Carla Thomas - The Queen Alone
Carla Thomas & Band
Written by Isaac Hayes (A2, A3, A4, A5, A6, B3), David Porter (A2, A3, A4, A5, A6, B3), Burt Bacharach (A1), Bob Hilliard (A1), Joe Shamwell (A2), Steve Cropper (A3), Eddie Floyd (B1), Alvertis Isbell (B1), Ben Weisman (B2), Clive Westlake (B2), Deanie Parker (B4), Homer Banks (B5), Allen Jones (B5)
1 LP, standard sleeve
Original analog Master tape : YES
Heavy Press : 180g
Record color : black
Speed : 33 RPM
Size : 12'’
Record Press : Pallas
Label : Speakers Corner
Original Label : Stax
Recording: 1967 at Stax Studios, Memphis (TN)
Production: Jim Stewart
Originally released in 1967
Reissued in 2018
Side A :
- Any Day Now
- Stop Thief
- I Take It My Baby
- I Want To Be Your Baby
- Something Good (Is Going To Happen To You)
- When Tomorrow Comes
Side B :
- I’ll Always Have Faith In You
- All I See Is You
- Unchanging Love
- Give Me Enough (To Keep Me Going)
- Lie To Keep Me From Crying
« Carla Thomas was more than deserving of her title "The Queen of Memphis Soul," but she was hardly oblivious to the sleeker, more pop-influenced sweet soul and uptown soul coming out of Detroit, Philadelphia and Chicago. One of her strongest albums, The Queen Alone isn't the work of someone who took a Memphis-only approach, but of someone who was well aware of what Gladys Knight, Dionne Warwick, Martha Reeves and others were up to. What's surprising is the fact that this album (reissued on CD in 1992) contains only two hits: the playful "Something Good (Is Going to Happen to You)," which made it to number 29 on Billboard's soul singles chart, and the idealistic, gospel-influenced ballad and number 11 R&B single "I'll Always Have Faith in You." Songs ranging from the sweet and vulnerable "I Want to Be Your Baby" to the remorseful "All I See Is You" and the pessimistic "Any Day Now" (a song co-written by Burt Bacharach) weren't singles, but it wasn't for a lack of heartfelt singing. Drawing on both Southern and Northern soul, Queen Alone is a pleasant reminder that they were equally attractive options. » AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson
« Carla Thomas was Stax Records answer to the much more heralded crew of Motown female stars. Stax had Carla record with Otis Redding and she had hits as well with Rufus Thomas, her father. She deserved the moniker as the Queen of Memphis Soul. Carla had the proper blend of sweetness and sass to fit right in with the funky groove of Stax releases.
Speakers Corner, earlier this year, re-released, The Queen Alone, from 1967. With backing from Booker T and the Mgs, the Stax house band, and brass and string accompaniment, Thomas explores a mix of gospel influenced and pop fare of the period. Six of the tracks were written by Isaac Hayes and David Porter of the Stax team.
I found the Side B material to be more assertive and less of an attempt to channel traditional Motown than the Side A material. Her soulfulness is more effective without cloying strings that are utilized to present her as a chanteuse.
The album opens with Burt Bacharach’s “Any Day Now.” The orchestration drowns out Thomas’ vocals. It is followed by “Stop Thief” which is enhanced by some background vocalists to flesh out the lyrics. The upbeat “I Take It to My Baby” is upbeat and percussion driven. Next the ballad, “I Want to be Your Baby” is given a lush treatment with strings.
“Something Good is Going to Happen to You” has a catchy arrangement with some call and response backing vocals. “When Tomorrow Comes” matches a Motown type presentation, quite silky, and the best tune on the A side. The flip side opens with “I’ll Always Have Faith in You.” It is a straight gospel type ballad arrangement and here, Carla is in her element. “All I See is You” builds up in intensity and its strings add rather than detract. “Unchanging Love” brings to mind Diana Ross, but is more earthy and heart felt.
“Give Me Enough (To Keep Me Going)” utilizes a chamber type echo effect, that brought to mind something that Phil Spector might do, but in a much more scaled down version. “Lie to Keep Me From Crying” makes use of antiphony vocals.
This album seems like an effort from Stax to properly seek out which niche to market their Queen of Memphis soul. With that goal, they are partially successful here. » Jeff Krow, Audiophile Audition, Apr 25, 2018
Among all the majestic eminences in the music business, Carla Thomas reigned unmistakably as 'The Queen of Memphis Soul' on the Stax label with its special characteristics. The clear, dry and natural essential sound of this studio recording imparts the down-to-earth flair of the southern town Memphis and its musical tradition. With wonderful contemplation, the Queen begins her performance with a tautly arranged but pleasantly round and melting version of Burt Bacharach’s "Any Day Now". The reflective opening clearly signals that the human voice is of major importance here, no matter whether a restrained pulsating soul number ("Stop Thief") or a metallically ticking groove ("I Take It To My Baby") is on the track list. Even an occasional dip into the violin paint-pot ("I Want To Be Your Baby") is not an end in itself but serves exclusively to refine the diaphanous, gentle voice of the principal singer. In addition there is lush, groovy polyphony with a call-and-response concept ("Somethings Good") and intoxicating gospel-like antiphony ("Lie To Keep Me From Crying"), all good for keeping the soul of Soul together.
AllMusic : 4.5 / 5 , Discogs : Rate Your Music :