Title: Goldwax Years
Sale price$20.99
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VJQC Score: N/A
Record Label: IMPORTS
Genre: R&B
Format: VINYL LP
Release Date: 2/2/2018

Though Spencer Wiggins did not make the R&B charts until his Fame 45 'Double Lovin' in 1970, it is his eight Goldwax singles, released in the latter half of the 60s, for which he is rightly famous among soul fans. They epitomise Memphis soul, veering from deep melancholic ballads to raucous uptempo groovers. Wiggins' fans dig every aspect of his music; his voice is ideal for the southern soul sound. That genre is close to the blues and 'Lover's Crime', his first 45 on the Bandstand subsidiary, was an early Isaac Hayes composition of that ilk. 'Sweet Sixteen', which was unreleased until 1977, is a full-on blues, but presumably not issued by Goldwax as they wanted to keep Spencer known as a soul singer, even though he excels on the number. Goldwax's strong country influence is apparent on 'I Never Loved A Woman (The Way I Love You)' which certainly rivals Aretha's breakthrough single from a couple of years previously. 'Once In A While (Is Better Than Never At All)', written by ex-country singer and Goldwax boss Quinton Claunch and George Jackson's 'Old Friend' are also in the country bag. The dramatic ballad 'Uptight Good Woman' was penned by Dan Penn, Spooner Oldham and Jimmy Johnson and is probably Wiggins' best-known recording; it is a highlight of his live performances. Penn and Oldham also provided 'Take Me Just As I Am', another stand-out track. 'He's Too Old' and 'I'm A Poor Man's Son' are vibrant, warm-hearted numbers taken at a jaunty pace, still very much southern soul; 'Lonely Man' is the only song which hints at Detroit's influence and has consequently cost Wiggins' 45 collectors appreciably more than the norm. Wiggins' career suffered by being in the shadows of James Carr at Goldwax and that may have been the reason why Claunch, a very fair-minded man, let this superb singer move to nearby Fame, along with some Goldwax tracks they had already cut on him in those studios. He also had artistic success at Sounds of Memphis in 1973; unissued tracks from there as well as Goldwax have strengthened his reputation. He is primarily a preacher now but his 2010 appearance at the Cleethorpes rare soul weekender demonstrated he is still a great performer and he recently completed a successful two-date visit to London and Manchester with his brother, manager and fellow singer Percy.

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