GARLAND GREEN: ‘The Best Of Garland Green’ (Label: Kent)

  • Home
  • Reviews
  • GARLAND GREEN: ‘The Best Of Garland Green’ (Label: Kent)
GARLAND GREEN: 'The Best Of Garland Green'

Garland Green – a native of a small, sleepy town called Dunleath, located a few miles down the road from Leland in the Mississippi delta region – broke into the US R&B Top 10 in the late summer of 1969 with a sublime soul 45 entitled ‘Jealous Kind Of Fella.’ Co-penned by Chicago-based Green, the record was co-produced by Joshie ‘Jo’ Armstead with Mike Terry, who issued it on their own independent Gamma label in the Windy City. After the song caused a stir on the local and regional charts, Uni, an MCA imprint, provided distribution on a national level and helped propel the record into the #5 slot on Billboard’s R&B hit parade. Not only that, ‘Jealous Kind Of Fella’ crossed over big time into the Stateside pop charts, peaking at #20. After years of toiling in the shadows on the chitlin’ circuit, it looked like Garland Green had made a significant breakthrough and was poised on the very cusp of stardom. Sadly, that was not to be. As this superlative new 24-track compilation illustrates, Green continued to release a succession of strong 45s between 1969 and 1983 for a succession of labels (Uni, Cotillion, Spring, RCA and Ocean-Front) but was unable to emulate the Top 10 chart feat of ‘Jealous Kind Of Fella.’ But while the classic ‘Jealous Kind Of Fella’ may have eclipsed in terms of sales, chart position and commercial success every other record Green cut, he was patently not a one-trick pony – indeed, a rich seam of quality and cathartic soulfulness runs through every song on this stupendous collection. That’s why Garland Green’s revered as a god by Northern Soul aficionados. While this collection is certainly not comprehensive – for a start it omits Green’s big Northern anthem ‘Bumpin’ and Stompin’ – it’ nevertheless represents a good point of entry to the man’s music. Other gems included here are ‘Ain’t That Good Enough,’ ‘Girl, I Love You,’ ‘Just My Way Of Loving You,’ ‘It Rained Forty Days & Nights’ and the ’80s track, ‘These Arms.’ Informative liner notes by Robert Pruter and Ady Croasdell round out what is unequivocally a splendid musical portrait of the cult Southern Soul man.
(CW) 4/5