I used to think "Dark End of the Street" was one of those indestructible songs that could survive any assault upon it and emerge with its dignity intact. I had to qualify that view slightly when I heard the Diamanda Galas version, but as a general rule it remains true that it is a song that can make average performers sound better.
The other general rule - and one that needs no qualification - is that the best version is, and will always that be, that by James Carr. But don't let that lead you to turn up your nose at the other eight below, as they are all genuinely good in their own right. Clarence Carter's reworking is probably my second favourite, and Gary Stewart takes you down the street and into the honky-tonk with his. And of course we have the obligatory reggae version, this time courtesy of Mr. Pat Kelly.
"The Dark End Of The Street" - James Carr
"Dark End Of The Street" - The Flying Burrito Brothers
"Dark End Of The Street (Live)" - Richard & Linda Thompson
"The Dark End Of The Street" - Joe Tex
"Dark End Of The Street" - Pat Kelly
"Dark End Of The Street" - Gary Stewart
"Dark End Of The Street" - Artie White
"Making Love (At The Dark End Of The Street)" - Clarence Carter