DAN GREER: Beale Street Soul Man (Kent)


Mississippi’s Dan Greer is one of Southern soul’s forgotten men. Born in rural Holly Springs, he moved to Memphis in the early 50s and immersed himself in the city’s burgeoning soul scene, working with William Bell The Ovations, and Spencer Wiggins. Maybe not that sure of a musical future he went to college and secured a design degree but music still beckoned and back in Memphis he hung out with the Stax and Goldwax crowd and for a time he worked with the late George Jackson as George and Greer. When Jackson decamped to Fame, Dan was poached by Gene Luccchesi of the Sounds Of Memphis Studio who installed him as his A&R director, chief writer and producer… with so many responsibilities it’s hardly surprising that Dan didn’t get to record himself too often. Demos and song templates were what he usually committed to tape though he did release three singles under his own name but with so many other duties they were never promoted.

Ace/Kent have managed to secure the rights to Dan’s work at The Sounds Of Memphis and this 22 tracker pulls together most of his work there. The album reveals a sincere, serious, Southern soul man with a commanding baritone that echoes people like William Bell, James Carr and Joe Simon and the recording quality is high throughout…something you mightn’t expect with demos . Greer, though, was something of a perfectionist and with the Hi rhythm section and the Memphis Symphony Orchestra on hand you’d expect something half decent anyway!

Standouts on the collection include a quartet of quite lovely ballads… ‘How Does It Feel’, ‘It Hurts To Lose At Love’, ‘What Good Is A Man’ and ‘ Any Moment Now’ and a rolling ‘She’s Not Mama’s Little Girl Anymore’ – which became a minor hit for Lou Roberts. Check out too ‘Shell Of A Man’, – a potential modern soul foot-tapper and the Willie Tee-flavoured ‘Natural Reaction’. Dip in anywhere though and enjoy quality – but sadly forgotten Southern soul.

(BB) 3/5