Various Artists September 10 2008

More Dirty Laundry: The Soul of Black Country

The fully loaded first volume of Trikont Records’ Dirty Laundry: The Soul of Black Country simply proved what a lot of us already knew – the line between black music and country music is thin, and that’s a good thing. While most hardcore fans of true country soul may have most of the tracks on More Dirty Laundry, the compilation provides a great starting point for new fans, and a convenient gathering of some serious gems. Ranging from close renditions of the original cuts (Joe Tex’s straightforward “King of the Road”) to almost novelty tunes (Sammy Davis Jr.’s surreal “Smoke Smoke Smoke”), the spectrum is broad and almost always impressive. Most artists put their signature on the songs (Ruth Brown’s stunning “Tennessee Waltz”). And with R&B royalty such as Solomon Burke, James Brown and Arthur Alexander on board, you can’t go wrong. Ray Charles laid the groundwork with Modern Sounds, and he would be proud. 5 stars