Memphis Soul from Rudolph Taylor
By definition, the music on this collection is obscure: it’s not just that the music was unreleased, but even the names are by and large unrecognizable..for instance, Memphis artist, Rudolph Taylor, a man who only ever released one single when he was an active artist.
This is earthy Southern soul that sometimes flirts with the danceable effervescence and pop hooks drifting up north, but sometimes has the grit of what was further South, but it’s distinguished by songs as tight as its rhythms. Although some of these tracks were cut as early as 1964 and as late as 1974, the set relies primarily on music made in the back half of the ’60s, which was the heyday of soul, and the strength of this music is proof of that claim. Certainly, there are some rough edges here, and some songs don’t stray from a generic blueprint, but the craft in construction is as palpable as the passion and professionalism of the playing.
Sounds Of Memphis and XL Records signed some of the most talented artists in Southern Soul history. This included these unreleased tracks that have been hidden away in the Sounds Of Memphis since they were recorded.
“One Man’s Poison” is stomping vamp, featuring a vocal powerhouse from Rudolph. His gravelly vocal is accompanied by a pounding rhythm section and stabs of braying horns. Misery is very different. It’s a soul-searching ballad, where cooing harmonies accompany a heartbroken Rudolph. You’re Using Me sees the tempo rise, and the frustration Rudolph’s feeling boils over. Accusingly, he sings “You’re Using Me” sumptuous soul goodies, catchy tunes that any fan of 60s and 70s soul will savour.
Rudolph Taylor had a single session with Charles Chalmers which produced this really excellent two sided disc. “Tell Him Tonight” is one of those deep soul ballads that just sound so right – the band includes several of the AGP crew like drummer Gene Chrisman, bassist Tommy Cogbill and Reggie Young on guitar, so the backing (sadly no horns) is quite exemplary – and Taylor, who starts off rather quietly, really gets into the beautifully constructed song after the first verse.
His low tone baritone voice is powerful and demonstrative, and he brings some fine gospel nuances to the performance as well. Chalmers also cut William Bollinger on “Tell Him Tonight” using the same rhythm track and leased the result to Chess.”
Doorsteps To Sorrow raises the pace ever so slightly, but this is another deep soul winner. Young’s fills are simply wonderful, and the addition of horns gives the whole number greater tonal colouration. Taylor is as good vocally here as he is on the other side. Whichever of the two is the better track, is your choice. An essential single.
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Set the mood right in your TV, Film or Advert with the soulful Sounds of Memphis
- Big City Lights
- One Man's Poison
- I'm Moving Out Fast
- Doorsteps of Sorrow
- Tell Him Tonight
- You're Using Me