Some tunes are lame: "Only in America" is hokey, if heartfelt, and "Things Happen" is every bit the throwaway its title suggests. But "I'm Qualified" boasts everyman conviction, "The Pond" is terrific and funny vernacular soul, and "Nobody's Home," Penn's take on poverty, is heartrending.
Despite Penn's guiding hand, the songs wouldn't ring so true without Purify's tenor. He sings with purity, perfect pitch, and power. Blind since birth, Purify is the underrated, underheard equal of contemporaries like Dobie Gray, Ben E. King, and Brook Benton. At long last, with this rich album, he's earned his day in the sun.