Back To The River: More Southern Soul Stories 1961-1978 Various Artists (A Southern Soul Story)


Southern Soul
Catalogue Id:

75 Southern soul masterpieces, told from three different perspectives.

When, nearly a decade ago, Tony Rounce and I began putting together a box set looking at the world of southern soul, it was done out of a deep abiding love of the music. We thought it would be an easy project that would sell a few thousand copies. Instead it was a mammoth operation that took three years to complete and when finished helped define the music we love for a mainstream audience. Its mixture of the well-known, the obscure and the previously unreleased flew out the door and led to one of my proudest moments: standing on stage with Tony and William Bell as “Take Me To The River: A Southern Soul Story” snaffled a Mojo award.

We followed up – in a way – in 2011 with “The Fame Studios Story”, but it is only now that we bring you a fully fledged sequel. “Back To The River” takes its cue from something Tony said back then: “Take Me To The River” was only ever “A” southern soul story, and that many others could be told from a variety of perspectives. Here we tell three of them.

Disc One brings another view on the recordings of Muscle Shoals and Memphis. This time we focus more on artists who weren’t native to those areas: Solomon Burke recording at American, Mary Wells at Fame or Betty LaVette at Sounds Of Memphis. These studios were being used to revitalise waning careers or kickstart those that had yet to get going. The disc also features recordings by artists primarily associated with Muscle Shoals and Memphis – check the previously unreleased take of Otis’ ‘Free Me’ – and overall gives further evidence of the musical vibrancy of those two great recording centres.

Disc Two covers the wider region of the south. Taking in Miami, Texas, New Orleans and several other stops, it reveals how the regional music of the time was connected but at the same time distinct and allows us to find out what Jerry Wexler did when he fell out with the studios in Memphis and Muscle Shoals. The disc also shines a spotlight on the small scene in Mobile, Alabama and the super-rare Steve Dixon 45 that emerged from there.

Disc Three focuses on the influence southern soul had in the northern cities – a story not just of displaced southerners creating the sound of their homes states, but of the music industry’s tendency to follow big-selling trends wherever they come from. It’s possible to trace a timeline through this story that shows you when Otis and then Al Green were topping the charts. It also shows Aretha at her finest refusing to travel south and instead having the area’s best musicians flown in for her New York session.

Packaged in a very handsome and sturdy box, along with a 64-page booklet packed with illustrations and a 17,000-word track commentary, the 75 tracks on these three CDs provide a welcome and worthy extension of our “Southern Soul Story”.

Dean Rudland


Track listing


Side 1

  • 01 Preview I Wish I Knew (How It Would Feel To Be Free) - Solomon Burke

  • 02 Preview Nearer To You - Betty LaVette

  • 03 Preview Private Number (Extended Version) - Judy Clay and William Bell

  • 04 Preview Free Me (Take 1) - Otis Redding

  • 05 Preview A Touch Of The Blues - Bobby Bland

  • 06 Preview This Love Won't Run Out - Dee Dee Sharp

  • 07 Preview I Got Everything I Need - Eddie Floyd

  • 08 Preview Please Don't Desert Me Baby - Gloria Walker and The Chevelles

  • 09 Preview Sugarman (Extended Version) - Sam Baker

  • 10 Preview Think I'll Go Somewhere And Cry Myself To Sleep - Joe Perkins

  • 11 Preview Sure As Sin - Jeanie Greene

  • 12 Preview What's That You Got - Rudolph Taylor

  • 13 Preview I Found What I Wanted - Mary Wells

  • 14 Preview I've Got Memories (Demo) - Melvin Carter

  • 15 Preview Message From Maria - Joe Simon

  • 16 Preview Problems - Mable John

  • 17 Preview I've Been Searching - O.V. Wright

  • 18 Preview She Ain't Gonna Do Right - Clarence Carter

  • 19 Preview Give Me Back The Man I Love - Barbara West

  • 20 Preview You're Gonna Want Me - Bill Coday

  • 21 Preview I'm Just Living A Lie - Bettye Swann

  • 22 Preview Home For The Summer - Jimmy Braswell

  • 23 Preview Too Weak To Fight (Extended Version) - Ella Washington

  • 24 Preview Everytime It Rains (aka Teardrops From My Eyes) - Na Allen

  • 25 Preview Yesterday - The Soul Children

Side 2

  • 01 Preview The Only Girl (I've Ever Loved) - Joe Tex

  • 02 Preview Rainy Night In Georgia - Brook Benton

  • 03 Preview Loves Come In Time - John Fred and His Playboys

  • 04 Preview Somebody Done Took My Baby And Gone - Joey Gilmore

  • 05 Preview I Found All These Things - C.P. Love

  • 06 Preview A Woman Will Do Wrong - Helene Smith

  • 07 Preview Depend On Me - Steve Dixon

  • 08 Preview I'm In Love - Esther Phillips

  • 09 Preview Easier To Say Than Do - Sam Dees

  • 10 Preview Without Love What Would Life Be - Terrie & Joy La Roy with The Bill Parker Show Band

  • 11 Preview I've Got To Tell You - Count Willie with LRL & The Dukes

  • 12 Preview You Need Me - Joe Wilson

  • 13 Preview Nearer To You - Joe Medwick

  • 14 Preview Your Love Is All I Need - Della Humphrey

  • 15 Preview Nothing Takes The Place Of You - Toussaint McCall

  • 16 Preview How Sweet It Would Be - George Perkins

  • 17 Preview Daydreaming - Warren Storm

  • 18 Preview No More Ghettos In America - Stanley Winston

  • 19 Preview Do Right Man - Little Beaver

  • 20 Preview (Sometimes) A Man Will Shed A Few Tears Too - Johnny Adams

  • 21 Preview Asking For The Truth - Reuben Bell

  • 22 Preview I Can't Stand To See You Go - Joe Valentine

  • 23 Preview You Got Everything I Need - Don Hollinger

  • 24 Preview A Sad Sad Song - Charles Crawford

  • 25 Preview Tell It Like It Is - Aaron Neville

Side 3

  • 01 Preview Going Back Home - Ground Hog

  • 02 Preview Cry To Me - Freddie Scott

  • 03 Preview Lookin' For A Home - Little Buster

  • 04 Preview The Girls From Texas (Extended Version) - Jimmy Lewis

  • 05 Preview Ain't No Way - Aretha Franklin

  • 06 Preview I Found A Man In My Bed - Roy C

  • 07 Preview Take Your Time - Clay Hammond

  • 08 Preview Just A Touch Of Your Hand - Al Gardner

  • 09 Preview You're Good For Me - Don Covay

  • 10 Preview I Found The One - Billy Sha-Rae

  • 11 Preview Don't Make Me Pay For His Mistakes - Z.Z. Hill

  • 12 Preview What Can You Do When You Ain't Got Nobody? - The Soul Brothers Six

  • 13 Preview That's How It Is (When You're In Love) - Otis Clay

  • 14 Preview Go On Fool (Extended Version) - Marion Black

  • 15 Preview I Want Everyone To Know - Fontella Bass

  • 16 Preview You Wants To Play - Oscar Weathers

  • 17 Preview (I Want Her) By My Side - The Fuller Brothers

  • 18 Preview Shackin' Up - Barbara Mason

  • 19 Preview Don't Blame Me - Willie Hightower

  • 20 Preview Stop - Lester Young

  • 21 Preview Someone To Take Your Place - Bill Locke

  • 22 Preview If Loving You Is A Crime (I'll Always Be Guilty) - Lee Moses

  • 23 Preview Easy As Saying 1-2-3 - Timmy Willis

  • 24 Preview I Don't Know What You've Got But It's Got Me Parts 1 & 2 - Little Richard

  • 25 Preview Mary Jane - Bobby Rush

Delivery & Returns


We offer free P&P to UK addresses. For all other territories packaging is free and postage is charged on a weight basis.

We use Royal Mail First Class for UK deliveries and standard Air Mail for all other territories, very large orders will usually be sent via parcelforce. You may cancel your order at any time prior to your order being dispatched by emailing us at ensuring that you quote your name, address and order reference number or by telephoning +44 (0) 208 453 1311 between 9am and 5pm GMT/BST, Monday to Friday. Please note: As music downloads are dispatched immediately after purchase, there is no possibility of cancelling these orders.

In the event that any products supplied to you by us are damaged or defective, we agree to replace or repair the damaged or defective products or refund the amount you paid for such goods (including postage & packaging) providing you notify us (either via post at or e-mail: ) and return the goods within 28 days of purchase. Physical goods should be sent back to us in the same condition you received them to: “Returns” Ace Records, Such Close, Letchworth Garden City SG6 1JF, United Kingdom. Music downloads should be returned to us via the e-mail address above including a copy of your notification.

You have the right to cancel your order within seven days of purchase, or seven days of receipt of the goods (whichever is the longer). If you choose to cancel your order, full payment will be returned to you. Returned items should be sent to: “Returns” c/o Ace Records, Such Close, Letchworth Garden City SG6 1JF, United Kingdom. Music downloads should be returned to us via the email address: including a copy of your notice of cancellation and order number.

Press quotes


Four hours of sheer, unbridled Southern brilliance ★★★★

Record Collector

Exhilarating stuff ★★★★


If you've ever enjoyed southern soul, buy it!

Blues & Rhythm

Customer reviews


Related products

Customers who bought this item also bought