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The coal man of soul.

February 22, 2013 Leave a comment

mackrice_coalman_fr_1Long absence, I realize – life is busy!  Plus, frankly, you can hear just about everything on the internet these days – the last two years have been great for rare soul tracks going up on iTunes, which with its low cost of entry, really enables the long LONG tail of 45rpm music to finally go back into legitimate print.  That should make any music enthusiast happy.

This track is unaccountably absent on both iTunes and wider internet, so let’s see if we can’t rectify that, at least temporarily.  Mack Rice wrote a lot of famous songs (Mustang Sally, anyone?) for other artists, but did not achieve the level of success he richly deserved for his solo career.  “Coal Man” was done for Atlantic when his former colleague in the Falcons, Wilson Pickett, was having his highest level of success – wonder if a favor was called in, as Discogs doesn’t seem to indicate any subsequent issues on Atco until 1976.  The track was allegedly recorded at American Studios, always a plus in my book.  The arrangement is very much in the vein of “Mustang Sally” but seemingly filtered via the Sam & Dave.

I won’t say it’s as ridiculously funky as his subsenquent “Three People In Love” for Capitol – but you can decide for yourself, as that track is available in astonishing quality on iTunes for a buck twenty-nine.  (I mean, seriously, how great is that??!)

The track is taken from a French single with the picture cover at right; I found it in a thrift store somewhere for a song.  “Terrible” seems to be a series of soul singles, not any judgement on quality, but it makes me wonder if someone over there was a fan of Roy Redmond’s “Ain’t That Terrible” – an apt theme song for any properly stomping series of soul tracks.

Unfortunately the transfer quality isn’t as good with the French mastering as it might be with a US press (those Atlantic cutting engineers knew how to make a track really sing, try comparing Otis Redding’s “Hard to Handle” US press with its foreign counterparts sometime), but it’s very clean, and seemingly you won’t find it anywhere else…catch it here before someone gets the idea to put it in a beer commercial (it’d work!).

[audio http://www.divshare.com/direct/23767158-acc.mp3]

Coal Man

PS: if you haven’t read the book on the Memphis Boys, it’s filled with interesting information on the legendary studio group and its underrated output.  It seems to be out in paperback now, and is available used under $20 at Amazon.

Categories: Funky