Joe Simon – 1974 – Mood, Heart And Soul

Joe Simon 1974 Mood, Heart And Soul front

   Review by  RDTEN1

Risque cover there Mr. Simon …  By my count 1974’s “Mood, Heart and Soul” was Joe Simon’s  tenth studio set in eight years. Continuing his collaboration with long-time producer Brad Shapiro, as good as Simon’s voice was, by the time this one was released his catalog was beginning to sound …  well, a little bit tired. Now take those criticisms in stride. Simon’s voice and phrasing remained impeccable and instantly recognizable. When he was presented with top-notch material such as : Cover the Same Old Ground‘ and ‘Come Back Home‘ he could sing circles around the competition.  Simon was also capable of throwing in an occasional curve ball. Who would have expected his cover of the Dan O’Keefe hit ‘Good Time Charley’s Got the Blues‘ to be so engaging? Unfortunately, those successes were the exceptions, with about two thirds of the set featuring a professional, if unmemorable mixture of heavily orchestrated ballads and mid-tempo numbers.

Tracks
A1 Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye) 6:00
A2 I Would Still Be There 3:13
A3 Good Time Charley’s Got the Blues 3:23
A4 Covering the Same Old Ground 3:25
A5 Walking Down Lonely Street 4:30
B1 The Best Time of My Life 2:48
B2 What We Gonna Do Now 3:05
B3 I’m in the Mood for You 2:51
B4 Carry Me 3:40
B5 Come Back Home 3:15

Joe Simon 1974 Mood, Heart And Soul back

Neither One of Us (Wants To Be the First To Say Goodbye) : While I’ve always enjoyed the cheesy synthesizer washes, coupled with the xylophone touches, Simon’s cover of this heartbreaker simply couldn’t compete with the Gladys Knight and the Pips hit. His version  wasn’t bad, showcasing that instantly recognizable voice, but just didn’t bring anything to the table. I Would Still Be There : The opening fuzz and acoustic guitar backing was nice with Simon kicking in one of his patented country-soul vocals. A bit heavy in the orchestration department, but one of the album’s nicer melodies. Dan O’Keefe had the hit (the original title was ‘Good Time Charlie’s Go the Blues‘), though the tune was covered by a slew of others, including Willie Nelson, Leon Russell, and B.J. Thomas.   With so much competition, I’ll readily admit my expectations for this one were minimal. The tune just didn’t seem to be the kind of song that fit Simon’s style. Okay, I was dead wrong. Simon’s low-keyed, breezy arrangement was simply a joy to hear. One of the album highlights.

Typically anything George Jackson and Ray Moore wrote was going to be enjoyable and in this case ‘Cover the Same Old Ground‘ served as the album’s best old-school soul tune. This was simply the kind of heartbreak song that Simon was meant to sing.Even though it started out sounding like part of the soundtrack for a forgotten Blaxploitation flick, ‘Walking Down Lonely Street ‘ turned into one of the album’s better mid-tempo ballads.

It wasn’t the most original tune you’ve ever heard, but with a sweet Caribbean lilt and some punchy horn charts, it was easy to figure out ‘Spring Records tapped ‘The Best Time of My Life‘ as the  second single:
– 1974’s ‘The Best Time of My Life’ b/w ‘What We Gonna Do Now’ (Spring catalog number SPR 149)

Showcasing Simon’s powerful voice, ‘What We Gonne Do Now‘ was easily the album’s standout ballad and probably should have been one of the singles.  ‘I’m In the Mood for You‘ has always reminded me of a Solomon Burke-styled ballad; the same kind of gospel-feel that made Burke such a special singer. The breezy ballad ‘Carry Me‘ was probably the album’s most commercial tune with some nice electric guitar and a wonderful title refrain. Spring tapped this as the album’s first single:
– 1974’s ‘Carry Me’ b/w ‘Do You Know What It’s Like to Be Lonesome?’ (Spring catalog number SPR 145)One of three tunes co-written by Simon, ‘Come Back Home‘ ended the album with Simon getting a bit funky and slinky …   nice genre for him to operate in and one of the album highlights.