Monday, December 17, 2012

recent releases

Hi Folks... After I posted about a couple of new records by Percy Wiggins and Marion James, I thought it might be a good idea to put together an edition of Soul Sauce every once in a while that focused on the current 'small label' projects of some of our friends. Here goes...

clifford curry


When we spoke with Clifford Curry during the Soul Detective Road Trip this Summer, he gave us a copy of his latest album, The Soul of Clifford Curry. Once we popped it into the CD player in the rental car, we never took it out! With a bang-up production job by old hands Bruce Dees and Clayton Ivey, Clifford's amazing songwriting never sounded better. Available now at Off Row Records.

ralph 'soul' jackson


Some three years in the making, The Alabama Love Man is the debut album from the great Ralph 'Soul' Jackson. We all knew Ralph could sing, and this package showcases his songwriting skills as well. With the committment to quality (and real instruments) we've come to expect from our friends at The Rabbit Factory, it's available on both heavyweight vinyl and CD. Get it now at Dusty Groove.

arthur adams


Arthur Adams came up out of Jefferson Street in Nashville as the protege of our man Sir Lattimore Brown. Considered by most to be a 'blues man', there's so much more to Arthur than that. His new double sided single, Feet Back In The Door, was produced by Keb' Mo', and gives you an idea of the depth of his talents. We'll be taking a closer look at Arthur's career soon over on The B Side. In the meantime, you can download the single on iTunes.

willie wright


After The Numero Group reissued Wright's incredible and ultra-rare 1977 LP Telling The Truth last year, it inspired Willie and his longtime friend Bob Green to 'come slightly out of retirement' and cut This Is Not A Dream some thirty five years later. Despite ill health, Willie's soulful spirit remains, as does the haunting sincerity of his music. Available now from Green Coil Records

roy c


When Roy C called me and told me that he had just finished his first Gospel album, at first I couldn't believe it. After I thought about it a while, though, I realized that Roy's been out there preaching in his own way for almost fifty years! Released as a tribute to his good friend Marvin Sease, Let's Go Back To God represents Roy's unique perspective on Religion in America. Available in both CD and MP3 formats from CD Baby.

ronnie grieco


Here's the new single from our friend and veteran sax man Ronnie Grieco, who was one of Benny Gordon's Soul Brothers back in the day. Ronnie's still out there performing, and has remained true to his R&B roots. You can purchase the single, along with a whole lot of other great music over at Ronnie's own Online Music Store.

jimmy church


When Jimmy Church was kind enough to let us visit his home during the Road Trip, I noticed a stack of these CD singles on the kitchen table. Conceived as a benefit and theme song for The Concerned Citizens for the Re-Election of President Barack Obama, Jimmy wasn't selling them, he was giving them away to help spread the word. There's even a cool video on YouTube:


Saturday, September 15, 2012

melvin carter

This is a picture of Don Robey, the man Willie Mitchell referred to as the "Houston Mafia,"
and Roosevelt Jamison depicted as a "cold-blooded man." His place in the history of this music we all love is secure, but he certainly leaves you wondering if his ends justified his means. In the superb The Chitlin' Circuit and the Road to Rock 'N' Roll, Preston Lauterbach paints the most complete (and chilling) picture yet of this gun-toting Texas misanthrope who knew how to get things done.
Although he most certainly was not alone in the practice, Robey made sure he got a piece of the songwriting and publishing on virtually every R&B record he released, often sharing it with the actual composer on the top side, but taking it all for himself on the flip.

After he took over the Duke label (literally at gunpoint) in 1952, he had no qualms about listing 'D.Robey' as the sole composer on most of Bobby Bland's and Junior Parker's early B sides. I'm not sure why (maybe he just thought it was too obvious or something), but by the early sixties, he had developed a songwriting alias, 'Deadric Malone'. The source of much speculation over the years as to whether or not this was an actual person (some said it was his wife), I've come to believe he just made it up.
It was the ever vigilant Lauterbach who pointed out to me that there are two Memphis streets which follow each other in quick succession as you cross over Lamar Avenue on Airways Boulevard on the way out of town - Deadrick and Malone! One can only imagine the wily Robey on his way to the airport, seizing on this random sequence as his new nom de plume. Wild!
All of this has been on a kind of hypothetical back burner over here for a while, but something happened just recently that really sort of drove it home. Ace's indefatigable Tony Rounce told me that they had recently acquired a tape of demos from Goldwax co-owner Doc Russell's son, and that this was on there:
Melvin Carter - original Goldwax demo

Ace Of Spades

It just gives me chills.
I was finally able to get a hold of our friend Roosevelt Jamison

the other day who, you'll be happy to hear, has responded amazingly well to the radiation treatment he received for eight brain tumors, which as of now no longer exist... how great is that?! Although he doesn't recall anything about the actual tape that Tony has, he knew Melvin Carter well. "Melvin and O.V. were very tight," he told me, "He was the guitar player for The Sunset Travelers when O.V. was with them, and when he crossed over, Melvin came along with him and started playing in O.V.'s band."

"Yes, Melvin wrote Ace of Spades - Eight Men, Four Women too! All Robey ever gave him was twenty five dollars for each of them, then when the records came out he took full credit for himself, and never paid Melvin another dime!"
Imagine? The discovery of these demos, which were apparently recorded before O.V. ever signed with Back Beat, points out what a ruthless son of a bitch Robey really was. Like O.V., Melvin had a day job as a sanitation man in Memphis, and he came in off his shift one day and laid down for a nap, asking his wife to wake him up around seven for a rehearsal that evening. When she tried to rouse him, however, he was dead - the victim of an apparent massive heart attack in his sleep.
Peacock 1934

Something Reminds Me
Melvin Carter had a couple of releases of his own on Robey's Peacock label in the mid-sixties (with Malone taking the composer's credit, of course), which go for big bucks if you can find them. This beautiful ballad comes to us courtesy of Sir Shambling, and illustrates how great Carter was.
I'd like to fill in some of the blanks on him (like - do any photographs of him exist?), so please, detectives, get in touch if you have any further information on Melvin to share with us.


Thanks to super detective Marc Demuynck, here is the first known photograph of Melvin Carter:
Originally a publicity photo from Don Robey's Buffalo Booking, it was included in the ultra-rare book, Duke/Peacock Records-An Illustrated History with Discography by Galen Gart & Roy C. Ames. Interestingly, if you look closely, you'll notice that it says The Three Keys in parentheses after his name. Initially, I thought that this might be a reference to the mysterious credit to 'The Keys' that is listed on O.V. Wright's sole Goldwax single, the immortal That's How Strong My Love Is. I asked Quinton Claunch about that on our recent Fact Finding Mission, and he said no, The Keys was the name of the vocal group that sang behind O.V. on the session, a group which included Wright's wife at the time, Norma Rudd. So, does anybody have any clue who The Three Keys were, then?
I asked Howard Grimes, who was on the session, about Ace of Spades. He said Willie Mitchell cut it on Melvin first, and that they were all under the impression that Robey was going to release it as a 45. When O.V.'s version (over that same initial backing track, no doubt) was released instead, it led to some bad blood between Carter and Wright, as Melvin watched the song he had written (and got no credit for) climb the charts in the Fall of 1970. As we said before, if nothing else, Robey was one cold-blooded son-of-a-bitch.
I have recently learned that there is some unreleased Melvin Carter material in the Universal vaults from back in those days... man, I'd love to hear that!
Thanks Marc for the photo... you're the greatest!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Percy Wiggins - Writing On The Wall

Don't miss out!

Electraphonic Studios has just announced the release of a limited edition vinyl 45 featuring our friend Percy Wiggins; "The BO-KEYS, team up with vocalist PERCY WIGGINS to bring you a double shot of Memphis Soul and R&B. PERCY WIGGINS, who cut classic Northern Soul sides in the 60s for ATCO and RCA, is featured on two original songs penned by The BO-KEYS and WIGGINS. The Bobby 'Blue' Bland inspired R&B of 'WRITING ON THE WALL' and the Southern Soul ballad, 'I’M STILL IN NEED.'"

Order yours today!

We'll be visiting with Percy and the Bo-Keys in Memphis next week during the Soul Detective 2012 Fact Finding Mission. Can't Wait!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Marion James - Northside Soul

Great news from our (and Lattimore's) good friend Marion James down in Nashville...

Marion is the focus of an eight page full color spread in the current issue of Living Blues, along with some great photographs of Jefferson Street from the days when it stood at the center of the Southern Black Universe, and Marion and her beloved 'Buzzard' ruled the roost. "Looks like to me all the musicians kind of cared about each other and tried to help each other back then," she told Tim Ghianni, and Marion, through her beloved Musician's Aid Society, has certainly done her part to keep that spirit alive.

One cool thing about the article is that it appears as part of Living Blues' very first Digital Edition, and so you can check it out right here online.

I Fell

Marion is also excited to announce that Northside Soul, her first new album in many years, was released earlier this month on EllerSoul Records, to excellent reviews. She wrote most of the material herself, including this scorcher we have here. No wonder they call her the Queen of the Blues!

We will be hanging out with Marion on Jefferson Street next month as part of the Soul Detective 2012 Fact Finding Mission. Can't wait!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Curtis Salgado Medical Fund

Award-winning soul blues singer/harmonica master Curtis Salgado will undergo surgery on July 18 in Portland, Oregon, to remove a cancerous growth from his lung, according to his manager Shane Tappendorf.

A partial lobectomy will be performed to remove a segment of Curtis's left lung where a metastasized mass was found. It is suspected to be the same type of cancerous mass that was removed from his lung in 2007.

Salgado will be hospitalized for a period of four to six days and will require a recovery time of up to four weeks. Salgado and his doctors anticipate a complete recovery.

"I am extremely grateful for the overwhelming support of my family, friends and fans and the courageous people that have faced this fight before me," the 58-year-old Salgado wrote from his home this week. "I also want to thank the promoters and venues for their understanding regarding my medical situation. We will do our best to reschedule all of our performances affected by my surgery."

Salgado, who was diagnosed with liver cancer on March 23, 2006, underwent successful liver transplant surgery on September 30, 2006 at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska.

Donations to help with Curtis's expenses can be made online at: salgado-medical- fund. Donations can also be made to the Curtis Salgado Fund c/o Odaglas LLC Donation Account at all US Banks or by mail to US Bancorp, 2550 NW 188th Avenue, Hillsboro, OR 97124. For additional information please visit and

And, of course, your prayers are always appreciated!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

muscle shoals mystery

muscle shoals mystery

garry capeSpeaking of British record guys with unreleased tapes, Soulscape head honcho Garry Cape got in touch a while back with this: "I have all the Wishbone tapes sitting here in my office and am steadily going through them looking for unissued stuff... I found this song which, to me, sounds like it was cut at Hi. It sounds like O.V. Wright - but I think it is just different enough for it to not be him.

"Although it doesn't immediately sound like a Muscle Shoals recording - it may be that it is a song associated with the Shoals. I've run it by Wishbone head Terry Woodford and he has no idea - except to say what we already knew, that it's not one of his productions. I have thrown this around the UK, and nobody can come up with who it is - or may be." He went on to say that Terry thought it might have been written by Frank Johnson, but it's not listed as one of his compositions in the BMI database.

Unkown Artist

If I Could Kiss Her Lips One More Time

I agree, it certainly does put you in mind of O.V., and has a kind of 'Hi' sound, but in the end you can tell it's not him. I originally ventured a guess that it could possibly be Oscar Toney, Jr., but on second thought, I don't think it's him either. "It sounds to me like a 'finished' master, and probably has already been released," Garry said, "I really do think it is someone 'obvious' though!"

So, why don't we do like we did in the old Mystery Contest days, and award a prize (of as yet unknown origin) to the first detective to correctly identify who this might be (along with the evidence to back it up) in the comments... "Maybe someone can put us all at peace!"


Monday, May 14, 2012

the memphis boys again

memphis boys cd

The long awaited 'Soundtrack to Roben Jones' Book', Memphis Boys - The Story of American Studios is to be released here in the States on March 13th. As our man John Broven says in his excellent introductory essay, "It seems scarcely credible that 'Memphis Boys' is the first compilation devoted to Chips Moman's American Recording Studios..." It most certainly does. As I'm sure you know by now, we are just huge fans of Chips and his mighty American Group, and it does my heart good to see them getting some of the attention they deserve.

videoJust as Roben told us in the interview thing we did two years ago now (!), her liner notes point out that "There is passion in all of the American Group recordings... the passion that comes from knowing that one has endured" Endured they most certainly have, as has the timeless music they created there in those few short years in Memphis.

This essential CD manages to provide an in-depth overview of that music (no mean feat in this one disc package), by including obligatory chart toppers like Son of A Preacher Man, The Letter, and Angel of the Morning while paying close attention to the Soulful side of things as well.

date 1647Major R&B hits from King Curtis, Arthur Conley, Joe Tex, Wilson Pickett, Bobby Womack, James & Bobby Purify, Oscar Toney, Jr. and James Carr stand alongside little known gems from favorites like Solomon Burke, Spencer Wiggins, Percy Milem and L.C. Cooke. One of the highlights of the album is an obscure take on Dark End of the Street by The Glories, the Frankie Gearing led Detroit vocal group that would soon rename themselves Quiet Elegance and begin recording across town with Willie Mitchell at Hi.

Joe simonSpeaking of Hi, I'm sure you've all heard the story of how James Carr's original, definitive version of Dark End of the Street was waxed at Royal Studio as well, while the board at American was under repair. Well, according to Tony Rounce's brilliant track commentary, Joe Simon's top twenty R&B hit Nine Pound Steel (the tune that Wayne Carson and Dan Penn wrote 'a pound a day') was cut on South Lauderdale Street under similar circumstances, while the American console was acting up again. As you may recall, Sam Baker told us that he also recorded for Sound Stage 7 at Royal, cutting the great I Believe In You there, presumably around the same time. This kind of synergy with Hi goes all the way back to when Chips brought Carla Thomas around the corner to cut Gee Whiz in 1961, and Sandy Posey across town five years later for the same treatment on Born A Woman (which is on the CD, by the way).

One could go so far as to say that American actually represented the evolution of the early Hi Sound, as Reggie Young, Bobby Emmons, Tommy Cogbill and Mike Leech were all session musicians at Royal at one time or another... not to mention the fact that Chips hired James and Willie Mitchell to run his horn section up until Willie left to concentrate on Hi full time in late 1968...

markerOn March 1st, which would have been his 84th birthday, Willie was honored in a private unveiling ceremony of the newest Shelby County historical marker, located directly in front of the studio he loved and ran tirelessly until the day he died. Still in operation under the guidance of his beloved Boo, Royal remains a Soul Mecca.

The same cannot be said for American, I'm afraid...

american 2012

This is what the corner of Chelsea and Thomas looks like today, with a brand new Family Dollar location completely occupying the space where the Ranch House Restaurant and American Sound once stood... what a shame.

For now, though, get out there and buy the CD, read the book, and "Stand and feel the echoes of the countless hits of ages past!"