "Hey Baby" to Ray Stevens' "Ahab the Arab," Shelby Singleton formed his Nashville-based SSS International Group in 1966. Although best known for fare like Jeannie C. Riley's country-pop juggernaut "Harper Valley P.T.A.," SSS and its spinoffs, Silver Fox and Minaret, also generated a vast sampling of deep-fried soul, of which Kent's Southern Soul Showcase: Cryin' in the Streets represents the first official digital survey to date. In comparison to the backwoods soul wrought in places like Memphis and Muscle Shoals, SSS productions are clearly the product of Nashville -- the songs blur the lines between soul and country to the point where such distinctions become irrelevant. Though more polished and slick than, say, Stax's output, there's no mistaking this stuff for Motown -- it's Southern soul through and through, with all the raw emotion the appellation implies. Highlights include Johnny Dynamite's "Everybody's Clown," Doris Allen's "A Shell of a Woman," and Big John Hamilton's devastating "How Much Can a Man Take?"

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