Wynne Unit Band: It’s Over (Texas Prison Rodeo, 1980, Behind the Walls)
Part of the appeal of prison soul albums lies in how a narrative of redemption is built into their very existence. They exist, whether intentionally or not, as rehabilitation projects, where inmates use music as a way of reconnecting with “legitimate” society. Whether that’s all a facade or not, it’s how most prison LPs are set up, this exemplary one out of Texas being no exception. The Guardian published a write-up about Wynne Unit and its musicians back in 2013 but this LP had long been on people’s radar for a minute because amidst its country tunes are two unexpectedly great modern soul jams (besides “It’s Over”, there’s also “Come Home,” which is very similar in feel/style).
The same project also released another album a few years earlier, featuring a band out of Eastham prison but from recollection, that one isn’t as good (at least not on the soul front).