Joe South – Introspect (EMI E-T 108) (1968)

Is that Alice Liddel and her cerebral cortex?

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.

Published in: on December 2, 2011 at 3:48 pm  Comments (1)  

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