Following the sudden massive success the young Box Tops had experienced with "The Letter" in 1967, Bell Records were keen to get another hit out of them. By 1968 original members John Evans and Danny Smythe had left, to be replaced by Rick Allen (keyboards) and Thomas Boggs (drums). Their producer Dan Penn quickly wrote a song for them with his writing partner Spooner Oldham - "Cry Like A Baby" was the perfect vehicle to showcase lead singer Alex Chilton's gritty vocals, and also featured electric sitar played by session guitarist Reggie Young. It was the big hit Bell had been wanting, getting to #2.
Another album was quickly put together to follow in its wake. Like their debut, it was an interesting mix of rock, pop and blue-eyed soul sounds. Also like the debut, it featured various session musicians and was maybe more a product of the American Sound Studio than the band's own artistic vision. Nevertheless, it came out as another excellent collection of songs, featuring several more by Penn and Oldham, a couple by Mickey Newbury, and a version of "You Keep Me Hanging On" which was pretty much a perfect copy of the Vanilla Fudge arrangement from the previous year.
The Letter / Neon Rainbow (1967) <|> Non-Stop (1968)
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