2 LPs on 1 CD: MERCY! (1964)/SEE-SAW (1966).
Contains 23 tracks.
Personnel: The Goodtimers (vocals); Steve Cropper, Billy Butler, Bob Bushnell (guitar); Andrew Love (tenor saxophone); Floyd Newman (baritone saxophone); Dicky Harris (trombone); Booker T. Jones (piano, organ); Horace Ott (piano); Donald "Duck" Dunn (electric bass); Al Jackson, Jr. , Bernard "Pretty" Purdie (drums).
Recording information: New York, NY (1964-1965).
Director: Horace Ott.
Though often overshadowed by higher-profile Southern R&B artists like Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett, Don Covay ranks among the greatest soul singers of the 1960s. In addition to his fantastic voice--light enough to sail through pop melodies, yet gruff enough to shake with gospel fervor--Covay is a superb songwriter. MERCY! and SEE-SAW, two albums from the mid-'60s, feature many of Covay's best songs, and find him at the peak of his form as a vocalist. This Koch two-for-one disc provides the invaluable service of putting these classic soul albums under a single cover.
The music here is irresistible, with its mix of raw, energetic expression and bright, jazzy melodies and arrangements (the way Covay's band sounds both breezy and muscular at once is marvelous). From the sashaying groove of "Mercy, Mercy" to the propulsive back and forth of "See-Saw" (also a sizeable hit for Aretha Franklin), through heart-wrenching ballads ("Precious You") and party-oriented jams ("Come on In"), there is hardly an unsatisfying moment across these 23 tracks. That MERCY!/SEE-SAW is not a comprehensive overview of Covay's career is the only deterrent for newcomers, but otherwise the goods on this brilliant soul singer are right here in one essential package.
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- Have Mercy! The Songs of Don Covay (Various Artists)