Lattimore Brown “Nobody Has To Tell Me” (Soulscape SSCS 7018)
By Kev Briscoe
I’m Not Through Lovin’ You; I’ve Got Everything (My Baby Needs); I Know I’m Gonna Miss You; Little Bag Of Tricks; It’s Such A Sad, Sad World; Shake And Vibrate; Cruise On, Fanny (Cruise On); Nobody Has To Tell Me (You Were Meant For Me); It’s Gonna Take A Little Time; Please, Please, Please; Otis Is Gone (Parts 1&2); So Says My Heart; Every Day I Have To Cry Some; Don’t Trust No One; Bless Your Heart (I Love You); Boo Ga Lu Sue; It Hurts Me So Bad; I Wish I Felt This Way At Home; Yak-A-Poo; Sweet Desiree; I Will.
If Lattimore Brown, who tragically passed away last year, had only left us his recordings he would have enjoyed a place as one of Southern Souls great, if somewhat under appreciated singers.
However, the quite extraordinary circumstances of his apparent ‘death’ and subsequent resurrection have elevated him to ‘cult’ status. The full story can be found on Red Kelly's excellent blog here and I urge any one unfamiliar with his remarkable story to read it.
This admirable compilation brings together all of his seven Sound Stage 7 singles and his two releases for Renegade. On the CD the Sound Stage 7 recordings are programmed sequentially as they were originally released, which highlights what a consistent output it was.
His first outing for the label was “I’m Not Through Lovin’ You” and boy did he hit the ground running! Recorded at Stax with the resultant production quality you would expect Lattimore really gives it his all and delivers superbly. The other side, “I’ve Got Everything (My Baby Needs)” ups the tempo with another assured vocal performance.
His second 45, “I Know I’m Gonna Miss You” finds him in Nashville and duetting with Roscoe Shelton and is another ballad of the first degree. Once again it was coupled with a faster track; “Little Bag Of Tricks” showing he could have competed with any of his contemporaries in this idiom if only the material had been made available.
His third release adds Sam Baker to the mix joining Shelton once again to deliver the beautifully harmonised “It’s Such A Sad, Sad World”. It’s a shame that these three didn’t record together more often. As was becoming customary the ’B’ side raises the tempo with the frantic “Shake And Vibrate” allowing Robinson to let rip and give James Brown a run for his money!
As was becoming the norm with Richbourg the next recordings were once again handled by the AGP studios back in Memphis. The fourth release finds the up tempo track promoted to the ‘A’ side and “Cruise On, Fanny (Cruise On)” could have quite easily been recorded by Pickett himself. This naturally meant that the other side just had to be a ballad and what a beauty it was. “Nobody Has To Tell Me (You Were Meant For Me)” credits Dan Penn with the arrangement and what a first class job he does, even if he ‘borrows’ from ‘Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen’!
The mid paced “It’s Gonna Take A Little Time” continued the run of excellent releases and is a beautifully understated slice of Country Soul. The other side finds Lattimore giving his own take on James Brown’s “Please, Please, Please” and doing it quite well.
The tragic death of Otis Redding resulted in several ‘tribute songs and Lattimore heartfelt “Otis Is Gone (Parts 1&2)” is as good as any there was.
The final Sound Stage 7 release coupled “So Says My Heart” with his version of “Every Day I Have To Cry Some”. As with previous six 45’s the production and vocals are faultless, it’s just a pity that a chart ‘hit’ could have been realised.
Several years after he had left Richbourg an album, ‘This Is Lattimore’s World”, was released. Four tracks are included on this compilation and all are worthy of the inclusion. “Don’t Trust No One” was recorded at Stax alongside his first Sound Stage 7 release and the house band drives it along in fine style. My particulate favourite is “Bless Your Heart (I Love You)” which finds certain Clifford Curry co writing with Lattimore. Curry is again credited on the storming “Boo Ga Lu Sue” which sounds much better than the title suggests! The final track album track is “It Hurts Me So Bad” and is another up tempo recording which Lattimore handles in his customary easy style.
The last four tracks on the CD are from one of those little known treasures of early seventies Memphis, the Renegade label. John has covered several fine recordings by other artist on the main site and all are worth checking out. You can read about Lee Martell here and Jimmie Baker here.
All four tracks were recorded at FAME and two are the stunning ballads “I Wish I Felt This Way At Home” and “I Will” which are up there not only as the best of Lattimore’s best work but also from that studio at that time.
These tracks have been sadly neglected by Southern Soul fans and it was a fine way to end another excellent Soulscape compilation for one of Soul music’s true underground heroes.