Having reissued all of Jamesa€™ original 1960s Goldwax masters; a collection that gathered up all of Jamesa€™ non-Goldwax sides from the 1970s and a selection of rarer recordings from the last years of his career, wea€™ve decided to give a well-deserved makeover and a sonic upgrade to the two albums that brought James back from a recording and personal wilderness in the early 1990s. James had not been heard on wax in nearly 15 years, and indeed he had not sung for most of those 15, due to his mental health problems. A MAN WORTH KNOWING pairs the Ace CDs a€?Take Me To The Limita€? and a€?Soul Survivora€? and features a bonus track, Jamesa€™ 2000 version of Youa€™re Pouring Water On A Drowning Man. Most fans were at least slightly reassured by the news that James had been working again with his mentor, friend and record company boss, Quinton Claunch.
This CDa€™s issue means that every song and performance that James ever committed to tape, with the exception of the a€?losta€™ Atlantic master a€?Sweet Black Angela€™ and a couple of almost identical alternate takes of original Goldwax sides, is now available on either Ace or Kent.

We were also aestehtically pleased by the fact that a€?Take Me To The Limita€? appeared in the USA on a revitalised Goldwax logo, the imprint for whom James recorded classic after classic between 1966-1970.
However, nobody knew what kind of voice would be left after almost a decade and a half of virtual inactivity.
And anyway, the a€?Take Me To The Limita€? sessions also featured plenty of real horns, guitar and bass playing throughout, so what Messrs Carr and Claunch accomplished was both a look back and a look forward.
Not to mention some singing that was as good as anything James had committed to tape in his heyday. As a fan of both these and his 60s Goldwax recordings, I urge those who havena€™t heard these albums since they were new releases to give them another listen.

Collectively they show a man in his vocal prime, one who could put the turmoil of a troubled existence to one side and deliver some extraordinarily soulful music.

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