As my friend Yoni Neeman (see Links) has remarked Ralph Lamar has a lot more than a touch of Joe Tex about him on this sensational piece of Nashville country soul. But that certainly isn't a criticism more of a token of praise for his hoarse, broken tone and his passionate screaming and particularly for those lovely "ha ha" phrases. The waltz time Don't Let Me Cross Over was a no 1 country song for Carl Butler and Pearl in 1962 and has been cut by people like Jim Reeves and Dolly Parton but the only version I can hear is this one. In addition to the great vocal I also love the big horn arrangement, the fine piano/guitar combination and can just about tolerate the rather anaemic chorus. But as a totality this track is pretty much a definitive country soul recording.
UPDATE ~ David Glenn has kindly written to say that "In my early days of music, I played sax in a backing band for Ralph Lamar for a short while. I was around fifteen at the time. But the age limit in clubs was don't ask, don't tell. I've often wondered what became of him. At the time, we were an all-white, young soul band that played R&B. What I remember most is how carefully the Black clubs watched over and protected us. That would have been in the late sixties. This is the only photo I have of Ralph. This was taken at "The Stallion Club" in Durham, NC, around 1970. Our band name was "The Soul Revolution" and had ten members at it's peak. Somehow we hooked up with Ralph and played as 'Ralph Lamar and The Soul Revolution'." I'm very grateful to David for his reminscences and for the lovely pic of Ralph.
FURTHER UPDATE ~ John Smith has very kindly sent a handbill for a gig on which Ralph Lamar was playng. I'm very grateful to him.
Don't let me cross over / What I never had I'll never miss ~ HONOUR BRIGADE 6 (1970)
Note ~ This 45 was issued twice. The second issue had a long and short version of "Don't Let Me Cross Over".