Listen – Joe South – Mirror of Your Mind – MP3
Is it Friday already?
As has been discussed here previously. I generally digimatize vinyl as it falls through the mail slot, building up as big a backlog as possible so that when the time comes to dip into the reserves and select something for blog-i-fication, I can let inspirado take me by the hand.
Sometimes – assuming there’s enough stuff held in reserve – my fevered brain manages to wrap itself around something interesting and we all win. Other times, how do they say, not so much.
However, sometimes when the end of the week comes, I can look back on what I posted on Monday, and something ricochets around the old cerebellum and a shiny little light bulb snaps on over my head and the gears start to turn.
It just so happens that this is one of those weeks.
I mad mention in Monday’s post (about the Candymen) about the way certain Southern rockers were privy to a special, sub-Mason/Dixon blend of rock, country and soul. This is not to say that such a combination was never attempted up thisaway, but rather that it tended to come more organically to our friends in Dixie.
As a standard issue 1970s longhair, I knew the name Joe South, but only by virtue of the fact that he was the cat that penned ‘Hush’ (made famous by the early incarnation of Deep Purple), ‘Down In the Boondocks’ (Billy Joe Royal), ‘(I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden’ (HUGE hit for Lynn Anderson) and even ‘Yo Yo’ for the Osmond Brothers. He also had a sizable hit with another original composition, the oft-covered ‘Games People Play’, a Top 40 hit in early 1969.
It was probably 15 years between when I grabbed my first copy of ‘Shades of Deep Purple’ and my first, actual Joe South record, that being the 45 of ‘Games People Play’ and today’s selection ‘Mirror of Your Mind’.
Now, as an astute observer of my fellow record heads I was aware that South’s own recordings, composed of a kind of era-specific (i.e. adorned with a psychedelic fringe or two) country soul, were held in very high esteem by some folks who I in turn respect. Unfortunately, despite no small amount of searching on my part I have never encountered any of South’s albums in the field.
This, in addition to the fact that I stupidly assumed (cue Felix Unger) that the ‘Mirror of Your Mind’ by South was the same song known to garage punk fans as having been recorded by We the People. Naturally, as soon as I played the 45 I discovered that this was not in fact the case, but was also pleasantly surprised by how groovy the South’s tune was.
If I had to draw a parallel to another familiar artist, I might connect Joe South to someone like Tony Joe White, at least in a stylistic way. South was a much more prolific (and successful) songwriter, but he and White shared a certain buckskinned, blue-eyed soul vibe, all wrapped in a certain amount of crossover appeal.
‘Mirror of Your Mind’ starts off with a twangy electric sitar line (similar to that on the more famous a-side), followed by South’s gruff baritone and some vaguely countrypolitan strings and backing vocals. Unlike much of what was coming out of Nashville at the time, South whips the whole mix together with some hard hitting drums, wah-wah guitar and a truly far out psychedelic interlude that must have caused countless country fans to drive into roadside ditches with alarmed cries of ‘What in tarnation?!?!?’
It’s a fairly long, involved affair as well, clocking in at just over four and a half minutes.
A very groovy cut, by a very interesting cat.
I hope you dig it and I’ll be back on Monday with something cool.