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Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Box Tops - The Original Albums (1967-69 us, superb classic heavenly soulful jazzy folk baroque psych, four albums two disc set, 2015 issue)

The Box Tops are a ground breaking 1960s group made up of five friends from Memphis Tennessee who first charted in 1967 with a song called 'The Letter,' which like most of their other songs from the 1960s was recorded at Chips Moman's "American" recording studio and was produced by Dan Penn. In fact they were the first Memphis artists to record in Memphis and have a number one record! During 1967-69, the group released 4 albums (excluding their "Super Hits" album) and 10 singles. 'The Letter' remained at the top of Billboard's chart for four weeks in 1967; their third single, 'Cry Like A Baby,' hit the number two position for two weeks in 1968. Both records went gold at initial release, with 'The Letter' selling over four million copies and 'Cry Like A Baby' over two million.

The original members (Alex Chilton, Bill Cunningham, John Evans, Danny Smythe, and Gary Talley) were members of a local band called The Devilles, but changed the group name at the time of the release of 'The Letter,' because it was discovered that other groups had released records under that name and member changes had taken the group in new musical directions. "No American group since the Righteous Brothers had looked whiter and sung blacker than the Box Tops on that sensational first single in 1967, 'The Letter.' Alex Chilton's voice had more Memphis grit than was considered entirely proper for a white gentleman. But he learned to sing in Memphis, where lots of people sing that way, and got his musicians from a town where musicians are pretty heavy whatever their color."

By January 1968 the line up had changed. John Evans and Danny Smythe returned to school and were replaced by Rick Allen (from the Gentrys) and Tom Boggs (from the Board of Directors). This line up remained the same until Bill Cunningham left to return to school in August 1969, although Jerry Riley substituted for Gary Talley at live performances in 1968 for a couple of weeks while Gary was ill. Harold Cloud replaced Bill in September of 1969. During the following months there were a number of group member changes, and in February 1970 the group disbanded.

Disc 1
The Letter/Neon Rainbow 1967
1. The Letter (Wayne Carson Thompson) - 1:54
2. She Knows How (Wayne Carson Thompson) - 3:07
3. Trains And Boats And Planes (Burt Bacharach, Hal David) - 3:45
4. Break My Mind (John D. Loudermilk) - 2:29
5. Whiter Shade Of Pale (K. Reid, G. Brooker, M. Fisher) - 4:34
6. Everything I Am (Dan Penn, Spooner Oldham) - 2:18
7. Neon Rainbow (Wayne Carson Thompson) - 3:03
8. People Make The World (Bobby Womack) - 2:30
9. I'm Your Puppet (Dan Penn, Spooner Oldham) - 2:53
10.Happy Times (Dan Penn, Spooner Oldham) - 1:45
11.Gonna Find Somebody (Bobby Womack) - 3:01
12.I Pray For Rain (Dan Penn, Spooner Oldham) - 2:23
Cry Like A Baby 1968
13.Cry Like A Baby (Dan Penn, Spooner Oldham) - 2:34 
14.Deep In Kentucky (Bill Davidson) - 2:10
15.I'm The One For You (H. Thomas, L. Jones) - 3:05
16.Weeping Analeah (D. Folger, M. Newbury) - 3:04
17.Every Time (Dan Penn, Spooner Oldham) - 2:34
18.Fields Of Clover (Dan Penn, Spooner Oldham) - 2:52
19.Trouble With Sam (Daniel Pennington) - 2:16
20.Lost (Mark James, Glen D.Spreen) - 2:29
21.Good Morning Dear (Mickey Newbury) - 3:40
22.727 (Dan Penn, Spooner Oldham) - 2:18
23.You Keep Me Hanging On (E. Holland, L. Dozier, B. Holland) - 3:42 
Bonus Tracks, Single Versions
24.The Letter (Wayne Carson Thompson) - 1:58
25.Cry Like A Baby (Dan Penn, Spooner Oldham) - 2:34 
26.I See Only Sunshine (Alex Chilton) - 2:14
27.You Keep Tightening Up On Me (Wayne Carson Thompson) - 2:53
28.Come On Honey (Alex Chilton) - 3:23

Disc 2
Non Stop 1968
1. Choo Choo Train (Donnie Fritts, Eddie Hinton) - 2:52
2. I'm Movin' On (Clarence E. Snow) - 3:47
3. Sandman (Wayne Carson Thompson) - 2:57
4. She Shot A Hole In My Soul (Mac Gayden, L. Neese) - 2:43
5. People Gonna Talk (Dan Penn, Spooner Oldham) - 4:10
6. I Met Her In Church (D. Penn, S. Oldham) - 2:43
7. Rock Me Baby (Riley B. King, Joe Bihari) - 3:48
8. Rollin' In My Sleep (Paul Davis) - 3:15
9. I Can Dig It (Alex Chilton) - 2:24
10.Yesterday Where's My Mind (John Reed) - 3:27
11.If I Had Let You In (Donnie Fritts, Eddie Hinton) - 3:17
Dimensions 1969
12. Soul Deep (Wayne Carson Thompson) - 2:29
13. I Shall Be Released (Bob Dylan) - 2:48
14. Midnight Angel (Mark James, Glen D. Spreen) - 3:20
15. Together (Alex Chilton) - 3:24
16. I'll Hold Out My Hand (Chip Taylor, Ai Gorgoni) - 3:25
17. I Must Be The Devil (Alex Chilton) - 3:36
18. Sweet Cream Ladies, Forward March (B.Weinstein, Jon Stroll) - 2:16
19. (The) Happy Song (Alex Chilton) - 1:57
20. Ain't No Way (Neil Diamond) - 3:03
21. Rock Me Baby (Riley B. King, Joe Bihari) - 9:13
Bonus Tracks, Single Versions
22. Since I Been Gone (Alex Chilton) - 3:14
23. Lay Your Shine On Me (Curtis Arcenaux, Richard Mainegra) - 2:34

The Box Tops
*Alex Chilton - Lead Vocals, Guitar
*Gary Talley - Lead Guitar,  Vocals
*Bill Cunningham - Bass, Keyboards,  Vocals (1967-68)
*John Evans - Guitar, Keyboards,  Vocals (1967-68)
*Danny Smythe - Drums (1967-68)
*Larry Spillman - Drums (1967-68)
*Thomas Boggs - Drums, Vocals (1968-69)
*Rick Allen - Keyboards, Vocals (1968-69)
*Harold Cloud - Bass (1969)

1967-70  The Box Tops - The Best Of Box Tops
1970  Alex Chilton - Free Again: The 1970 Sessions (2012 release)

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