(Leaning Man Records)
Over the years, as an integral and original part of the Muscle Shoals music
scene, Donnie Fritts has played drums and keyboards with Arthur Alexander,
Spooner Oldham and Kris Kristofferson and put his compositions in the hands of
those pros as well as the likes of Ray Charles, Willie Nelson and Percy Sledge.
In 2001 he was recovering from kidney replacement surgery and, responding to a
friend who asked how he was doing, he still had enough gumption to respond with
the phrase that became the title of this album.
One Foot In The Groove is a labor of love and necessity – most
musicians don’t have much in the way of health insurance – put together by
Fritts Oldham, Mike Dillion (Ani DiFranco), Muscle Shoals veteran
players David Hood, N.C. Thurman, Kelvin Holly, Scott Boyer and
writer/singer/producer and Fritts’ longtime friend, Dan Penn. Most of the songs
were written by Fritts in collaboration with Boyer, Penn, Oldham,
Tony Joe White and others and the album is true to its word. This is real good
country soul that shows why Fritts was such a good source of material for those
like Alexander, Charles and Tony Joe who trod, maybe even eradicated, the line
between country and soul music.
Fritts sings in a voice that is a little Leon Russell and a little Tony Joe
and it’s a pleasing baritone swamp growl that doesn’t at all sound like it’s
coming from a man for whom trips through the wringer have become regular
events. There’s not enough of this kind of music being made these days. It’s
good to have Donnie Fritts around to do it and do it well.
Standout Tracks: “Across the Pontchartrain”, “One
Foot In The Groove” RICK ALLEN