James Carr - You Got My Mind Messed Up (1967)

James Carr was an American soul singer.

Born in Mississippi in 1942, James Carr began singing gospel music at an early age. When he was young his family moved to Memphis, where he went on to sing with various gospel groups. When he started to move into secular R&B territory, he was discovered by Roosevelt Jamison (author of "That's How Strong My Love Is"), who recognised Carr's talent and became his manager. With Jamison's help he was signed to a small Memphis record label called Goldwax in 1964 (along with fellow singer O.V. Wright).
His first few singles with Goldwax did not go anywhere, but in 1966 he recorded a song called "You've Got My Mind Messed Up" by O.B. McClinton which made it to #7 on the R&B charts, finally getting his career going, and establishing his distinctive style of deep-voiced, mournful country-soul. It was followed the same year by "Love Attack" (#21) and "Pouring Water On A Drowning Man" (#23). Then came the song for which Penn is best remembered for today - "The Dark End Of The Street", written by the duo of Dan Penn and Chips Moman (the latter having had engineered many of the Goldwax sessions). It was a #10 R&B hit, but it has earned itself a legacy much greater than its original chart position would suggest - simply put, it is one of the most sublime and perfect 60s soul records to be produced, Carr's anguished voice perfectly suited to the lyrics of illicit love. The song has since been recorded by a vast number of artists, but it is Carr's original that remains the definitive version.
The album You Got My Mind Messed Up came out in '67, featuring all four hit singles alongside other similar material (including a further three songs by O.B. McClinton). Retrospectively it has often been called one of the greatest albums of the 60s Southern soul genre.
However Carr's brief run of success was doomed to not last long. He was a troubled man, suffering from bipolar disorder, and it soon became apparent to all around him that he had problems. Roosevelt Jamison became his caretaker as well as his manager, as he almost needed someone with him at all times lest he go missing. His recording sessions became increasingly difficult, and before long these problems would have serious effects on his singing career.

|> A Man Needs A Woman (1968)

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2 comments:

Tomas said...

What a great record! I can't believe I hadn't heard this before. Oh well, better 45 years late than never.

Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

I agree 100% with the above commenter. I'd never even heard of James Carr, and it's really good material. Thanks, john