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CD REVIEW

Arthur Alexander: Arthur Alexander

by John Adamian on October 06, 2017
When this record was originally released in 1972, Arthur Alexander already had some significant success—big artists like The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Dusty Springfield and George Jones had covered his songs in the ‘60s—but since then, he’d mostly vanished. Alexander, who came from the musically fertile Muscle Shoals area of Northern Alabama, had been steeped in soul, blues and country. Warner Brothers Records signed him in 1971, in hopes of a hit in the R&B market, but the label—and radio stations—didn’t quite know what to do with Alexander’s sensitive country-tinged sound. His style has more in common with Aaron Neville, Percy Sledge, Dobie Gray or even Bobbie Gentry, but one can hear a connection to the mellower side of Otis Redding as well. Alexander was always more plaintive than funky. His phrasing was stilted at times, but his singing was always tender. This record, which was conceived as a kind of comeback for Alexander, was recorded in Nashville, Tenn., with a number of session players from Memphis. Of the original 12 tracks, Alexander wrote or cowrote five, and just-emerging country writer Dennis Linde wrote four, with others contributing as well. This deluxe reissue includes an additional six bonus tracks, along with new liner notes and the originals both by Barry Hansen (Dr. Demento). There are story songs, like the music-biz saga of “Rainbow Road” and the stolen love heartache of “Go on Home Girl,” as well as the slow-burn religious fervor of “Thank God He Came.” Alexander died in 1993 at the age of 53, after moving his family to Cleveland, Ohio where he worked as a bus driver and janitor and found solace in religion. A month prior, he’d released the album Lonely Just Like Me via Elektra/Nonesuch.
Authors: John Adamian
Artist: Arthur Alexander
Album: Arthur Alexander
Label: Omnivore

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