We’ve long been planning a meditative post on an axiom that’s caused us no shortage of angst these past few months: “People always run from what they’re best at.” Those musings will follow eventually, once things on the paying-work end have settled down a bit. In the meantime, take the above soul cut, off The 24-Carat Black’s classic Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth, as an object lesson in what we’ll be talking about. Dale Warren, the man behind the group, was one of Stax Records’ in-house maestros, producing for all manner of Memphis superstars. (He also did a long turn in Detroit’s indie soul scene.) But the man obviously had a hankering to have a group of his own, and the result was the oft-neglected The 24-Carat Black. Ten-minute jams with depressing lyrics just weren’t what the mainstream wanted back in the early seventies, and Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth quickly landed in the cutout bin.
Was an artist of Warren’s obvious talent simply fated to remain behind the scenes? If you’re heart’s set on being a performer, it must be darn frustrating to see your hard work contribute to another artist’s stardom—no matter how much cash you earn along the way.