Country-soul is exactly what is says. Think of people like James Carr, Percy Sledge, Solomon Burke, Clarence Carter, the aptly named Joe South, names that may also resonate with blues lovers. There is a strong crossover to southern soul, often with sassy or weepy lyrics containing snappy little “homespun” phrases, bluesy guitar licks and churchy organ.
It is a music unmistakeably from the southern states. Or at least it was until recently. Australian-born but British-based Americana songwriter and guitarist Paul Lush – known for his work with the group Danny & The Champions Of The World – decided to cut his own songs in his own right. He drafted in the excellent Angela Gannon of The Magic Numbers for the vocals, and members of D&TCOTW for this set which draws heavily on the southern sound.
Lend an ear to A Nice Idea At The Time, which sounds like it could have been written for Percy Sledge around 1966/7
Or What Made You Change Your Mind with Henry Senior’s pedal steel guitar contributing a truly lonesome sound; he plays a major role throughout most of the rest of the album too.
There are related styles too: The Girl Will Do and It Was Real To Me have echoes of the southern rock of The Allman Brothers, Never In The Moment is musically related to the gospel-based sound of The Impressions, and the instrumental Oh Yeah is a very fine blues guitar workout.
It’s worth noting too that country-soul has generally been a singles market, nothing here runs over four and a half minutes. Remember the name, it is pronounced Ar-A-Loo-En. You’ll be hearing more of it.