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Joe South: Introspect

Album Notes

Joe South's debut LP was deleted almost too quickly for most listeners to find it, much less hear it. Now regarded as a country-soul classic (and, perhaps, the first country-soul album), Introspect anticipated the sound that Elvis Presley and Tony Joe White would both bring to the fore in the following year, except that it was even more ambitious than Presley or White, mixing and bending genres in new and exciting ways. Country, Eastern raga, gutbucket soul, and pop all brush up against each other within the same songs, some of which sound like Elvis singing with a backing band that included James Burton and Ravi Shankar. And thanks to South's use of various electronic devices in association with the considerable virtuosity in the playing, and his exceptional singing, this is still a bracing album four decades later. "Games People Play" was the hit off the record, and literally overwhelmed the album (which was pulled, reshuffled, and reissued as Games People Play the following year). But also worth hearing are "Birds of a Feather," "Rose Garden" (which would become a huge hit for Lynn Anderson three years later), "All My Hard Times," and "Mirror of Your Mind," along with most of what's here. ~ Bruce Eder



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