Despite being a notorious alcoholic and first-rate carouser and not being the world’s greatest tenor sax player, Charles “Packy” Axton presents a compelling musical story on LATE LATE PARTY 1965-67. His mother, Estelle Axton, and uncle Jim Stewart were co-originators of the Stax label and Packy found himself consorting with such greats as Booker T Jones, Steve Cropper and Donald “Duck” Dunn from an early age. The 17 predominantly instrumental cuts on this solid compilation may not quite reach the heights of his esteemed peers, but they make for some uncomplicated good-time listening that slides down easily and will happily rattle the ice in your glass.
Although the title track has long been rated and oft-compiled as an obscure country soul classic, the full reissue of the HARLAN COUNTY album by Jim Ford is another welcome addition to the Light in the Attic canon. With an A-list band including Jim Keltner, James Burton and Dr John, Kentucky-born Ford shows why Sly Stone rated him “the baddest white man on the planet”, in an exemplary set incorporating distinctive originals (the Stones-y Under Construction, Workin My Way to LA, etc) and worthwhile covers (Willie Dixon’s Spoonful and Alex Harvey’s To Make My Life Beautiful) to stunning effect.