LATTIMORE BROWN: Nobody Has To Tell Me (Label: Soulscape)

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LATTIMORE BROWN: Nobody Has To Tell Me

The name Lattimore Brown should be a familiar one to soul music anoraks. The Mississippi singer’s ’60s sides for the Nashville-based Sound Stage Seven label are highly collectable items and exchange hands for ridiculous amounts of money. Now, thanks to Garry Cape and his resourceful Soulscape label, Brown’s most coveted records are available for a modest sum on the first ever CD collection profiling the cult soul man’s music. This splendid collection spans a twelve-year period (1965-1977) and represents the most fertile phase in Brown’s storied career. It includes all his Sound Stage Seven 45s as well as a clutch of sides for the Seventy-Seven and Renegade labels. The first thing that will strike most listeners, perhaps, is the high quality of Brown’s releases for Sound Stage Seven – the material’s strong (even though it is occasionally derivative) and Brown’s voice is a powerfully expressive instrument with shades of Otis Redding in his impassioned and soulful delivery. Even so, for a variety of reasons beyond his control, Brown couldn’t buy a hit and his music fell on deaf ears. His records were certainly well-made – some were even recorded at Stax’s famous Memphis studio – and songs like ‘I’m Not Through Lovin’ You,’ the country-tinged ballad ‘I Know I’m Gonna Miss You’ and the strident dancer ‘Little Bag Of Tricks’ should have been hits. But Brown had strong competition, of course, in the shape of another virile and dynamic young Southern Soul man, Otis Redding, who was pacted to a more powerful label, Stax. But the competition didn’t end there – there was Wilson Pickett, Percy Sledge, Eddie Floyd and a whole army of top drawer male singers around at the same time. More significantly, Brown faced stiff competition at his own label from Joe Simon, who was enjoying major chart success. Maybe that’s why Lattimore Brown’s music didn’t get a look in. After leaving Sound Stage Seven in 1969, the singer briefly joined the small Renegade label, where he cut the collectable 45, ‘Sweet Desiree,’ at Rick Hall’s Fame studios. After a quiescent period in the early ’70s, Brown joined Sound Stage Seven founder John Richbourg at a new label, Seventy-Seven, where he cut an LP as well as some singles. A selection of cuts from that phase of Brown’s career also appears on this collection, including the funky ‘Yak-A-Poo.’ After that Brown faded into obscurity and many soul historians actually believed he had died until it was discovered that he had been hospitalised after almost losing his life to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Now, at 78, Lattimore Brown is alive and well (despite being the victim of a brutal armed robbery a couple of years ago) and has begun recording again. There’s also a documentary about his life in the pipeline, which is good news for soul fans. Even better news for collectors, though, is the fact that Lattimore Brown’s vintage recordings are now widely available – so there’s no excuse not to get acquainted with the singer some soul fans call ‘Sir’ Lattimore Brown. For more information on this and other Soulscape CDs go to
(CW) 4/5