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Retrospect: The Best of Joe South
Joe South
Retrospect: The Best of Joe South
Genres: Country, Folk, Pop, R&B, Rock
  •  Track Listings (16) - Disc #1

Joe South is one of the great unsung singer-songwriters of the late 1960s. His songs have been covered by everyone from Elvis Presley to k.d. lang to Al Green to John Mellencamp. There probably isn't an hour in the day whe...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Joe South
Title: Retrospect: The Best of Joe South
Members Wishing: 6
Total Copies: 0
Label: Koch Records
Release Date: 6/22/1999
Genres: Country, Folk, Pop, R&B, Rock
Styles: Singer-Songwriters, Oldies
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 099923803621

Joe South is one of the great unsung singer-songwriters of the late 1960s. His songs have been covered by everyone from Elvis Presley to k.d. lang to Al Green to John Mellencamp. There probably isn't an hour in the day when one of his compositions isn't playing somewhere on an oldies, country, soul, or easy-listening station--and yet this compilation marks the first time an album of South performing his own tunes has been available in the U.S. since Rhino's 1990 Best of Joe South was deleted. South originally penned two top 20 hits for pal Billy Joe Royal--"Down in the Boondocks" and "I Knew You When" (both here)--before his stint as a session guitarist (on Dylan's Blonde on Blonde and Simon & Garfunkel's "I Am a Rock," among others). His 1968 debut LP, Introspect, was critically hailed and became a commercial smash. South scored two hit singles--"Walk a Mile in My Shoes" and "Games People Play"--before drugs and the suicide of his brother soured things terribly in the early '70s. Novices may be stunned by how much South's rendition of "Hush" sounds like Deep Purple's hit ... and how different his version of "Rose Garden" is from Lynn Anderson's hokey country standard. In South's hands it becomes a true revelation. Retrospect is seven songs shorter than the deleted Rhino title and substitutes an early novelty number ("Purple People Eater") for such faves as "Party People." Nevertheless, it's great to have South's music available again. --Bill Holdship

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CD Reviews

Superb originals from a truly original voice & guitarist
hyperbolium | Earth, USA | 08/10/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)

"As a songwriter South penned hits for such diverse acts as Billy Joe Royal ("Down in the Boondocks"), Deep Purple ("Hush") and Lynn Anderson ("(I Never Promise You a) Rose Garden"), all presented here in South's own voice. "Rose Garden" is a surprising departure, swapping Spectoresque castanets for the hit single's Nashville production.As a producer South helmed 60s hits such as Friend & Lover's "Reach Out in the Darkness," and as a musician he played guitar on seminal sessions with Simon & Garfunkel ("Sounds of Silence"), Aretha Franklin (providing the trademark opening to "Chain of Fools") and Bob Dylan ("Blonde on Blonde").As a performer, he deftly mixed husky, soulful vocals with pop, blues and country influences on 1969's song-of-the-year, "Games People Play," and followed up with, "Walk a Mile in My Shoes," a latter-day concert staple for Elvis. His subsequent recordings failed to top the charts, and he eventually retreated from the music business. His recordings faded from print, yet, as evidenced by this new collection, their power is every bit intact."
Return of lost classics by a great songwriter
hyperbolium | 06/17/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Resurrected from out-of-print obscurity at last! Nobody deserves a comeback more than Joe South. If you don't know who he is but love Sixties soul music, here's a touchstone you'll be glad to have -- the product of a few years when Joe South was one of America's best songwriters, as well as a session guitarist for Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, and a number of soul/R&B performers. The gems in this collection explore idyllic romance ("Birds Of a Feather"), fragile relationships ("I Knew You When," "These Are Not My People," "Untie Me"), and the price we pay when we neglect our souls and our social responsibility ("Children," "Walk a Mile In My Shoes," and perhaps his greatest song, "Games People Play.") The writing's economical, memorable but not bombastic, and the themes are timeless. Joe South's songs have been covered by artists from the Tams to Deep Purple to Lynn Anderson, but he's an expressive, soulful singer in his own right (not "blue-eyed" soul, please, just soul!). The arrangements are mostly classic R&B, with horns and backing vocals, but Joe the arranger also knew how to use strings without making it sappy. This great songwriter walked away from the business, but left behind a treasure chest -- lost when his records went out of print, back now and opened for music lovers. So dig in!"
An absolutely great CD by a tremendous artist.
Joey Loudermilk (jloudermilk@aflac. | Columbus, Georgia | 07/02/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Joe South has to be the most underrated and unappreciated singer and songwriter of my generation. Great lyrics, beautiful instrumentation, captivating voice ... this guy has it all. This man is one of the most talented artists I have ever heard, and deserves to be a household name. "Don't It Make You Want To Go Home?" should be an all-time classic. Perhaps this great CD will rekindle interest in Joe South's extraordinary music. God bless you, Joe South! May your music live forever..."