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Cry Like a Baby

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Album Review

Searching for a hit to follow up the widely successful "The Letter," and at the end of their creative rope, in a burst of inspiration, songwriters Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham came up with the title track to this album within hours of the scheduled recording session. The song, a perfect slice of blue-eyed soul, subsequently became a hit for the Alex Chilton-fronted Box Tops. The rest of the album builds off of "Cry Like a Baby," but with less success. Songs like "The Trouble With Sam" and "Weeping Analeah" foreshadow the British Invasion style that Chilton would employ with Big Star, but the melody lines and instrumentation lack the gritty authenticity found on The Letter. And the normally outstanding writing team of Penn and Oldham, responsible for such soul classics as "Do Right Woman" and "A Woman Left Lonely," seem to have softened up their approach in order to make the Box Tops sound more pop. All in all, with the exception of "Cry Like a Baby," an album that could've potentially contained some real gems just doesn't. The 2000 Sundazed reissue adds five bonus tracks: the mono 45 version of "Cry Like a Baby," three non-LP songs from singles, and the previously unreleased "Take Me to Your Heart."


Formed: 1966 in Memphis, TN

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '90s, '00s, '10s

During their brief lifespan, the Box Tops earned a reputation as one of the best blue-eyed soul groups of the '60s, even if their recorded legacy wasn't as large or consistent as, say, the Righteous Brothers or the Rascals. Today they're remembered not only for their smashes "The Letter" and "Cry Like a Baby," but as the launching pad for singer Alex Chilton, who went on to become one of rock's most revered cult figures thanks to his groundbreaking power pop unit Big Star. In his teenage years, Chilton...
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Cry Like a Baby, The Box Tops
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