The Mighty James Carr
“Listen -James Carr – Gonna Send You Back To Georgia – MP3″
I hope all is well on your end.
Things here are good to peachy keen, with lots of groovy sunshine and the Funky16Corners fam settling into a summer routine (of sorts).
A little while back (on Fathers Day) they were having another garage sale over at the Asbury Lanes, and because I heard an old friend was going to be there, unloading some prime 45s, I figured I’d fall by and see what I could find.
So, I get down to Asbury, stroll through the doors and am immediately struck by what can only be described as the dispiriting sight of very few dealers (none of whom were my pal). My first thought was that I was not going to find anything worth my time, and that I had driven all the way to the Lanes for nothing (and on Fathers Day no less). I took a quick look around, and fixed my eyes on a new guy who happened to be sitting next to about a dozen boxes of 45s.
Naturally, that’s where I started.
The 45s were in alphabetical order, and fortunately for me I turned up something interesting in the first handful I pulled out, because I can’t guarantee I would have gone through all those boxes if I hadn’t. Anyway, I pulled three or four cool things out, at which point I turned dolefully to the dealers and asked “How much?”, assuming that he was going to toss back a big fistful of record dealer hoodoo about how “Everything’s different” and “I’ll check them out when you’re through”.
Instead, what I got was “Everything’s a buck!”, at which I responded with an internal (of course) hi-diddly-dee and plowed through the other eleven boxes.
When I was through, I bagged twenty excellent 45s, including a couple of $50+ garage 45s, a number of cool soul and soul jazz things and a few oddball bits of weird pop that were worth taking a one-dollar chance on.
Among the soul 45s were a couple of James Carr numbers I didn’t have (always worth picking up). The one I’m featuring today, is his 1967 ‘Gonna Send You Back To Georgia’.
I get said record home, slap it on the turntable and as soon as the music starts a lightbulb goes on over my head and I realize that I know this song – in a slightly different form – as recorded by the Animals (as ‘I’m Gonna Send You Back To Walker’). My recollection of Carr’s history suggested to me that the gents from Newcastle upon the Tyne weren’t covering him (which was borne out by a little checking), so I figured I ought to get to looking to see what I could turn up.
It turns out that (barring any old timey, delta bluesy source material) ‘Gonna Send You Back To Georgia’ was initially recorded in 1963 under the title ‘City Slick’ by a singer named Timmy Shaw. Shaw rerecorded the song as ‘Gonna Send You Back To Georgia’ for the Wand label in 1964. Shaw had co-written the tune (under his real name Jake Hammonds Jr.) with Detroit singer, songwriter and producer Johnnie Mae Matthews. The Animals heard, and covered the song as ‘Gonna Send You Back To Walker’ later in 1964.
James Carr – the mightiest of the southern soul masters – recorded ‘Gonna Send You Back to Georgia’ in 1967 for Goldwax.
Carr’s version is a solid slice of soul with a pumping bass line, organ, femme backing vocals and (after the first verse) horns. Those that are used to hearing Carr’s deep ballad performances might be surprised to hear him tear into the song, his tenor at times being wound up into a scream. The end result is a powerful soul dancer and further evidence of Carr’s greatness.
I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll be back on Friday with some funk.