With a pure Southern soul voice that was honed singing in church and gospel groups starting at age nine, James could sound like Otis on his up tempo songs (Love Attack), but his distinctive baritone may have been better suited for his sad songs. These are the strength of his work and are well represented on this CD.
The high spot of his catalogue has to be The Dark End of the Street. Written by the great Memphis songwriters Dan Penn and Chips Morman, who wrote many classic songs including Do Right Woman for Aretha, it is a stark song of adultery and regret. I love it. Although it has been covered by many others, including Aretha, Linda Rondstadt and the Flying Burrito Brothers, James Carr makes this song his own. It is worth owning the collection for this alone.
After some success in the 60's, James' career stalled due to alcohol, drugs and later depression. He died of cancer in 2001.
Do your ears a favor, go to Amazon and order the Essential James Carr. You will not be disappointed. It is not available on iTunes, unfortunately.