Dan Penn is recognised as one of the great songwriters of the past fifty years. Music historian Peter Guralnick described him as the “secret hero” of 60s R&B, and for many, his material defines Southern soul writing. Nevertheless Penn’s catalogue transcends musical barriers, and classics such as ‘I’m Your Puppet’ and ‘Do Right Woman’ have scaled both the Pop and country charts in equal measure.• One of the most anticipated results of Ace’s extensive trawl into the tape vaults of Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama comes with the release of the best of Penn’s mid-1960s work for the company in “The Fame Recordings”. Tremendously prolific as a writer, the Fame era also witnessed the emergence of Dan Penn the artist, where unfettered after-hours access to the studio afforded the opportunity to experiment, and in the process create his captivating and soulful recording persona.• Penn acknowledges that the apprenticeship at Fame between 1963-1966, under the guidance of studio owner Rick Hall, was a crucial turning point in his own career. While Hall produced a handful of singles on Dan at the time, most of the gems featured on “The Fame Recordings” are previously unreleased, and intended to showcase the material Penn had written with Donnie Fritts, Marlin Greene, and long-time songwriting partner, Spooner Oldham. Yet, with the enviable ambiance of the Fame studio and its session crew evident throughout, “The Fame Recordings” approximates one of the great lost 60s soul albums, with outstanding performances by Dan throughout.
The track listing includes Dan’s original interpretations of future soul classics such as ‘Rainbow Road’, ‘You Left The Water Running’ and ‘It Tears Me Up’, as well as some lesser-known and rarely-covered items: ‘Come Into My Heart’, ‘Strangest Feeling’ and ‘The Thin Line’. The package comes with an in-depth sleeve note based upon fresh interviews with Penn, and associates including Hall, Greene and Oldham, that deal specifically with the Fame era. Overall, “The Fame Recordings” offers a fascinating peek at the emergence of a popular music great.