These two late-'60s albums were released at the peak of Joe South
's commercial success and visibility, coinciding with his hits "Games People Play" (which appears on 1968's Introspect
) and "Walk a Mile in My Shoes" (which is on 1969's Don't It Make You Want to Go Home?
). This Raven reissue combines both records onto one CD, with the addition of the way-cool psychedelic soul outing "Hole in Your Soul" (from the Games People Play
album) as a bonus track. As no less than 14 of the 22 tracks also appear on Raven's own Anthology: A Mirror of His Mind -- Hits and Highlights 1968-1975 -- nine of Introspect
's 11 cuts, in fact, are also on Anthology
-- it could be questioned whether listeners who have that best-of really need this too. Still, it does capture South
at the peak of his powers, at the time where his idiosyncratic brand of pop/rock was really coming together, drawing from country, gospel, soul, the increasing freedom for personal expression opened up by the singer/songwriter movement, and a bit of psychedelia, kind of like a thinking person's B.J. Thomas
is perhaps the more memorable of the pair, if only for including "Games People Play" and South
's version of "Rose Garden," which became a huge hit a couple years later for Lynn Anderson
. Anyone who likes the sound South
forged on Introspect
, however, will also like the similar Don't It Make You Want to Go Home?
, which has some relatively little-known quality songs like "Shelter" and "Clock Up on the Wall," as well as items too off the wall to make it onto best-of comps (particularly the spooky psychedelic blues-rock jam "A Million Miles Away"). Throughout, there's the sense of a man finding his own voice, one that, whether explicitly or subtly, was urging a search for an uplifting commonality among both musical genres and humanity in general.