You probably know Arthur Alexander for his songwriting – such as “You Better Move On” which the Rolling Stones recorded in 1963, or “Go On Home” which Ry Cooder released on his 1979 album Bop Till You Drop (and is included here). But Alexander’s solo work can stand with the R+B titans of his era, and it’s a true shame that more folks aren’t aware of his soulful voice and commanding presence.
But hopefully this reissue of his 1972 self-titled album can go a ways in reversing that. Recorded in Nashville with the crème of Memphis musicians such as Eddie Hinton and Reggie Young on guitars, Kenny Malone on drums and Bobby Emmons on keyboards and produced by songwriter and bassist Tommy Cogbill, the album is an aural blessing for the ears. Starting with “I’m Comin’ Home”, Alexander’s smooth vocals and easy delivery show why he was an early member of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame – born in Florence, AL, he sounds like Muscle Shoals to his bones. The original release included 4 songs written by Nashville songwriter Dennis Linde, including “Burning Love” which some guy named Presley took up the charts. The great song “Rainbow Road” by Donnie Fritts and Dan Penn showcases Alexander’s style here, and it’s a true classic of the Southern Soul genre.
This reissue adds 6 bonus cuts, including “Lover Please” by Billy Swan and “Mr. John” by Alexander and Thomas Cain. Arthur Alexander died in 1993, before he got to witness a tribute album dedicated to his work entitled Adios Amigo: A Tribute to Arthur Alexander featuring Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, John Prine and others. Alexander was a quiet giant on the soul music scene, and hopefully he’ll get his due with this fine, fine work.