This one goes out to my old friend and musicologist, Jovan Mrvos. In November 1989 we played in New York City – two shows in the one night thanks for asking – and during that tour and were covering Dark End of The Street. On the subsequent days after the show I received a cassette album from my friend Jovan. It was James Carr’s compilation album of the same name. To my eternal shame I hadn’t known of James Carr, but my friend was correct to point me to the greatest version of the song. For years after I carried round that James Carr cassette in various cars glove compartments and would put it on to remind me of how the song should sound.

Years later I discovered that the man behind that song and so many other great tracks of the era was Dan Penn. Along with Spooner Oldham and other southern song writers Dan Penn gave the world a sound track of classic songs that have been covered and covered again to such an extent that they have become modern standards. Last year an interesting project emerged where Dan re launched an album he’d made twenty years earlier. Now here’s where it gets slightly complicated but stick with me. One of Dan’s other great songs is I’m Your Puppet made famous by James and Bobby Purify. The Purify brothers was simply a pseudonym for two disparate soul singers to form a duo. In time there would be two Bobby Purifies and the second Bobby was one, Ben Moore. (Are you still paying attention?)

So…twenty years ago Dan Penn produced an album of new songs he’d co written for this Bobby Purify. In the meantime Bobby (aka Ben) died and Dan felt the album he’d made with him had never received a strong enough release. So, along with the cooperation of his original co writers, he assembled an album of his original demos for Bobby’s album, ‘Better To Have It,’ and along with the original album, released a double album called ‘The Inside Track on Bobby Purify,’ earlier this year.

Now, I hear you say, what has any of this got to do with country/Americana music? Well, interestingly, it has been Americana with people like Yola, Robert Finlay, Allison Russell, Dan Auebach , Solomon Burke and our old friend, Buddy Miller who have kept the soul music flag flying through their various releases celebrating the music created in and around the southern states (mainly Alabama and Tennessee) by black musicians in the late sixties and early seventies. Were it not for some of these artists it’s likely than much of this music would have been forgotten. It’s also true that genre is, as we’ve been showing in recent weeks, a bit of a misleading distraction to enjoying great songwriting and singing. The music of Dan Penn flows through and past all of these boundaries and brings together the great music of soul, country, blues and gospel that enables some of our favourite sounds to exist. Listen to The Drive-By Truckers covering Eddie Hinton and believe!

So on this weeks special AC, I spend the second hour of the show with Dan Penn chatting about The Real Bobby Purify, James Carr, Charlie Rich, Aretha Franklin and a catalogue of timeless classic songs. In the first hour I’ll bring you new music from Johnny Cash his daughter Roseanne, Darius Rucker and Maggie Rogers. It’s a packed two hours and it all starts this Tuesday on BBC Radio Scotland and BBC SOUNDS. Do join me if you can.