Spooner Oldham and Dan Penn.
"I like a good groove," Dan Penn told NPR in 2006
. "I'm not looking for a big mental statement. Just give me a groove and tell me a little something I like."
What a philosophy from the architect of some of the greatest soul songs of all time. The man behind "Do Right Woman Do Right Man," "I'm Your Puppet" and, maybe my favorite song of all time, "The Dark End of the Street." A white man from tiny Vernon, Alabama, who started out by selling "Is a Bluebird Blue" to Conway Twitty, but made his name crafting soul songs for mostly black artists like James and Bobby Purify, Aretha Franklin and Percy Sldege, writing spare, conversational lyrics for them that almost seem simple, but that always lend themselves to deep, deep emotion.
He's well into his 60s, but still going strong. A couple months back, he released a new album, "Junkyard Junky,"
and on Tuesday, Sept. 16
, he plays a free show at the Cabe Theater at Hendrix
. Even though he's known more for his songwriting, he's no slouch as a singer. His warm country-soul tenor — not far from Charlie Rich's voice during his Hi Records days — advances the cause of blue-eyed soul men everywhere. The live album
he cut with longtime writing partner and organist Spooner Oldham in 1999 is essential.Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham "Do Right Woman"
James Carr "The Dark End of the Street"