Personnel: James Carr (vocals); TR Isom, Clyde Isolm (tenor); Eddie Hubbard (baritone); William Watson (guitar); Cathey Stamps (drums).
Liner Note Author: Tony Rounce.
Photographer: Quinton Claunch.
With a couple of minor exceptions not worth mentioning, this compilation contains every known James Carr recording not to have made it on to CD before 2004. That means five 1966-70 tracks that didn't find their initial release until LPs issued years later; three previously unavailable alternates from the same era; his 1971 Atlantic single; three tracks he did for River City in the mid-'70s (one previously unissued); a smattering of 1990s recordings for the SoulTrax label, one previously unreleased; and three songs from the early '90s, also done for SoulTrax, on which Carr sang lead with the Jubilee Hummingbirds gospel group. (Technically speaking, all of those SoulTrax numbers save the previously unreleased track appeared on CD before, though few heard them other than hardcore Carr fans.) It's a fill-in-the-blanks compilation, and while the packaging makes no bones about that, this is still something that only Carr fanatics need. The '66-'70 tracks are the best, but they're really luxury items considering that three of them are alternates; three of them re-recordings of songs that had previously been issued on Carr's Goldwax singles; one a duet with Barbara Perry on a cover of the Four Tops' "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)"; and one a previously unissued complete version of "What the World Needs Now Is Love," a song not ideally suited to the singer's brand of Southern soul. The Atlantic single's okay, but the post/early-'70s material suffers to varying degrees from too-slick production, which isn't appropriate for the kind of organic deep soul you want to hear Carr sing. No grudges borne against Ace for making sure collectors can complete their James Carr library in such a handy fashion; just make sure you have your reading glasses on and don't mistake The Rest of James Carr for the best of James Carr. ~ Richie Unterberger