Friday Five: Dan Penn

Juli Thanki | November 15th, 2013

Tomorrow, Dan Penn turns 72. The songwriter/singer/producer is behind a slew of soul classics from the ’60s and 70s; a quick spin through my iTunes reveals more than 70 songs that he wrote, co-wrote, or produced, including “Cry Like a Baby,” “I’m Your Puppet,” “Slippin’ Around,” and “Out of Left Field” — I tried to narrow it down to five. What are your favorite Dan Penn songs?

5. Conway Twitty – “Is a Bluebird Blue?”

This 1960 rock ‘n’ roll tune, which topped out at #35 on the charts, was one of Penn’s first hits.

 

4. Donnie Fritts – “Rainbow Road”

Fritts and Penn wrote this one together; Fritts recorded it for Prone to Lean, and it’s been done by a handful of other folks too.

 

3. Archie Campbell and Lorene Mann — “The Dark End of the Street”

Penn wrote this one with Chips Moman. It’s been recorded by all sorts of folks (James Carr’s version was the first); this 1968 duet by Campbell and Mann hit #24 on the country charts – Dolly and Porter would record it for their Just the Two of Us album that year as well.

 

2. Janis Joplin – “A Woman Left Lonely”

Joplin puts the blue in blue-eyed soul with this heartbreaker, one of several Penn wrote with Spooner Oldham.

 

1. The Flying Burrito Brothers — “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man”

Another Penn/Moman classic. Everybody knows Aretha’s stunning version, but the Burrito Brothers delivered their own soulful take on “Do Right” on The Gilded Palace of Sin, a record which also includes their cover of “The Dark End of the Street.”

  1. Paul W Dennis
    November 19, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    I’m not a big fan of hers, but Barbara Mandrell
    s version of “Do Right Woman – Do Right Man” was the best

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