I’d just this week been looking something else up in my Rolling Stone Record Guide and happened to note the glowing Joe South entry, so when I found the songwriter/guitarist’s genre-hopping, ground-breaking début Lp in mono this Wednesday, I leapt. While certainly no masterpiece, Introspect is quirky and bold on many levels and the copious period touches (Dylan-style put downs, counter-culture redneck-baiting, rambling reprises, electronic psychedelic breakdowns, boogaloo beats, allusions to the Draft, extensive sitar guitar use [!] and songs called “Mirror of Your Mind”) make this a challenging, engaging and very 60s time capsule. A pop country-soul crossover version of Billy Nicholl’s Would You Believe perhaps?
South’s vocals swagger like Elvis P, his lyrics contain sly twists and not a few clichés, the man’s somewhat uneven production still manages to push boundaries; surprisingly, given his track record as a top flight session guy (Dylan, Aretha, etc.), it’s the musicianship (esp. the drumming) not keeping up with the production ambitions that ultimately keeps Introspect from being a classic. “Games People Play” was the hit.