The Dark End of the Street

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"Dark End of the Street" redirects here. For the Cat Power album, see Dark End of the Street (album).
"The Dark End of the Street"
Single by James Carr
from the album You Got My Mind Messed Up
Released 1967 (1967)
Recorded Royal Studios
Genre Soul
Label Goldwax
Writer(s)
Producer(s)

"The Dark End of the Street" is a 1967 soul song written by songwriters Dan Penn and Chips Moman and first recorded by James Carr.

History and original recording[edit]

The song was co-written by Penn, a professional songwriter and producer, and Moman, a former session guitarist at Phil Spector's Gold Star Studio, and also the owner of American Sound Studio in Memphis, Tennessee. The song itself was ultimately recorded across town at Royal Studios, home of HI Records.

In the summer of 1966, while a DJ convention was being held in Memphis, Penn and Moman were cheating while playing cards with Florida DJ Don Schroeder,[1] and decided to write the song while on a break. Penn said of the song “We were always wanting to come up with the best cheatin’ song. Ever.”[2] The duo went to the hotel room of Quinton Claunch, another Muscle Shoals alumnus, and founder of Hi Records, to write. Claunch told them, "Boys, you can use my room on one condition, which is that you give me that song for James Carr. They said I had a deal, and they kept their word.” The song, lyrics and all, was written in about thirty minutes.[3]

The song is the lament from an adulterer to his illicit lover, told from the adulterer's point of view. According to the lyrics, they continue their sins, "hiding in shadows where [they] don't belong" because their "love keeps coming on strong." At the climax of the song, the narrator fears "they're gonna find us some day."

The song was originally recorded by soul artist James Carr. The song became his most popular, reaching number 10 on Billboard Magazine's Black Singles Chart, and crossing over to number 77 on the Pop chart.

Influences[edit]

Van Morrison's song Bright Side of the Road includes the lyrics "From the dark end of the street, to the bright side of the road" which many believe was influenced by Penn's song.[4]

Cover Versions[edit]

Artist Album Year released
Afghan Whigs The B-Sides / The Conversation EP 1994
Aretha Franklin This Girl's in Love with You 1970
Archie Campbell & Lorene Mann Tell It Like It Is 1968
Cat Power Dark End of the Street EP 2008
Deacon Blue Love and Regret EP 1989
Diamanda Galás and John Paul Jones The Sporting Life 1994
Elvis Costello and The Imposters The Delivery Man 2004
The Flying Burrito Brothers The Gilded Palace of Sin 1969
Gregg Allman Searching for Simplicity 1997[5]
June Tabor and Oysterband Ragged Kingdom 2011
Linda Ronstadt Heart Like a Wheel 1974
Moving Hearts The Dark End of the Street 1982
Peter Green Splinter Group Peter Green Splinter Group 1997
Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton Just the Two of Us 1968
Richard and Linda Thompson Pour Down Like Silver 1975
Ry Cooder Boomer's Story 1972

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Guralnick, Peter (2002).
  2. ^ Gordon, Robert (2001).
  3. ^ Hoskyns, Barney (1998).
  4. ^ Stuart Bailie (July 6, 2008). "Playlist". BBC. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  5. ^ Gregg Allman - Searching for Simplicity. AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-11-25.

References[edit]