Terry Evans 1938-2018
The Mississippi-born soul singer Terry Evans, who died earlier this year at the age of 80, was responsible for one of the greatest vocal moments I ever heard in my life. As one of the singers who travelled with Ry Cooder and his band in the 1970s, he was given the second verse of “(At the) Dark End of the Street”, the great deep-soul ballad written by Dan Penn and Chips Moman and made famous by James Carr. What he made of the second line of that verse was what did it for me. I witnessed it live at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1977, and luckily the moment was recaptured in the studio of BBC2’s Old Grey Whistle Test. Each of the singers — the other two are Bobby King and Eldridge King — gets a verse, but Terry Evans’s moment (1:28-1:35 in the clip) is beyond sublime. He made some nice records under his own name — notably the Cooder-produced Blues for Thought (1994), containing a lovely version of another Carr-related song, “That’s the Way Love Turned Out For Me” — but these few seconds are his testament. Rest in peace, Mr Evans.