July 7th, 2006
Title: The Lost Soul Man
Artist: Geater Davis
Label: AIM (Australia)
Catalog No.: AIM 1506 CD
Its not hard to understand why Geater Davis is something of a cult figure among soul collectors. He’s got a deep, raspy, southern soul sound that’s been aptly compared to Bobby “Blue” Bland and O.V. Wright, and he’s able to move effortlessly between soul and blues, with a little funk thrown in for good measure.Born Vernon Davis near Beaumont, Texas in 1946, Geater was discovered by New Orleans record producer Allen Orange, who issued some of Davis’s first recordings on his House of Orange label. In 1972, Orange brought Davis to the attention of John R (aka John Richbourg, the legendary Nashville WLAC deejay). Lost Soul Man is a two-CD, 25 track compilation of singles recorded in Nashville and Memphis for John R’s Sound Stage 7 record company (on the Luna and Seventy-Seven labels), produced variously by John R. and Allen Orange, and featuring many songs written by Davis.
Approximately three-quarters of these tracks were duplicated on the 1998 Westside/Charly release, Sadder Shades of Blue: The Southern Soul Sessions (the other Sadder Shades of Blue tracks feature selections from the Ace and House of Orange labels). But Lost Soul Man offers up a number of additional songs: “Don’t want to lose you” (accompanied by a Stax-style horn section); “Heavy on my Mind- parts 1 & 2 (reminiscent of Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness”); two alternative takes for “Hot Buttered Love,” (take 1 sounds like a rough monitor mix, while take 2 nixes the back-up singers); and “Chained and Bound,” a great raw, bluesy ballad that’s one of the best tracks on the set. Also included are alternate takes for “Your Heart is So Cold” (blues vs. soul-blues versions), “Ain’t Worrying about Jody” (an extended version), and “Will It Be Me or Him” (straight ahead soul with female back-up singers vs. up-tempo solo version), none of which were released by Westside.
The sound quality and production is excellent throughout, but the lack of documentation is a bit frustrating. Though the liner notes include a fairly comprehensive biography of Davis by Fred James, there is no discography or mention of the original release dates and labels for each track. Nor is there any information on composers/arrangers (though some of this can be gleaned from the notes accompanying Sadder Shades of Blue).
This set is highly recommended for any fan of old school soul who wants to explore some of the lesser-known southern soul artists of the ‘70s. As an added bonus, those interested in the history and development of black radio can get a glimpse of the recording/producing activities of John Richbourg, one of the country’s most influential R&B deejays of the ‘50s and ‘60s (and be sure to also check out the Sound Stage 7 Story: the Definitive 3 CD History of the Nashville-based Southern Soul Label, issued by Charly).
Posted by Brenda Nelson-Strauss
Review Genre(s): Rhythm & Blues, Soul, Funk