Colin Dilnot’s liner notes from the Kent Records 2003 release of James Carr’s A Man Needs a Woman. Nice job describing the session – draws from a variety of sources, including my 2001 interview with Chips.
Is it possible that fate and chance, time and place can all combine to make a piece of music that continues to mesmerise us until today? One such meeting of fate, chance, time and place was the recording of James Carr’s “Dark End Of The Street” on Goldwax in the fall of 1966.
The song was a product of a multi-ethnic mix, which had been sown in the soil of Memphis and washed up on the banks of the Mississippi over several generations. It was the coming together of a disparate group of people – James Carr the son of a preacher, Quinton Claunch a businessman and record producer, Chips Moman a Georgian guitar player and Dan Penn a singer/song-writer from Vernon Alabama and several other players. The song was recorded at a time when Memphis was on the verge of disintegration because of the issues, which ran out of years of a segregated black population. The place of the recording was the only time Goldwax ever recorded there – the Royal Recording Studios, which also came about by chance.
I’ve tried to piece together the events, which produced what most people would agree was the archetypal soul record and demonstrate that sometimes the fates conspire to bring about the best creations.