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Lonely Just Like Me: The Final Chapter
     

Lonely Just Like Me: The Final Chapter

by Arthur Alexander
 
In his heyday, pioneering country-soul artist Arthur Alexander made a deep impression on both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, who covered his songs "Anna" and "You Better Move On," respectively, early in their careers. Retired from the music business and driving a bus in Cleveland, he was rediscovered and signed to Nonesuch Records, for which he cut Lonely Just

Overview

In his heyday, pioneering country-soul artist Arthur Alexander made a deep impression on both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, who covered his songs "Anna" and "You Better Move On," respectively, early in their careers. Retired from the music business and driving a bus in Cleveland, he was rediscovered and signed to Nonesuch Records, for which he cut Lonely Just Like Me in 1993. Alexander wasn't around long to appreciate the renewed interest in his work, as he died of a heart attack later that year. Ben Vaughn, who was instrumental in reigniting Alexander's career, has assembled this tribute to a fallen visionary, reprising the original Nonesuch album and adding a live performance by Alexander on the NPR program Fresh Air, along with the original stark guitar-and-vocal demos the two made prior to the Nonesuch sessions, plus a live cut from a songwriter's night at New York's late, lamented Bottom Line nightclub. Muscle Shoals/Memphis studio stalwarts Dan Penn, Reggie Young, and Donnie Fritts, among others, back Alexander on the album sessions and strike the old, alluring, lilting groove as if 1960 had never ended. Alexander's voice is weathered and less elastic than in his younger years, but the very lack of color in it renders his bittersweet lyrics even more piercing; and in his blues-tinged phrasing you can still hear where young Mick Jagger copped some stylistic benchmarks of his own. The Alexander standards are here -- "Anna," "You Better Move On," "Every Day I Have to Cry," "Go Home Girl" -- as well as a beautiful invitation to love, "There Is a Road." His non-didactic testimony of personal faith, "I Believe in Miracles," features a stirring gospel organ humming in the background and an angelic chorus lending vocal support. Even if it's not vintage Alexander, it's still a moving, life-affirming communiqué from an underappreciated master of southern soul.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
Arthur Alexander had been forgotten by nearly everyone short of hardcore fans of Southern soul when he was lured away from his day job as a school bus driver in Cleveland to cut a new album as part of Elektra Records' American Explorer series, and 1993's Lonely Just Like Me was a potent reminder of Alexander's estimable gifts as a vocalist and a songwriter. However, Alexander died of a heart attack at the age of 51 just weeks after the album was released, and while the story of his short-lived comeback brought him back to the attention of music fans (and prompted long-overdue reissues of his classic sides of the '60s and '70s), the album that brought him back to the spotlight didn't fare so well. With no artist to promote the album, Lonely Just Like Me promptly disappeared, and Alexander's valedictory effort seemed doomed to obscurity. However, the collectors at Hacktone Records have given his final recordings a second chance in the marketplace, and Lonely Just Like Me: The Final Chapter is a splendid expansion of what was already a wonderful album. This disc includes the dozen songs from the album in remastered and resequenced form (the new running order is meant to conform more closely to the original intentions of Alexander and producer Ben Vaughn), as well as an appearance by Alexander on NPR's Fresh Air, four songs recorded in a Cleveland hotel room while Alexander and Vaughn were working out material for the recording sessions, and Alexander singing his 1962 hit "Anna" at New York City's Bottom Line in 1991 (this was the performance that prompted Elektra Records to give him a new record deal). While it might sound as if Hacktone has cluttered this disc with odds and ends, what's startling is how committed and compelling Alexander sounds regardless of the circumstances, whether he's singing an old Neil Diamond tune into a cassette machine or recording superb new compositions for his major-label comeback. There's a heartbreaking emotional honesty in his best songs, and he sang them with a voice that melded churchy grace with gritty home truths, and even though he'd been away from professional music making for close to a decade and a half when he cut this music, it's as moving and timeless as anything he ever recorded. Songs as good as "In the Middle of It All," "If It's Really Got to Be This Way" and "All the Time" only come around once in a lifetime, and thankfully, Alexander was given one last chance to share them with Lonely Just Like Me; this new edition only improves an overlooked classic anyone with an ear for vintage R&B will cherish.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/09/2007
Label:
HACKTONE RECORDS
UPC:
0081227997052
catalogNumber:
271932

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Arthur Alexander   Primary Artist
Ashley Cleveland   Vocals,Background Vocals
Ben Vaughn   Acoustic Guitar,Rhythm Guitar,Tambourine
Donnie Fritts   Percussion,Piano,Maracas,Electric Piano,Claves
Dan Penn   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals
Thomas Cain   Organ,Percussion,Piano,Electric Piano,Tambourine,Vocals,Background Vocals,cowbell
Gene Chrisman   Drums
Bobby Jay   Guitar
Mike Leech   Bass,Bass Guitar
Nashville String Machine   Strings
Gary Nicholson   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Background Vocals
Spooner Oldham   Organ,Piano,Background Vocals
Jim Spake   Saxophone
Tommy Spurlock   Pedal Steel Guitar
Jon Tiven   Acoustic Guitar
Reggie Young   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Mike Vogelmann   Bass,Bass Guitar
Seth Baer   Drums
Bobby Jay and the Hawks   Guitar
Gary Nicholoson   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar

Technical Credits

Ben Vaughn   Producer,Engineer,Liner Notes,Audio Production
Thomas Cain   Arranger,Producer,Liner Notes,Audio Production,Advisor
Donivan Cowart   Engineer
Dave Durocher   Advisor
Carl Gorodetzky   Director
Dan Kahn   Executive Producer
Dave Kapp   Advisor
Mike Leech   String Arrangements
Danny Miller   Producer,Audio Production,Advisor
Nashville String Machine   String Arrangements
Ben Sandmel   Liner Notes
Jon Tiven   Advisor
Marc Silverman   Advisor
David Gorman   Package Concept
Joyce Lieberman   Engineer
Chris Morris   Contributor,Advisor
Joel Newman   Advisor
Dutch Cramblitt   Advisor
David Orleans   Contributor,Advisor
Amy Salit   Producer,Audio Production
Kyle Staggs   Contributor,Advisor
David Woo   Contributor,Advisor
John Berman   Audio Production

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