Curtis Harding is a former backup singer for Cee-Lo Green and, in their band Night Sun, worked with The Black Lips’ Cole Alexander and members of Night Beats, and you can definitely hear influence of all of those bands and artists in his soulful, almost garage rock sound.
Nowhere is that more apparent than in his debut LP, Soul Power.
Today I’m taking a look at his debut 7-inch single for “Keep On Shining” with the B-Side “Cast Away.”
Reissued March 18, 2014 on Burger Records, this is the black vinyl version. A gold vinyl pressing on Burger also exists. Knowing Burger these probably received a quite limited pressing of anywhere from 100 to 500 for each version with the black vinyl receiving the larger quantity. As of December 2022, fewer than 100 people each have a version of these in their collection, totaling about 150 between the two pressings.
Alright, let’s take a look inside.
Unboxing Curtis Harding’s Debut Single
Below is my unboxing video so you can see the elements discussed here.
I really like the cover. The font works well with Harding’s soulful sounds, and almost give a nod to the psychedelic soul of the late 60s. The back is simple and minimal. Being a minimalist (with exception to my record collection), I like that.
The black vinyl is cool, though I’d certainly prefer the gold pressing — if it didn’t come at 4x the price of what’s available on the market at the moment (and the black vinyl is currently near 3x what I got my copy for).
It also comes with an insert that features some nudity on one side — though I certainly wouldn’t call it pornographic — and song and art credits on the other.
Keep On Shining b/w Cast Away Review
As I mentioned, this is a reissue. The original was, as was signature to the Burger label, released as a limited edition pressing of 100 cassettes on October 17, 2013. That makes it truly the first official release Curtis Harding did solo.
Both tracks found home on Harding’s debut LP Soul Power, released May 20, 2014 on Burger Records as well. That makes this more of a double A side.
Here’s the music video for Keep On Shining:
There may be subtle differences between the versions found here and LP version, though if there are they aren’t the easiest to depict or decipher. So if you have Soul Power on vinyl or plan to get it, go that route unless you’re a completist like me and want to snap up everything by Curtis Harding.
“Keep on Shining” appears to be identical, whereas there seem to be some differences to “Cast Away” when compared to my pressing of Soul Power. This is predominantly found in the keys throughout the song. They seem a bit more emphasized, a bit clearer. Again, I could be wrong and am just going off attempts to listen to it both on the LP and single back to back. Nonetheless, the single version seems a bit more pronounced.
Below you can hear “Cast Away” courtesy Curtis Harding’s Bandcamp page:
I for one am glad to have added this to my collection. “Cast Away” is one of my favorites off Soul Power and being able to give it a standalone listen (and it seeming to have added clarity compared to the album version) make it worthwhile.
I was able to snap up a copy for just $5, and it looks like it’s running about $12-15 now, so you’ll have to be the judge there.