Arthur Alexander: ‘Lonely Just Like Me: The Final Chapter’ (Label: Hacktone)

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Arthur Alexander: 'Lonely Just Like Me: The Final Chapter'

After experiencing many disappointments in the music business, in the 1980s US singer/songwriter Arthur Alexander – whose seminal early ’60s songs ‘Anna (Go To Him)’ and ‘You Better Move On’ were recorded by The Beatles & Rolling Stones respectively – decided to call time on his singing career and got a job as a bus driver. However, A&R staff at Elektra/Nonesuch persuaded the singer to come out of retirement in 1991 and record a keenly anticipated comeback album called ‘Lonely Just Like Me,’ which was released in 1993. But just as it seemed the fates were being kind to the man from the town of Florence, Alabama, tragedy struck – a few weeks after the album’s release, the singer died suddenly of a heart attack while on a promotional tour. Sadly, as a consequence of this, the album also died and faded away despite positive reviews in publications like Rolling Stone. Happily, since his death 15 years ago, Alexander’s profile has been increased by several notable reissues resulting in him receiving belated recognition as a true pioneer of country-soul. Now thanks to Hacktone Records, Alexander’s valedictory opus for Elektra is granted a reissue – and a fabulous package it is, too, featuring an hour’s worth of extra music (including 8 live tracks from ’93, 4 demo tracks recorded in a hotel room in ’91 and a live version of his classic 1962 song ‘Anna’ recorded at New York’s famous Bottom Line club the same year). Not only that, but the packaging is superlative – there are replica photos from the original session, loads of absorbing liner note commentary to plough through and even a miniature reproduction of the man’s funeral service booklet. But what about the music? Well, those who are aficionados of country-infused soul will lap up this Nashville-recorded session – especially when they realise that Muscle Shoals’ luminaries like Spooner Oldham, Donny Fritts, and Dan Penn are among those providing the instrumental accompaniment. Alexander, whose voice sounds fabulous even though he’d been away from the music business for over a decade at the time, has a hand in all 12 songs on the original album, with the upbeat ‘There Is A Road,’ the plaintive ‘In The Middle Of It All’ and a revamp of his old tune, ‘Go Home Girl,’ being the immediate standouts. A marvellous musical monument to one of soul’s unsung heroes.
(CW) 4/5