Struggle and Salvation
Deep soul music is I guess about expressing the most vivid and intense of emotions. So, at one extreme, you almost expect to absorb the deepest soul music when, well, when you feel as if your head's exploding as you struggle to make sense of the thoughts clouding your brain; the yearning chewing at your insides; the throbbing in your chest; the raw ache in your bones.
So, that was Monday, the Monday after the storms, the day my copy of Lost Friends by Eddie & Ernie arrived. Appropriately enough, for soul doesn't come any deeper, and god I was in a mess. Today I am calmer, almost relaxed, and Eddie & Ernie still make a special sense, and hit the spot.
The spot, yes the spot where when a piece of music touches and connects something crumbles inside and an astonishing relief is felt. Yes, that's the cliché of deep soul, yet Kent has put out a CD that consistently hits that spot.
Eddie & Ernie! Wow! What do you need to know? Two guys with incredible voices, living through dark days, never getting their dues, yet creating some incredibly beautiful works of art through the '60s and early '70s.
Eddie & Ernie! Now you should know their names from Dave Godin's essential Deep Soul Treasures series. Now soul sage Godin has worked wonders in collating some astonishing performances from various stages of the duo's careers, and he has provided the perfect context typically with some insightful words and wisdom.
Kent has really pulled the rabbit out of the hat this time, and has arguably released the best collection in its 20-year history. Whether you like your soul southern fried, northern style, deep or rare, there's something here to make your legs go all wobbly.
I am leaning towards the tracks from the later Phoenix Express sessions, with the painfully sweet 'You Make My Life A Sunny Day', the irresistable 'Bullets Don't Have Eyes', and the joyous rendition of 'Lay Lady Lay' (yet another heartstopping soul version of a Dylan song - did I ever tell you about my dream of hearing Judy Clay singing about St Augustine?).
Tomorrow I will probably be kneeling down, offering up prayers of thanks for the duo's artistry in tackling 'Tell It Like it Is' and for giving the world something as majestic and magnificent as 'Falling Tears (Indian Drums)'. It's almost worth being torn apart for if the healing feels so good.
And this is the first in Kent's new Artistry in Soul series I believe. I can hardly wait for more
© 2002 John Carney