Voices of Americana : Joe Medwick
The tracks here date from the mid- to late-'60s, after Teddy Reynolds had left Houston for California. The pianist here, although uncertain, is in all likelihood Willard "Piano Slim" Burton. Though a little sloppy, I think they rate as some of the very finest deep soul recorded anywhere. Medwick's gospel background (and affinity for Sam Cooke) shines through on sanctified numbers like "I Come A Long Ways" and "When A Boy Becomes A Man".
James Brown's "Outta Sight", which the Godfather of Soul later credited with being the catalyst for the funk movement, here is given a creditable Medwick treatment. Other covers, like Robert Parker's "Barefootin'" (see note - ed.) also are safe in Medwick's hands. As surprising a cover as is the one of Hank Williams "Wedding Bells", it is not half so astonishing as the one of "A Poem As Lovely As A Tree", which sounds as if it was ripped from the Barbra Streisand songbook. Rockers like "Brought Down", "After Hour Man", and "Somebody Tell Me Where" balance out this tender tune, while "Your Sweet Love" and "When A Boy Becomes A Man" rank as some of the best slow-simmering Southern soul to have ever wafted out of Dixie.
Editor’s note: “Barefootin’” and “Fat Man” were released as the A- and B-side of a Pye International single in the UK in 1966 (pictured in this booklet), credited to ‘T.V. and the Tribesmen’, and apparently licensed via Hanna-Barbera, of all people! The record lost out in the UK chart stakes to the Island Records release of Robert Parker’s own version.