Southern Soul Masters
Treehouse Records Presents Unsung Legends
Soul music’s Do Right Man
Rick Mason, Special to the Star Tribune August 11, 2011
Dan Penn is one of the most influential figures in Southern soul music. Penn has produced and written hits for the Box Tops, Solomon Burke, Aretha Franklin and Ronnie Milsap, among others. Included in these hits are “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man”, made famous by Aretha Franklin, “Dark End of the Street”, recorded first by James Carr, and “I’m Your Puppet” by James and Bobby Purify. All of these songs continue to stand the test of time as artists including Elton John, Marvin Gaye, and Elvis Costello have recorded covers.
Active in two of the great soul cities of the 1960s, Penn worked in both Muscle Shoals and Memphis, working with producer Chips Moman and songwriting partner Spooner Oldham. With this team, Penn composed some of the great hits of early R&B, including “I’m Your Puppet,” “Dark End Of the Street,” “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man,” and others. Also active as a producer, Penn was behind the board for two of the Box Tops’ biggest hits, “The Letter” and “Cry Like A Baby.”
Moving back to Muscle Shoals, Penn arrived when the studios there were becoming havens for Atlantic Records artists. It was here that Penn’s songs were recorded by Dionne Warwick, Solomon Burke, Aretha Franklin, James Carr, and Janis Joplin.
Penn’s own recorded output is intentionally slim, due to his preference to stay out of the spotlight. But the voice that created these timeless songs can certainly carry them, and his performances are a rare opportunity to hear soul classics from the mind which they were conceived.
What Other People Have Been Saying...
“Songwriter Dan Penn, an Alabama farm boy who became one of the most prolific talents in R&B, pays a rare visit … “ [read the entire interview / article here]
“Rock and soul singer/songwriter Dan Penn may not exactly be a household name, but his songs and talents from the past 50 years now are most certainly worth recognition, making his two-night appearance at the Dakota this week an unforgettable treat.” -Read the entire CityPages review and watch video from the 2011 show