A Timely Intervention
I was not going to bother with this. It seemed too obvious for Tangents to focus on the merits of another edition of Dave Godinís Deep Soul Treasures. Itís seven years since the first volume was taken from the vaults, and a lot has happened since then. The series seems so well respected that I thought it would be completely unnecessary to even draw your attention to the fourth volume. But why not?

Dave Godin remains the great soul scholar, selectively sharing special moments of extraordinary soul music from his august archives. In the sleevenotes of his first collection he wisely said that context is everything. The liner notes of this set aver that ďif there is one element shared in all music which I classify as Deep Soul, it is a latent and subliminal element of threatĒ.

And itís that statement that pushed me into writing this. I love that idea: the sense of some undefined threat. Heís right. Itís there in all the best art. I was watching Paris Texas the other night, and how can you fail to be moved by the part where Harry Dean Stanton starts to tell the story of Travis and Jane. There too is the sense of threat, and what can happen when you love too much.

The highlight of this set is the extraordinary 'I Donít Care Anymore' by Doris Duke. Itís a movie, a Joyce Carol Oates novel, and so much more in just over three minutes. Itís another cut from the mythical Iím A Loser set which Dave Godin continues to refer to as his favourite ever record. Someone surely needs to put us out of our misery and salvage this set. But this performance here is extraordinary. And, yes, even better than Luluís version on her southern soul set Melody Fair, which again is overripe for re-release.

Doris Duke is one of the names that recur throughout this Deep Soul series. The other highlight of this set is from fellow regulars, The Knight Brothers, who contribute the exceptional 'Temptation ĎBout To Get Me' ≠ a masterpiece of dramatic soul music. Ironically RPM have just put together a terrific Knight Brothers collection, which is pleasantly cheap and highly recommended.

In fact these are blessed times for those of us who like their soul music to be on the heartbreakingly, emotion-drenched side. Our friends at Honest Jons have treated us to a Bettye Swann country soul set to complement perfectly the Candi Staton one from the start of the year. And we must credit Will Bankhead for providing perfect consistency with the packaging. I love that sort of thing. Itís why the Dave Godin Deep Soul series works so well. They look like they belong. Itís why the Abacus series of Geoff Dyer titles is worth having. Attention to detail and context is so important.

The Bettye Swann recordings are collected from her country-flavoured recordings for Capitol at the end of the Ď60s. Theyíre gorgeous, and will provide the perfect tonic if youíve been suffering from those ďI just wasnít made for these timesĒ feelings of unease so many of us have somehow now. And they in turn perfectly complement Kentís collection of Bettye Swannís Money recordings from a few years earlier. If youíve not had the pleasure of having the soothing sounds of her exceptional 'Make Me Yours' stir your jaded soul then you have a treat in store.

I had given up hoping there would be a fourth volume of Dave Godinís Deep Soul series. I wasnít even sure there needed to be. But now itís here it seems perfect. We now have a round one hundred treasures from those most hallowed of archives. And it serves to remind us of the massive contribution Godin has made to popular culture in this country for more than 40 years. The fact that his Tamla Motown Appreciation Society was based down the road here in Bexleyheath provides a special poignancy. The names Godin and Bexleyheath have a different resonance for me personally, but I guess you donít want to hear about play schools and teachers.

Sorry Iím rambling. I think what Iím trying to say is that this extraordinary music that Dave Godin shares with us possesses a sense of purpose that is probably coincidental but which so many years on gives our own lives meaning when so much seems shallow and self-serving and all about self-aggrandisement rather than self-expression.

Iím listening to the amazing Doris Duke version of 'I Donít Care Anymore', and Iím wondering if thatís true or not. I donít think it is. But please if anyone, anyone, anyone has a copy of that Iím A Loser LP I would so love to hear it.

© 2004 John Carney

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