Sweet Inspiration: The Songs Of Dan Penn And Spooner Oldham Various Artists (Songwriter Series)


60s Soul
Ace Records
Catalogue Id:
CDCHD 1284

We have received many requests to add Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham to our songwriter series. It’s never really been about if we would, so much as when. With 2011 being something of a “Year Of Southern Soul” for Ace and Kent, what better way to kick it off than with a genius gathering of 24 of the best songs ever to bear their names below the title.

“Sweet Inspiration” does a bang-up job of assembling the key songs Dan and Spooner wrote together during the 1960s and early 1970s. A quick look at the track listing will show prospective buyers that my co-compiler Bob Dunham and I have tried hard to make sure that there’s a version of every major Penn and Oldham composition included. We haven’t always chosen the obvious versions, so there will be some nice surprises here for even the most avid collectors. It was difficult to bring what started out as a massive wish list down to just 24 selections, but we think our choices do justice to the performers of the songs and, most importantly, the writers.

Everyone will have their own highlights. Mine would include Arthur Conley’s Fame recording of ‘In The Same Old Way’ (which was originally written as a straight ahead country song) and country thrush Jeanne Newman’s riveting, previously unissued Goldwax recording of ‘It Tears Me Up’, one of the earliest songs Penn and Oldham wrote together. I’m also very partial to the Southern sincerity of the Box Tops’ ‘Everything I Am’ (a UK Top 3 hit for Plastic Penny in late 1967) and Tommy Roe’s little-known 1966 take on ‘Wish You Didn’t Have To Go’, a number made more famous a year later by James and Bobby Purify. But greatness abounds from beginning to end of this set, and it’s unlikely that any prospective purchaser will not be totally impressed by everything it contains.

A companion volume – which will also include songs co-written by Dan and/or Spooner with collaborators such as Donnie Fritts, Rick Hall, Marlin Greene and Chips Moman – will hopefully see the light of day next year. In the meantime, here’s over an hour of the sweetly inspired songwriting of Wallace Daniel Pennington and Lindon Dewey Oldham. Oh, what a power!

By Tony Rounce


Track listing


Side 1

  • 01 Preview Out Of Left Field - Percy Sledge

  • 02 Preview I'm Your Puppet - Dionne Warwick

  • 03 Preview Sweet Inspiration - The Sweet Inspirations

  • 04 Preview A Woman Left Lonely - Charlie Rich

  • 05 Preview I Worship The Ground You Walk On - Etta James

  • 06 Preview I'm Living Good (With spoken intro) - The Ovations

  • 07 Preview Take Me (Just As I Am) - Solomon Burke

  • 08 Preview Cry Like A Baby - Arthur Alexander

  • 09 Preview It Tears Me Up - Jeanne Newman

  • 10 Preview Slippin' Around With You - Art Freeman

  • 11 Preview I Met Her In Church - Tony Borders

  • 12 Preview Are You Never Coming Home - Sandy Posey

  • 13 Preview Let It Happen - James Carr

  • 14 Preview Everything I Am - The Box Tops

  • 15 Preview Feed The Flame - Ted Taylor

  • 16 Preview Watching The Trains Go By - Tony Joe White

  • 17 Preview In The Same Old Way - Arthur Conley

  • 18 Preview Denver - Ronnie Milsap

  • 19 Preview Dreamer - Patti LaBelle & The Bluebelles

  • 20 Preview Good Things Don't Come Easy - Irma Thomas

  • 21 Preview I Need Someone - The Wallace Brothers

  • 22 Preview He Ain't Gonna Do Right - Barbara Lynn

  • 23 Preview Wish You Didn't Have To Go - Tommy Roe

  • 24 Preview Let's Do It Over - Joe Simon

Delivery & Returns


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Press quotes


Obscure delights abound. ★★★★


Essential listening. ★★★★

Record Collector

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