The Studio One Project: Joe South Album Review

The Second Album From Studio One

Welcome to my review of the second album produced at Studio One, Joe South's self-titled release. This is the second review in my ongoing series that I call "Studio One Project: Great Music From Doraville" where I acquire and review every album that was recorded at Studio One in Doraville Georgia. Why would I do that you may be asking? Good question…..to find out the reason please check out the original post in the series (which has the table of albums recorded at Studio One along with links to my review of each album). The first review was of Hampton Grease Band's only album "Music to Eat", which was definitely a bit of an experience for me.

Before we dive into the review I must first issue a disclaimer:

“Warning, I am not a trained music reviewer! I’m just a guy who likes music. Anything that is said in any of my reviews is purely my own interpretation/opinion and should not be relied upon as an endorsement of the quality of any particular piece of music or compilation thereof.”

OK, now that we got that out of the way...onto the review!

Review #2 Joe South

Joe South on The Turntable

The second album produced or recorded at Studio One was Joe South's self-titled 1971 release. Joe South (born Joseph Souter) was born February 28th, 1940 in Atlanta. He died on September 5th, 2012 in Buford Georgia. Here is his page on Wikipedia. "Joe South" was his 4th studio album and was issued about two years after his biggest album "Games People Play", which gave Joe his biggest hit, the single of the same name that reached #12 on the Billboard charts. The song earned him two Grammy awards in 1970 for "best contemporary song" as well as "song of the year". Joe South was also a successful sideman, having played guitar on Bob Dylan's "Blonde on Blonde" album among others.

Here's a summary of the LP version of the album (courtesy of Discogs):

Joe South ‎– Joe South

Label:
Capitol Records ‎– ST-845
Format:
Vinyl, LP, Album
Country:
Released:
Genre:
Style:

Tracklist

A1 High On A Hilltop 3:48
A2 Birds Of A Feather 2:45
A3 For The Love Of A Woman 3:00
A4 Rose Garden 2:48
A5 Yo Yo 3:45
B1 Fool Me 2:59
B2 How Can Unlove You 2:20
B3 You Need Me 3:03
B4 She's Almost You 2:22
B5 Devil May Care 3:05

Companies, etc.

Credits

Notes

Capitol, Jacksonville pressing. FIrst issue, red label with purple "C" logo.

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Matrix / Runout (Matrix side A, on label): ST 1-845
  • Matrix / Runout (Matrix side B, on label): ST 2-845
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout side A, etched): ST1 845 H1 #2
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout side B, etched): ST2 845 H1 #1
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout both sides, stamped): 0
  • Rights Society: BMI

 

*SPECIAL REVIEWER NOTE: The biggest thing I noticed in the album details is the "Music by" section. If you notice, it says "Atlanta Rhythm Section". This is the first time they are mentioned on an album as far as I know. They obviously went on to a great career of their own and recorded their albums at Studio One.

The Purchase

When I started my search for the album on Discogs I was greeted with about 15 possible choices ranging in price form $5.99 to$25 depending on condition. While the selection wasn't exactly large it was definitely better than the available options for my last review, Music to Eat. I settled on a listing marked "VG+" for both the vinyl and the sleeve and sent off my $8.99 to the seller.

The Vinyl

The record showed up about 7 days after I purchased it and when I took a look at it I was happy to find that I had a "first pressing"!!. The logo on the record label was red with a purple "C" on it, indicating a first pressing. These are always nice to get, especially for this project :-) Once I got over my excitement with that I took a llok at the vinyl and it was in very good shape. Playing it revealed just a few minor "pops and clicks", which took absolutely nothing away from the sound. The vinyl was unwarped and glossy. I was happy.......

The Packaging

The album is a basic single vinyl LP in a standard cardboard sleeve. Here's the front cover:

The front of the Joe South cover

And here's the back cover:

The back of the Joe South album

The First Listen

Side 1

When the needle dropped on side 1 I was greeted with a very nice song, "High On A Hilltop". It immediately set the tone for the rest of the album. This was my first listen to any album by Joe South and I wasn't familiar with his music at all. Within 10 seconds it became apparent that Joe South's music was more "Country" than rock and I was fine with that. The second track, Birds of a Feather, is a nice relaxing tune. The next track, For The Love of A Woman, does a great job of explaining why us males do what we do. The second to last track, Rose Garden, was probably the biggest hit on the album and for anyone over the age of 40 the tune/lyrics are immediately familiar. The song has been covered numerous times. The final track on side one is "Yo Yo" which has a bit of a Motown feel to it. Joe South has a pretty good voice and the recording  transmits a feeling of "fun" that is nice to hear.

Side 2

Side two starts with "Fool Me", which seems like a song about how we tend to ignore our faults in exchange for recognition. Once again, the lyrics and music are well played. The second track is "How Can I Unlove You" a song about regret that can't be undone. The next track is "You Need Me" which is a song that addresses the almost opposite feelings as "How Can I Unlove You". It's a nice back-to-back song combo. "She's Almost You" is the next and I think it's a song about reminders, specifically a women that looks and acts like the one you love. "Devil May Care" finishes up the album and is one more song about relationships and how people stay in them despite faults.

Second Listen and Thoughts

A few days after my initial listen I re-cued the LP on my Pro Ject Debut Carbon Turntable and sat down for another listen. What I took away was that Joe South was an excellent songsmith. His lyrics are well thought out and make an emotional impact on the listener. Combine that with the excellent musicianship of the band behind him, namely The Atlanta Rhythm Section (you'll hear alot more from these guys!), and you have a powerful combination. I really enjoy this album and it was a great use of my $8.99.

Bottom line is if you appreciate good songwriting and like "Countryish" music, Joe South is a worthwhile artist to listen to. He had a great career in the music business, wrote a lot of songs that just about everyone has heard and performed with some of the greats. Check out his music on Amazon (see below) and give it a try!

Help Support This Project

OK, here's where I shamelessly ask for money :-) Seriously, buying vintage vinyl and hosting this site doesn't come without a cost so any help you can provide toward that effort is greatly appreciated! If you like what you read and want to help out just click on one of the links below. You can get some Joe South music for yourself, or anything else that Amazon sells, by Clicking on one of the links.

Joe South Music on Amazon

Buy Any Kind of Music on Amazon

The Next Review

Review #3 in this series will be of the Atlanta Rhythm Section's first album. It may be a little delayed though as my first copy of the album arrived with a "crease" in the vinyl! I've never seen that before. My guess is that it was damaged in shipping. Either way, it was unplayable so I'm actively seeking a suitable replacement. Hopefully I can find one fairly soon and get it reviewed. Stay tuned...