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Archive for November 13th, 2014

Ace Super Soul Round-Up, Part One: Wayne Cochran, Arthur Prysock, and More “When Country Meets Soul”

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Wayne Cochran - MiamiWelcome to Part One of our two-part look at some of the most exciting soul and R&B reissues to have recently arrived from the Ace and Kent labels!

Wayne Cochran was known as “The White Knight of Soul,” for his outrageous onstage attire and white pompadour.  But underneath all the glamour of his showbiz persona, Cochran was a commanding soul vocalist.  With Goin’ Back to Miami: The Soul Sides 1965-1970, Ace aims to showcase Wayne Cochran, the singer.  This 2-CD, 38-track set collects recordings for the King, Mercury and Chess labels during the five-year period in which Cochran immersed himself in true R&B.  As Alec Palao explains in his introduction to the thick, 28-page booklet, “He came on as a novelty [at venues such as The Apollo] and left as a fully-fledged blue-eyed soul brother.”  Much of the rest of the booklet is filled with Cochran’s own illuminating recollections of his pop life; today, he’s a minister in Florida.

Inspired by his friend James Brown, Cochran’s approach was full-throttle in every respect.  He made his debut on King in 1963, just a year before he would score his biggest success as a songwriter with J. Frank Wilson (and later, Pearl Jam)’s “Last Kiss.”  He was encouraged to take his music in a harder-hitting direction by King labelmate Brown as evidenced by his recording of “Think” included here.  He next moved to the small Soft label and then to Mercury during the period in which his club shows with the C.C. Riders really set his live work skyrocketing.   Philadelphia’s Jerry Ross produced Cochran’s “Goin’ Back to Miami” in 1966, name-checking the city in which he’s lived since 1964.  After Mercury had failed to set his chart career ablaze (despite fine work from Ross and his frequent arranger Joe Renzetti, and others), Cochran moved to Chess, where he recorded at Muscle Shoal’s Fame Studios.  He returned to King in 1969 where plans were afoot for a live album.  Though The Wayne Cochran Show LP (cut “live in the studio,” not actually “live”) never materialized, Ace has included it in full on the second disc of this collection.  With Cochran’s interpretations of songs made famous by Otis Redding, Sly and the Family Stone, Sam and Dave and The Temptations, it’s a time capsule to the heyday of Cochran’s trademark “Vegas soul.”  Cochran ended his recording career in the 1970s at Epic, also bringing his live work to a close late in that decade.  He started a ministry in the early 1980s, where he happily remains ensconced today.  But Goin’ Back to Miami is a fine appreciation of his towering, often underrated vocal talents, equal parts showbiz and passion.  The set has been remastered by Nick Robbins.

After the jump, we’re taking a look at music from Arthur Prysock and the When Country Meets Soul series! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 13, 2014 at 10:20