What It Is! Funky Soul And Rare Grooves (1967-1977) and loved it. And why not, for the musically adventurous, What it Is! compiled songs only the most devoted collectors of the genre knew about and featured excellent track by track notes, cool packaging, a vinyl edition, and the always tasteful sequencing that fans have come to expect from Rhino Records. Thats why I bought it even though I had a good 50% of the songs on the box. You never know what you might find in the other 50%. I found Tami Lynn and her 1972 album, Love is Here and Now You're Gone. Toward the end of Disc 3 on What it Is! resides the Tami Lynn track, Mojo Hannah. The notes let you know that Mojo was a 1971 rerecord of a of track she did for a New Orleans label 8 years prior, and that she had a hit in England in '71 with I'm gonna Run Away From You, that led her US label, ATCO to Release Love is Here and Now You're Gone. If you stopped right there you'd be fine, the '71 version of Mojo Hannah (a tune rightly associated with New Orleans- Tami's hometown- but penned by Andre Williams and originally cut by Motown artist, Henry Lumpkin and many others), is an uptempo B3 and horn driven funk burner that fits the vibe of the What It is! Box Set perfectly. O.K. onto disc 4.
Not so fast, if you dig a little and pick up the Love Is Here and Now You're Gone album you will find a whole lot more than a killer compilation cut. You'll discover an absolute monster deep soul album and a tale of record biz genius and folly. The folly is that no one could parlay a unique voice, a killer album, talent and chops into a sensation. The genius came from her discoverer (Jerry Wexler), the producer (Wardell Quezergue-the highly underrated and prolific New Orleans music cat) , the session band (recorded at Malaco in Jackson,MS)and Tami Lynn.
I'm Gonna Run Away From You
Side one of Love is Here..,is a suite of tunes that tell the story of a love affair in almost southern gothic fashion. The songs come from sources as diverse as Allen Toussaint, Holland,Dozier ,Holland, and Loretta Lynn and our linked (as was the style of the day) by monologues. The tempos are very slow and build up to my favorite track, That's Understanding; a "Mr.Big Stuff"-style tune that surges (or is it escalates) along to a symphonic, horn blasting, almost rock crescendo, with Tami's voice a perfect fit for every arrangement. Loud, soft,confident,vulnerable it's all in there..and that's just side 1.
Side 2 is a bit of a letdown as the record company tries to shoe horn rerecordings of her earlier British hit and prior regional successes into the mix, but tunes like One Night of Sin and Tami's voice pull the side through. It is a damn shame this album didn't make it big, but I'm glad I've found it and I hope the What it is! box leads some more folks to it. From a very early age Tami Lynn was a singer. Brought up in New Orleans, she had a long career as an in demand session vocalist, including work with the Rolling Stones for the Exile on Main Street sessions. For her (and most folks) that would be enough, but on top of a lifetime in music, she went ahead and cut one of the most beautiful southern soul LP's ever waxed. Understand that!
Wings Upon You Horns
I've posted on Tami Lynn before. She cut one brilliant Southern Soul LP produced mainly by Wardell Quezergue (a NOLA soul master rivaling the great Allen Toussaint). One of the great things about Tami's record is the song suite on side one, that ties diverse songs together with monologues that were style of the day. I didn't know the second track, Wings Upon Your Horn, was a Loretta Lynn tune, but now that I do know it makes a whole lot of sense. Southern Soul and Country music have a lot in common, even though this weeper gets 2 very different readings.Check out the cheatin' intrigue and heartache from these Lynns...no relation.