Joe South - Introspect (1969)

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Joe South

Though primarily known as a songwriter, Joe South (1940-2012) was also an exceptional singer, instrumentalist and producer. Songs like “Hush,” “Rose Garden,” “Games People Play” and “Birds of a Feather” might have established his credentials as a writer, but his session work with the likes of Bob Dylan on “Blonde on Blonde” and Aretha Franklin on “Chain of Fools” solidified his reputation as a unique guitarist.

His cross between Duane Eddy’s twangy guitar and George Harrison’s twangy sitar, prominent is so many of his recordings, has never been equaled. South’s Southern perspective on the goings on in late 1960s America remains unique.

Rock, gospel, country and folk strains are woven through his work. You hear echoes of Chuck Berry, Phil Spector and Dylan and many others in his work. “Gabriel,” the finale of “Introspect,” the first and best of South’s albums, is Dylan’s Desolation Row on the verge of the Apocalypse put in the mouth of Southern street preacher.

Regrettably, South’s moment came and went all too soon. The meteor that swept across the pop and country music fields between 1968 and 1972 quickly disappeared from view. South dropped out of sight, was said to be living on Maui, and became as reclusive as another great, lamented talent, Fred Neil. The suicide of his brother in 1971 is said to have been partly to blame. But whatever took him away, his absence was pop and country music’s loss.

To my knowledge, “Introspect,” released in 1969, has never been available as a CD in the United States. I can only find one digital issue of the set, on a CD with another South album, released in Australia some years ago and out of print. New copies of that set are available at Amazon for upwards of $150 and used ones are $65. I guess that means I am not alone in valuing holding “Introspect” in high esteem.
11 Gabriel - Joe South.flac 48.111 MB
03 Mirror of Your Mind - Joe South.flac 29.742 MB
07 Games People Play - Joe South.flac 21.809 MB
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