The Dark End Of The Street

Album: You Got My Mind Messed Up (1967)
Charted: 77
  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This was written by Chips Moman and Dan Penn in 30 minutes when they were at a DJ convention in Nashville. Penn, who also delivered the harmonies on this track described this is as "a straightforward Country cheating ballad."
  • Penn recalled to Mojo magazine January 2008 how they came to write this song: "Me and Chips were in a poker game, and we took a break and went back to our room. And there was a guitar and we started the song. I wrote it as far as I could and handed it to him and we finished it up really fast. It was maybe a year before James Carr recorded it. And the reason James Carr got it was because he was next. That's the way they used to get the songs in Memphis, whoever was next got the next song." Penn added: "James Carr, he had some great records but he was kind of an Otis sound-alike. But when he did 'Dark End Of The Street' I think he found his own voice. He never sounded like that again, I think he had some problems (Carr had a drug addiction). But he was one great singer. His record can't be touched. The whole make-up of the record, it screams 1966. There's something about that time that got on that tape that I've never heard anybody get that close to."
  • In 1969 this was covered in a Country-Soul style by The Flying Burrito Brothers on their classic The Gilded Palace of Sin album. They also covered another Moman/Penn R&B song "Do Right Woman" on the same set. Other artists to cover it include Aretha Franklin, Linda Ronstadt and Percy Sledge.
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Comments: 5

  • Greg from Harrington Park, NjHugh in Oxford - the version of this song done in the movie The Commitments is amazing. I always visualize the crowd staring in awe at the way the singer belts that song out. Great stuff.
  • Greg from Harrington Park, NjGregg Allman played this on his 1997 tour after recording it for his Searching for Simplicity album. He said before playing it that it was his brother Duane's favorite song of all time. When Gregg recorded it he used Jack Pearson on slie guitar which in my opinion gives it that Duane Allmanesque feel to it - (Not that I'm comparing Jack Pearson to Duane Allman, but rather the slide guitar sound comparison is what I am going for here). I read once that Gregg Allman took about 40 or 50 takes to record it because he kept crying when singing it because he kept thinking about Duane when he was recording it. Duane was a powerful soul from what I understand of him and he and Gregg were so close to each other that I can imagine how difficult this must have been for Gregg to get through the recording of this song. And his version is so bluesy and soulful. He puts all he has into the rendition he did of this song. You can feel his energy and his passion in the way he belts out the lyrics, especially the bridge of the song "There gonna find us." There gonna find us." And Jack Pearson's slide solo in the last part of the song is simply beautiful. The notes he hits almost bring tears to your eyes if you close your eyes and think of Gregg recording this in 1970 or so, and pretend the slide you hear is Duane playing while Gregg is sitting over at the B-3 organ watching him play it during the session. Powerful stuff.
  • Hugh from Oxford, United KingdomThis one was also sung by the Commitments. Great song and a great movie. The saxophone player said
    "I'm Black and I'm Proud" which is great since he was a white Irish singer.
  • Angie from MThis is one of my favorite songs and have heard just about every version of it. In my opinion, John Cowan did the very best rendition. He put the soul and blues in it that this song deserves.
  • Ernesto from Mexicali, MexicoThe best cover I've ever heard of this song is sung by blues singer Joanna Connor. It's Awesome!!!!
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