Anna King – Back To Soul (1964)

Anna King - Back To Soul (1964)
Artist: Anna King
Album: Back To Soul
Genre: Soul
Origin: USA
Released: 1964
Quality: mp3, 256 kbps

Tracklist:
01 – Make Up Your Mind (2:16)
02 – Come On Home (2:43)
03 – Sittin’ In The Dark (2:12)
04 – That’s When I Cry (2:14)
05 – I Found You (2:23)
06 – I Don’t Want To Cry (2:32)
07 – If Somebody Told You (2:54)
08 – Night Times Is The Right Time (3:16)
09 – Tennessee Waltz (3:01)
10 – Come And Get These Memories (2:25)
11 – If You Don’t Think (1:58)
12 – Baby Baby Baby [feat. Bobby Byrd] (2:32)

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Anna King’s only album is notable not so much for her vocals (though they’re good) as the involvement of James Brown as producer; Brown (usually under pseudonyms) also wrote some of the material. King was a part of Brown’s touring show at the time these tracks were recorded in 1963 and 1964, and unsurprisingly the sound is very similar to the kind of stuff her producer was doing in the early ’60s before his leap into funk: hard, bluesy R&B-proto-soul, with tight band arrangements including horns and organ. A few covers of outside material are thrown in (Martha & the Vandellas’ “Come and Get These Memories,” Chuck Jackson’s “I Don’t Want to Cry”), but overall it sounds a little like a James Brown session with a different singer. Unkindly, some might listen to this and wonder how much better it could have sounded if Brown had done the singing, and it’s also evident that while the songs are sturdy enough, J.B. was holding onto the real killers for himself. That would be doing the record a bit of a disservice, however, because King’s vocals are acceptably gritty and powerful. The songs are solid, if not on the killer level of something like “Out of Sight,” with Brown’s up-tempo “If You Don’t Think” being a particular standout owing to its sharp bluesy guitar lines and dramatic horn punctuations. Also on the record is her hit duet with Bobby Byrd, “Baby Baby Baby.” It’s unfortunate King wasn’t able to record much more material to speak of with Brown or anyone else, but this is a good one-shot early soul LP, and recommended to general James Brown fans for its accurate reflection of his instrumental sound circa 1963-1964.
Review by Richie Unterberger

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