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Ace (CDCHD1353)

Keep On Talking, Feed The Flame, Far From The Maddening Crowd, Rainbow Road, Take A Good Look, It Tears Me Up, You Left The Water Running, I'm Living Good, The Thin Line, The Puppet (aka I'm Your Puppet),  Don't Lose Your Good Thing, Strangest Feeling, I Do, Everytime, and more...

Dan Penn was one of the great songwriters of the latter half of the twentieth century and a particular favourite writer of many southern soul stars who were always on the look out for their next big hit.

As well as providing songs for others, there was a time when Dan had aspirations for his own recording career and was supported in this by Fame with whom he served his apprenticeship. Many of the songs that would later be snapped up by others had been developed by Dan, the session musicians of Fame and the engineers with whom he worked closely in sessions during studio down-time. Few of the results of these sessions have previously come to light but, as part of Ace's extensive trawl through the vaults of Fame, we now have a full 24 recordings of Dan the singer.

Whether Fame ever intended these for an ultimate release that, for whatever reason, did not happen or simply as fully developed demos of his songs to show them off as they would like them sung by others is unknown. Either way the standard of his singing, the delivery of the musicians and, most of all, the sheer quality of the songs on show potentially make this one of the great lost soul albums.

Just get a load of his version of The Puppet (aka I'm Your Puppet), Feed The Flame, Rainbow Road or It Tears Me Up and it is difficult to see the sense of keeping these jewels tucked away in the archives. There are also songs new to me that are a knockout - such as Take A Good Look - and far too good not to attain a wider hearing now.

Thankfully Ace has come along to facilitate this wider hearing and I for one am highly grateful. Let's just hope that the vaults offer more buried treasure as good as this.


Review Date: October 2012

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